Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feels (& Tastes) Like Fall!

Gorgeous fall bouquet courtesy of Nicole!
It's finally cooled off in North Carolina & it's feeling like fall around our home. Despite my efforts to inject a little autumn in our house decor-wise, I think it's the fresh, crisp air that's doing the trick.

I have put up my pumpkins, lit my apple-spice candle, changed our table up a bit, switched out some of rotating photographs with fall photos I took in Oak Park with my old point & shoot (I'm hoping to replace a few of them with some new shots since my equipment & skills have improved), & even found a new home for some gorgeous flowers my best friend Nicole gave me.

Nicole was in a wedding the past weekend in the Triangle so while she, Carson & Liam celebrated (& Matt worked all day), I hung with Wrigley, their adorable, loveable, goofy goldendoodle. As a "thank you" for taking care of Wrigs & letting them crash at our place (not that it was necessary at all) she gave me her stunning bridesmaids bouquet. I popped in in a mason jar & I've been enjoying it all week. Thanks, friend! It's my favorite bit of fall in the whole house.

I've also pulled out some of my favorite fall recipes & added a few new ones to my repertoire.  This Sunday, our house looked like a disaster zone as experimented with a new soup, made my favorite fall cookies, & whipped up a delicious loaf of bread. If you're interested in the recipes... check 'em out below! But first... the mess:
Our kitchen = disaster this Sunday. Totally worth it! Lots of tasty treats in the making!!!
Let's start with the good stuff... dessert first:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy of: The fabulous Liz Fay
Occasion: Early birthday treat for Nicole. Unfortunately, I made the dough early in the day, popped it in the fridge & then forgot to bake 'em for her before she left to go back to Winston. Luckily, we had another birthday girl this weekend (happy birthday, Ashley!) so she got to enjoy!
Verdict: These are kind of bread-like cookies. Don't be alarmed. They are delicious. Kind of taste like chocolate chip pumpkin muffin tops. Yummmm....
  1. Cream: 1 c. butter & 2/3 c. sugar 
  2. Beat in: 1 egg & 1 t. vanilla
  3. Blend in: 1 c. pumpkin (the pie filling variety), 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. salt
  4. Mix in a separate bowl: 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1 t baking powder
  5. Add: dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
  6. Stir in: 1 c. chocolate chip chips
  7. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet (I prefer to line my baking sheets with parchment for easy peasy clean up)
  8. Bake at 37 for 12-15 minutes
  9. Enjoy!
I cannot resist squash at the grocery store in the fall so I picked up a butternut squash & scoured my cookbooks for a soup recipe. I love to make soups so as soon as the weather turned... I was ready to go. I've never made (or had for that matter) this soup, so it was a true experiment!
Butternut Apple Soup
Recipe courtesy of: The Junior League Centennial Cookbook (a gift from a bridal shower... so many delicious recipes!)
Verdict: I had no idea what to expect with this one, & I have to admit I was a little turned off by the baby food consistency of the final product. Night #1 Matt & I felt so-so about it, but the recipe said to prepare a couple days in advance & it did improve over time! Also, night #1 I garnished with heavy cream (recommended in the recipe) which didn't really do it for me. Night #2, I topped it with shredded sharp white cheddar & the salty really help balance out the sweet. Bottom line: This would be a great soup to serve at brunch or lunch with a tossed salad & loaf of bread (that's how we enjoyed it for dinner)....
Note: I doubled the recipe because I had tons of squash. When I chopped up my squash I had about 8 cups. I froze half of the diced squash & used the rest in the soup. The recipe below is not the doubled version.

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 c diced butternut squash
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & chopped (any variety would probably do - I didn't really taste the apple & I had 2 in my batch)
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 t curry powder (start with less....especially if you don't cook with curry normally...)
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • Grated rind & juice of 1 orange (The orange was very prominent. I might not squeeze 'em to death or use the zest of the entire orange next time around).
  • Salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar to taste
  • Chopped parsley and heavy cream for garnish (I would recommend grated sharp white cheddar)
Directions:  In a large saucepan, saute the onions in butter about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the squash & apple. Saute until the butter is absorbed, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour, curry powder & nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, milk, & the orange rind & juice. Simmer slowly uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor (note: you'll need to let the soup cool down a bit before putting in your blender). Add salt, pepper, & sugar. Serve hot, topped with a dollap o cream a sprinkling of parsley or (the Suz variety) grated sharp white cheddar.

Note: This soup improves with keeping. Prepare a day or two in advance if time allows. Keep refrigerated.

I went for a search through my cookbooks for a yummy bread to enjoy with our butternut-apple soup. Found a winner below...

Fresh Apple-Nut Bread
Recipe courtesy of: Kay Y. I was her flower girl back in the day, & when she came to my bridal shower 3+ years ago, she photocopied an entire cookbook of favorite recipes. How sweet is she?!?
Verdict: Way yummy. Matt thought it tasted like banana bread. I'm wondering what he did with his taste buds. Yes, the bread was dense & sweet like banana bread, plus it had walnuts, but after that, the main flavor was completely different. Oh well! Delicious either way! We enjoyed it with our butternut squash soup!
  1. Cream: 1/4 c. butter & 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  2. Add: 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Combine: 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 t. lemon zest, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1/4 t. ground nutmeg & 1 large apple, pared, cored & grated (about one cup)
  4. Add: to creamed mixture, alternatively with  1/2 c. buttermilk, beginning & ending with flour mixture.
  5. Stir in: 3/4 c. chopped walnuts
  6. Pour batter into a greased & floured loafpan. Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove & cool on a wire rack. Makes one loaf. 
Lastly, a favorite quick & easy dinner....

Quick Beef Bourguignonne
Recipe courtesy of: Real Simple. I tore this "Fake It, Don't Make It!" recipe out of my all-time favorite mag a couple years ago & it is always a hit at our house. Plus it's super quick!
Verdict: What's not to love! The only tricky part can be tracking down mini pearl onions & golden mushroom soup (I've found that they're hard to find at big superstores - aka Super Target - & require a trip to a traditional grocery store).
Recipe: Click here to go straight to Real Simple. Print & enjoy!

What are your favorite fall recipes????

Fall in the McA home. Warm & cozy.


  1. You have GOT to be kidding me! Your disaster kitchen looks better than our kitchen on a normal day. Be honest, did you straighten up before taking that photo? ;)

  2. If you mean by "straightening up" moving most of the dirty dishes next to the sink...then yes. It took me 2 hours to clean up after getting home from Ashley's party. I promise you. It was a mess. :)

  3. Aww, your place looks so cute! And agree about the kitchen....that is definitely not my kind of disaster, haha. Also, love the recipes! I understand all the ingredients which is number one on my checklist for attempting to cook something so that is a great start...I may have to surprise my roommies with one of these recipes :)

  4. That beef bourguignonne recipe looks great! Mike is not much of a mushroom eater, but I think I will have to make it anyway.

  5. It's super easy & delicious! He could pick out the mushrooms :)

  6. Susan! I was drawn to your pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. First batch just came out of the oven and they are so very good. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ellen! Glad you liked them.... they are a favorite at our house :) Happy fall!


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