The Little Things

Lot’s of sunshine, seasonable temperatures, and the little things made today a perfect fall day in the Finger Lakes.  It was one of those days when I felt like a lot got done.   I baked homemade cinnamon pumpkin (yeast) bread, made an apple pie, AND whipped up a dish of coleslaw for dinner to boot.

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like spending that much time in my kitchen!

Once I closed the kitchen down for the afternoon I headed out for some fresh air.  These little plants, or should I say weeds, were begging to have their pictures taken.  And so I obliged and I even gave them each a caption.

Sunny Fall Flowers
Sunny and Bright; Yellow and White
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More Pink Than Purple
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Pretty and Periwinkle

What kind of weekend did you have?  Busy, slow, productive, or not so much?

 

 

 

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Healthy & Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

Every year, for many years, I have broke a promise to myself and it all has to do with soup.  Yes, I said it all has to do with soup.

You see, each year I have told myself that this is the year I’m going to make Homemade Butternut Squash Soup.  But then I never do make the soup and there has never been a good reason for it either.  Just lame excuses.

This year, I finally kept my word to myself and made the most delicious and healthy soup imaginable.  I now realize that all that procrastination was crazy.  The most time consuming part of making this soup is the peeling and cubing of the squash – which I enlisted my hubby to help me with.  If you want to speed this soup making process up a bit then I suggest purchasing the squash already peeled and cubed from the vegetable section of your favorite supermarket.

This soup recipe fits my tastes and expectations perfectly.  There was no disappointments and I’m adding it to my tried-and-true recipes in hopes that I’ll make it for many more years to come.  If you try this recipe please let me know what you think of it.

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. butter (or margarine)

1 small onion, diced

1/2 c. diced carrot

4 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash

4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable)

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. skim milk

1/4 c. half & half

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and oil on low heat.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Once onions are cooked, add carrots, squash, and broth.  Cover; bring to a boil until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and puree the mixture.  Return to low heat and stir in milk, half & half, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt & pepper to taste.  Do not bring to a boil.   

This soup makes a great appetizer or entrée.  I served it as an entrée with a salad and homemade Almost Texas Roadhouse Rolls that I’ll be sharing with you in a future post.  

Although the ingredients are different, this soup reminds me of Panera’s Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup – yum!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

Brightening a Cloudy Day

Yesterday was a fairly dreary day here in the Finger Lakes. Clouds and rain filled the sky.  However, plans had been made.  My daughter and her husband were going apple picking (rain or shine) and they promised to bring us a taste of their harvest.  In return, I offered to make Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese for dinner.  A fair trade in both our opinions.  We always like to fill our family’s bellies when we have them for dinner, and considering that most of our family doesn’t like to cook, it’s a fairly easy task for us to accomplish. 

When my daughter walked in the door her hands were full with a bright and colorful bouquet of flowers.  Apples were not the only thing she had been picking.  What a perfect way to brighten an otherwise cloudy day. 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these flowers to share here on my blog.  As for the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, the recipe will be forthcoming one of these days.  And the apples?  I’m going to make a batch of homemade applesauce.

Hope these help color your day bright!

Soft Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

How many times do you pin a recipe in hopes that some day you will get around to making it?  Yes, yes, I do it all the time too.  But this time, I decided to pick a recipe that I pinned and actually make it.  I also decided to follow the recipe to the letter.  Well, almost to the letter.  But I’ll get to that in a minute. 

This recipe came from the blog Lauren’s Latest.   I’m going to send you directly to her blog to pick up her recipe because I know you are going want it.  I do have to agree with Lauren, these cookies really need the icing on top to WOW you.  Alone they are just kind of ho hum, but with it they are amazing. 

Okay, now back to the minor recipe changes. When I made these cookies I added 2 teaspoons of apple cider to the batter and I eliminated the 1/2 c. of confectioners sugar.  If you compare Lauren’s photo’s to mine you will notice a slight difference in the texture but I’d say they are moist and delicious either way you make them.

What is your favorite recipe that calls for pumpkin?

Fall Photos

The fall in upstate New York is magnificent.  The skies can be moody, leaves turn beautiful colors, and when the sun shines, it warms your soul. 

Here is a look at the fall through my camera lens. 

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truck, rainbow, villeroy 009

Autumn Days 037autumn and christmas cards 005

bee 019a

Do you have a favorite season? 

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes

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Every time that I looked in my cupboard this week I’d see a can of pumpkin staring me down.  I’d set it aside, and somehow it would make it’s way front and center again. 

I took this as a sign.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to use the pumpkin.  I just couldn’t decide what to make with it.  Pumpkin bars, cake, cookies, cheesecake, pie; they all seemed like good choices to me. 

And then it hit me.  Doughnut holes – baked, not fried!  I  found a great recipe at two peas & their pod.  And best of all, their pictures convinced me that these were the doughnut holes I’ve been waiting for all my life.  Ah… Inspiration!

Have you ever had a treat that was just to tempting to keep sitting around?  Well, I’ve lost count on how many of these I’ve eaten since I made them, and they definitely  fall into that “just too tempting” category.  I think once you try these you will agree that there  isn’t any reason to ever fry a doughnut again.  

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I tweaked two peas recipe just a little and here is my adapted version.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes

1 large egg

1/3 c. olive oil

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. canned pumpkin

1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Cinnamon & sugar mixture

In large bowl, add egg, oil, sugars, and pumpkin; mix thoroughly.  Mix in pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.  Add flour and milk; mix until all ingredients are completely blended.

I used my babycakes maker to make my doughnuts.  If you don’t have a babycakes maker then check out two peas and their pod for an alternate way of baking them.

When the doughnut holes are still hot, roll them in the prepared cinnamon & sugar mixture and let them cool before devouring…

more donut holes 008

These might be best stored in a brown paper bag so the cinnamon and sugar-coating doesn’t disappear.  I put mine in an airtight container overnight which made them super moist, but they had to be re-coated in the morning.

I’m so glad it’s pumpkin season!  How about you?

What is your favorite doughnut hole flavor?  Looking for another great baked doughnut hole recipe?  Click here!