22 October, 2008

Feeling Fallish

Well you'll never guess what it just finished doing here? Yup, snowing. Snow. Dastardly snow! Already! I have a serious love-affair going on with Fall and I just can never seem to get enough of it. It's generally nice during the day and cool at night. I don't have to wear shorts (ugh!) but I also don't have to wear a winter jacket (argh!). These past couple of weeks we've had some gorgeous fall weather - brilliant sunny days with nary a cloud anywhere! It's made for some perfect walking weather. Alas, today, with the snow - that put quite a damper on our morning walk; but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, and in fact, the sun is trying to shine just now too....

The Little Goat is getting a cold. Her nose is running like crazy today and I'm sure I heard her snoring this morning. Today we're trying to learn about blowing our nose, but so far it's not working very well.

It is times like these - in sickness and in cold - that my heart turns ever more to fall foods - all things pumpkin and root vegetable and slathered in sauce (be still, my thighs). Mrs. E., my best friend's mom, is, next to my Grama and my Mom, THE BEST cook I know. This woman is gifted in the kitchen! I HATED cauliflower until I had it in Mrs. E's veggie casserole. Now I live nowhere near her, but I DO have the veggie casserole recipe and you should know that I am about to share it with you and this is a very serious matter. Guard this recipe with your life because it will be the star of many a potluck to come. I promise.

Oh, before I give you the veggie casserole recipe, I'm going to give you a few links to other recipes we've been trying lately. Last Saturday, I modified this recipe for Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake so that it only used one package of cream cheese and I could make only four servings in four little ramekins (we had company Sunday night). It turned out really well and if you don't have cardamom, don't bother making it because it won't taste at all like Chai. If you're interested in my ever-so-slightly modified recipe, let me know in the comments and maybe I'll post it later or at least email it to you.

We also tried this Easy Pork Curry last week and it was equally fall-ish and super tasty. We'd highly recommend it.

Monday afternoon I made the Watkins featured recipe: Pumpkin Butter Cupcakes, only I just used regular canned pumpkin. They're relatively dense for a cupcake but get this: I was actually OUT of regular white sugar. Mr. J. was shocked! So I had to substitute in some brown sugar, add a little extra flour, oh, and make my own baking powder because I didn't have enough of that either. I used this browned butter (they call it "caramel") icing and it is heavenly. A perfect fall combination.

Finally, we whipped up this Moroccan Braised Chicken on Monday night and aside from the fact that you should double the veggies if you make it, it was excellent. We ate it over couscous as that seems to be our grain of choice these days.

Moving on, here's the Veggie Casserole recipe:

1/4 cup butter
one small onion, finely diced
1/4 flour
S&P to taste
1 1/2 cups milk (we almost always use fat-free or "skim")
1/3 cup shredded cheese (we used 2% sharp cheddar)
4 cups cooked veggies (such as: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
3/4 crushed buttery crackers (something like Ritz)
2 1/2 T. butter, melted

Cook veggies in a large casserole dish in the microwave, drain off some of the liquid and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt butter, add onions and cook until softened. Stir in flour, then add milk. Stir until thickened, then add s&p and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over veggies in the casserole and stir until all the veggies are sauced. Mix the melted butter and cracker crumbs together, then spread evenly over the cheesy veg. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbly.

Oh goodness it tastes so good! Make it this week and then come back and thank me, and then I'll pass along your thanks to Mrs. E, okay? O-K!


Jodie said...

This sounds delicious and scary for my thighs! I'll let you know as soon as I make it - although it won't be this week. Maybe I'll put it on our menu the next time I have to go grocery shopping. Sounds really good, and I'll be checking out those links too.
Man, I wish you were my neighbor so I could eat supper at your house every night. :) Of course I mean that entirely in theory... I have never once eaten supper with my real neighbors who we've known for almost 6 years.
Anyway, thanks for sharing. I know sometimes it's hard to share something so magnificent and delicious.

No Mother Earth said...

Thanks! I'm going to try this with my veggie-averse Boy and see if he'll eat it. He does like cheese.

Anonymous said...

You need to understand: I am extremely jealous! I'm still waiting for Fall to arrive!! (94 degrees right now...er, that's 35 to you!) :)

*sigh wistfully* snow.......
Ever seen White Christmas?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I GOTTA try those pumpkin cupcakes...and actually, the rest sound fabulous, too! We had snow here in MN this past weekend, too. Sigh...so early. Wish I could send some to Hibby!