Monday, October 31, 2011

Golden Cashew Gravy

Here's another autumnal recipe that I love! This gravy is easy to make and has such a rich depth of flavor. It is perfect to go with comfort foods of autumn. . .mashed potatoes, lentil patties, loaves, and toast. Enjoy!

Golden Cashew Gravy

1/4 c. cashews (well rinsed, raw cashews are dirty)
3 T. cornstarch
1 t. onion granules
1/4 t. garlic granules
1/2 t. salt
3 c. water
1 T. nutritional yeast, optional
1 or 2 T. chicken-style seasoning or to taste*

Whiz in blender. Start with all the ingredients except for part of the water so that the nuts can get creamy. Then add the rest of the water and continue to blend. Place in saucepan. Cook over low hit stirring constantly with a wire whisk until gravy thickens.

Use over patties, potatoes, anywhere that you like gravy!! Super delicious!

*I prefer Bill's Best Chicknish' as a chicken-style seasoning, but McKay's Chicken-style seasoning is delicious as well. Both are available at your local whole foods market or health food store.

Vineyard Treat

The vineyard down the road has a fragrance that cannot be ignored. When walking past it on a "walk around the block" its sweet fragrance fills the air and a sweet grape or two just has to be sampled. Sweet grapes on vine and autumn go hand in hand. They are delicious out of hand or made into a recipe that you enjoy. Dried grapes last year around and go by the name "raisins". The sweetness lasts and lasts when grapes are preserved in this simple way. Have you ever had raisin pie? Here's a recipe that's full of wonderful nutrition and natural sweeteners. The essence of 'all things grape' shines through in this delicious dish! Enjoy!

Autumnal Raisin Pie

1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups grape juice
sprinkle of salt

2/3 cup grape juice
2/3 cup raisins
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

In a saucepan, cook the raisins, grape juice and salt until the raisins are plump. In a blender, blend the additional raisins, grape and lemon juices. Add mixtures together, add cornstarch and continue stirring until thickened. Cool and add to cooled baked pie crusts. Keep in refrigerator until served.

Note: Instead of grape juice, you can use apple juice.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pleasant an Effect

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October."

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Eves

"Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings; now for October eves!"  

Humbert Wolfe

Friday, October 28, 2011

Preserving Lavender

Although the first frost has arrived, there are still remnants of protected lavender blossoms in the garden. Although the shrubs are not as prolific as they are in the spring and summer, the second round of blossoms can be appealing and are as fragrant as the first. If you'd like a gentle reminder of this lovely flower during the winter months, you might wish to preserve some of the buds by crystalizing them. They are great to use for decorating a cake, as a swizzle for tea, or for garnish on a fruit salad. Here's how:

Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. After five minutes, remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Hold a lavender stem securily in your hand and dip the bud into the syrupy mixture. Then place on parchament or wax paper to dry. Repeat process with additional lavender stems and bud.

Store in a cool, dry place. Be sure it is out of direct sonlight.

Then. . .enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

T . E . A

"If you are cold, tea will warm you; 
If you are heated, it will cool you; 
If you are depressed, it will cheer you; 
If you are excited, it will calm you."

William Gladstone
British Prime Minister 1868 - 1894

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Bouquets

It is that time of year again.  Autumn!  And time to make pumpkin bouquets.  Do you remember how from last year's post on this subject?  Here is a review:

Start by raiding your flower garden of any flowers you could find.  It's getting late in the season, but you should be able to find asters, mums, baby roses, and lavender.  You can also add amaranth seed stems and rose hips.  You can use small sugar pumpkins or the tiny decorative pumpkins that are available in the supermarket this time of year. Gourds also work well if you don't mind the asymmetrical shape.

Clippers, a drill, and some florist picks are helpful tools for this project. Start by drilling small holes into the top of the pumpkin. Stems or floral picks with stems wired on go into the holes which provide the base for this arrangement. Drill as you go, as you'll find that design happens as your project progresses. A ribbon or raffia bow adds an accent when all the flowers are in place.

Another method of making a pumpkin bouquet is to cut off the top of the pumpkin and hollow out all the seeds.  Then, place a small piece of Oasis (a floral foam that soaks up water) to fit inside the pumpkin. After it soaks awhile, start arranging. Stems from a boxwood shrub create a nice triangular-shaped framework for the arrangement. You can choose any shape you like best; circular, oval, rectangular, or square. Fill in with two or three main types of flowers (mums, roses, etc.) and then fill in with small flowers or accents like asters, rose hips, or sprigs of wheat.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Live in the Season

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air; drink the drink; taste the fruit."

Henry David Thoreau

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pumpkin

"Through orange-leaves shining
the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his
home in the North.
On the fields of his harvest the
Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling
and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun. . .melts
down on the vines."

John Greenleaf Whittier
"The Pumpkin"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Delicious Autumn

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

George Eliot

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Leaves Fall

"The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools."

Henry Beston

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breaking Bread

"When we break bread together, we share good times, indulgence, friendship --- the important things in life."

Lucy Nicholson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn's Face

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, as I have seen in one autumnal face."

John Donne

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Blue Firmament

"To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven - to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament."

~ John Keats ~

*The view from Rocky Point*

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of year again! Pumpkins are ready for harvest and on such crisp autumn days, there is nothing like the fragrance and flavor of a delicious seasonal cookie!  

It's recommended that we have a good source of Vitamin A every other day. It's best utilized by our bodies if the resource is cooked and served with some type of fat. Do you cook carrots or orange squash every other day? I don't, but resolve to do better. I'm quite sure my university sons aren't eating dark orange veggies every other day either. So, this evening I baked cookies to send to them. Vegan and filled with Vitamin A, I think they'll enjoy them. Here's the recipe if you'd like a sweet and tasty way to get your vitamins!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

A delicious, moist cookie that freezes very well.

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can solid pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
12 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the sugar, shortening, pumpkin and vanilla together. Mix until well blended. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir gently until combined. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix together. Drop by teaspoonsful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12 - 15 minutes.

These cookies are delicious; cake-like and the type that melt in your mouth. I think their flavor would be enhanced by a pinch of salt in the recipe. Although this is not a gluten-free recipe, I think it would be very easily converted by the use of a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. The walnuts in this recipe add Omega-3's to the diet, and of course we all know that the chocolate is very good for us and high in anti-oxidants

Note:  Carob chips work well in this recipe as a substitute for chocolate chips.

Turning Leaves

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

Elizabeth Lawrence

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nature's Gifts

"If we can teach our children to honor nature's gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.

Jimmy Carter

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fay's Embroidery Pattern Give-Away

My friend, Fay, from Sketched... Stitched... Painted... Hand-made... Lived... has designed a new series of embroidery designs for spring and is featuring a give-away on her blog. She's giving away a delightful spring pattern ~ that can be stitched during the long, cold winter evenings ahead. Here's what she says about her give-away:

Its time to give away one of my new Spring patterns.
Just leave a comment after this post. Include your email address,
which will not be posted. (all posts are moderated)
I'd love to know what you look forward
to most about Spring.
My personal favorite is seeing the Balsamroot
that cover the hillsides with gold.
Or maybe it is the return of the swallows....
The winner of this pattern will get
to dream of Spring as they stitch their way through winter!
This giveaway will end on
Sunday, October 9, 2011, at 5pm PST.
The winner will be announced the following Monday morning.
See you there!

To enter, please leave your comment here.
While you are there, take a look at Fay's other designs on the right side-bar. She has beautiful designs! I am currently stitching her "love is not rude" tea party design. And isn't that "Thrive" pillow divine?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Time to Relax

The time to relax is when you don't have the time for it.