Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That cool, crisp air...

It is definitely Fall here in Maryland--my FAVORITE time of the year... Honestly, I often wish it was Fall all year round. But then it wouldn't be special anymore--I know, I know.... But still!!! I will soak it in while it lasts, which is never long enough for me :o)

I LOVE pulling out the "warm" recipes when things start to cool off around here. Soups and breads especially... And anything goes if it has pumpkin or apples in it--I don't care if it's sloppy joes! Seriously, we went to a Pumpkin Festival when we lived in Ohio and had Pumpkin Sloppy Joes. They were interesting, I'll just say that...

Anyway, these are some of the recipes I've been making in the last couple weeks (or will make soon). Hope you enjoy them--and please leave a comment if you do, so that others know what they're like!

French Onion Soup

This one is on our family list of all-time favorites... It's Tyler Florence's recipe, so I take no credit whatsoever. Here's the link to get it directly from him :o) But just look at that picture--don't you want to make it right now? I do!!!

Chicken Chili

(from FoodNetwork's Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten--click HERE for the recipe)

My friend Janelle made this for us once when I had surgery, and Jeremy has requested it from her a few more times since then. Serves her right for being nice to us! Love you, Janelle...

I finally made it myself a couple weeks ago on a Sunday, and I tweaked some of the ingredients just for fun. I had extra veggies, so instead of ALL the peppers, I did half peppers and half zucchini. Bennett and Ethan gave me a fight at first, but once they tried it I didn't hear another word :o) And I liked adding cilantro instead of basil... And I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, and shredded the chicken after it was cooked. Make it your own, right???

PS: The picture doesn't nearly do this recipe justice. FoodNetwork needs to work on their photo skills...

Ruth's Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies

My MIL Ruth is a fantastic baker! She introduced me to these cookies soon after Jer and I got married, and I don't think I've missed a season of making them since. Actually, we usually make a few batches of these each Fall :o) Except I don't put nuts on top--my camera doesn't do food justice, so this picture's off the web...

Ruth's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 C pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C flour (or more)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 C chocolate chips (or more :o)
Cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 375. Blend sugar and butter. Add eggs and beat till batter is smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and dry ingredients all at once; then mix till well blended. Stir in chocolate chips till well distributed. Bake for 10-12 minutes; let cool and frost. Best when warm :o)

Chantilly Farm Market's Hot Mulled Cider

I would take cider over hot chocolate any day of the week--unless it's mint, and then I'd have to really think about it... This recipe is from my days growing up in Virginia. I've kept it all these years for a good reason!

Chantilly Farm Market's Hot Mulled Cider
1 gallon sweet apple cider
1 stick cinnamon
1 pinch whole cloves (sorry, Dave!)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 lemon or orange squeezed into it--and you can float citrus slices on top for decor

Heat everything at least 15 minutes. If I'm doing this for a party, I'll often just stick it in my crockpot on low; not only does it keep it warm, but it makes the house smell great, too!