Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall foliage from The Wilds of New England

I'll be posting soon all about our wonderful weekend at the couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England in mid-October.  The foliage was glorious, nearly at peak, in the area, and the skies were mostly sunny though the temperatures were cool.  My post about the retreat itself will focus on what we did and learned, but this brief post today will have a focus on foliage.  I love the way the Master Artist puts colors together, don't you?  Enjoy!
Tree overlooking one of the staff homes
Notice the spray of red, almost magenta leaves in front of that small evergreen tree to the left of the sign!
I took this for the drift of leaves on the roof of the game room entry way
These pretty trees are behind the ball field-- a mini "Fenway Park" complete with mini "Green Monster"
This lovely large tree overlooks the Sweet Shoppe
I took this from the coffee shop window
Just more of the lovely grounds
This view was taken from the gazebo
Hope you've enjoyed this peek at a beautiful area of New Hampshire!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Broccoli or Spinach Quiche

Photo from Pixabay
I told my friend Vee I would post this quiche recipe, which I apparently never have previously done!  One would think I would've posted a recipe I rely on so often, but I must not have done so.  Since this is a great recipe for autumn -- it has a nice harvest-y flavor to it, especially when served with roasted vegetables or baked squash --  I don't feel I'm "cheating' by including it in my fall-themed posts for Write31Days. 

This can be made with either broccoli or spinach, and can be made with or without a crust.   We enjoy it in all of its variations, but I tend to make the quiche crustless most of the time.

  1 9-inch unbaked pie shell, optional
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
4 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk or half and half cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
Dash pepper

Place cheddar in pie shell (or in greased pie plate if you are making a crustless quiche); top with broccoli.  Beat together the remaining ingredients; pour over broccoli.  If you are making a quiche with a crust, bake at 425º for 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 375º and bake for another 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

For Spinach Quiche, substitute frozen chopped spinach for broccoli.  Substitute oregano for dill weed.  Sprinkle top of quiche with a little nutmeg before baking.

For a crustless quiche, bake at 375º for 35 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.

I usually bake two quiches at one time, using a 1-lb. bag of frozen chopped broccoli or spinach and doubling all of the other ingredients.

The quiche keeps well and may be reheated by the slice -- I'd guess around 30 seconds per slice in the microwave, covered with waxed paper.

As mentioned above, roasted vegetables or baked winter squash or sweet potatoes make a great accompaniment.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pinterest [pumpkin] recipes tried and tweaked!

Photo from Inside BruCrew Life
It's always fun to try new recipes, and I always find loads of new recipes on Pinterest that I want to try.  When I try them out,  I like to post about the results (when I remember!).  My Perfectly Pumpkin Pinterest board (now there's a mouthful!) is filled with recipes I just couldn't resist pinning.  So I want to share about a few that I have tried.

These Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookie Bars (photo at top) are from a recipe that I tried last year.  I actually have a pan of them in the oven right now.  I'm sure the chocolate glaze on top adds the perfect finishing touch, but I decided to save calories by leaving it off, and the bars were delicious without it.  You may not think chocolate and pumpkin would go together that well, but they really do.

I made these Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Cookies to take on our lakeside getaway up north in late September.
Photo from Baker by Nature
They were very good.  It's unusual to find a pumpkin cookie that is nice and chewy and not soft and pillowy, but these are.  I didn't have cinnamon chips on hand, but I did have some pumpkin spice morsels left from last year (bought on clearance) so I used those. 

I also made a pumpkin streusel coffeecake to take along, but I can't find the pinned recipe that I used for that.  It was very good, though not as good as my usual Pumpkin Coffeecake recipe that I've used for years. However, it was just right for this trip because it was a lot quicker and easier than my usual, and I was doing this baking just a day or two before we headed north.

This week I tried a couple of other pinned recipes.  I want to end on an upbeat note, so I'll talk first about these Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars which were somewhat of a fail.
Photo by A Kitchen Addiction
I was quite disappointed in these, though I still don't know if it was me or the recipe or a combination of both.  The bar part turned out far too dry, and I think too thick as well.  It really seemed to me that these should have been baked in a 13x9-inch pan, but the recipe clearly specified an 8 or 9-inch square pan.

The frosting part, though, was really great.  I did have to add the additional confectioner's sugar, and maybe even a bit more, to get it to the consistency I wanted, but it was truly pumpkin-y and delicious, and I will keep this frosting in mind for other recipes.  It would be great on cupcakes.

Lastly, my favorite of the three recipes that I tried for the first time this year was these Pumpkin Magic Bars.
Photo by Crazy for Crust
They turned out truly delicious and I will definitely be baking these again.  Dorothy's idea of adding pumpkin and spice to the sweetened condensed milk is genius and something I would never have thought of.   (Which doesn't say much for my creativity,  I guess.)

 I did tweak this recipe quite a bit because I wanted to double the recipe and make it in a 13x9-inch pan.  I used some of the proportions in this recipe, doubled, and took some of my quantities from the 13x9 recipe on the graham cracker crumb package.  I used these thin gingersnaps
(Photo from
 for the crust because I don't have a food processor and knew I was going to be making these crumbs with a rolling pin.  I wasn't sure how far the gingersnaps would go (I needed 1 1/2 cup crumbs), so I used 1 cup of gingersnap crumbs and 1/2 cup of graham cracker  crumbs.  In retrospect, I think that the package of gingersnaps would have produced just enough crumbs.

And I used a whole can of sweetened condensed milk.  While it's possible to use only part of the can, it's messy, and one has to figure out how to use the leftovers.  Also, I didn't double the pecans or the toffee bits.  Oh, and left out the sugar in the crust.  You know, I think probably, even though I've linked to Dorothy's recipe as is, I'd better write out just what I did for the 13x9-inch pan.

Revised Pumpkin Magic Bars for a 13x9 pan
1 package Swedish ginger thins, crushed into crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup toffee bits
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350º.  Spray 13x9-inch pan well with cooking spray -- I use a coconut oil one.  Combine the ginger thin crumbs with the melted butter or margarine and press this mixture into the prepared pan in an even layer.

Sprinkle the chips, pecans, coconut and toffee bits evenly over this layer.

Whisk together the condensed milk with the pumpkin puree and pie spice.  Pour this mixture evenly over the top of the other ingredients.

Bake at 350º for 29-31 minutes, or until edges have begun to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into small squares.

These are delicious and I also found that they freeze very well, packed in a tin between layers of wax paper.

Hope you will enjoy these recipes if you try one or more of them.  It's always fun to try some new pumpkin recipes every fall!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Even the humblest weed is beautiful ...

It is so amazing to me to think that even the humblest, most trashy weed can become beautiful in fall.  The goldenrod above, growing beside an old woodshed at my dad's place, is a case in point.  Here are a couple more photos of it:

I liked both of these because they show the colorful wooded area in the distance beyond the field.  I took these with my tablet and was quite surprised by how well they turned out.

And then there are the sumacs.  Recently I drove an hour north and was enjoying the still-vibrant foliage along the way.  There were trees of every color and type.  But some of the prettiest colors I saw were the humble sumacs.  You can read about them here: all about sumac.  I saw sumacs in green, orange, yellow, red-orange, and glorious brilliant red.  We think of sumac as a tree that's not good for much.  But oh, in the fall in New England, sumac comes into its own.  The photos below were taken last year, but the sumacs are even nicer this year.  And when you see, as I did this week, many sumacs all massed together, the effect is incomparable.

That God can glorify Himself through these simple weeds reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:27, which notes that God has "chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and ... the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."  In the very same way God can also take humble people, those who may be simple and without value in the world's eyes, and transform their lives to use them to bring honor and glory to Himself.   What an incredible thought!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The rest of the fall decorating

It's past time that I share some of my other fall decorating.  This is an older photo of my fall ribbon board, but really, it doesn't change much from year to year.  If you are interested in making one of these (which can be used for any season, really), I wrote a tutorial about it last year: How to make a simple autumn ribbon board.

Now here are a few more decorative elements -- some that I have incorporated into my decor this fall, and some from previous years.  I'll just use photos and captions.
Lights and autumn leaves in a vintage glass churn on the kitchen counter
Faux gourds in an amber glass dish atop an autumn cake plate
On the front porch -- leaves in a flower pocket
Faux gourds under a small glass cake dome
A fall slate I've had for years -- on the front porch
Front door wreath
Faux squashes under the cake dome
Harvest blessings holder -- tin, in the front hallway
Doorknob hanger -- I will bring this out at Thanksgiving
Last year's hutch.  Glad I take pictures -- I'd forgotten all about that Gooseberry Patch plate!
Fall flower lights made from water bottles
Here is the link to a post about how I made these, if anyone is interested: Fall Flower Lights.
Same lights, after dark
Little fall ornaments I sometimes dangle from cupboard knobs
Link to the above project is here: these Little Fall Ornaments I made many years ago.  Follow the link to find basic directions.
Leaf garland made by grandson Sam from wallpaper samples and card stock
A blurry vignette from last year
I made these fall curtains a few years back and still love them
More decor by Sam -- he stuck these real leaves into the window on the outside (kneeling on the porch roof to place the leaves in this dormer window)!
Leaf spoon rest
A favorite chalkboard printable.  Love this; it's in my front hallway this very moment!
A favorite Thomas Kinkade mug
I made these autumn hot mats years ago; love using them every fall
One year's island decor
Oh, the fall colors -- how I love them!  Hope you've enjoyed this look at a few more of my fall decorations and ideas!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Layered Pumpkin Dessert

Photo from Taste of Home
I've shared this recipe before (in 2013 and maybe other times as well), but it's a fall tradition with us and so I thought it was time to post it again.


1 cup flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together ingredients and pat into a 13x9-inch pan or dish. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

2nd Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
half of a 12-oz. tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

Beat cream cheese and sugar well. Fold in whipped topping and spread on cooled crust.

3rd Layer:
16-oz. can of pumpkin
2 small (3.5 oz. I think) pkgs. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup half & half cream (or use evaporated milk or even regular milk)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves

Beat these ingredients together and spread the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Chill for 1 hour.

4th Layer:
remaining 6 ounces of whipped topping (from the 12-oz. tub mentioned above)
Chopped walnuts

Spread the remaining whipped topping over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This wonderful dessert has been a favorite at our Thanksgiving dinners for years! In 1995, my youngest daughter's best friend, Emily, spent the Thanksgiving break with us, and the two of them made this dessert together.  I believe it was originally from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook.  It was a new recipe to us then, but it quickly became a tradition. God took Emily home to heaven in the summer of 1996, so this tradition is doubly sweet to us as we remember her and the wonderful Thanksgiving we spent together.

During the fall in recent years, I've seen pumpkin instant pudding in the stores.  You could certainly use 2 boxes of that that rather than taking time to make up the pumpkin mixture, but the real pumpkin will be much, much nicer.  Enjoy, and happy fall!

(Sharing today with Bernideen’s Autumn Garden Tea.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

My fallish Pinterest boards

If you haven't visited my fall-ish Pinterest boards, you might like to head there for a fresh dose of fall inspiration.  The first one, which also happens to be one of the first boards I created on Pinterest, is simply called I Love Fall!.

You will find all things fall on this board, everything from gorgeous foliage photos to fall decorating ideas to printables and everything in between.

Another of my favorite boards is All About Apples.

Mostly recipes, with perhaps a photo or two of apples, this is the perfect place to turn for ideas to use up all those apples you just picked.

And then there is my Perfectly Pumpkin board, which is seeing a lot of traffic right now.

This one is mostly recipes, but there are some decorating and craft ideas on here as well. 

Lastly, I want to mention my my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

If you could use some new recipes, printables, or other Thanksgiving ideas, you will want to visit this board for inspiration.  I plan to revisit it myself soon!

Hope you'll enjoy your visit to my boards.  Happy browsing!