Saturday, October 31, 2015

Favorite coffee or tea for fall

Today as I write my final post with a fall/October theme (for 2015, anyway) I am using a prompt from Whitney at Come Home for Comfort.  Whitney did a series of vlogs for Vlogtober and she offered a list of prompts for others who wanted to join her in vlogging.  That would not be me.  I am highly cameraphobic.  But her prompts were interesting and I decided that if I needed some ideas through my month of daily blogging, I would use some of them.

One of the prompts concerned favorite fall coffee or tea.   My friend Arlene at Nanaland is using some prompts in her October blogging and chose this one to write a post called Coffee, Anyone?, which I found so interesting, I decided to use that prompt myself.  And here we are!

We just got back from The Wilds of New England and a couples' retreat there -- and it's pretty hard to beat the good coffee served in their coffee shop,  Cool Beans. I had tried a maple coffee there back in September at the ladies' retreat, and just had to introduce my hubby to it. He loved it and we had maple coffees twice over the weekend, as well as one regular coffee. 

In general, for out and about, we like coffee from Cracker Barrel, McDonalds and Dunkin' Donuts -- pretty much in that order --but we seldom get to Cracker Barrel. Sometimes we have bought their packaged coffee to bring home.  Dunkin' Donuts has become a favorite accompaniment to an overnight getaway:

On a daily basis we drink whichever coffee we've found good deals on -- Folger's, Maxwell House, New England Coffee. Sometimes our local supermarkets will have deals on Green Mountain Coffee or Dunkin Donuts packaged coffee. We don't own a Keurig but may eventually get one.

As for flavors, hazelnut is probably our favorite, but we also enjoy pumpkin spice, blueberry cobbler and all sorts of seasonal flavors.

We used to buy the delicious flavored creamers that are available, but decided to stop using them as we are trying to eat more healthfully.  We now tend to buy more flavored coffees and just add a healthier creamer to them.  Mr. T usually puts vanilla almond milk in his coffee, and I usually use fat-free half and half.

For tea, I have found that my favorite fall tea is the Pumpkin Spice black tea from Bigelow. 

And there you have it!   What is your favorite coffee or tea for fall -- or anytime?

Friday, October 30, 2015

"When the Birds Go North Again" -- another lovely poem

Photo from Pixabay
I am not sure if this should be categorized as a fall, spring, or even a winter poem.  But I think of it in fall when the birds are leaving for warmer climates.  Sometimes it can make us a bit sad to see the birds leaving and to realize there is a long winter to get through.  But they always come back!  And we know the winter will eventually end.

My mother loved this poem so much that my sister had it done in calligraphy and framed for my mother to display in the living room.  It would make a lovely cross-stitch, too.

When the Birds Go North Again

Oh, every year hath its winter,
    And every year hath its rain
But a day is always coming
    When the birds go North again.
When new leaves swell in the forest,
    And grass springs green on the plain,
And the alder's veins turn crimson
    And the birds go North again.
Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
    And every heart hath its pain--
But a day is always coming
    When the birds go North again.
'Tis the sweetest thing to remember
   If courage be on the wane,
When the cold dark days are over
    Why, the birds go North again.
__Ella Higginson

Nature Pictures by American Poets
Selected and Edited by Annie Russell Marble
(New York: The MacMillan Company. 1899)
Page 75
Isn't this such a lovely, meaningful poem?  I just may think about working up a cross-stitch design for this to help me get through the winter!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Favorite October posts from the archives

New Hampshire Troubadour, October 1950
I've noticed that some bloggers post links to favorite posts each month for the same month from years past.  I find that interesting, so decided to do that myself for one of my daily October posts.  I think it's probably especially appropriate since 2015 marks my ten-year blogging anniversary.  I went through my archives and here are the October posts I picked to share with you all!

From 2005, Kitchen Memories is a post about my kitchen memories from growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.  If you enjoy reading about that era, you might like to take a look at this.

From 2006,  I chose this post: A comforting Friday night supper.  It includes a yummy recipe for Zippy Cauliflower which you might enjoy.  I know I am going to make it again!

From 2007, I picked a slow cooker recipe that's perfect for fall and winter: Round Steak Italiano.  This can be made with any inexpensive steak like chuck, london broil, etc.

Photo from Taste of Home
 It comes out SO tender and flavorful.  An added bonus with this recipe is the fact that baked potatoes cook along with the meat in the slow cooker.  Just add salad or a veggie at serving time, and you're done!

From 2008, I chose a post with basic instructions for my Fall Fabric Ornaments.  These are quick, easy and fun to make.

From 2009,  I decided to show you From my antique postcard collection.  I was blessed to inherit a collection of these antique postcards, trade cards and Scripture cards.  Enjoy!

From 2010,  you might like Testing two zucchini breads. I reveal the results of testing two recipes with the thought of using these breads for Christmas gifts.  One was a double chocolate zucchini bread; the other, Paula Deen's chocolate chip zucchini bread.  The post includes links to both recipes.

From 2011, A taste of heaven tells the story of the ladies' retreat from that year.

Worth the read if you enjoy fall foliage and would like to see more of The Wilds of New England, plus a link to a good book.

From 2012, this brief account of an important lesson God taught me at a lakeside cabin: Lift up your eyes on high might encourage your heart as well.

From 2013, Hearty Butternut Squash Soup is a keeper recipe a friend shared with me.  I'm going to be bold and try making this soup with no meat at all.

And lastly, from 2014, read about a vintage find, Words of Silver from the Bible.

Hope you've enjoyed this venture into the kitchen table archives!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Foliage pictures -- around the neighborhood

Here are a few more foliage pictures, these taken around our own neighborhood.  I believe I took these around October 15.  The tree at the top of the post is right out in front of my dad's house.  I took this photo just looking up into the branches.

Here are some more:
This was taken near my dad's home.
 These next two pictures are not particularly scenic, in that they include some gone-to-seed plants (possibly goldenrod) and a leaning road sign.  I was trying to capture a particular bright red tree along the roadside toward the back of the picture, but did not quite get it.  The photos still show an interesting variety of fall foliage, and the mountain at back left is pretty.

 The photos below show the view from my dad's back door.  Foliage was not quite at peak when these were taken, but you do see some pretty orange trees and a few red ones.

 Above are some of my dad's blueberry bushes.  The foliage turns such a pretty shade of red.
 The above was taken from his back yard just beside the apple tree.
 Some of the apples on one of his trees.
 I snapped the above picture of a bush at our local bank.

 These were taken of our back woods.  Note the stone wall.  I enjoyed the look of combined green and yellow leaves on the tree in the left foreground.

More from our back yard.  In this case the tree had a combination of red, yellow and green leaves.  The photos don't do it justice!

Hope you have enjoyed this peek at our local foliage!  It has been exceptional this year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apple/Cranberry Crisp

Vintage cookbook from my collection
Last Sunday morning I needed to whip together a quick dessert to take to potluck.  Coming back from the Wilds of New England, going directly to my dad's from there, made preparing something the night before (my usual procedure) well-nigh impossible.  So the next morning it was!  This easy crisp came to mind.  It's perfect right now when the fresh cranberries and apples are both available.  What makes this crisp really fast and easy is the fact that the apples don't need to be peeled.  And the cranberries give the apples a lovely color and flavor.  I’ve adapted this recipe from the original to make it healthier and lower in fat and sugar.


3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
2 cups raw cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup canola oil

Combine the apples, cranberries and sugar in a 9” square baking dish or a 2-qt. casserole dish. Mix thoroughly to blend; set aside. Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; spread evenly over fruit layer. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until the fruit is fork-tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Yield: 6-8 servings.

This is a wonderful dessert to make in the fall when apples and cranberries are both fresh. But it tastes good anytime! I pretty much always keep cranberries in my freezer, and apples are available year round.   Hope your family and friends enjoy this dessert if you try it!

Monday, October 26, 2015

An October treehouse lunch with friends

In early October, I had the fun of going out for lunch with some friends from church.  I think there were eleven of us, four couples and three ladies.  Mr. T was working so was unable to join us.  One of the ladies had heard about this little restaurant and had taken some of the others there.  The place was closing for the season soon and so a group of friends decided to go out for lunch before it did.

The place was originally a one-room schoolhouse, then for many years was a seasonal craft shop.  Some crafts are still sold there, but a couple of summers ago the owners decided to add on a dining area/kitchen and make a seasonal restaurant out of the building. The dining area is decidedly casual and feels absolutely like one is dining in a tree house!  The tables are made out of vertical slices of trees (I didn't get any photos inside) and the chairs are tallish (but not too tall) stools featuring metal tractor seats.  They don't look comfortable, but they actually are.  The dining area is built out over a ravine and all of the inside trim is made from logs.  It looks like a restaurant the Berenstain Bears might frequent!

The food was yummy here.  I had scallops, hand-cut fries, and coleslaw.  The tartar sauce with the seafood was homemade and fantastic.  The prices were not much more than at our usual seafood place, but the servings were definitely smaller.  Still, I think we all felt willing to pay a little more for such an unusual ambiance.

There were also a large number of picnic tables, outside, as seen in the top photo, if one prefers to eat outside of a treehouse.

Here are just a few more pictures:
 The above photo was taken from inside, through a screen and a layer of plastic.  But it gives you an idea of the river below and the mountains in the distance.  All of these were taken with my Kindle.
 Both this photo and the one below show the river flowing below the treehouse.

It was a cloudy, dreary day when we visited but the fellowship was warm and  cozy.  The above photo shows the distant mountains, some of the autumn colors and many clouds!

You can see why this is a seasonal place.  It would be very hard to heat in late fall, winter or early spring.  But as soon as they do open in spring (my guess would be Memorial Day) I plan to return and show this fun restaurant to my hubby!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England

This past weekend, Mr. T and I had the huge blessing of being able to visit The Wilds of New England once again for a couples' retreat.  To say we had a nice time would be a gigantic understatement!  We were blessed that several other couples from our church also attended the retreat this year.  We ourselves try to attend every fall.  Sometimes there have been very few people there that we knew.  But around the tables, on the hayride, and more, we always meet new people and end up having a wonderful time of fellowship.

Of course the New England foliage is always gorgeous in October.  But the folks at TWNE decorate everything so beautifully as well, indoors and out.  Below is a pretty arrangement which decorated the meeting house where the sessions were held:
Inside the tall lanterns are glass goblets filled with water and a floating candle.  These were lit during Friday night's session and were so pretty.  The base of the goblet was surrounded with acorns.  And the sprays of leaves illuminating the corner?  Those are real leaves!  Aren't they so pretty?  The dining tables were adorned with similar lanterns and the window sills in the dining hall had the goblets with floating candles.  So festive!  It makes people feel really special to know that someone went to some effort to make things nice for them.

The sessions, with Dr. Greg Mazak, had a theme of Marriage 101 and were absolutely incredible.   The four sessions were as follows:
1. Marriage: Godly Essentials
2. Marriage: God's Plan and Definition
3. Marriage: God's Purpose
4. Marriage: God's Priorities

and were simply excellent.  We learned so much and have begun applying it.

We always enjoy spending time in Cool Beans, the TWNE coffee shop.  On the first evening, we had a bit of free time after checking in.  I quickly snapped this with my Kindle to send to my daughter:
Those are maple coffees you see on the table.  Yummy!  It was a chilly weekend so we enjoyed coffee several times.  The coffee is so good and the prices extremely reasonable.  The fireplace provided some welcome warmth as well.
Mr. T took this photo of the fireplace from above, so you can't see the crackling flames.  So pretty though.
We had our God and I time upstairs in the coffee shop on Saturday, and went back there later to warm up with another maple coffee after our hike.

The fire pit (below) makes another nice place to warm up.

Pretty foliage alongside the field!
The next two photos were taken on a hike around the property.  We thought they were interesting.  The photo below (click to enlarge) shows yellow and red leaves that have fallen onto lacy green hemlock branches in a very decorative way.  We had never seen anything like this!
We thought the moss-covered stumps surrounded by leaves were interesting.
The two photos below were taken while on the hayride.  Mr. T didn't think they'd come out that well, since they were being taken from a moving, jolting wagon.  But they came out great!
Just prior to leaving on the hayride, we saw a few snowflakes!  You can see how white-looking the sky was.  Thankfully, we only had a few flakes and by the time we got back the sun was shining.
Just a view of some of the buildings and the foliage.
The food and coffee were yummy, the teaching and music fantastic, the fellowship wonderful, the time together priceless.  Hope you've enjoyed this peek into our blessing-filled weekend!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October decorating, installment 2

I actually completed the redecorating (or tweaking, if you will) of my hutch for October on the 14th. But I've scheduled so many posts ahead that only now, ten days later, could I find time to post it.  I will share a few photos and just comment a little on each one.  The top photo, of course, shows nearly the entire hutch, all but the very top shelf.  On that one, you will find my tall autumn mugs:
The next two shelves are shown below.  On the upper one, a pretty pumpkin candle holder, a little "fall" sign, a subway art fall printable, a little sunflower spool, Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine book (from my childhood) and some pretty pumpkin salt and pepper shakers.

The next shelf down has a fun farmer's market plate from Gooseberry Patch (how I love their vibrant and colorful artwork!), some Fiesta ware salt & pepper shakers, a Marjolein Bastin cinnamon tea packet. my "thankful" sign from the Wilds of New England, some faux bittersweet and sweet ceramic birds, my maple leaf pitcher and just at the edge of the photo a little "Colonial Homestead" salt shaker.
 And finally, on the bottom shelf, a chippy green enamel dish filled with faux gourds, my "Autumn in the Air" booklet from Cracker Barrel, my leaf teapot from Walmart (atop a dollar store doily and a fall mat sewed by me), a spray of silk leaves and my leaf sugar bowl, as well as a family heirloom mug and a faux carnival glass hen I've had for years.

And there it all is in a nutshell!  I love its warm and cheery look.

Hope you've enjoyed this look at my October hutch! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pumpkin Streusel Coffeecake

Photo from Taste of Home
 While it is still October, I thought I would share my favorite pumpkin coffeecake recipe.  I found this recipe in the cooking newsletter Cook and Tell, many years ago, although I have recently seen a very similar recipe on Taste of Home's site. This is wonderful; a streusel-topped coffeecake with a layer that tastes just like pumpkin pie!


1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sour cream
Pumpkin Layer:
1 (15 to 16-oz.) can pumpkin
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Add eggs, beating well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and soda and add them to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.

In a smaller bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, sugar and pie spice.

In another small bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients until crumbly.

Spoon half of the cake batter into a well-greased 13 x 9-inch pan. Spread the batter evenly, being sure to get into the corners of the pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Now spread all of the
pumpkin layer over the streusel. Next, spread the remaining cake batter evenly over the pumpkin layer. sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top. Bake in a preheated 325º oven until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes one 13 x 9-inch coffee cake.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Foliage pictures, Monadnock region

Earlier this month Mr. T happened to be working in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.  He came home each day exclaiming over the beautiful foliage in that area.  On his last day for that job site, he took the camera along.  He took his time traveling home and got some beautiful foliage pictures which I am now going to share with all of you -- mostly photos without much explanation, since I wasn't there.  Enjoy!

This describes the style of bridge you will see in some of the photos below.  Impressive!

This is a double stone arch bridge!

I like this one which contrasts the colors with a field.
Love this one with the orange tree.
Looking through one of the arches
Hope you have enjoyed these photos from a very scenic area of New England!