Friday, September 18, 2009

Autumn Is Here!

Autumn is here and I have been so anxious for it's arrival ... Don't you just love this time of year? Cool nights, the beautiful foliage colors, football games, fresh apples and leaves just starting to dance their way to the ground ...

North Carolina is a great place to experience the seasons, especially Autumn. We are fortunate to live in the Piedmont where we have easy access, not only to the foothills, but to the mountains and the coast.

So, with Autumn finally here, I am making a list of fun stuff to do and projects to accomplish ..... hiking, knitting, fall planting, new recipes and books to read.... and, of course, joyous outings with our family.

Recipes ... on my, there are so many good, hearty ones for fall and tons of delicious dessert recipes using fresh mountain apples! The Barefoot Contessa on Food Network has some of the best fall recipes!

Rodney and I really enjoy riding up to the mountains to get apples to have on hand for making apple crisps, apple pie, apple butter, stewed apples, apple jelly and ... apples just for slicing.
Apple Crisp

One of our favorite recipes is from Cooking Light, the Fall issue of 2006 on page 174. This one was actually their cover recipe; Classic Beef Pot Roast ... it is so savory and hearty AND we partake of it at least once a month during the fall and winter months! I thought I would share it with you just in case you want to try it. If you like pot roast, you will love this! Toasted crusty bread and a glass of red wine are nice companions with this hearty dish!
(I love cooking in my big Le Creuset pot!)

Classic Pot Roast
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 3 ounces roast, about 3/4 cup vegetables, and about 3 tablespoons cooking liquid)


* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 4 thyme sprigs
* 3 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
* 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
* Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Ode to Autumn Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
John Keats

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Baby in the Basket!"

Rejoice in the Lord always, delight
yourselves in Him; again I say, Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

We have a baby on the way due to arrive the first of December! Our daughter and her husband are expecting their second child. We are so very excited and are so thankful for God's many blessings in our lives.

Here is the little lace baby blanket I am knitting. Can you guess what we are having? Not very difficult when you see the pink..... a sure give away! Her name is Adalei Grace. Isn't it a sweet, pretty name? Very feminine and elegant. I saw the pattern and thought it was so fitting for Adalei.

The pattern is a Feathered Baby Blanket by Kaye Smith and was shared with me by my friend Leslie. She blogs at

Layla is so excited about being a big sister. She has picked out a special stuffed animal for her baby sister. Layla talks about baby Adalei often. Bradyn is looking forward to having another cousin, although, he was pretty blunt in saying he really wanted a boy cousin to play with. Kids are so open and honest, don't you just love'em!

A baby girl is a treasure rare;
A sweet pink angel, a little doll,
Nothing else can quite compare.
Her smiles and coos will bring you joy;
She'll fill your hearts with love and pleasure;
So cherish these special infant times,
With your little girl, your precious treasure.
By Joanna Fuchs