Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.

roux-gumbo

The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.

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Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!

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The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.

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A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.

vintage-mixing-bowl

A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.

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A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma


1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


fall-craft-apple-wreath

Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

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A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

 

This week’s Fetching Friday is a visual shout-out to members of my furnish, tile, feature, FOLK, and photography circle of business and social media friends.

ff-Habersham-HomeHabersham Home

ff-Walker-ZangerWalker Zanger

ff-bathroom-DomaineDomaine

ff-autumn

FOLK Magazine

cottonPicture Mississippi

H&M-kitchenH & M

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features signature signs of the season in sight and word, warm reminders, a DIY project, and a pair of birds from a distinct feather.

Autumn_Koyasan_Wakayama04s5s4272via

Warm is a hot topic of fall conversation.  We have entered the season so closely associated with a changing and impressive palette.

ff=fireplaceHGTV

It may be a coincidence, but it seems the senses become heightened as the days shorten, colors deepen, spices and aromas entice and the tones and textures of nature engage us by sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

ff-throwsvia

I call this the apple of my eye wreath.  This stunning DIY apple wreath on fall home tour display at The Wood Grain Cottage is my kind of DIY project.

Apple-Wreath-by-The-Wood-Grain-Cottage-12-682x1024

Lowe’s knows color.

ff-autumn-lowes

Natural elements come together to create a tablecsape with a nod to the seasonal influence of color, texture and pattern.

ff-Chrysanthemums-style-me-prettyvia

This time of year is deliciously referred to as soup weather, and this Pumpkin-Chestnut soup recipe from Martha Stewart is a quintessential fall favorite.

pumpkin-soup

A member of the duck, swan and goose family, the ruddy shelduck or Tadorna ferruginea is a distinctive species mostly found in central and Southern Asia.  Beautiful markings, don’t you think?

ff-birdsvia

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

That Reminds Me: Seasonal Home Decorating Ideas

Allow me to introduce you to the image that got the seasonal home decorating ideas flowing a couple of weeks ago. The dark wood of the bar stool legs, the predominant natural wood beams, the neutral color palette, and the ironstone vegetable dish in the cupboard collectively turned my thoughts to fall.

via

Thoughts of fall reminded me it was time to begin putting together ideas for a fall tablescape. The barley twist bar stools reminded me of a pair of vintage barley twist candlesticks I know I have somewhere. The quest to locate the barley twist candlesticks turned up empty however, it lead me to the Wedgwood candlesticks that worked out better in the long run. Isn’t it funny how an image or an item in that image can initiate the decorative snowball effect?

via

Textures,  finishes, and color palettes evoke thoughts of warmth, coziness, and hominess- qualities so closely associated with cold weather days and nights. Seasonal home decorating ideas often are inspired by the senses.

via

The versatility and style is year-round, but there’s just something about a basket that is woven into the fabric of fall and winter.

1, 2,

Forget the pie, this is my idea of a slice of pumpkin love!

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Pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon- from kitchen to table to home decor accessories to color palettes.

via

via

1, 2, 3, 4

In a few months from now I’ll be writing about how I can’t wait for spring flowers to bloom, summer colors, and there’s nothing better than the taste of barbecue. For now, I’m looking forward to the first really cool night and the feel of a down comforter. Also on the fall treats list is the delicious scent of cloves and oranges throughout the kitchen and dining room, and the highly anticipated first taste of a pumpkin spice latte.  

1, 2

Okay, now it’s your turn. What is it that you hear, see, feel, smell or taste that reminds you of fall?

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Sweet Potato Spice Bread Muffins

Sweet potatoes took center stage this first weekend of fall 2012.  This recipe for Sweet Potato Spice Bread Muffins is a slight variation of  the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

After recently purchasing a scalloped square baking pan, and with the this weekend,  I figured there was no time or recipe like the present.

Sweet Potato Spice Bread Muffins

Ingredients

3   eggs

½  cup buttermilk

2   cups all-purpose flour

1    teaspoon baking powder

½  teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon salt

1   teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼  teaspoon ground cloves

¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4  cup butter, cut up

1  cup sugar

1  teaspoon vanilla

2  cups shredded fresh unpeeled sweet potato

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Allow eggs and buttermilk to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

***Oh, shoot! I don’t have any buttermilk solution***  Add 1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar to ½ cup milk.

Lightly coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or 12 cup muffin or square pan with nonstick cooking spray; coat lightly with flour.  Set aside.

In bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and nutmeg; set aside.

Stir sugar and softened butter together until well combined.

Add eggs (on at a time), buttermilk, and vanilla.  Whisk  until mixed together.

Next, slowly add dry ingredients mixture. Whisk until combined.

Fold in the sweet potato.

Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake 65 to 70 minutes for  baking pan, 35 to 40 minutes for  muffin or square pan or until top springs back when lightly touched and split in top appears dry. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 12 servings.

Enjoy!

 

 

The Season Finale: The Fall Tablescape

My fall checklist is winding down.  The mantel is all gussied up, crotons and pumpkins line the front entryway, and cinnamon filled recipes have been prepared and joyfully consumed.  That “leaves” one decorative detail left to address. Last on my fall to-do list but certainly not least is thefall tablescape.  I decided to reflect the simple, natural, and casual feel of fall throughout the tablescape.   See what you think.

fall tablescape

Don’t you think a cloche instantly adds elegance to its surroundings?

Two years ago I found this creamer at T.J. Maxx and had to have it.  It has such a presence sitting pretty in the candy dish which belonged to my great grandmother.

antique dish

I find I am loving and using burlap in many of my decorative undertakings. Burlap is inexpensive, natural, and an easy material to work with.  A couple of months ago I made throw pillows using  burlap sandbags from Tractor Supply. The form of the sandbag caught my eye and I filed the “eyedea” away in my mental Rolodex.  The affordable bags ($1 each) are perfect for making pillows!  The bottom and sides come sewn together with the top left open for filling.  The more I thought about it, the more I knew the bags would be perfect for another project I had in mind.  I was in full fall tablescape planning mode when burlap genius struck.

Nice burlap sandbag placemats, don’t you think?   I really like this low cost/high impact idea.

burlap placemats

I utilized the top ties for securing the place cards.  Inspiration struck once again as I found the decorative feathers from Hobby Lobby.  I placed the feathers through the loop and tucked the ends into the side of the sandbag. Dave the Builder tipped the pine cone with copper spray paint to give it the all important fall pop of color.

fall colors

The essence of fall~ the pumpkin & the pine cone.

tablescape fall

The distinctive colors of the Staffordshire inspired Greyhound statues blend well with the deep, rich colors of the furniture and accessories.

Staffordshire dogs

A decorative urn makes the perfect base for a pretty pumpkin centerpiece. Various types of squash, ornamental dried bundles, taper and flameless candles complete the center display.

fall home decor

I include both a cloth and a paper napkin in my tablescapes.  It never fails that someone will ask me for the opposite of what napkin I originally set, so I am tablescape proactive.  It cuts down on the up/down time. The backstory on the deal of the year salad plates is here.

fall tablescapes

The table is set for fall to be celebrated with family and friends. I hope it meets with approval.

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.”

~Elizabeth Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Soup

I have discovered the perfect soup to prepare for the first weekend of fall.  Sweet Potato Soup is creamy, rich and absolutely delicious.  I served cornbread with it, and the two complemented the fall feel.   My culinary skills shined tonight. This easy dish was met with the rave reviews!

Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch green onions; chopped
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans chicken broth
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Microwave sweet potatoes for 10-12 minutes on HIGH power.  Potatoes should be tender when done.  Halve the potatoes. With a fork, mash out cooked potato and discard skins.
Process sweet potato mixture, green onion and half of the chicken broth(1 can) together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Add mixture to Dutch oven.
Stir in remaining chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, salt, garlic powder, white pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated.
Enjoy!