Hydrangeas to Dry For

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Hydrangeas are a good flower to dry indoors to enjoy in arrangements all year long.  The simplest way to preserve them is by air drying.  Leave them on the shrub until they start to feel papery dry, rustling to the touch, then cut them.  Nature has really done the drying for you.  Cutting is done before the flowers turn brown or become too brittle to use and long before the first frost.  When gathering your blooms, keep in mind how you plan to use them and cut the stem length accordingly.  I like to cut the stems long and then reduce to the size needed.

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Mascarpone Sage and Sundried Tomato-Stuffed Chicken Thighs

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Is it just me or does it not seem like recipes calling for special  ingredients only need some of said ingredient and there is always  a leftover  that just sits in the fridge?  So was the case recently with half a tub of mascarpone cheese, unneeded, unloved. Just coming home from a vacation in foodie Asheville, NC, with no time for grocery shopping, I went looking to create an inspired meal from what I had on hand, my favorite kind of cooking!   Taking that lonely mascarpone, seasoning it with garlic, cutting fresh sage from the garden and adding sundried tomatoes from the pantry to  chicken thighs from the freezer, we had a terrific tasty dinner in about a half hour. Adding  whole wheat rotini and a side of heirloom cherry tomatoes balanced this Italian inspired meal.  It sure wasn’t Asheville, but it was pretty good!image Continue reading

Pumpkin, Sage and Sausage Rigatoni

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Enticingly aromatic when served straight from the oven,  with a golden au-gratin top, this pumpkin, sage and sausage rigatoni is a wonderful rustic fall dinner dish.   Pumpkin is one of those super foods boosting our immunity and this casserole serves up a big dose.   The rigatoni is enveloped in  a creamy, velvety custard made from the pumpkin purée, milk, mascarpone, egg yolk and grated cheeses seasoned with fall spices.  Simple, make-ahead but oh so good! Continue reading

Spiced Chocolate Maple Leaf Cookies

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When I started blogging, my friend Lynne gave me a handmade cookie cutter in the shape of a maple leaf to celebrate the blog and my Canadian heritage.  I have been waiting for fall to create something with the cookie cutter.  When walking recently in the beautiful Chanticleer gardens near home, I was wishfully admiring the lotus seed pods in the pond.  I was told  the way to the seed pods was through the gardener’s sweet tooth!  So you know who got a basket of these cookies!  Fall themed cookies, perfect for a plantsman and for care packages to my college sons! Continue reading

Roasted Butternut Squash Couscous Salad with Apricots and Mint

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Settle into sweater weather with a scrumptious grain salad bursting with complex layers of flavor and chock full of fantastic texture. It was inspired from the master of interesting  combinations of foods,  Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israeli chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu who is the author of 3 interesting cookbooks and has one of the hottest restaurants in London bearing his name. Although it will seem like the seasonings are odd together and too numerous, trust me on this one.  Ottolenghi knows what he is doing.  Thiis delicious salad will become a favorite.  If you will serve it as a side grain, you can omit the arugula.  Variations would include changing the nuts to hazelnuts, adding pomegranate seeds or toasted sunflower seeds. Continue reading

Pomegranate Molasses and Mustard Grilled Pork Tenderloin

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Grilling pork tenderloin gives it a nice crusty outer layer and leaves the inside moist and succulent.  This marinade introduces great flavoring with fall accents and is transformed into a flavorful glaze by simply reducing it for a few minutes.  Add some rice and a vegetable side and it transforms into a company-worthy meal in no time at all. Continue reading

Fall Window Box

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Fall is my favorite season to decorate.  The rich colors in nature and the bountiful pumpkins, gourds, mums and kales available everywhere just make it so easy to bring fall’s flourishes into your home décor.  When temperatures start to dip a bit, it’s time to start entertaining outside again.  Near our patio table we have a window box that is filled with annuals all summer.  By now the flowers are spent and ready for a refresh.  A no-maintenace window box bursting with fall’s bounty is what I set out to create.    No mums, grasses or kale were used to avoid having to water or deadhead. Continue reading