October 18, 2010

A Day in New Hampshire!

The Maine House had a most lovely weekend. How could we not? We greeted the autumn morning with a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast in the morning room, then decided to dress, "layered style" and hit the motor trail over to New Hampshire.
 Oh my....lovely autumn! Just to drive through the country and be surrounded in glorious shades of oranges, golds and reds!

The farm lands were almost illuminated by the trees and foliage. We passed this pasture with cows grazing and thought how content they must be....fresh grass to munch on and gazing at the colors...cows do see in color,don't they? Well, I would like to think so!

  It does make one feel alive by enjoying the fall days, good health and sharing it all with a loving companion. Oh happy are our days! We spent the entire Saturday out and about....stopping whenever the mood struck to snap a picture of the beauty.

 We arrived back at The Maine House in the evening where we prepared the most delicious autumn salad inspired by "Sweet Melissa!"

Melissa's Roasted Butternut Squash Spinach Salad
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
A good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby spinach, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the spinach in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Given that we had a small, light and healthy main course, we opted for these decadent chocolate peanut butter bars....Elvis woulda' loved these!!

Estelle's Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 (18 1/4-ounce) package devils food cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 T. Butter, melted
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar                                                                          

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread peanut butter mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over-bake as the center should be a little gooey. I usually top these with fresh whipped cream with a tiny sprinkle of cocoa!

“I believe in the Bible. I believe that all good things come from God. I don't believe I'd sing the way I do if God hadn't wanted me to.' ”
Elvis Presley

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