September 28, 2012

The Autumn Stew

A Day in Autumn

Private Residence in our little New England Village

We often spent weekends, exploring new places while living in Maine. Autumn is the most glorious time of year in New England, so this particular day, we decided to drive through the country and explore the Ossipee Mountain Park and the Roaring Falls in New Hampshire.

I would pass this home often driving to our little grocery.
Was this not the most beautiful tree ever?

Here is Darling during our day of hiking by the stream at the Ossipee Mountain Park. The leaves were falling, the air was cool and the mountain stream was roaring through the woodlands!

A quiet pathway through the woodlands
It is such a good thing for your spirit to lose yourself in nature.....

The Roaring Falls....they weave throughout the mountains and the trails....a perfect spot to rest and enjoy some freshly made granola. You want to just linger and enjoy the day...alone in your thoughts.

Me under the waterfall....

Rather romantic

We picked up leaves along this path.....
I later placed them in our kitchen window back at
The Maine House as a reminder of  this beautiful day

I am so thankful that we made a good memory that day..just Darling and I....

Now for the good stuff!

This stew is sinfully delicious! It is fragrant and hearty!
You will find it is a perfect dinner for one of those
 cool Autumn Saturday nights!


Bratwurst and Butternut Squash Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
Three Bratwurst Sausage
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste 
1 pound butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
10 ounces baby red potatoes, cut into small chunks
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
3 cups water
6 ounces fresh baby spinach

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the squash and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the caraway and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes (with juices) and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Slice the reserved sausage into

1/2-inch rounds and add it to the pan along with the spinach. Cook until the sausage is heated through and the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

September 27, 2012

Staying Young at Heart......and Body!

Health Advice from Real we have entered another decade, we are reminding ourselves to keep healthy and to keep moving! Come on Darling....we can do it!

When you live with chronic musculoskeletal pain, exercising might be the last thing you feel like doing. But it pays to keep moving. Workouts encourage your body to release endorphins -- neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers. Regular exercise also helps you manage your weight, which is good news because extra pounds tend to aggravate persistent pain.

A wholesome diet also helps prevent pain-aggravating weight gain and boosts your energy levels and mood so you can cope more comfortably. The Mediterranean diet, for example, is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthful unsaturated fats. These edibles can help build strong bones and muscles, and -- in some cases -- can even fight pain

Whole grains are rich in fiber, a good-for-you ingredient that curbs appetite and helps you manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to keep chronic pain at bay. Another benefit: Whole grains are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that has been shown in animal studies to fight muscle pain.

Enjoying salmon in your diet is a good bet for managing chronic pain. Salmon is rich in pain-relieving omega-3 fatty acids, but it's also a great source of another potential pain fighter: vitamin D. There's a strong link between low levels of the sunshine vitamin and chronic pain, and emerging research suggests supplementing your diet with vitamin D may help ease the discomfort.

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon....Estelle's  Favorite Salmon Recipe!

Olive oil is liquid gold when it comes to fighting pain. This elixir is rich in antioxidant polyphenols that help inhibit a common pain-causing mechanism in the body. Plus, olive oil makes a great substitute for butter, which is high in saturated fat. That's great, because too much saturated fat in the diet has been shown to erode bone strength and trigger pain

When it comes to spices with potential pain-relieving properties, go for the gold: ginger and turmeric. Ginger contains four substances (gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone) that have analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Turmeric -- a spice used in Indian and Thai curry dishes -- contains curcumin, another ginger-family member that may also help fightt pain. So, next time you're feeling extra achy -- brew a cup of ginger tea or order some Thai takeout for dinner.

Grab a basket of sweet, juicy strawberries next time they're in season (or use frozen ones anytime). These red treats are chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant with powerful properties that relieve pain, according to research. Some studies suggest vitamin C may help people experience less pain after breaking a bone or having orthopedic surgery. Similar research indicates vitamin C may hinder arthritis-inducing cartilage loss and the formation of bone lesions in the joints

Toss a spinach or arugula salad for a jolt of vitamin K -- a nutrient with potential pain-soothing properties, according to some preliminary research. Vitamin K also helps maintain strong bones and healthy joints. In one study, older adults with ample blood levels of K were less likely to develop osteoarthritis, compared to a low-in-K control group. You can get all the K you need from dark leafy greens: a cup of raw spinach has 145 micrograms (132% of what you need for the day). Caution: Vitamin K also helps with blood clotting, so if you're taking blood thinners, check with your doc before boosting your K intake.

Can yogurt and other dairy foods relieve chronic pain? Not directly, but they do contain two bone-building nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D do more than build bone strength, it may also play a role in reducing chronic pain, according to some study findings. So, load your grocery cart with yummy, creamy (but low-fat) dairy foods fortified with the sunshine vitamin. Can't stomach dairy foods due to lactose intolerance? Reach for calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice or soymilk.

September 26, 2012

Melt In Your Mouth Blueberry Coffee Cake!

Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air,
birds and calmness,
year's end and day's beginnings.
~Terri Guillemets

This recipe was found in a Maine church cookbook, and is undoubtedly the most popular recipe ever used in the cooking section of Down East Magazine. It is true to it's name and very easy to mix up and serve for breakfast, brunch or in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee. This will be on our menu for the holidays!

2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening (Estelle's used butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1½ cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add about ¼ cup of the sugar to keep them stiff.

Cream shortening; add salt and vanilla to this. Add remaining sugar gradually. Add unbeaten egg yolks and beat until light and creamy. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Fold in beaten whites. Fold in the fresh blueberries. (Take a bit of the flour called for in recipe and gently shake berries in it so they won’t settle.)

Turn into a greased 8-by-8-inch pan. Sprinkle top of batter lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm. This would be lovely topped with a lemon sauce!

September 25, 2012

One Dark and Stormy Day.......We Went Shopping!

You learn quickly not to let the weather stop you! We knew we had officially become "Mainers" or some say, "Mainiacs", when we ventured out on rainy, cold days to go shopping! We even would go walk on the beach during a snowstorm...gosh, we loved that! Approximately one year ago, Miss Judy came to visit us in Maine. This was our selected day to head up to Freeport for a day of shopping and taking in the sights!

Yes, it was rather cold and a cool soft rain, along with fog rolling in from the coastline blanketed this tiny village. It was all rather glorious you know!

I took her to LL Bean first, as we have been known to spend a great deal of time in this magnificient store. We casually strolled through the clothing, home store, outdoor adventure store and watched a display on trout fishing.

I'll bet this was a father and son headed into the store to
 purchase new winter jackets!

We lunched often at the Jameson Tavern....
one of the oldest taverns in the state of Maine!

The Azure Cafe was another favorite.
Rob and I had lunch together sitting in the far
right table one fall afternoon.
 Not today however...too cold and too rainy! Great food however!!

Oh, and this darling Pug, waiting on his master to come out of the British Goods Store.....I imagined her name was Peggy.....
Peggy the Pug...don't you just love that?

We returned back to the Maine House in time for a glass of wine and this marvelous easy chicken and cheese soup! It was one of the best days we had! I miss that!

4 T. butter
4 bunches of green onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
3 cans water
1 pkg 16 slices of Kraft American Cheese Singles
salt and pepper to taste

Saute' onions, celery and butter. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Unwrap cheese and stir until melted and bubbly. Serve with hot Hawaiian rolls or crescent rolls.

September 24, 2012

That Chill in the Air Calls for a Hearty Casserole

The Welcome Wreath!

The project for the weekend was to create a new Autumn wreath for the front door. Now I do have some beautiful wreaths from past years, but the problem remains that they are still hidden in the endless boxes, which have not been unpacked. We are managing to work our way through these and we did locate some wonderful possessions that we have not seen in a while. It's like reconnecting with long, lost friends. The new wreath was completed and I now feel we are ready to welcome the season. I think I like the end result...rather festive!!

 This is a quick and easy southwestern chili recipe that will be perfect for a cool Autumn night!

Cheesy Cheeseburger Casserole
2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 16-oz. package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onion in a large skillet. Drain the excess fat. Add salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Simmer slowly while preparing remaining ingredients. Combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, green pepper, and green onion. Place half of the cooked pasta in the roasting pan or casserole. Top with the cheese mixture, then the remaining pasta. Pour meat mixture over the top. Combine shredded cheddar and mozzarella and sprinkle cheeses on top. Garnish with chopped parsley. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes

September 21, 2012

The Autumn Pathway to Kennebunkport

"Do you miss Maine?" he asked me. My reply? "Well, sometimes, of course! I mean, what could be more beautiful than New England in the Fall? I think about The Maine House and how much we grew to love it. How cozy it felt during the winter and our woodlands in the back. I miss Mae being able to sit in that lovely living room and watch out that huge window hours on you miss it?" His reply......"Sure I do, a little bit....but it sure is good to be home, isn't it?" "Yes darling boy, it certainly is! But what an adventure it was!"

I wish you could smell this heavenly bread!

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 cup chopped  pecans

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in pecans. Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

September 20, 2012

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Happy Birthday Wishes!

Always wear lively, colorful jewelry, fun and sexy shoes, wear plenty of pink and turquoise and flash that gorgeous engaging smile of yours! Know that worry is a useless emotion and that laughter is the best medicine. Rejuvenate your spirit by taking walks in your garden, for it is this quiet time that will keep you grounded.

Do not lose romance.....
 kiss in the rain, savor the sunsets on the beach and
say prayers of gratitude that you have a healthy and loving family.
~Love, Mom 

One box of strawberry cake mix
8oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid Lemonade
Yellow food coloring
2 cups Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme ( gotta love this!)
8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
Fresh strawberries for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Make cake according to the box directions and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans, 25-30 minutes. Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.

The Frosting...... Cream together the softened cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring (a few drops in order to achieve a very light soft yellow) until smooth. Mix in the marshmallow creme and fold in until well blended. Then mix in Cool Whip until completely smooth. Refrigerate until cake is cooled.

Carefully slice each cake layer in half. Alternating layers of cake with layers of filling, assemble cake. End with layer of filling. Refrigerate and serve chilled, garnishing with sliced strawberries just before serving.

September 19, 2012

A Good and Versatile Autumn Cabbage Casserole

"If you are interested in cooking,
you're also just naturally interested in art, in love and in culture!"
~Madame Jehane Benoit

The Divine Miss M has shared one of her "go-to" casseroles that she enjoys making for her family. As she was telling me what she was making for dinner the other night, during one of our numerous daily phone calls, I stated, "that sounds scrumptious!" I asked her to take pictures and I would post them as one of Estelle's daily blogs! I think she did a great job, don't you? Although.....her husband was rather perplexed as to why she was taking pictures of her step- by- step preparation!!

Now, my daughter's version uses quick-cooking brown rice and reduced fat tomato soup. This delicious recipe came from her pregnancy cookbook and she has prepared some amazingly good and healthy recipes out of this! I used ingredients I had in the pantry and Mom's version was hearty and delicious also! I love a casserole that can be versatile like this, don't you?

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
2 cups boiling chicken broth
1 cup rice, uncooked
4 Tbsp butter
1/2  head of cabbage, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup medium onion, chopped
Seasonings to your taste:  salt, fresh ground pepper, Italian seasoning, etc.
1 can hearty Progresso condensed tomato soup
½ can chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Add 1 cup of boiling broth and rice to dish. Cover while preparing rest of the ingredients.
 Melt butter in skillet. Add cabbage and stir-fry until limp and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage to the casserole dish. Brown meat with garlic and onion add desired seasonings. Add to the casserole dish. Mix soup with broth and pour over other ingredients. Gently stir to mix.
Cover and bake for 55 minutes or until rice is cooked through and cabbage is tender. Top with shredded cheddar cheese the last five minutes of baking.

September 18, 2012

The Autumn Table....A Decadent Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Estelle's Mosaic

Ask yourself....does it smell good, taste good, feel good and sound good? You bet it does! The autumn season has begun and there are countless baking ideas to serve your family and company. The days begin to get a little shorter, cool evenings beg us to light the fire, walk among the leaves and wish upon the harvest moon. What is your favorite recipe in which to use all of the deliciously divine pumpkins? Estelle's always has pumpkin bread, bread pudding and cheesecake tartlets on the menu, so if you have never tried your hand at making a good bread pudding, this one is worth the time! It just may be comfort food at it's best.

Decadent Pumpkin Bread Pudding
7 1⁄2 Ounce pumpkin puree
6 Ounce evaporated milk
12 Ounce coconut milk
4 each large eggs
1 1⁄2 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 Teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 Teaspoon ground ginger
1 Teaspoon salt
8 Ounce french bread loaf
1⁄2 Cup chocolate chips
1⁄4 Cup golden raisins

Bourbon Anglaise Sauce
2 Cup heavy cream
1⁄2 Cup granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon egg yolk
1⁄2 Cup bourbon

The Pudding
In a bowl combine the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, coconut milk and eggs together and mix well.
 In another bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and salt together and mix well.
 Combine the puree mixture and brown sugar mixture together and blend well. Set aside until needed. You may leave mixture at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

 Prepare an 8" x 8" baking dish with spray grease. Slice the French bread into 1/2" thick cubes and place them into the prepared baking dish. Pour about 3/4 of pumpkin custard mixture over the French bread.
The French bread will float on the pumpkin custard so you will need to gently push down on the bread slices to force the custard mixture to soak into the bread. As the custard soaks into the bread you may add the remaining custard mixture to the pan.When the custard has completely soaked into the bread, sprinkle the chocolate chips and raisins over the top and gently press into the bread. Spray the top of the bread pudding with spray grease and cover with tin foil.

Preheat oven to 400°. The bread pudding will need to be baked in a water bath in order to distribute the heat evenly. Place bread pudding dish in a larger size pan or dish. Fill the larger baking dish with about 1" of water. Place the pan in the center of the center rack and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until the center of the bread pudding is slightly firm and there is no liquid present. Remove from the oven and let the bread pudding cool for 45 minutes.
Serve immediately or chill and serve when ready.

The Bourbon Anglaise Sauce
 Combine the heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract together in a sauce pan and heat to just before boiling.

In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks together; mix well. When the heavy cream is scalded remove 1 cup and gradually stir it into the egg yolk mixture Then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pan with the remaining heavy cream. Whip vigorously over medium heat until sauce becomes thick (consistency should be similar to caramel sauce). Remove the sauce from the heat, strain and chill until completely cold, about 1 hour. Stir in the bourbon well. Serve or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

September 17, 2012

Easy Vegetable Soup!

Here it is.....delicious Autumn!

Who could not be inspired by a daily walk through the color-dappled woods? Don't you love hearing the geese overhead, as they wing their way south? There begins to be sightings of woodsmoke in the wind and the leaves turning their golden colors and drift from the trees.

The Heart of Autumn Must Have Broken Here,
And Poured it's
Treasure Out Upon the Leaves
~Charlotte Fiske Bates

Catherine was the last one to wake up on Sunday morning. She's a girl after my own heart....first to bed and the first to rise! As she savored a hot cup of her morning Joe in the kitchen, we talked about how the Fall season is our most favorite. Cool, cloudy, rainy days...bread baking in the oven and simmering soups on the is MOST delicious, isn't it? All of it...the sights and smells, the feeling of comfort that it brings to your soul.....oh is our gift from God my darlings, for certain!

Let's use our imagination in our kitchen. Light the candles and get cozy.

This is one of my favorite vegetable soups to create so easily and so quickly. It is so flavorful and quick to prepare on your busy weeknights. One of my dear friends from Flora, Mississippi prepared this soup and shared her recipe with me years's a keeper!!

Estelle's Easy Vegetable Soup

Brown hamburger or ground chuck in 1/4 stick of butter. Stir in a small chopped onion. Continue to brown.


1 can Lima beans
1 can new potatoes
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can Veg-All
1 can of green beans
1 can of yellow corn
salt and pepper

Serve with Jiffy cornbread muffins!

September 16, 2012

Searching for Autumn...The Unpacking Continues!

Today is a quiet Sunday. The children have all gone home after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, grits and toasted English muffins with strawberry jam and butter! The sky is gray and cloudy, the air is still and cool. A perfect afternoon to continue the decorating, while Darling is watching the football games and Mae Mobley is napping on her favorite baby blanket! I love those little kitty toes!

We continue to unpack...I have found some of my favorite items that were never unpacked when we relocated to Maine from Texas three years ago.

One of my favorite haunted houses!

Darling says it's time for lunch! He has worked up an appetite from searching for Fall decor!!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

In a medium bowl, mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and ground black pepper. Place meat in a shallow glass dish. Pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.
Preheat grill to high heat. Oil the grill grate. Place flank steak on the grill, and discard the marinade. Grill meat for 5 minutes per side, turning only once. Remove the flank steak to a baking dish, cover with foil and let this rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly!

We serve this on warm Hawaiian rolls, with a creamy horseradish spread or mustard and slices of Fontina Cheese.