Archive for category Fall Recipes and Halloween Goodies

Easy: Sauteed Apples

I found this recipe online and served this with roast pork.  It was easy to make and fast to make!  I will probably also make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I recommend the Oxo peeler for peeling apples.

Sauteed Apples

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; saute 6 minutes or until apples are just tender. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute or until sugar melts.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

CALORIES 137(30% from fat); FAT 4.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.2g; CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 17mg; SODIUM 49mg; FIBER 1.6g; IRON 0.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.7g

Karen A. Levin
Cooking Light, MARCH 2000



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Easy homemade beef stew recipe

When it gets cold, what tastes better than beef stew you’ve made yourself?  This is how I make it.


  • 1-3/4 lb. beef stew chunks
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Thyme
  • Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine
  • Can of reduced sodium beef broth
  • Bag of frozen stew vegetables (I use Safeway brand) — it contains potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions

    Image via Wikipedia


Shake beef stew chunks in bag with flour, garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.  Heat olive oil in Dutch oven.  Saute floured beef stew chunks in pot until brown.

Add can of beef broth.  Add enough wine, water or wine and water to almost cover beef, and add 3 bay leaves and thyme to taste (about 1/2 tsp).  Simmer 1 and 1/2 hours on stove.

Add bag of frozen stew vegetables and stir.  Cook a half hour more, adding more wine if needed.

Serve with wine and a crusty bread, like a baguette.  I like to add a little Tabasco to mine (in the bowl).  It is even better the second day.


Do you like to cook? A collection of easy fall recipes to try

Brrr, it’s getting colder, isn’t it?  I thought I would gather the links to the fall recipes in this post, in case you feel like spending some time in the kitchen.  These are my favorites not only because they taste good, but because they are easy to make.

I also included some recipes from my Christmas blog, Cool Yule, because these flavors are so good for fall: pears, pumpkin, and figs.  Enjoy, and please share your favorite fall recipes with me!

Cheese Fondue

Pumpkin Pancakes

Vegetarian Chili

Baked Rigatoni with Pumpkin and Sausage

Gingered Pumpkin-Pear Soup

Orzo with Figs, Prosciutto, and Gorgonzola

Pear and Pecan Salad with Mixed Greens

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Fall Recipe: a classic cheese fondue for apples

A full cheese fondue set in Switzerland. Apart...

Image via Wikipedia

Aren’t the apples amazing this year?  Have you ever dunked Gala apple wedges into cheese fondue?  The combination is fantastic.

Here’s an easy recipe for cheese fondue that I’ve made successfully and really enjoyed.  I found it in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine a few Halloween’s ago.


  • 8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I have also tried apple juice)
  • Nutmeg (if desired)


Toss the shredded cheeses with flour to coat.  Bring the wine (or apple juice) to a simmer in a  sauce pan or fondue pot over medium heat.  Add cheese 1 handful at a time, whisking gently until melted.  Bring cheese fondue to a simmer but do not allow to boil.  Mix in a pinch of nutmeg (if desired) and serve.

You can substitute apple juice for the white wine in this recipe, if you like.  The resulting fondue is a bit sweeter, but still wonderful, and my son adored it.  I split the recipe and made half of it with wine and half of it with apple juice.  If you’re serving to kids, you might want to dish out a small ramekin of sauce for them on their individual plates so they can dunk — it’s a little safer for them than the fondue pot and the cheese will stay hot in small amounts.

I like dipping french baguette slices and apple chunks, but you could also try pretzel rods or sesame bread sticks, maybe a firm pear, or use a whole wheat baguette.

Have you made fondue?  What dippers do you like to use?

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This Halloween, consider slavery-free chocolate

Hersheys Chocolate

Image via Wikipedia

I have recently learned, sadly, that most of the cocoa exported for the manufacture of chocolate candy comes from farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, where child slavery is rampant.  One estimate is that of the 200,000 children working on cocoa farms in sub-standard to brutal, horrific conditions, 12,000 of them are slaves.  Adults are also subject to slavery and abhorrent conditions on cocoa farms.

All the major brands use this cocoa, and the U.S. is the largest importer.  Until U.S. chocolate manufacturers use their power and influence to stop child slavery and improve working conditions for all workers in a meaningful way, I would suggest that you not buy name-brand chocolate, or candy made by name brand manufacturers like Nestle, Hershey’s and M&M Mars, and choose organic chocolate or fair trade chocolate instead.

It saddens me to write this because I have used these brands all my life.  But this has been a long-standing problem and these corporations do have a choice.  The problem was addressed by Congress with legislation and there is a World Cocoa Foundation that is attempting to remedy the problems associated with cocoa farming, but as of the last reports in 2008 and 2009, very little seems to have been accomplished to bring real relief to these young children.

Here are a few fair trade brands of chocolate you may want to try that are available at stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  I don’t eat chocolate, so I can’t vouch for their taste, but let me know if you have tried these:

  • Trader Joe’s brand chocolate and cocoa
  • Whole Foods brand chocolate
  • Valrhona
  • Newman’s Own Organic chocolate chips

If you have insights to share on cocoa, chocolate, and what the industry refers to as “the worst forms of child labor,” please add them to the comments below.

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Harvest Moon Tonight – time to get a moon cake!

Tonight is the full moon for October.  This moon is known as the Harvest Moon.  Traditions across many cultures are associated with the rise of this large and beautiful moon.

In this area, you can purchase moon cakes in celebration of the mid-Autumn festival, which is celebrated by some Chinese and Vietnamese communities.  The Chinese moon cakes tend to be round and the Vietnamese ones tend to be square.  They are often decorated with lotus motifs and come in a variety of flavors.

Locally, you can purchase moon cakes at Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where I purchased the one in the picture.

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Pumpkin flavors this fall at the grocery store

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Image via Wikipedia

Pumpkin has become a food trend!

Check out this blog post by DeAnn Baxter about all the new pumpkin-flavored grocery items coming your way this fall, including pumpkin pie PopTarts, Little Debbie Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin flavored coffee creamer, and more.

I love pumpkin everything, even pumpkin flavored coffee 🙂  Can’t wait to try the new PopTarts!!

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Fall Recipe: Mary’s Easy Pumpkin Pancakes

We love pumpkin pancakes and make them all year.  They are a yummy way to get your vitamin A.  I improvised this recipe after using the Libby’s pumpkin pancake recipe for years.  This one is quicker.  Also, I prefer using my own spice blend to taste, rather than using pumpkin pie spice.  There is an ingredient in pumpkin pie spice that I don’t like the taste of.

My son LOVES these pancakes!


  • 2 cups Aunt Jemina complete pancake mix (dry)
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground ginger (powder) or to taste
  • pinch or shake of ground cloves (or to taste)
  • pinch or shake of nutmeg (if desired)
  • 1/2 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin (canned)
  • Water
  • Canola oil
  • Butter
  • Real maple syrup (the Safeway Select brand is good)
  • Pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)


Put pancake mix, spices, and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Add pumpkin.  Add enough water to make a batter consistency (thick or thin, as you like).

Prepare frying pan by heating a blend of about half canola oil and half butter over moderate heat.  As soon as butter melts, pour into a small bowl or ramekin, leaving some fat in the pan for the first batch of pancakes.

Add batter when pan is good and hot.  If the batter is very thick, spread it out with the back of a spoon.  The pancakes are ready to turn when the edges look done and the bubbles are starting to pop dry.

Because you have added butter to the pan (the canola oil helps keep this frying fat from burning), you may not need to add additional butter to these pancakes.  But do serve them with warm maple syrup (they are also good plain).  Toasted, chopped pecans are a yummy addition for those who like nuts.

Note: To toast pecans quickly, put them in a dry frying pan and turn often.  You can also toast them on the cookie sheet of a toaster oven, if you have one, or in a regular oven at 400 for about 5 minutes.

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Make them this weekend! Mary’s Easy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe


two single pancakes with maple syrup on a plate

Image via Wikipedia


These are the world’s easiest pumpkin pancakes…and my son’s favorite breakfast.  They are also full of Vitamin A.  I don’t use any measuring tools at all.  I just shake stuff in and it comes out right.

You will need

  • Box of Aunt Jemima’s Complete Pancake Mix (the kind you just add water to)
  • Can of Libby’s pumpkin
  • Butter
  • Canola oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Ground cloves or ground nutmeg
  • Real maple syrup (don’t use imitation kind)
  • Optional: chopped, toasted pecans

In a large bowl, lightly blend dry pancake mix and canned pumpkin puree to form a thickish paste.  You will probably use 1/4 to 1/2 of the can, depending on how much batter you are making.  Add water to thin the mixture until you have a thickish batter consistency, but do not over-mix.  Add at least 2 tbsp of brown sugar, more if desired.  Add 1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste), 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or to taste), and a sprinkle of nutmeg or ground cloves, or to taste.  Blend gently into the batter.

Prepare the pan by melting a hunk of butter in canola oil.  Just as the butter melts, pour it into a small bowl or ramekin to reserve for frying the next batches.  The pancakes in — the canola oil helps  keep the butter from burning, while the butter imparts a delicious flavor (and you won’t need to add butter to the prepared pancakes).

Ladle pancake batter into hot pan, smoothing the batter out with the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook on medium heat until the sides look done and bubbles are popping dry, then lightly flip to cook on the other side.  These are kind of thick pancakes (spreading them out with the spoon helps), so you have to take care to cook them well and evenly so they are cooked through.  Remember to flip pancakes just once.

Serve these with real maple syrup!  They are good even without syrup, though.  One way to impart the maple syrup flavor without too many extra calories (this also makes them a LOT less easier for little kids to eat) is to pour a little syrup in a saucer, then brush the hot pancakes lightly with the syrup and a pastry brush.  You get all the real maple flavor you need without the stickiness!

Another yummy option: toast some chopped pecans in a hot, dry frying pan (or on the broiler pan of your toaster oven) and sprinkle on top of the pancakes.

They are soooo good! 🙂  Do you make pumpkin pancakes at home?  How do you make them?


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Fall Recipe: Mary’s 3-Bean Chili (vegetarian)

Vegetarian Chili (with cheese, light sour cream, and tortilla chips)

On a crisp fall day, chili tastes wonderful.  And this chili is especially good for you, too.

I was a vegetarian for more than ten years, and I adapted this recipe — The Devil’s Chili — from the Vegetarian Times cookbook. My version is a little easier to make, and more to my tastes, with some changes in ingredients.  And I added a secret ingredient: cinnamon!  Cinnamon really makes it, but if you don’t like it, leave it out.  This is a really forgiving recipe.  You can add or leave in what you like from the ingredients, or if you’re out of something, and it pretty much always tastes right.

Serve this with pumpkin ale or apple cider, some good corn tortilla chips (I like Tostitos Naturals), some shredded four-cheese Mexican blend and a little light sour cream on top.  Delicious! 🙂

Saute in a big pot, in extra virgin olive oil:

  • 1 large onion, chopped (yellow or white)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
  • 3 large green onions, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped


  • 1 can of diced tomatoes and their juice
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of cannellini beans or pinto beans
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (or use any beans you like)
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • enough water to make a soupy consistency (sorry, I don’t know how much, I kind of play it by ear); it will cook down

Then add these spices and stir

  • 1-3 bay leaves, whole
  • 1 teaspoon curry (or you could use cumin, if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Chili powder to taste (maybe 1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon! the secret ingredient 🙂 1 tsp or to taste
  • Throw in a little hot sauce if you want
  • If you want to go a little crazy, throw in some cocoa powder (try a dash at first)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let simmer, covered, for about an hour.  If it gets too thick, add a little more water.  This makes about six servings.

Let me know what you put in your chili in the comments!


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