10/22/11

Autumn Mosaic

A lot of beautiful photos were submitted to the Poppytalk Autumn Colours Week collection. Here are a few of my favourite ones, most of them are nature or food inspired. Links to all of the original photographers are below. Great job everyone :) Let me know if you made a mosaic as well!

Autumn Colours Week Mosaic

1. love, 2. happy thanksgiving, 3. farm building, 4. des pommes, 5. leaves & sun, 6. Love-ly, 7. Harvest Moon Echinacea, 8. Slovenia Yellow Windows, 9. collecting fall leaves., 10. signs of autumn, 11. Fall In Love, 12. Honey Jars #1, 13. in a row, 14. day 3 orange, 15. Pumpkin Patching, 16. misty weather& couch-crafting, 17. kitchen utensils, 18. texture, 19. boots on a bench, 20. Type #1crop, 21. Blurry is good, 22. october browns, 23. fresh eggs., 24. Untitled, 25. New York 2010

10/21/11

Brown: Autumn Colours Week and a Recipe

I had a relaxing day off today, and finally carved out some time to start stitching again (more on that later). I drank lots of tea and watched movies. Then later my husband and I had Pho for dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. All in all a great day.

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Spider web

The recipe for today is another hot drink (a staple of the season) but this one is a little more rich and dark. After having hot chocolate with spices, I could never go back.

Spiced Dark Hot Chocolate

1 quart milk
6 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and whisk over medium-low heat until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is steaming hot, about 5 minutes.

 

10/20/11

Grey: Autumn Colours Week and a Recipe

Grey is a perfect theme today because that’s what it looks like out there. It is also windy and rainy. I feel a little sad for the squirrels today because yesterday we had the roof fixed (where they were living) and this is their first day roughin’ it. I guess that’s what fur is for, and hopefully they will find a big old tree that is even better. 

dragonfly

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London Fogs have become really popular at the coffee shops but they are so easy to make at home. At the coffee shop, they add steamed milk to steeped tea, but I prefer mine without water. They look confused when I ask for no water, but trust me, it tastes better. It has a milder, creamier taste and it holds the foam longer.

London Fog

1 cup of milk
1 Earl Grey tea bag
vanilla syrup, to taste

Heat milk in a small saucepan until it is hot to the touch (if you have a thermometer, 150F is ideal but do not let it boil). *If you have a milk frother, use it to make foam with the hot milk. Pour milk into a large mug along with the teabag. Let steep for a few minutes (up to you how long). Add vanilla syrup to taste. *If you have an espresso machine, you’re laughing. It will steam and froth the milk for you.

The recipe below makes a small but generous amount of vanilla syrup; a little goes a long way.

Vanilla Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce and simmer until syrupy. Add vanilla extract and let cool. Pour into a jar and refrigerate up to two weeks.
::
This recipe will also work with almond extract. One of my favourite drinks at Starbucks used to be Almond Lattés until Starbucks strangely stopped making them. I found a recipe for my own Almond Syrup, which I stashed at work to add to a plain latté. :)

10/19/11

Orange: Autumn Colours Week and a Recipe

These photos are from last week, on one of the livelier weather days we’ve had this fall. Nothing shines through warm oranges, reds and yellows like a late afternoon sun.   

weathervane

Yes, we live in the city, and yes, there is a rooster weathervane on our shed.  

Orange Flowers

This recipe is a favourite for Thanksgiving and I will probably make it again for Christmas. It is the ultimate comfort food: creamy like mashed potatoes and sweet like apple pie.

Squash with Cranberries and Apples

2 ½ lbs. squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, or a combination
3 apples, peeled and chopped
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
¼ cup pecans, chopped
cinnamon
3-4 tbsp. butter
3-4 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

Bake or steam squash and mash coarsely. Add some salt and pepper to taste and spread into a baking dish. Combine the apples, pecans, cranberries and toss with cinnamon. Spread the fruit and nut mixture over the squash. Melt the butter and honey/maple syrup together and pour over the entire dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Bake uncovered for a few minutes to brown the top.

10/18/11

Yellow: Autumn Colours Week and a Recipe

In keeping with the Autumn Colour theme this week, here are my submissions for yellow. Bright and sunny, it always catches my eye against a crisp blue sky.

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I have many lemon recipes, but none of them really fit the Fall theme. How much more Canadian Autumn can you get than Maple Butter Fudge? It’s kind of yellow… right?

Maple Butter Fudge

2 cups maple syrup
¾ cups cream (10%)
2 tbsp. butter

Grease an 8 inch baking pan. Add the maple syrup, cream, and butter to a saucepan and boil uncovered, until a drop in cold water forms a soft ball (if you have a candy thermometer, this will register at about 236F). Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm without stirring. Beat until creamy then turn into baking pan. Let set, then cut into squares.

{See the rest of the week HERE}

{See Poppytalk’s growing collection HERE}

10/17/11

Red: Autumn Colours Week and a Recipe

Poppytalk is having their seasonal photo collaboration again. Hop on over to this link to see all of the pretty reds that people are adding right now. Red is such a bright pop of colour but I prefer when it is a pale coral or a deep velvet burgundy. Here are my submissions.
 
tiny pinecones2
 
Brick and Rowan
 
Also, as an added perk, I decided to include a colour-complimentary recipe on each day. These are pulled from my favourites as well as ones I’d really like to try. This recipe makes the best thumbprint cookies I have ever tasted. It’s a great way to use some of the ruby red strawberry or raspberry jams you may have made over the summer.
 
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
 
¾ cups almonds
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup butter (cold and cubed)
½ cup icing sugar
 
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
½ cup jam
 
Chop nuts in a food processor with ¼ cup of flour. Combine remaining flour, icing sugar and butter and mix until it is coarse and crumbly. Add the nut mixture, almond extract and egg, and mix until the dough comes together.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on a cookie sheet, and press an indentation into each ball. Fill with jam. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until golden.

10/11/11

Open Wings

So much for my theories; Mother Nature has her own plans.

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{Black Swallowtail Butterfly}

We were literally on our way out the door when my husband said, “You might want to check on your butterflies. I noticed one of the cocoons looks different.” I went out back to the sun porch where I had placed the container, thinking they would hibernate out there for the winter. Inside it was a fully opened butterfly, very eager to be let out.

It was an unexpected event, surely they should have stayed dormant until spring. I had stopped checking them, even, thinking they would have some sense of the seasons in a screened-in porch. The recent summer-like weather must have confused their biological clocks. (The other one remains wrapped snugly in his little cocoon.)

Since we were in a hurry, just as he certainly was, we took one unglamourous photo before releasing him to the big open world.

Safe travels, friend.

{To read previous posts about the caterpillars}

CLICK HERE

10/10/11

Thankful for Sunshine

This Thanksgiving was unseasonably warm, but none of us were complaining because it meant dinner outside at the cottage. We ate turkey and pumpkin pie at picnic tables with the ladybugs, and watched the light fade from gold to pink over the river.

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Happy Thanksgiving to you!

~XO~

10/9/11

Autumn in the City

Colourful old houses are the highlight of any neighbourhood. They add character to the street and are beautifully complemented by the Autumn foliage. This house, painted plum, indigo and teal, had a little tree out front with pretty coral  berries on it.

Purple House

Orange Maple Leaves

Purple House 2

Happy Thanksgiving to you (if you’re in Canada). We have gorgeous summer weather here today and we’re going to make the most of it. What are your plans?

10/6/11

Forest Walk

A few weeks ago, I went out for a forest walk with a friend of mine. It was a few days before the beginning of Autumn, and most of the leaves were still green. The sun was shining, but our hands were cold in the shade of the woods.

Maple Leaves

Maple Sun

Maple and Spruce

Gorgeous day :)

10/3/11

Euonymus

This time of year they are changing into every shade of neon~ yellow, pink, lime, peach, red and orange. Along Prince of Wales Drive (between the traffic circle at the Arboretum and Dows Lake) there are several varieties that are most likely at their peak colours right now. Take some time to enjoy this burst of vivid colour amid the gloomy grey sky and cold rain.

{Last fall, the Euonymus trees at the Arboretum}

Lime

Hot pink

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