Oh Autumn, the season of birthday celebrations and parties, one right after another!
And long ago I decided that there was no purpose in messing with perfection...
These Dark Chocolate Cupcakes are everything you ever dreamed of - rich, moist, the perfect crumb and texture - and the best chocolate flavor under the sun!
Okay kids, here it is! Our top secret family recipe for our absolutely family favorite for birthdays and all other celebrations! When the kids have birthdays close together, there is always major discussion about "who" will get to have Crab Fettuccine Alfredo on their special day - and sometimes the answer is "both"!
So rich and creamy, perfect alfredo and parmesan cheese, with crab meat thrown in for good measure. I use fresh fettuccine noodles for a really fresh and homemade taste.
This works best for two cooks - one working on prepping and cooking the fresh fettucine noodles, the other working on putting together and stirring the creamy alfredo sauce constantly. I usually need someone on crab patrol as well, as the crabmeat tends to disappear rather mysteriously every time I make this! And don't ever forget the fresh garlic or fresh cracked pepper, or they will never let you forget it!
This is perfectly seasoned, perfectly creamy, perfectly cheesy - just perfectly wonderful in every way! Hope that you love this as much as we do!
When autumn rolls around, it is the perfect excuse for a wonderful trip to the Amish farm garden stand for fall harvest vegetables - a beautiful variety of fresh and fat pumpkins, colorful squash, Brussels sprouts and purple onions. The colors match the leaves - and it is just such a relaxing time on a lazy Saturday morning!
As much as we love a creamy butternut squash soup, there is something so fabulous about roasting a mix of Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. If your Brussels sprouts are a decent size, cut them in half lengthwise. If you pick up a smaller size, put a small cut up thru just the base, which will keep the sprout together while you are roasting.
Now that Fall is running straight at us, it's time to think about hearty and flavorful comfort food and side dishes - and being a Minnesota Mama, that immediately brings Minnesota wild rice to mind! For a nice creamy flavor combination, I use a mixture of wild rice, calmati brown rice, sweet brown rice and heirloom red rice - but you can use any combination of wild and brown rice that you prefer.
In years past we enjoyed variations of this at various lodges along the Gunflint Trail - but I've added my own twist by adding apples and cranberries to the Dijon infused rice to create a sweet and tangy, savory and buttery side dish.
The dried cranberries add sweetness and the sauteed apple balances with a subtle tart flavor. The toasted pecans add a hearty crunch that is totally addictive.
I hope that you love every delicious mouthful as much as we do!
OH. MY. GOODNESS. Yes, this is the real deal! One of the easiest, most spectacular tarts we have ever feasted on! With only six ingredients and an hour of time, this was seriously the smoothest three layers of decadent lusciousness ever served for a special birthday celebration!
Start with a thick Oreo cookie crust, followed with a smooth homemade salted caramel layer, and top with a dark chocolate ganache that rivals the best dark chocolate truffle. This smooth caramel sauce was so easy to make, and would also be delicious drizzled over butter pecan ice cream or a slice of fresh baked apple pie!
I used a deep 10-inch french tart pan, which made serving a breeze. While I am not crazy about Oreo cookies - my kids will eat them by the handful - but that being said, this crust was tender, chewy and incredible! I used a combination of Ghiradelli 60% and 72% Bittersweet Chocolate as a base for the smooth ganache, and sprinkled with flaky Fleur De Sel (sea salt) right before serving.
With so many family birthdays in September, this was a wonderful change from birthday cake and ice cream. Happy 21st Birthday Melissa - this was a special treat for our very special girl! Love you always,
Sweet, tender carrots - fresh from the garden! It's been the strangest summer growing season ever around here. We had rain the entire month of June, cooler temperatures in July, and warm all the way thru September, which means that everything in the garden had a slower and longer growing season.
Start with a big bunch of fresh carrots - give them a good wash and save those carrot tops for garnish!
Now that September is here, we start to move from sailing activities and back to dry land - and football party season kicks off! One of our favorite cold dips is Loaded Baked Potato Dip, and this melted and bubbling warm version is even more delicious!
I have to say that I take a certain amount of satisfaction when everyone stands around this warm and cheesy dip and proclaims that it is the BEST dip they have ever had! We do take our appetizer parties very seriously around here - and this is a serious crowd pleaser!
As incredibly fast as the summer went by, Autumn has arrived with a bang in northeast Ohio!
We had 90 degree days most of the week, and suddenly it drops to the 50's at night and we are all reaching for hoodies and enjoying the brisk night air!
September also starts the season of birthdays for us. My sweet Mom's birthday is the 1st; our first grandson turns 5 on the 2nd, Dad's is the 8th, and my fabulous Gram celebrates her 99th birthday on September 10th.! Melissa will turn 21 on the 11th, and we'll celebrate my day on the 25th - a date I share with my great-grandmother!
So many memories and special things that we love to do in the Fall - time to share our Fall Bucket List!
Please share your favorite bucket list activities with us!
Love to all,