Fall has always been my most favorite season and not because it just so happens to contain my birthday, my wedding anniversary, the premiere of new television shows, the NBA pre-season, Halloween and Thanksgiving. But this is the time when you can dust off your crock pot, stock up on spices, bake something sweet, and cozy up with a hot cup of cocoa.
In celebrating the third official day of fall, I thought it would be fun to list some of my top favorite foods for the season.
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pans.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Recipe from: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-bread-recipe
Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
4 pounds bottom round, well-trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1/2 pound baby carrots (about 2 cups)
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1. Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the cooker.
3. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
4. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 1/2 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Add the peas and heat through.
*Recipe from: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/slow-cooker-recipe-classic-beef-stew-10000000614077/index.html
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 lemon peel, cut into strips
1. Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
2. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
3. Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
4. Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.
* Recipe from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/hot-apple-cider/
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
1. Combine broth, potatoes, onion, and spices.
2. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.
3. Smash a few of the potatoes to release their starch for thickening.
4. Reduce to low heat.
5. Add cream cheese.
6. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.