Made some pumpkin cookies Saturday and they weren’t bad. Especially after some grilled wild rice brats and homemade mac and cheese and a crock full of brown sugar beans. Woo hoo. Autumn is here. It’s been windy and there’s sun now and then, and the maples have begun their turning, and so have the birches, and we’ve been making an effort to eat out on the porch. Something about the breeze and the sun setting earlier and the smell of a bonfire burning nearby. Peaceful evening things.
It was like that Saturday evening after what I would call a satisfying day. Mr. S cut down trees and invited me to help, and who would say no to work out in the woods? Most satisfying, in a hundred ways, and my job was to be a spotter, and stand in the road giving the all-clear while Mr. S most diligently cut down six red oak trees. They were tall trees, and thick trunked, and were all near the road, so once a tree came down we had a handful of minutes to move it out of traffic’s way. I cleared the twigs and brush, he cut up the tree, and we both stacked the wood in a pile along the road. Then a water break, and another tree. And on and on it went. No talking, a bit of hollering, a curse now and then (yes, Mr. S is prone to swear now and then when the tree doesn’t fall where he wishes), and a lot of bending and lifting and grunting (that would be me) and stacking and hauling.
A man named Joseph Addison once said, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” Well, Amen, I say. There’s always something to do, and hard work is certainly in my Top Ten. Guess I got it from my parents who were good at it, and I learned to love it too, and I’m thinkin’ the kids got it in ‘em too. As for something to love, well, it’s all around. Like oxygen. And there’s everything to hope for: safe travels; a long autumn; a fine harvest; kids home for break; good test results; a good amount of snow this winter; peace; and, ultimately, enough. Enough work, enough time to play in those leaves. Yes, and yes.
Here we go. First batch of autumn cookies, and this is a fine way to start. If you’ve ambition, they do well with your favorite cream cheese frosting, or a powdered sugar glaze. You could even
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup diced roasted almonds, optional
1 cup chocolate pieces, optional
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix and sift flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture. Add almonds and chocolate chips or raisins. (I often omit both.)
Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool.
Frost if desired, or even make little sandwiches with the frosting in the middle.
Made some macaroni and cheese Saturday night, and it was not bad. People have suggested I’m a Stress Baker/Cook and I laugh a bit a say, well, sometimes, I’m sure. Baking and cooking are, after all, an act of creation, a quiet form of art (though Mr. S would say I’m a bit loud when I’m in the kitchen), and there is something about it all that calms one deep down. Mostly, I just plain enjoy good food and when I can, I make it. But sometimes, when Mr. S is gone awhile and I’ve had an extra long day, I treat myself to dinner out, or a burger from the local diner, or even a drive-thru order of tacos and those little apple empanada things.
Made some apple pudding cake Saturday and it was not bad. A recipe from a friend, who brought the cake to a potluck a few years back. I put the recipe in my pile of recipes which grew enough to be a nuisance this summer and at last I sorted through ’em and kept the ones that still appeal to me. It’s that way, you know. Some days some things sound so good one day and a few days later, not so. Like there was that hot day last week when the sun shone after rain and everything was sticky and humid and there wasn’t much desire in me to cook anything at all. And the next day, the air cooled a bit and the winds picked up and I had a hankering for some meatloaf and scalloped potatoes and an apple cake.
Made some Apple Brown Betty Saturday and it was not bad. Just the thing for a weekend of switching gears as Summer rose from her chair by the beach and gathered her things. Fall took a walk through town Saturday and the winds blew and the maple leaves began their crimson turn and the air smelled of drying oak and corn husks and the cinnamon bread baking in the ovens all day over at the café. I have made it clear over the years that Autumn is my favorite season, though THAT there are seasons here is the thing. I can’t imagine living in a climate that doesn’t include turning leaves and snowfall and spring flowers and summer waves. That said, now through February is prime time far as I’m concerned.