Category: Autumn

Setting the Scene for an Autumn Celebration

How is the weather in your Garden Home? It’s glorious here with warm days and crisp nights – the perfect time for throwing a garden party.

October Garden Party

Details

When it comes to entertaining I like to create a welcoming environment for my guests. I want them to feel completely at ease and enjoy themselves.

Tablevogue table covers will make any type of table party-ready.  Tablevogue table covers have a tailored seam and box pleats that give the table an upscale look.

A round table makes it easy for guests to go around and choose what they like to eat and visit with one another.

Bring autumn’s colors to your table with bright tableware, pumpkins, gourds and glazed vases filled with flowers.

The alstroemeria and lilies I used are long lasting so I can make the arrangements a day or two in advance.

The décor is rustic using garden elements such as pumpkins, grape vine, gourds and wheat stalks. Easy and relaxed, which sets the tone for the gathering.

Accents

Tablevogue 72” Round Table Cover in Natural

Le Creuset Dinnerware in Cassis

Glassybaby Votive Candles

Menu Ideas

Pumpkin Pie Martini
Citrus Tea
Assorted Cheeses and Pickled Vegetables
Grilled Mushrooms Stuffed with Artichoke Hearts
Cinnamon Apple Chips
Honey Glazed Pecans
Shrimp Over Rice
Rustic Pear Cranberry Tart
Caramel Apples

Eleven Edibles to Grow this Fall

Getting the kids back to school and heading to the lake for the long Labor Day weekend aren’t the only ways we kick off autumn. Planting cool weather crops such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach is also an activity that signals the advent of the season.

Many gardeners don’t realize that the end of summer doesn’t signal the end of home grown vegetables and herbs. There are quite a few things we can grow during the cool, short days of fall. Here are eleven of my top favorites.

Lettuce


Spinach


Broccoli


Arugula


Cabbage


Dill


Parsley


Radish


Chives


Chard


Kale

Fall Vegetable Garden Tips

You can harvest leafy greens just a few weeks after planting.

Find out the first frost date in your area and compare it to the maturity dates of plants. This will help you determine what and when to plant.

Use cold frames and frost blankets to extend the growing season.

Top Six Must-See List for Arkansas This Fall

I’ve always known that Arkansas is the place to be and now the secret is getting out. Just this year Little Rock was named a top ten midsized city by Kiplingers and Editor’s Choice by Outside magazineIn this guest post Arkansas Tourism Director Joe David Rice shares six great places to visit in Arkansas during one of the best times to come – fall.

All four of Arkansas’s seasons have their charms, but fall’s my favorite. That first crisp morning after the dog days of summer recharges my flagging batteries and reminds me that cooler days are coming. Shown below, in no particular order, are half a dozen options for entertaining autumn getaways in The Natural State:

1) Driving the length of Crowley’s Ridge Parkway in eastern Arkansas should be on everyone’s bucket list. For nearly 200 miles, this national scenic byway traverses the winding terrain of Crowley’s Ridge, a fascinating geological anomaly extending from Helena-West Helena north to the Arkansas-Missouri state line. Civil War battlefields, historic districts, cemeteries, state parks, antique shops, golf courses and some fine barbecue joints line the route – and the fall foliage can be stunning.

2) Checking out the harvest in southeastern Arkansas is worth a trip, especially when you work in visits to Lakeport Plantation, historic Arkansas City and the Japanese internments sites at McGehee and Rohwer. Bargain shoppers will enjoy a stop at Paul Michael Company in Lake Village.

3) Walking the grounds at Crystal Bridges is a true delight. We’ve all heard about the outstanding collection of masterworks in the Moshe Safdie-designed complex of buildings, but don’t forget the 120-acre site includes 3.5 miles of splendid trails – complete with outdoor sculptures, picturesque bridges and a gurgling stream. Park your car on the square in downtown Bentonville and walk to nearby Compton Gardens where you’ll catch trails winding through the lush landscapes to the museum.

4) Floating the lower end of the Buffalo National River (from Buffalo Point down to Rush – or on to the White River if you have time) can be a wonderful fall experience. With the summer crowds pretty much gone, your chances of seeing wildlife are that much better. The gravel bars and bluffs provide great scenery, particularly if you can time your trip with the peak of fall colors. Bring your camera and poke around a bit in Rush, one of the state’s only surviving ghost towns.

5) Touring Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs is always a special treat, but it’s even better with the enchanting Splash of Glass exhibit featuring 225 pieces of James Hayes’ handcrafted art (through September). This 210-acre peninsula, located on the shores of Lake Hamilton south of Hot Springs, includes 3.8 miles of easy-to-negotiate trails. For those not up for a good walk, tours by golf carts are available.

6) Last but not least on the list is hiking the Cossatot River Corridor Trail. Maybe a bit lengthy for most at 12 miles, this southwestern Arkansas treasure can be broken down into more manageable segments. There’s no better place to grasp an appreciation of the Ouachitas than along this relatively unknown footpath which parallels a beautiful mountain stream.

Between football games, county fairs and festivals, fall in Arkansas can slip away before you know it. So grab your calendar and set aside a couple of days for yourself. If none of the above ideas appeal to you, check out www.Arkansas.com for plenty of others.

Game Day Gatherings

Football season is getting underway this month so lots of folks are discussing their favorite teams and planning game day gatherings.  And while I don’t claim to know a lot about football, I do know something about parties and a tailgate party is fun way to celebrate with friends and family.

A backyard or patio is the perfect place to set up a tailgate, especially on a beautiful autumn day. All you need is good food, a few lawn games, drinks and plenty of team spirit. Include a few of these game day essentials and your guests will feel like they are at the stadium minus the traffic jams or bathroom lines.

1. Winning Table
Give your buffet and folding card tables team spirit with a table cover from Team Tablevogue.
They feature the logos of numerous collegiate teams and fit neatly over standard-size folding tables.
Available from Team Tablevogue.


2. The Wheel Deal
Forget lugging your food, drinks and tableware to friend’s tent. Drinks, appetizers, plates and more all fit neatly inside this rolling cooler.
Available from Brookstone.
[photo courtesy of Brookstone.com]

3. Give Me an “A”
Face it—cheers just sound better with a few pom-poms in the background. Plus, they’ll add color to your tent or tailgate.
Available from GameDayPoms.com.
[photo courtesy of GameDayPoms.com]

4. Stadium Crystal
Toast a victory with a shatter-proof version of a well-loved drinking glass.
Available from Target.
[photo courtesy of Target.com]

5. Fun and Games
Don’t forget the entertainment! Challenge your friends to a game of bag toss or ladder golf before you head into the stadium.
Available from Frontgate.
[photo courtesy of Frontgate.com]

6. Meal at Hand
The Drink-and-Plate keeps refreshments together in one place, giving you a free hand to cheer.
Available from Shop.InstantTailgate.com.
[photo courtesy of Shop.InstantTailgate.com]

7. Field of Teams
Fun meets functional in this pack-and-go table that mimics the playing field.
Available from Sports Authority.
[photo courtesy of SportsAuthority.com]

8. Tech Support
Spend less time setting up the satellite and more time enjoying the other game’s around the country before heading into your own stadium.
Available from Dish Network via Amazon.com.
[photo courtesy of Amazon.com]

Win a Team Tablevogue table cover!

Tell me which college football team you cheer for in the comments section below. I’ll select a winner at random on Wednesday August 28, 2013.
Up for grabs is a 34-inch square Team Tablevogue table cover in any of the available team logos. Click here to view the team logos.

If your team isn’t available or, perish the thought, you don’t have a team you can choose an unembellished Tablevogue 34-inch square table cover. Click here to view.

Congratulations to Debbie Dillon! She was selected using Random.org to receive a Team Tablevogue table cover with her team’s logo! Go Texas A&M Aggies!

Happy Thanksgiving

As a child, I remember Thanksgiving meals at my grandparents’ house. My brothers, sister, cousins, and I would play outside all morning and eat peanuts we roasted over the old wood burning stove. My grandfather grew peanuts so there was always plenty to keep us going until lunch.

Red cheeked and hungry, we would run into a house full of mouth watering aromas. After washing up, we would all gather around for the meal – we small ones at the kids’ table on the back porch and the adults in the dining room.  Before dining in we would stand in a circle holding hands around the “big” table and my grandfather would say the blessing.  All the wonderful dishes made it hard to sit through the prayer, but as I grew older I learned to listen to what he was saying and now, as an adult, I hear his words  echoed around my own Thanksgiving table. That’s what this celebration is all about, being thankful for the blessings of the year and rejoicing in the bounty of the harvest.

Many members of my family are gone now, but their memories are very much alive and with us on Thanksgiving. Every year I dig out my grandmother’s recipe for corn bread dressing and my sister always makes mother’s cranberry relish. My young nieces and nephews have taken the place of my brothers, sister and cousins around the kids’ table and we’re passing on to them this very American tradition that each family has made into their own.

This recipe is included in my cookbook. Click on the book image to learn more.Josephine Foster’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings

Cornbread:
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Dressing:
1 (6 to 7 pound) roasting chicken
8 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 celery rind, including leaves, chapped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
12 slices day-old white bread, crumbled
1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 level tablespoon rubbed sage
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
First, prepare the cornbread batter: Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and buttermilk, stirring well to combine.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Add bacon drippings to a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until it is hot.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven, and spoon the batter into the sizzling bacon drippings. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the cornbread out onto a wire rack to cool.

Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken (reserve them if you’ll be making gravy). Thoroughly rinse the chicken inside and out. Place it in a stockpot, and cover it with cold water by about 2 inches.  Bring the water to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken and set aside while preparing the dressing. Reserve the broth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and set it aside.

Crumble the cooled cornbread into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the celery, onions, and green onions, and cook until they are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Then add the mixture to the bowl containing the cornbread. Also add the crumbled white bread, 2 ½ to 3 cups of the reserved chicken broth, the half-and-half, beaten eggs, salt, sage, and black pepper. Mix everything well to combine.  Taste for seasoning. Spoon the dressing mixture into the baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the dressing – either whole or cut in pieces. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is brown on top and the dressing bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.