Wednesday, September 19, 2007

fall transitions

I love fall. Almost as much as I crave the sun after a long winter, I also crave crisp days, leaves changing colors (as much as they can around here in the land of evergreens), pumpkin-spice candles, lazy Sundays watching movies, and cooking. Honey actually does most of the cooking in our household, but last night I was craving scalloped potatoes. And since we bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes at Wal-Mart for $2.00 ($2.00!!) this weekend, scalloped potatoes were definitely in order. I do love them, but it takes sooo long to cook, which is why I don't make them very often. My co-workers Mary & James both pre-cook their potatoes, and duh, why had I never thought of that?

Fall & Winter are also the time of year for baking. I have already made a batch of party mix, a family tradition every Christmas-time. I usually get a hankering for them about now, so will usually make a double-batch now, and one again in December. Mom wrote a post recently about traditions, and party mix is one of my favorites. If you are interested in the best recipe ever, here it is:

16 cups cereal (rice chex, corn chex, wheat chex, Cherios, & pretzels)
2 cups nuts
1 cup butter or margarine (I have always used Nucoa brand margarine, because that's what my mom always used)
1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp garlic powder

(I think that's right; it's from memory.)

In a large roasting pan, melt the butter & mix in Worcestershire Sauce, salt & garlic. Mix well before adding your cereal, pretzels & nuts. Stir until everything is coated. Or not so well if you want some clumps ;)

Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15.
It is a must to taste-test at each stirring interval. And don't ask me why, but my favorite beverage with party mix is orange juice. It's just my tradition.

Always make a double batch because it never lasts long, especially when you share with your loved ones. On a side note, Bucky (my brother) & I love the "clumps", the bits of cereal that don't fully separate. They just have extra flavor. Well, we never told Honey about the "clumps" because we're mean & selfish that way, and when he finally found out about them, he for-shamed us for keeping it a secret so long! Ooops. Who said marriage is all about sharing.

During Christmas, I always make several varieties of cookies as well. Sugar cookies are by far my favorite. Mom, avert your eyes now, but I bought a pre-packaged bag of sugar cookie dough yesterday. I know, I was horrified that I did it, but Michelle made some a couple weeks back, and they were so good! It was a total impulse buy, and I never, ever buy pre-packaged stuff like that. Well, except for cakes & brownies, but NEVER cookies! What is my world coming to? I just wanted cookies, and I wanted them now!

My taste in music also slows down a bit in the fall. I've been listening to the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack for days now, and I never grow tired of it. This time of year, I'm all about Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr., Frank Sinatra or any one of those fine fellas, Ella Fitzgerald & Billie Holiday, of course my Williams Sonoma The Last Time I Saw Paris cd, any of my Pottery Barn Dinner & Cocktail cd's ~ really, anything that is slow, romantic, and evokes that hard-to-describe feeling that music is so good at doing. The other night Bucky & Michelle were over for dinner & we listened to Simon & Garfunkle circa "Mrs. Robinson", and that was just perfect for how I was feeling that evening. What is it about "The Sound of Silence", anyway? It just does something to me.

Oh, gosh, I really should be getting back to work. I get so tired by mid-afternoon it's hard to concentrate, and it just gets worse as the week goes on. Come winter when it's dark by 3:00 pm, it's going to be especially brutal. Although, don't they say you get a crazy burst on energy in your second trimester? At least that's something to look forward to, besides hemorrhoids & flatulence!


Nancy said...

Orange juice and party mix???? Really? It doesn't even sound good, Tracy. Sorry! But you're right, the clumps are THE best part and one Mike and I fight over. Course when I make this recipe (which is from your grandma by the way)I always add a little more of all the seasonings and butter to give it a little extra oomph. It is time for party mix. Oh, and I think it's actually best after it's been frozen!

Jerusalem said...

Oh I miss you! And yes sometimes you just need cookies NOW. Lol. So are you loving WalMart?

jeanetta said...

with phoebe my second, i cooked up a storm. i was home all day with david and i think i remember watching those chef shows that used to be on the discovery channel way back before foodnetwork and such. your nesting. awwwww