Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 2015

October 2015

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  So far this Fall has been beautiful.  Our marigolds stayed robust until this past week when the nights started to get really cold.

So once again everything summer disappeared.  All the shells found their way back into their different bags and out came the Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving STUFF.  With Susan's help getting everything out wasn't as painful as it's been in the past.

A little Caramel Apple Sangria helped make the process a little easier.  My friend Sue at work came in one day and told us about this recipe.  I looked it up and made it and it's a keeper.  She had it in a restaurant with cinnamon and sugar around the rim of the glass.  It's to die for and tastes so good on a crisp evening.

Caramel Apple Sangria

Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 10 - 11
  • 1 750 ml bottle of pinot grigio (or your favorite mild white wine)
  • 1 cup caramel flavored vodka
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
  1. Stir the wine, vodka, and apple cider together in a large pitcher.
  2. Add the chopped apples to the pitcher, or to individual glasses.
  3. Serve the sangria over ice.
Apple cider settles. If the sangria sits for a while, it will need to be stirred before serving.

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Back in late September Chris and I were in Boston for a long weekend and decided to take a day trip up to through the Merrimack Valley region of New Hampshire.  We originally planned to drive the "antique route" but that didn't work out because we didn't see any antique shops anywhere along route 4.  That was fine because I had researched a few places up that way in Barrington that looked really fun to visit.  

On Calef Highway I saw a sign for a quilt shop called The Fabric Garden.  It was really tiny and in a woman's basement.  It's worth a stop because she had a few interesting Christmas panels.  I asked her where we could stop for lunch and she recommended Frank Jones.

This is a funky little family owned restaurant.  It was a beautiful hot day and we sat outside on the deck and had a fabulous lobster roll and cold beer.  

On to one of the main attractions Calef's Country Store which is right on Calef Highway right up the street from Frank Jones.

 This old country house reminded me a lot of the Vermont Country Store we visited in August.  

This store has all kinds of good food. There's a little deli in the rear of the store and a small restaurant section where you can eat.  The old fashion candy section was soooo wonderful we bought a few goodies.

I could spend every day in stores like this.  Luckily for my wallet and weight I'm not close enough to visit often.

Now for the most adorable store I've ever been in!  This is the Elfmade Home Decor Company.  I could live in this store.  

Room after room of the most adorable treasures.

I had to go through it twice just to see most of everything displayed.

All kinds of potpourri are out and bagged.  I brought home a bag of pumpkin and a bag cranberry.  My house smells so amazing.  I also bought the oils to keep the potpourri fresh smelling.

Katrina at the quilt shop told us not to miss The Christmas Dove which is diagonally across the street.  

We were the only ones in this huge shop full of every kind of Christmas item you can think of.  


There are lots of Downton Abbey ornaments and windows full of Dicken's Village.

OK not yet!  Back to Halloween and Thanksgiving!


Just as Chris thought he was going to head home we had one more quilt shop to visit.  Katrina at the Flower Garden told me Camille over at Evergreen Country Primitives Quilt Shop had the most wonderful shop.  Camille's shop used to be in the same area as Calef and Elfmade but she couldn't afford the rent so she moved her shop to her basement in Milton.  We got sketchy directions from Katrina so we had a little hard time finding it because it wasn't well marked.  But after driving up and down her street a few times we did manage to find her driveway.  While I was inside visiting with Camille and buying a few things she told Chris to sit in one of the big "man" chairs outside and enjoy the peace of her beautiful quiet backyard.  When I was done visiting with Camille I went outside to find Chris having the snooze of his life in that chair.  I felt  terrible waking him up but it was getting time to head back and get ready to go out to dinner.  This is a finished prim kit I bought from Camille.  She even had the frame to go with it.

I loved spending the day in that part of New Hampshire.  It's about an hour away from the MA border and so worth the trip.  I really want to go back around Christmas time.  I'm sure it's beautiful there and the shops must be well decorated. 

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Last weekend Kristen was home and made these pumpkin cake bars.  They were delicious.  I've never gone wrong with a King Arthur recipe.  The directions are easy to follow and the left-overs freeze great.

King Arthur's

pumpkin cake bars with cream cheese frosting

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Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield:4 dozen 2" squares, or 3 dozen 2" x 3" bars

These cake-type bars are moist and delicious, similar to carrot cake but with a fall flavor. The rich cream cheese frosting will also remind you of carrot cake — which isn't a bad thing! Do toast the walnuts before using them; toasting brings out their nutty essence.



  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup golden raisins, or 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup ginger mini-chips


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted walnut pieces

tips from our bakers

  • To toast nuts, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, just until you can start to smell them; let cool before using.
  • Want to make this recipe in a 9" x 13" pan? Change the amounts of ingredients as follows: 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin purée, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2/3 cup golden raisins/ginger mini chips. Bake as directed in the original recipe. For the frosting, reduce ingredients as follows: 4 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup diced toasted walnuts.
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Back to Fall and Halloween!!  I hope you enjoyed our visit.  I did! 

See you soon!!

1 comment:

  1. You go to all the best places and make all the best delectables. Thanks for the trip.