Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Happenings

by Maggie Sefton

This photo shows one of the beautiful fall scenes along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and towpath that winds through Washington, DC's Georgetown area.  

It's Fall---leaves changing colors and a chill comes on the breeze.  The leaves in Fort Collins in Colorado have just started turning this last week.  The maple trees in my front and back yards are  yellow and green, on the way to all yellow.  On a drive into the Cache La Poudre Canyon I could see more colors---splashes of red, orange along with the yellows.  The higher elevation brings even cooler nights, down below freezing, which stimulates the trees to start this color change.   So far, Fort Collins has escaped a hard freeze at 32 degrees.  It's gotten close, but even my delicate pansies, purples and yellows, are still heads held high.  :)   That won't last long.  A hard freeze in just around the corner.

Even though I'm a real Summer girl, I have to admit Fall is beautiful and those lower temps always make me want to make soup.  Squash soups, especially.   Two of my favorites are Butternut Squash soup and Pumpkin soup.  In fact, it's such a favorite of mine, I make it frequently.   I don't even consider it a "recipe" but here are directions:

Maggie's Easy Everyday Butternut Squash Soup

Two large butternut squash, baked in oven (350 degrees) until a dull knife or fork penetrates all the way through with no resistance.  Cool on racks. Then, remove seeds and put cooked squash in bowl.  Once all seeds are removed, then puree the squash in blender with small amount of water and milk.  I use coconut milk but almond milk, cow milk, or soy milk work.  Use enough liquid to puree.  This will take several blender loads.  Empty each blender load filled with puree into big pot which contains the softened onions you've already  cooked in olive oil.   Once you get all the puree into the pot with the cooked onions, raise heat beneath cooking pot to medium low.  Slowly add more milk of your choice and a little water until you reach the desired consistency.  Then add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir.  Then add 1 teaspoon curry powder (or more, depending on taste) and stir.   Simmer for a bit then add several dollops of either light sour cream or fat-free sour cream and stir to blend completely.  Simmer a couple of minutes more then serve. . .and enjoy!   You can substitute pumpkin for the butternut squash in the recipe and it's just as delicious.  :)  

Right now, I'm back in Virginia at the river house, a couple of blocks from the Potomac River, in the Northern Neck of Virginia.    I visited family and friends in Northern VA after I flew in last Thursday and had a great book signing/reader chat at the Barnes and Noble---Potomac Yard near Alexandria last Saturday.  The trees are changing everywhere in Virginia now.  This river house is surrounded by woods on all sides, and the colors are beautiful.   Weather is chillier now.   I'll be driving off tomorrow, Wednesday October 23rd, to attend a Novelists Ink conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The neighbors tell me it should take 6-7 hours to get there.  Conference runs until Sunday, October 27th when I drive back to the river house.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the glorious Fall foliage along the way.  I'll update you folks next week on my travels.  Until then, enjoy the Fall.  :)