The weather has been beautiful the past few days!

Highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 50s make for good walking weather.

I never use ear buds when I go walking. I like to hear everything around me–like cars!

I really enjoy hearing the leaves rustle in the wind and squirrels scamper up tree trunks.

Morning walks are a good way to sort through all the junk rattling around in my brain. Sometimes I even go on prayer walks and pray for the people in the houses and schools I pass along the way.

The other day, I decided to snap a few pictures while on my walk. I have actually done this before in hopes of starting a blog series. Well–here is your first installment of “Scenes from a Walk”. We’ll see if it becomes a series or not.

cracked sidewalk

When I was a kid visiting my grandmother, my sister and I would get bored with “grown up” talk. The city park a couple of blocks away was a welcomed escape. I loved climbing on the sidewalk that had been displaced by tree roots.

I reminisced about those days and climbed on the concrete just like I used to do. What you don’t see in this picture is me almost doing a face-plant about 10 steps past the broken sidewalk! Unfortunately, the car whizzing by didn’t miss it!

beginning of fall

We are just starting to see a little fall color here in Central Arkansas. I love it!

autummn leaves

fall leaf

architectural arches

I like seeing other folks’ fall decorations.

fall porch

pumpkin cut outs

skeleton cutout

Are you seeing fall colors in your neck of the woods?

Is your house ready for trick-or-treat festivities tonight?

Mention the city of New Orleans and you will conjure up a plethora of images in folks’ minds.

New Orleans

There is yet another dish that is identified with The Big Easy–Bananas Foster.

Brennans-New-Orleans-by-Dean-Ennis-feature

Here is a little history I found on a New Orleans visitor’s guide.

In the early 1950s New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Brennan, owner of Brennan’s Restaurant, challenged his chef, Paul Blange, to include bananas in a new dessert. It was Owen’s way of promoting the imported fruit. At the same time, Holiday Magazine asked Owen to provide a new and different recipe to include in an article on the restaurant.

And so was born Bananas Foster, a decadent dessert named for Owen’s friend, Richard Foster, a local civic and business leader. Today, Bananas Foster is served at Brennan’s and other fine New Orleans restaurants. Each year, Brennan’s flames 35,000 pounds of bananas for the famous dessert.

I recently had a wonderful dinner with my quartet and our spouses. (You can check out our Hyper Octave Facebook page here.)

dinner party

Donna and Jim really put on a spread for us–complete with fresh flowers and candlelight.

Jim made Gumbo with delicious andouille sausage and shrimp. Our salad was mixed greens with avocado and orange slices. That’s Jim’s homemade Orange Vinaigrette you see on the table.

We all enjoyed the dinner and felt like we needed a crane to move from the table. Then, Donna announced dessert!

Could I stuff in any more food?!

Bananas Foster?

Why,YES! Some room suddenly became available!

We all moved to the kitchen for the dessert “show”. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to feature another guest chef!

Jim started by melting a stick of butter with 1/2 cup banana liqueur.

melting butter

banana liqueur

While Jim took care of the pan, Donna feverishly peeled and quartered 8 bananas.

hostess

bananas

Into the pan with the bananas!

cooking bananas

Add a dash of cinnamon and the brown sugar–TWO cups!

brown sugar

brown sugar and bananas

Oops! Wait! The brown sugar was supposed to go in BEFORE the bananas! Donna moved fast to remove the bananas. The brown sugar needed to caramelize a little before adding the bananas.

recipe rescue

Let that cook up in order to thicken a little.

caramelizing bananas

Add about 1/4 cup of rum…

Bacardi

and light on fire!

Jim did move his pan out from under the cabinets–just in case.

flaming bananas foster

Unfortunately, none of us thought to turn off the lights until the flames had disappeared. You can kind of see some blue flames in the picture above.

As if all the sugar and butter were not enough, a scoop of vanilla ice cream finished off the dish!

desserts

Bananas Foster

Oh! It was so good! I wanted to lick the plate!

I enjoyed every bite–all 490 calories, not including the ice cream!

Yeah–I went walking the next day!

Thanks so much, Donna and Jim. You treated us like royalty!

Bananas Foster

serves 8

  • 1 stick of butter (could probably get by with 1/2 )
  • 1/2 cup banana liqueur
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 8 bananas, sliced into 4 quarters
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • Vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in pan with banana liqueur.

Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Allow to caramelize a bit.

Stir in bananas until warmed. (Not too long, you don’t want mushy bananas.)

Warm the rum for a few seconds in the microwave.

This is the time to turn off the lights for added drama!

Add rum to the bananas–immediately light on fire.

After alcohol burns off, serve with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle some of the sauce on top.

It’s funny the things you save.

I was recently going through a stack of papers, okay–recipes, when I came across this…

Kindergarten Kaleidoscoope

This was the weekly newsletter sent out by Megan’s kindergarten teacher–2002!!! Yes, I have a senior!

We loved Union Elementary. It was a small school in the country. We moved back to Arkansas right after school dismissed for the summer. Our only experience there was Kindergarten, but we loved it!

I remember the Fall Fun Fest. I remember the kids being excited. Grammy had sent Halloween shirts. They arrived just in time for the Festival. Megan wore her orange headband. Of course, Katie had to have one too, even though she hardly had any hair.

halloween sisters

kindergarten party

scary face

moon

scary face 1

Oh, we had such fun! We were so busy having fun, there was no time for pictures. Seems like Chip was helping some of the other Dads with some of the games. I was doing good to keep up with the kids.

On the back of the weekly newsletter was a recipe. That is why I saved it, of course!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Maple Sauce

Some of our weekend plans got cancelled. The air was cool and crisp. It was the perfect day to try out the Pumpkin Pancakes recipe. It only took me 12 years!

Pumpkin Pancakes topped with nuts

from above

We took advantage of the weather and enjoyed breakfast on the porch. Ahhh, fall!

Pork Chop Tuesday on the porch

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • a little butter for the pan

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry.

Pour on a hot, greased skillet. Turn when you start to see bubbles.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Heat ingredients in a saucepan until warm.

(The Sauce seemed more like a pumpkin butter to me. I bet if you added a little cream to it, it would be more “saucy”.)

Top with toasted pecans!

It was a dark and stormy night…

Hmmm, I guess that intro has been done.

We did have some storms last weekend.

Nothing says homecoming half-time show like soaked band members. There had been a sprinkle here and there. But half way through “Crazy Train” the sky just opened up! To their credit, none of the band quit marching until the drum major, my daughter, gave them the signal! Thanks to my friend, Sheri, for sharing this video. (There must have been another band parent sitting behind her while she was filming. Either that, or he was really excited to be in the rain.)

The next day was cool and gray–perfect for Corn Chowder.

Mom used to make Corn Chowder for us all the time when we were kids. As a new bride, 22 years ago, I knew I had to have the recipe.

tattered recipe

Here is the copy she gave me. Photocopied from what looks like a novel. I don’t know if her copy was a photocopy or she actually had it in a book.

You can tell I’ve had it a while by how the paper has aged.

For some reason I keep this recipe tucked in a cookbook. I suppose when I got it, I didn’t really have a stash of recipe cards or cookbooks. Seemed like a good enough place for it. I still know where to find it 22 years later! I probably put my hands on this recipe faster tucked in this cookbook than I could if it were in my recipe box! ugh!

The recipe is written in paragraph form. I’ll gather it all together in one place for you at the end–but first, some photos.

The first thing I did was cook up the 8 slices of bacon.

frying bacoon

I fried the bacon first so I didn’t have to dirty up a skillet in addition to my soup pot.

bacon

Set your yummy bacon aside while you proceed with the recipe. Do the best you can to keep your family from passing by and nibbling on the bacon. (Good luck!)

Of course you are going to save all that lovely bacon grease for later use–green beans, fried eggs, grits, etc.

bacon grease

The recipe calls for 12 potatoes! TWELVE.

Since potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, I found that measurement to be vague. I used about 6-7 cups. Yes, still a little vague but a bit more manageable.

cut potatoes

Next the recipe says to cut up 6 onions–SIX ONIONS! Good grief!

I used two. I actually had to have my husband cut up the second one for me. My eyes were watering so bad after one! I can only imagine my condition if I had to cut SIX!

I topped off my 8 cup measuring bowl with the onions.

Potatoes and Onions

Dump your potatoes and onions in the same pot you used to cook the bacon. It is perfectly fine if there is a little bacon grease still in there.

Add water to cover the potatoes and onions. I used about 6-7 cups. Boil until veggies soften.

Potato broth

Add the bacon, 3-3 1/2 pts. of milk, and a “tin of corn”.  A tin? What the heck?!

I’m sure that means a can of corn but what size???

corn

I used 4 cups of frozen Schwan’s frozen corn. Their corn is the yummiest! Four cups is probably more than “a tin”. I figured this was CORN Chowder. I would be okay if there was lots of corn.

By the way, 3 pints equals 6 cups.

Once everything is about to boil again, add 1/4 cup cornstarch that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup cold milk.

Finally, add a lump (approximately 2 tablespoons) of butter to the soup.

lump of butter

Salt and pepper to taste. I like lots of pepper in mine. I also added some leftover chicken I had in the fridge just to make the soup a little more substantial.

Serve it up in fancy orange bowls.

pouring soup

or blue. : )

filling soup bowls

I love these little crocks!

blue soup bowl

Aren’t they cute with their little lids on there?

orange soup bowl

I hope you enjoy this recipe–no soggy band members required!

 

Corn Chowder

6-8 strips bacon cut up and fried (I used thick bacon.)

6-7 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 medium onions, diced

6-7 cups water

4 cups frozen corn

6 1/4 cups milk, divided

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 Tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

(Optional-diced chicken can be added along with the corn and bacon.)

•In a large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Save drippings for another use. Drain bacon on a paper towel.
•Add potatoes, onions and water to the pot. Boil until potatoes are tender.
•Add bacon, corn and 6 cups of milk. Heat until almost boiling.
•Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold milk. Add to the soup. Keep stirring to avoid scorching the milk.
•Stir in the lump of butter.
•Salt and pepper to taste.
Goes really nicely with salty crackers!

 

I love fall. I love that fall appeals to all my senses–beautiful trees, cooler temperatures, rustling leaves, burning fields, apple and pumpkin treats!

Ahhhh!

I enjoy getting out my fall decorations, too.

We usually go to a pumpkin patch for our pumpkins. The summer rains were not friendly to the pumpkin farmers. This year we ended up getting our pumpkins at the Open Arms Pumpkin Fun Run fundraiser.

Typically, I grab some mums at Walmart or Lowe’s to set around with the pumpkins.

After the blooms have died and the cold sets in, I dump the pots in the trash. Yes, I know you can plant them. I never seem to have the time.

Well, last year, the pots never even made it to the curb! Shame!

weeds

They have sprouted lovely weeds courtesy of the wind and the birds.

There is another pot, however, that is different.

mums

It decided to root itself through the bottom of the pot!

I have mums and I didn’t even have to leave home to get them!

They aren’t the perfectly shaped kind from the store–that’s okay.

I have not bought any fancy mums from the store yet.  I may let my “survivor mum” have a chance in the spotlight this year!

I have, however,  added a few decorations to the porch. I’ll get around to the inside of the house eventually.

Don’t you love that you get to use your fall decorations for a long time?!

Happy Fall y'all wreath

pumpkins and hydrangeas

old rocking chair

outdoor fall decor

Now, go make some fall cookies or something. Here is an idea–Applesauce Cookies.

Chip and I enjoy having a lunch date every now and then.

I have wanted to try out The Root Cafe for a while. It is on South Main in Little Rock, AR. The Root has several fun neighboring shops and restaurants.

The Root Cafe

The Root is all about “Building Community through local food!” They use as many products as possible from small local farms. Their menu even notes where items originate.

Locavore Sign

I arrived at the cafe before my date. There was quite a crowd, so I jumped in line.

The place is small. It used to be a dairy bar. Being elbow to elbow with other customers, I felt a little rude whipping out my phone to snap photos.

Keeping a sharp eye out for my date, I studied the menu while I waited in line.

I ended up having to let several folks jump me in line before Chip arrived.  Fortunately, we had studied the menu options on-line a bit the night before, so I knew what he wanted.

He showed up just as I was about to order his Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich and fries.

Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich

French Fries

The bread for the sandwich came from one of the fun neighbors I mentioned, Boulevard Bread Company.

I had the Praline Salad. It was full of praline pecans. The dressing was a spicy cumin vinaigrette and it was very yummy. The salad was served with “seasonal” fruit. So, yours might look different when you go.

Praline Salad

Dining indoors was a little cramped. We ended up on the side porch. There is also a front porch dining area as well as a small garden area. All were full!

porch dining

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at The Root. It felt very urban.

The food was really good. I loved the salad dressing on my salad. I stole a couple of Chip’s fries. They were quite tasty, too. I think next time, I will have a burger and sweet potato fries. I saw several being delivered to tables. They looked amazing.

Chip enjoyed the bread and the egg salad. However, being an egg salad connoisseurs, he was disappointed with the way the egg salad squished out of the bun. He recommends toast.

They had a display case full of lovely desserts. Sorry, no picture of the case. I did snap a shot of the HUGE Chocolate Chip Cookie we split.

Huge Chocolate Chip Cookie

After mowing down the cookie, we headed across the street to MOXY Modern Mercantile. It is a fun little shop with lots of unique gift items…

like this giant pencil!

Giant Pencil

 

The Root Cafe is a fun lunch date destination. Check it out!

Sometimes two are better than one!

Balsamic Beef with Kale and Edamame

I saw a Martha Stewart recipe that sounded interesting–Poached Egg with Rice and Edamame. However, I was not real sure how my family would react to green stuff with an egg.

Later, I stumbled upon a recipe for Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak. Having just picked up a flank steak on sale, this was perfect! Plus meat helps make up for the fact that there are vegetables on the plate!

So, I cut out parts of the Edamame recipe and pasted in the Flank Steak!

I left out the egg. Maybe I’ll try that another time.

I didn’t have red pepper flakes or purple cabbage, so I left them out, too. Everyone seemed okay with that. I think the pinch of red pepper flakes added with the garlic would be good. I did add some ground red pepper. I added what I thought was a little. It might have been just a little too much.

Edamame and Kale

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame beans, thawed
  • Coarse salt

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic–cook until you start to smell it, about 30 seconds. Add kale and cook, stirring until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add edamame and cook until heated all the way. Season with salt.

Balsamic Flank Steak

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound flank steak
  • salt and pepper

Mix marinade ingredients together and throw it all in a large ziplock bag. Add the steak. Allow the steak to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. You might give it a turn half-way through. Grill until it is cooked like you like. (Some folks prefer a little more pink than others.) Let the meat stand, covered loosely with foil, for about 10 minutes. Cut in thin strips against the grain.

I served it all over brown rice. I’m sure you could serve it without if you wanted. We all like brown rice!

Edamame and Kale with Balsamic Beef

The only issue I had with my frankein-recipe was that it was a little tricky to cut the meat on top of all the other stuff in the bowl. I managed okay though!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: The balsamic marinade on the flat-iron steak gets down into everything for a wonderful blend of flavors and textures.

Megan: I think this is my new favorite way to eat kale. It has just the right amount of kick to offset the green taste.

Katie: I must say, it’s not my favorite thing, but it wasn’t bad, either. It was a new and intriguing idea. I will certainly give it that!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 451 other followers