Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Random Fallness"

I love Fall...I've totally said that before, many times, but for me it is the culmination of comfort in every way..

Fall Decorating

I absolutely think these painted pumpkins are adorable..hmmmm!

 Even though my house doesn't look like this, I have the chair and other things that would definitely mimic this it, love it, love it..
Pumpkins and Mums, here I come...! 

How cute is this?

Simple yet earthy and warm...

So darn cute I can't stand it..
I'm soooo going to make these for my table or maybe my mantel..

Again, so simple, but so beautiful..

Fall Food
Quite possibly my very favorite part of comfort food..soups, stews, casseroles, baking!!!
These recipes are on my menu for this week..

1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (hot or mild), cut in 1/2" slices
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz. canned Italian-style tomatoes with liquid
42 oz. beef broth
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/4" slices
1 medium green pepper, seeded, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups shell noodles
Grated parmesan cheese
In large kettle, saute sausage until lightly browned. Drain and dicard fat. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are limp. Stir in tomatoes, breaking them up. Add broth, wine, and basil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add zucchini, green pepper, and parsley. Simmer for 15 minutes more. If you intend to serve and finish all of the soup in one sitting, add the 2 cups of shell noodles during that last fifteen minutes and cook until they are al dente. If we will have leftovers and want to reheat soup the next day, we cook the noodles separately (in broth, if you have any) and add them to the soup (the photo above is my bowl, to which he adds lots of noodles for me; Andy's bowl is more soup than noodles). I hate mushy, next-day noodles. If you don't (hate them), just add them to the soup the first night and simplify your life. Top with copious amount parmesan cheese.
Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta
kindly shared by

These flavorful short ribs perfectly illustrate how braised meat cooked on the bone can turn out succulent and tender enough to cut with a fork. The bones also enrich the braising liquid, which marries delectably with the cheese-laced creamy polenta. A bold-flavored Syrah or Zinfandel is ideal for the pot and the table.


  • 3 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 6 lbs. meaty, bone-in, individual-cut short ribs 
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 2 carrots, diced 
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped  
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour  
  • 2 cups hearty red wine  
  • 3 cups beef stock or broth  
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste 
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary   
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 1/3 cups quick-cooking polenta 
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving  


Preheat an oven to 325°F. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with 2 tsp. salt and the pepper. In batches to avoid crowding, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pot and heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Slowly stir in the wine, then the stock. Stir in the tomato paste, rosemary and bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pot. The short ribs should be barely covered with liquid. If not, add hot water as needed. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook, moving the position of the ribs every 45 minutes or so to be sure that they are covered with liquid and are cooking evenly, until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer the ribs to a deep serving platter (don’t worry if the meat separates from the bones), and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Let the cooking liquid stand for 5 minutes. Skim off the fat from the surface and discard. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring, until reduced by about one-fourth, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pot.

Just before serving, make the polenta: In a heavy saucepan, bring 3 cups water, the milk, and the remaining 2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking often, until the polenta is thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Divide the polenta among warmed deep serving bowls, top with the ribs and sauce and serve at once. Serves 6.

Variation: If you have leftover short ribs, you can easily turn them into a divine rag├╣. Simply remove the bones, shred the meat, stir it back into the sauce and reheat until warm. Toss with freshly cooked pappardelle. 

The Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup

The Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup
From Paula's Home Cooking
5 stars based on 23 Reviews
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Moderate


4   bay leaves
3   chicken bouillon cubes
1   onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Paula Deen Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3   cloves garlic, minced
1   2 1/2 to 3-pound fryer (chicken), cut up
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 1/2 quart water
kosher salt and pepper to taste
For Step 2:
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Paula Deen Seasoned Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
crusty french bread, for serving


For the stock: add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside. 
For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Add Parmesan and cream, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper. Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French bread.
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen

Chicago Style Chicken Vesurio
What a wonderful Sunday Dinner...with a veggie filled salad,  wonderful crusty bread to sop up the juices and HEAVEN!!!

thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

This recipe is one of the more classic ways to make Chicken Vesuvio, and is adapted from Harry Caray's Restaurant, Chicago
INGREDIENT'S :** One Bone In Whole Chicken
** Potato Wedges, about 4 Russet or 6 smaller Red
** Equal Parts White Wine and Chicken Stock 1 1/2 Cups each
** 10 to 12 Whole Garlic Cloves
** Frozen Peas
1. Season your chicken pieces on both sides with salt, pepper, dried oregano and granulated
2. Take a large heavy skillet, coat with olive oil, and brown your potato wedge's and chicken
pieces till nicely browned, then remove and place in a roasting pan.
3. Now throw in all your garlic cloves in the skillet and cook till golden.
4. Deglaze your pan with the wine, I used Pinot Grigio, and add your chicken broth.
5. After it cooks down for a couple minutes pour everything into the roasting pan with the
chicken and potatoes. The last 15 minutes throw in some frozen pea's.
6. Bake at 375F till chicken is cooked through, about an hour and 15 min's.

Make sure you smear that soft sweet garlic all over your chicken as you're eating this!

Buon Appetito

And Fall cannot be lived without several of these..
on my way to Greenbluff today to get some!!!!

And we can't possibly leave out
Fall Clothes

I love this look, but these boots are sooo not me! 

These boots are ME!

And of course the other boots up above except the tall 
fancy ones, like I said, I would break my neck 
and everything else I'm afraid..
At my age "low to the ground" is major!! 

My bag choices for this fall..hoping to find similar 
looks at the thrift stores...
I just know these are spendy, spendy!!

Enjoy your day wherever you may be..
May it be filled with faith,
May it be filled gratitude,
and may the smell of apple cider, the crispness of the air
and the changing of the leaves 
fill your heart with Thanksgiving..

Blessings Always,


  1. I love the fall too... and those recipes will have to go on my "to-try" list! Especially the braised short ribs... I just them those!

  2. Love all your fall-ness, Valerie! This time of year inspires me, too :) And the recipes - yuuummm!

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment you left on my blog today! Like Mikal ~ I will have to try these recipes since I am in full blown fall mode!

  4. Came back to post about your Brave Girl's comment on my blog and realized I have a typo above! Man, I hate when that happens! :) I meant that I LOVE braised short ribs! LOL

    I'm doing Soul Restoration 2 right now, and am so excited about it. I hope that one day you do get to go to camp. I tell every woman I know that it will truly be the BEST gift you give yourself!

    Hugs to you!!