‘Tis the season for get-togethers and good food

Published 8:42 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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Fall’s a good time to cozy up with friends.

The season’s a good one to clean your home and set out a bit of fall décor. The time’s now to prepare your yard for winter as well. Spruce up with new seasonal doormats, door wreaths, and house and garden flags. Invite friends over for a meal. When guests arrive – they’ll feel the love. And every minute of preparation will be worth it. Being ready for the upcoming holiday season is a bonus.

This past weekend, I reveled in doing what I enjoy – entertaining friends. On Saturday evening, we went to the High Point Theater to hear Suzy Boggus and Kathy Mattea perform – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Born and raised in Nashville, I’m a big fan of their music.

Guests spent the night at my home – giving me vibes of an old-fashioned slumber party. Sunday morning called for a big breakfast. In my mind, that’s the only kind of breakfast there should be– a big one. I served a spinach quiche with sugared bacon, a fresh fruit bowl with drizzled poppy seed dressing, Greek yogurt with granola, and a homemade bread basket: slices of zucchini raisin bread, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, a cinnamon apple coffee cake – plus rolled and cut cream biscuits. An assortment of citrus and berry jams was included with real butter. Guests left with full tummies.

We can never get enough of our fall favorites. Im looking for variety in food colors – oranges, yellows, greens, and reds – and all seasonal foods – different apples and squashes, pumpkins, nuts, dates, raisins, and figs. They’re as symbolic of autumn as the season’s vivid foliage.

So make it a point to gather friends at your place for appetizers or a meal – and step out to enjoy a concert. You won’t have to travel far to enjoy the arts. Keep it simple – take advantage of what’s close by. Our Davie County Arts Council and Brock Performing Arts Center have a wonderful “Season of Applause” concert series planned for fall, with a special Christmas concert scheduled for December. Check their website out for all offerings at daviearts.org.

Folks, I repeat this – nothing needs to be fancy, and no need to impress. Just good, simple foods are best – get the basics down – you’ll be on your way to being a great cook. Our old-fashioned favorites are still the most delicious – and simplest to prepare. A college professor once told me, “Anything worth doing – is worth overdoing.” That’s my motto – but you don’t have to make it yours.

Know that your gift of hospitality offers comfort to someone alone, lonely, or in need of friendship – possibly elderly or homebound. I hope you will extend your hands to lift up someone else this season. You might plant seeds of comfort that will take root in one’s adversity. Be hospitable, tender and comforting.

The book of Isaiah offers these comforting words, foretelling the coming of the suffering servant, Jesus Christ, and a new heaven and earth – a time when God’s people will be completely restored. In Isaiah 40:6-8, people are compared to flowers and grass that wither away.

“All men are like grass,

And all their glory is like the flowers of the field.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,

Because the breath of the Lord blows on them,

Surely the people are grass,

the grass withers and the flowers fall,

But the word of our God stands forever.”

In God’s word is where we find solutions, answers, and words that fulfill and sustain us. God’s word is unfailing. God’s word is eternal. Sometimes, that might be all we have. Like guests who leave my table – you will be full.   

He is enough.


2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup plain pumpkin

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup melted, salted butter

½ cup toasted chopped almonds

1 cup chocolate chips

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and pumpkin, and mix well. Beat in flour, soda, powder, spice, and salt while alternating with melted butter. Mix well. Fold in almonds and chocolate chips. Mix well. Bake in a muffin tin with muffin cups, filled ¾-full, in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes for regular-sized muffins. Bake 20 minutes for mini muffins. Turn out on rack for cooling. Best made a couple days before ready to serve.


3 beaten eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

2 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1 cup Wesson vegetable oil

3 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups peeled, grated zucchini

½ cup raisins

1 cup chopped pecans

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugars and mix well. Beat in flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt while alternating with oil and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in zucchini, raisins, and pecans. Mix well. Bake in two greased bread loaf pans in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until tests done.


1 lb. peeled, chopped apples

2 Tbsp. pure honey

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Dash of cinnamon

2 whole cloves

½ cup white wine

2 cups plain yogurt

In a saucepan, combine apples, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender. Drain apples and reserve juices. In a food processor, puree the apple mixture. Add reserved juices to mixture and allow to completely cool. When cool, stir in wine and yogurt, mixing well until smooth. Serve chilled or warmed. I like it chilled.


4 cups peeled, chopped apples

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/8th tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

¾ cup whole milk

2 Tbsp. salted butter

1 cup sugar

½ tsp. lemon extract

1 cup hot water

In bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread chopped apples. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and milk, and mix well. Evenly pour mixture over apples. In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, lemon extract, and hot water. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and pour over top of apples. Bake in a 350-degree oven, while frequently basting, for 55-60 minutes or until browned.


6 lg. Granny Smith apples

2 sm. butternut squash

6 cups water

4 tsp. sugar

Pinch of ground cloves

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground white pepper

2 tsp. curry powder

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Peel, core, quarter, and cube apples. Cut squash lengthwise into halves. Scoop out seeds and fiber and discard. Cut in half again, peel, and cube. In a large saucepan, place cubed apples and squash, water, sugar, cloves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes or until squash and apples are starting to puree. In a processor, puree the mixture. Chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve, in a saucepan, add mixture, curry, and cream. Bring to a simmer. Season, to taste. If too thick, add water.


2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup mashed winter squash

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp. each cloves and cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1/3 cup Wesson vegetable oil

1 cup raisins

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add mashed squash and mix well. Beat in flour, baking powder, soda, ground cloves, cinnamon, and salt while alternating with oil. Mix well. Fold in raisins that have been soaked 5 minutes in a bit of water. Mix well. Bake in muffin tin with papers filled ¾-full in a 400-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until tests done.


3 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

15 oz. canned pumpkin

12 oz. evaporated milk

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

2 sticks melted, salted butter

2 cups chopped pecans


8 oz. softened cream cheese

8 oz. whipped topping

½ cup sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Evenly sprinkle cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Evenly drizzle melted butter over cake mix. Sprinkle pecan pieces evenly over the top of cake mix. Bake covered in foil in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake additional 20 minutes. Completely cool cake. When cool, top cake with frosting. For the frosting, in a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, whipped topping, and sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate. Serve from glass dish.


¼ lb. cooked, crumbled bacon

4 halved, seeded acorn squash

8 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup pure maple syrup

8 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

Cook bacon until browned. Drain on a paper towel. Drizzle each half squash with 1 Tbsp. of melted butter. Salt and pepper. Divide up and place crumbled bacon evenly in each cavity of halved squash. Bake on a greased cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. melted butter over squash halves. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve.


1 graham cracker pie crust

4 oz. softened cream cheese

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. whole milk

1 ½ cups thawed, frozen whip topping


1 cup whole milk

2 boxes (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding

15 oz. canned pumpkin

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ginger

¼ tsp. ground cloves

Prepare piecrust according to pkg. directions. In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and milk. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping and mix until smooth. Pour into prepared crust. For the filling, in a bowl, combine milk and instant pudding. Whisk for a few minutes to mix well. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and mix well. Evenly spoon this mixture over the cream cheese mixture in the pie. Refrigerate 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream and chopped pecans.


4 beaten eggs

3 cups sugar

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. soda

1 ½ tsp. each cinnamon, allspice

1 cup Wesson vegetable oil

2 cups canned pumpkin

2/3 cup water

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Beat in flour, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and allspice while alternating with vegetable oil. Mix well. Fold in pumpkin and water and mix well. Fold in walnuts and raisins, and mix well. Bake in two greased and floured 8 x 4 loaf pans or a tube pan. Fill loaf pans half full. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until tests done when a knife is inserted. Baking time will vary according to type of pan you use.


6 unpeeled bitter Seville oranges

2 lg. unpeeled sweet oranges

2 fresh lemons

2 quarts water

5 ½ cups sugar

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large saucepan, place unpeeled oranges, lemons, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 30 minutes or until fruit is very soft. Reserve the water, but with slotted spoon, lift fruit out of water and set aside. To the water, stir in sugar until dissolved. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. With peel still on, cut fruit into ¼-inch slices. Remove seeds and place seeds with the nuts in a cheesecloth bag that is securely closed. Cut fruit slices into ¼-inch chunks. Return the fruit and cheesecloth bag to the saucepan. Simmer for 25 minutes while occasionally stirring until thickened. When thick, remove and discard cheesecloth bag. Pour marmalade into canning jars and seal. Refrigerate after opening.


1 cup softened, salted butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. each baking soda and powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 juiced orange and grated rind


1 cup confectioners sugar

Whole milk

Large granule decorator sugar

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in flour, soda, baking powder, and salt while alternating with buttermilk. Mix well. Fold in juice and grated rind of 1 orange; Mix well. Bake by dropped tsp. on a butter-greased cookie sheet in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes. For the glaze, in a bowl, mix confectioners sugar with milk to form glaze. Remove cookies from oven and cool on racks. When cool, glaze using a pastry brush, and sprinkle with large granulated decorator sugar. When glaze is set, store in cookie tins, separating layers with waxed paper.