Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Musings

It’s officially fall, which is probably my favorite time of the year. The leaves are starting to show their seasonal colors. The cooler air is so pleasant after the heat and humidity of the summer, the colors get brighter and it’s time for wonderful fall foods. Festivals are continuing, and I’ve seen signs advertising upcoming Christmas events, in addition to the usual Halloween Haunted Houses.

Now I’ll be bringing out the warmer clothing and putting away the summer things. Those pretty sweaters have just been waiting for me!

Do you decorate for Halloween? Or just fall? I haven’t decorated for Halloween since our children were small – just go straight into fall with all the beautiful flowers and leaves in shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Those decorations will take me through Thanksgiving. It’s such fun to do the floral arrangements and put out all the artificial pumpkins and scarecrows. And the crochet refrigerator magnets made many years ago – the witch is my youngest son’s favorite! :-)

I think everyone is ready for all the usual fall/winter foods – soups, chili, more hearty foods. This soup is one I’ve made countless times, and it’s always different depending on what I have on hand. I keep small bowls of leftover vegetables in the freezer just for soup. And I’ll clean out the refrigerator – we sometimes call it “Clean Out the Refrigerator Soup”. It does freeze well, but the potatoes could be removed before freezing because they tend to get soft.

SHARON’S VEGGIE SOUP

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 46-oz. can tomato juice

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 medium onion, diced

any combination of vegetables you’d like (carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, corn, green beans, peas, etc. – no broccoli, cauliflower or beets)

1 16-oz. can great northern or other type beans (optional)

1/2 cup quick-cooking barley, rice or small pasta (optional – add during last hour of cooking)

salt

freshly-ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Combine and simmer for several hours – the longer the better. Remove bay leaf before serving. Delicious with crusty bread or spooned over cornbread.

Today is such a beautiful day that I think I’ll take a walk now. I hope you all enjoy your day and your week!

As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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