exhilarating…

“ex-hil-a-rate: verb; to make cheerful and excited, to refresh, stimulate”

Fall sweet potatoes & pumpkin

Fresh wet grass.  Late summer produce.  The hum of school buses and the fast pace of schedules.  The glorious days of September that melt into cooler days of October.  Working regularly again.  All, completely exhilarating.  I find these days amazing, something to be so thankful for.  We are all busy bees running around through our days.  It’s amazing we find time for it all.  The truth is, we all have twenty four hours in a day, so prioritize & organize to help fit more in, and call that friend you have been thinking about.

This time of year I can barely keep up with the thoughts running through my mind.  Not in a stressful way, but more of the “kid in a candy store” mentality.  New menu’s, recipes, catering ideas, plans for the holidays, blogs, and more blogs.  I have learned to keep a notepad by my bedside table for the nights I wake up with an idea in my head.  Lucky for me I have my work to help me implement all of the ideas and events I look forward to.  Fall, for many reasons, is simply exhilarating.  So without further “mom-o-logue”, here are my top six favorite things (in no particular order) about Fall in the South, particularly Winston-Salem:

The fair, the Dixie Classic Fair.  This is like a symphony of  the senses, so take your pick and add some to the list!  The aroma of kettle corn and cotton candy; grilled onions and sausage; roasted corn and smoked turkey legs, smoldering fires in Yesterday Village.  The screams from the thrill of the rides, music, the buzzer of the games, the animals in the exhibit halls.  The irony of wanting to wear jeans and a jacket but the reality is that you will be sweating.  One of my favorite things during the last week of September/first week of October, is stepping outside at night to listen to the echo of the sounds of the fair bounce off neighborhood homes.  A taste of Dixie, a classic for sure.

Football & tailgates.  Living on Tobacco road has so many advantages.  Are you a Wolfpack, Tarheel, Deacon, or Blue Devil?  Perhaps you’re running toward other Southern end zones… Clemson Tigers, Game Cocks, Bull Dawgs, Terrier or Wild Cat.  Tailgates with fried chicken and friends, deviled eggs and kids running around, and pimiento cheese  and a cold beverage in hand, how could we ask to live in a place that could offer more?

Fires and fleeces.  Every year I feel like  broken record talking about how happy it makes me to put back on jeans and boots, and my old fleeces.  Key word, old fleeces.  Yes, I have many new fleeces, but my favorites are the old school Patagonias.  Black vest, anyone?  I think mine will make it another season.  Last year I had my boots completely reconditioned, so I am good to go there.  And fires, real fires.  The crackle and pop of wood burning, building a fire in the fireplace or fire pit outside, that can not be replaced.  Fat wood, folded newspaper and good dry wood, it’s the simple things in life, right?

Holidays.   Take your pick!  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, which is technically winter but we start thinking about it now.  Decorating, shopping, , buying tricks & treats, dressing up, planning menu’s and celebrating with family and friends.  Children out of school, excitement, days off, travel.  Can life get any better than this?

Old Salem.  Truly a step back in time and one of my favorite places.  My mom took me here often as a little girl, and I can remember a loaf of bread fresh out of the oven at Winkler Bakery, strolling through the gardens, Candle Teas, Love feasts and more.  Today, the Cobblestone Market on Saturdays lasts well into Fall, and so many amazing activities abound.  Often it is easy to forget to take advantage of the things in our own back yard, but a visit to T. Bagge merchant anytime will make you come back for more soon.  To find out more about upcoming events click here.  In the same category, Reynolda Gardens is bustling with activity at all of the merchants and fun food and beverage joints.  Pane e Vino, owned by the Dioli’s, is one of my favorites.  Just a walk around the property makes me proud to be from NC, and in particular a born and bred ‘Camel City gal’.

Fall Foods.  I’ll end on my strong point, and my passion.  Every change of season represents new foods, new flavors, ingredients of the season.  What’s your favorite?  Apples, kale, pumpkin, okra, sweet potatoes, fresh nuts, figs and persimmons.   And of course the start of oyster season and the end of shrimp season, gifts of the sea.  They sound so good simply listed together, which is no accident, as when we use what we are naturally given it all makes more sense.  Soup season begins, warming the heart and soul.  Comfort foods are back, new recipes making stories that have no end.

So thus the end of my thoughts on Fall, I hope it has brought a smile to all.  The changing of the seasons is a little gift from above, don’t let it go unopened.  Enjoy, the best of food and life, one season at a time.

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits…

a recipe for you, from me, to welcome Fall!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 heaping tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter

2 to 4 tablespoons milk (depending on the moisture of the potatoes)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate, large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and butter. Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and mix to make a soft dough. Then add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased pan and coat tops with melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes. (Watch your oven: If the biscuits are browning too fast, lower the temperature.)  Great served plain, or with honey butter.  I serve these delicious as ham biscuits, too!

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