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during our first weekend of my favorite season, our cookbook club met up again for our fall feast. the food was filled with warm, autumn flavors. our menu included: roasted pumpkin & garlic soup, warm cheese & italian bread, fall salads, carrot soufflé, corn bread pudding, fall sangria & ciders, pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes, chai hot cocoa, hand dipped pretzels, and spicy mixed nuts.

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our last get together was filled with heavier, yet delicious, main dishes. so, this time we decided to do several sides in order to enjoy each one, and get seconds (!!) without being filled up too quickly. everyone was able to have a bit of everything and it worked wonderfully. zoe made chai hot cocoa with whipped cream, along with white chocolate dipped & sprinkled pretzels. i made a roasted pumpkin & garlic soup with tarragon sour cream, and hot-and-spicy mixed nuts. the night was dark and cozy, and the conversations were full and rich. frank sinatra on, and plenty of candles lit… it was the perfect fall feast to share with friends.

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i sent jars of spicy mixed nuts home with some of the girls… which were so easy to make, and a wonderful addition for those who do not eat gluten. of course, the flavors can be altered with any type of seasoning and/or nut. i followed a recipe from a favorite cookbook of mine, and adapted it to fit our tastes. if you enjoy a spicy snack this is a fun one to have on hand this time of year.

HOT-AND-SPICY MIXED NUTS, adapted from the back in the day bakery cookbook

to make, you need:

2 T. unsalted butter
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground cloves
2 t. fine sea salt
approximately 1 lb. assorted, or your choice of, nuts

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Add spices and stir until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add mix of nuts and coat with butter/spice mixture. Stir and toast over low heat for approximately 8-10 minutes until nuts are toasted.  Remove nuts from the heat and spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool as much as you’d like and pop them in your mouth for a kick of spice!  enjoy!

xoo

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