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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Comfort Foods For The Seasonal Interlude

By Sherrie Norris

By the time you read this column, you’ve likely begun your Thanksgiving meal preparation, or like many of us, you didn’t have an extra minute to spend reading one more recipe before you started cooking the big bird, You may already be contemplating what to do with the leftovers in the days to come, and once those are cleared away, you need a few days to refresh and refuel.

Late autumn air in the mountains has been known to become quite nippy as the seasons transition. The forecast for the coming week is no exception. Along with cooler temperatures and a hint of winter comes the craving for warm comfort foods. So, if you’re  looking for a way to take the chill off and heat up from the inside out, you may want to try some of these seasonal treats.

Simple Hot Apple Cider

1 qt. prepared cider

½ cup brown sugar

½ Tbsp. whole cloves

1 small cinnamon stick

1/8 tsp. salt

Mix together and simmer 20-30 minutes. Sip slowly for just the right effect.


Autumn Vegetable Sandwich

2 slices of specialty bread, toasted

1 Tbsp. horseradish

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 baby beet, roasted and sliced

Few leaves of arugula

1 slice of red onion

2 slices fresh mozzarella

Spread horseradish onto one of the slices of toast. Spread mustard onto other piece. Arrange beets, onions and mozzarella onto one piece of toast. Top with some arugula and remaining toast.

Great served with a cup of potato soup. 

(If you’ve got a Panini press, now is the time to use it!)


Easy Potato Soup

2½ cup boiling water

4 cups thinly sliced raw potatoes

½ cup finely chopped onion

3 cups milk

2 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and onions. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Mash potatoes slightly with a fork to thicken the soup. Add milk, butter and seasonings. Heat.


Simple Apple Dumplings

1 (10 oz.) can refrigerator biscuits

5 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1½ cups sugar

1½ cups water

½ cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. cinnamon

Roll each biscuit into large circle. Cut in half. Place 1 apple quarter on each piece of dough. Moisten edges and bring to center, pinch and seal. Place dumplings in casserole dish.

Combine sugar and other ingredients; bring to boil. Pour over dumplings. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Baste frequently.


Pumpkin Walnut Bread

1/3 cup butter, softened

11/3 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup water

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. cloves

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup chopped raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light; set aside. In another mixing bowl combine eggs, water and pumpkin; mix well. Add creamed butter mixture; blend thoroughly.

Sift dry ingredients together into a separate bowl. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time to pumpkin mixture, stirring well after each addition. Mix in walnuts and raisins. Bake pumpkin bread in greased loaf pan for 55 to 60 minutes.