Even though it was close to 80 degrees today, I still celebrated my Labor Day by getting ready for Fall. I have been resisting buying mums and pulling out my autumn decor for weeks but since it is September AND after Labor Day (starting tomorrow at least), I figured why fight the urge anymore. So, here is my festive Fall front door. I got these hearty mums for only $8 each at the community college I work for. Aren't they gorgeous?
And of course, I had to bring out my Harvest sign.
And since I was already working on the front door, I figured I might as well decorate our entryway too. I call this my "Hobby Lobby Foyer".
After my little morning of decorating, I did a little grocery shopping and treated myself to one of my FAVORITE Fall threats...the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yummy Yum Yum. This, of course, put me in the mood for some fall-like cooking. So I rummaged through my recipes and cookbooks and found two delicious recipes to try for dinner. For our main course, we had:
Sweet Autumn Pork Chops
I am usually not a huge fan of pork chops, but I have to say...these were delicious! Eric is a big sweet potato fan so he was all for giving this recipe a try. And, it was a very kid friendly dish. Addison was all about the sweet potatoes and apples...she didn't realize she was getting some pork in there too :-) This recipe is from my "Tastes of Autumn" cookbook by Gooseberry Patch. Here it is in case you want to try it for yourself :-)
3/4 c. apple juice, divided
6 T. maple syrup, divided
4 boneless pork shops
1-1/2 t. cinnamon, divided
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Bosc pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and thinly sliced
Combine 1/2 cup apple juice and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a plastic bag. Add pork chops and turn to coat; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Mix one teaspoon cinnamon, garlic powder and pepper in a cup. Remove pork chops from bag and dust with spice mixture; set aside. Heat oil, 2 tablespoons apple juice and remaining maple syrup in a large oven-safe skillet. Add vegetables and fruits; sprinkle with remaining cinnamon. Saute over medium heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is soft and mixture is caramelized. Halfway through cooking time, add remaining apple juice if mixture seems dry. Remove mixture form skillet; add pork chops to skillet and top with mixture. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, or until pork chops are cooked through. Serves 4.
Next up...my favorite part of any meal...dessert!
Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches
This is a recipe I sort of adapted myself based on a few others. Most recipes call to make this with a whipped frosting center, but since it was warm out today, I used french vanilla ice cream instead. Eric thinks the cookies are fabulous by themselves too, but I prefer a little extra treat in the middle. Here is the recipe for the cookie:
18.5 oz. package spice cake mix
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. butter, softened
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, spice, pumpkin and butter. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Drop dough by generous tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until set and lightly golden around edges. Cool completely before making sandwiches.
Well...if all that doesn't get you in the mood for Fall...I don't know what will. Did any of you jump the gun and start setting out your autumn decor this weekend? Anyone else pick up a Pumpkin Spice latte and bake all afternoon? If so, I would love to hear some new recipes. I am a big fan of all things pumpkin and spice :-)