Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Dinner & Fall Is In The Air...

It's Saturday afternoon and all my regular readers know what that means...Time for my Sunday Dinner meme. It's easy to participate--just leave a comment telling what your plans for Sunday Dinner include. Are you cooking? What's on the menu? Eating out? Where? What do you plan to order? Here in Arkansas, dinner is the noon meal, but tell me about whichever meal you prefer.

My plans? I'm going to bake a small ham, cook some pinto beans (like those to the left I cooked a little while back), and I think make some homemade macaroni and cheese and open up a couple of cans of corn. If something else takes my fancy I may add something else. Sometimes reading recipes on other blogs or your comments on here fling a cravin' on me and I have to change the menu. I may or may not make a sweet. Depends on what starts sounding good when I get in the pantry looking for the other stuff for Sunday Dinner.
It has been gloriously cooler here in Arkansas for the last week. Refreshingly cooler after the relentless heat of the Dog Days of August. Highs have been in the upper 70's and 80's, and lows in the 50's and 60's. The crushing humidity has been replaced with cooler, dryer air. I've had my windows open for several days now, but I think the windows will have to be shut and the air conditioning turned back on for the next few days. It's 89* right now and it's a little too warm for me, even with the dryer air. I'll have to cook shortly and it will be too hot without the AC on, plus it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow, then tornadoes and storms Sunday night, followed by much cooler weather again.

Fall is definitely in the air. I live in a very small rural town, about 1600 people, and farming is our lifeblood here. I live right in the center of town, less than a block away from the cotton gin. Through the open window I can hear the gin running, a sure sign that cotton picking time is not far off. This is a trial run to make sure the equipment is running properly, and some farmer may have already picked some of his cotton, trying to be the first to have that coveted first bale of cotton.

Already most gardens are about played out, with the exception of okra (or okree as we pronounce it around here) that is still producing, and pumpkins that are plump and orange, ready for fall decorating and making into pies and pumpkin bread, or fried pumpkin, an oldfashioned delicacy. Turnips, mustard greens, tender greens, spinach, collard greens and kale have been planted in place of the earlier produce in a lot of gardens and some are ready for picking now. My favorite is turnips and turnip greens, but in my opinion they're better after it frosts on them time or two. Frost is probably still several weeks away for us, but in the early mornings there's a chill in the air and you can almost smell frost in the air if you sniff just right. The air is pert' neart' crisp in the mornings now.

Another subtle sign that fall is not far away is all the flowers that have almost spent themselves blooming away all summer. My moss rose still has a few straggling flowers, but for the most part is done for the season. All those thousands of seeds they flung out with abandon this summer will snuggle down for the winter and pop up in some surprising places next spring. My fire engine red cannas have brown edges on the bright green leaves, foretelling the dull brown the first freeze will turn them. Formerly vivid green trees have touches of gold, orange, red and rust. Just a touch, but if you squint just right, fall is very near.

Just yesterday I got a faint whiff of something I hadn't smelled since last fall...burning leaves. Someone couldn't wait until they had a genuine PILE of leaves and had to burn a measly handful and jumpstart the season, I suppose. But leaf smoke is another sure sign of fall. Several people here in town have wood stoves and fireplaces and I can't wait until that first real cold snap and they light the first fires of the season. We had coal and wood heat all my life and oh! the sweet memories of home with Mama and Daddy that smell brings back....

Did you notice how my menus are changing with the weather? Lots of sandwiches and salads back during the hot weather, and now baked ham, mac and cheese and a big pot of pinto beans. Cooler weather just seems to call for warm comfort foods. Like chili, soups, stews, casseroles and one dish suppers. And I love hot dogs year round, but there's something special about a weinie roast in the fall. The smell of the wood smoke from the fire and that special smoky taste of the hot dogs, eaten outside in the fresh autumn air...Magic, I tell you! Not to mention the marshmallows, cooked just right. I say cooked, but what I mean is, toasty brown on the outside and gooey on the inside. And if it flames a little, so much the better. A perfect dessert for a weinie roast. Okay, now my mouth is literally watering for hot dogs and marshmallows and I still have to cook supper. Wait....I've got marshmallows and hot dogs both....there's tonight's menu, for sure!! Thanks for helping me decide, y'all. ;-)

Now I have to go get the ham out of the freezer, along with hot dog buns for the weinie roast, and it's almost 4 pm here. So, I'll wish everyone a great rest of the weekend. May you be blessed with all you need, and may you love and be loved.

Don't forget to leave me a comment with your plans for Sunday Dinner. :-)


Paulette said...

Man I love your writing. This is one of my favorites. You make life seem so pleasurable, fun and exciting.
All the things about Autumn are my favorite as well. Especially the cooking and different smells in the air.
Your ham and mac and cheese sound awesome. It really makes me want to have that for Sunday lunch, but after church tomorrow my daughter and I are going out to lunch with a friend, because my son will need to stay after church and do an activity with the youth. I will drop back by and say where we went in the afternoon.
Have a great weekend Diane.

Barb said...

I didn't realize I helped you decide on those weenies and marshmallows but you're welcome.


Remember that beef stew I said I was making today? And that bread in the bread machine? Complete change of plans here. I found two steaks hiding in my freezer and they're thawing as I write. I even found some potatoes in the garage fridge. Add some brussel sprouts and I'm calling that dinner tonight.

Oh wait. Shoot. You wanted to know about SUNDAY dinner. Remember that beef stew I told you I was making today? And that bread in the.....

It's barely 70 degrees here today. Sunny. Crispy. Windy. Wonderful.

I'm officially back into long sleeved tee shirts now. And can we have a moment of silence for my front porch petunias? They're in a great big old lawn and leaf bag next to the trash now. And the front porch is all cleaned up and looks, well, bare. Sigh.....

Have a great weekend, Diane. xoxoxo

Dick said...

I have no idea yet what dinner tomorrow will be, nor even what it will be tonight. It is nearly 15:00 and I am about to head over for my daily mocha & some reading. Maybe I'll just have a sandwich tonight & eat out tomorrow. I was intending to go to dinner last night at the Outback Steakhouse but their water heater had failed so they were shut down. I did get a coupon for a free Bloomin Onion. Maybe I'll go there tomorrow.

kansasrose said...

Beautiful post on fall's glories! My family went to Arkansas in Oct. 8 years ago for a little vacation and it was so lovely. I love that burning leaves smell too...and the woodsmoke. You know the simple joys in life are the BEST! That ham and beans sound so good! So does your homemade mac n cheese. Do you cook okra? "okree" My neighbor when I was a kid was an Okie and she made the best deep fried okree. I like it pickled up HOT too! I am planning on fixing a roast tomorrow slow cooked in the crockpot with carrots, onions, tomatoes, onion soup mix and potatoes. Then I ladel on that broth juice on the potatoes and it is so yummy. We raise a few head of cattle and they are grass fed and no crud filled shots are given them so the meat is fresh and lean and tasty. Maybe some bisquits with my catawba jelly. I'd like to make a plum crisp but can't find any descent plums in the store. They must not be in yet. Have ya ever made jelly with wild sand plums? Very tasty. Have a lovely Sunday.

Granny said...

Clam chowder I think. The girls have been asking for it and it's cooled down enough here that soup for supper sounds pretty good.

Hot dogs and marshmallows sound pretty good too though.

Have a great weekend.

RennyBA said...

I just love your posts and writings about everything going on in your life - thanks for sharing!
For Sunday dinner: well it is about fall time here and then it is lamb and carrot time. I guess you call it an Irish stew, but in Norway we call it Lamb in Carrot. Wish you and your family could come over and taste one day. Have a great end to your week:-)

Linda said...

I am not nearly the creative cook you are Diane. Every sunday evening we have steak, baked potatoes, mushrooms and a salad. I think we're in a rut!
I must admit to feeling jealous of all of you who are beginning to see and feel signs of fall. That's the one thing I do miss about living up north. About this time of year I have really had just about enough of summer thank you, but it's still in the nineties here in South Texas. One of these days the wind will pick up and we'll get an actual cold front that will drop the temperatures and dry out the air. Until then, I'll just have to experience fall vicariously. Thank you for the beautiful descriptions in your post. I can almost see the leaves turning and smell the smoke from the fireplaces.

Mountain Mama said...

Mmmmmm! Toasted marshmallows sounds so yummy right now. I used to let them burn black on the outside, but I like them best toasted golden all around and totally melted inside.
I don't believe any hotdog is as good as those roasted on a stick over a campfire.
Ok for Sunday dinner I plan to have a chicken salad. Lettuce, green pepper, sweet onion, radish, celery and fresh corn just cut off the cob. I slice some spiced up roasted chicken breast and dress it with either ranch or honey mustard dressing.
Maybe a slice of bread with it if I'm extra hungry.
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

I love the smell of burning leaves too! I know some people shut up the windows to keep their house from smelling like it, but I love it! Reading your Sunday post always makes me think I'm such a sloucher of a's football day, we're taking it a bit easy after a full day tomorrow, so it's frozen pizza and bag salad. Next Sunday, seriously hubby is out of town - again, so it'll be whatevers in the fridge if he gets my microwave fixed. At least I can read about real cooks, cooking. I do plan a pot of chili tomorrow night for Monday Night Football. cornbread on the side. Glad to hear Arkansas has finally cooled off a bit!

Sue said...

I don't feel fall in the air here yet!
We're having ham sandwiches, beefsteak tomatoes with fresh basil and a pasta salad!

PEA said...

Like you, I just love the smells of Autumn but mine don't seem as exciting as yours over there!! Not too many people have wood stoves and such over here but I do remember my gran having one and I loved the smell of it!! Our temps have certainly become cooler...lucky to even reach 70F these days! For dinner tonight we are having steak cooked on the barbecue, corn on the cob, carrots and potatoes from the garden...yummmm! Oh I LOVE roasted marshmallows...haven't had those in a while!!! Hugs xoxo

Dawn said...

Today I went to the grocery store at 6:00 a.m. because yesterday was too hectic to get there - except for the party fixins for my DIL's graduation party. She finished a second BA and we had a great family time. So today I rushed home from the store, put ribs and bbq sauce in the oven, a sweet potato (not yam) for a special treat for the DIL. I put those little frozen rolls in a pan and put them on top of the stove to rise during church. Then I rushed to church to play the organ for first service. So much for day of rest! After church, we rushed home for son and husband to eat quickly and head for the Broncos game vs. Kansas City. They got free tickets and have to sit among the enemy! But they'll have fun. Then the rest of the gang came from second service and we started over again. We also had baked potatoes, corn, and for desert the left over Black Forest cake from Angie's party yesterday. It's her favorite from her childhood in Africa and I had to order it special from the German bakery in town. All in all, fun but I'm ready for a nap and my kitchen looks like a tornado hit it. I wish I had a kitchen cleaning fairy to come in while I take a nap.

Have a great Sunday!

Diane - about your daughter. I work at a large university and I see things that are scary to a Christian parent's heart. I also occasionally see a couple of people sitting at their lunch table discussing the Word or a good Christian study book. It is so heartening. We'll keep Jessica in our prayers. She has a solid foundation. Today my son had a chance to share his story of deliverance from heroin with his large church family. What a thrill for him and for us as his family, to see what a chance God has made in his life. Praise Him!

Tammy said...

I ruined Sunday Supper
sad-walkin' Kentucky Gal...I tried a new recipe for Chicken Gumbo and burnt the roux enought that you could taste it through the whole pot...sobbbb....
I wish I had that pot of beans...they would go just right with my pone of corn bread I made!!

Paulette said...

We had an unexpected dinner invitation for lunch after church today. My friends Parents asked us over, and she had made steak in rich brown gravy and mushrooms. Homemade garlic mashed potatoes, greenbeans, corn, homemade rolls, Salad, and cheesecake with fresh strawberries, and coffee. Man I was in yummo heaven. It was so delicious.
What was more wonderful, was the sweet invitation.

Brenda said...

We went to Red Lobster after church, but your dinner sounds sooo good. I really ought to cook more.

Saturday, we took the kids out to a friend's farm and let them fish in the pond. I took some pictures of the first signs of fall. We've been enjoying cooler weather here, too, and the leaves are beginning to change. Fall is my favorite season because of all the colors. Hopefully I'll have the film developed soon so I can post the pictures.

Yasser Rahman said...

Im back online and I see youve got lot of new blogs on I slept through the day on sunday..didnt really get anything to eat :)Had plans of cooking some fish...but I didnt even wake up to get the fish out of the freezer! LOL

green eyed girl on planet earth said...


Kristen said...

Well, I'm a little late for this (I typically don't blog on the weekends), but usually on Sunday, my family eats at my mom and dad's house, so whatever is on her menu is what we eat. This week it was bbq ribs. :-)

Thanks for commenting on my blog for my 125th post! I reached my goal of 125 comments! I hope you'll come back and see me again sometime soon! ;-)