Fresh Ideas for Fall
A Classy Glass
Host a celebration of historic proportions.This season, serve your holiday libations in Jefferson cups, stylish drinkware designed almost two centuries ago by Thomas Jefferson himself. A Jefferson cup can also be an elegant desk accessory; its curved bottom makes it a perfect container for paper clips. A sterling silver version will set you back hundreds of George Washingtons, but you can find a good-looking pewter cup for less than $25. If you don't spot them at your local home store or jeweler, visit the online shop at www.monticello.org.
Roasted Winter Squash
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut 1 (2- to 3-lb.) butternut squash, 1 (2- to 3-lb.) spaghetti squash, and 1 (1- to 2-lb.) acorn squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides up, on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Microwave ¼ cup butter and 2 Tbsp. honey at HIGH 1 minute or until melted; stir until blended. Brush cut sides of squash with butter mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until tender; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into large pieces and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hr., Stand: 10 min.
Roasted Acorn Squash: Omit butternut and spaghetti squash. Cut acorn squash in half; remove and discard seeds. Cut squash into 1⁄2-inch slices. Proceed with recipe as directed, decreasing bake time to 45 minutes or until tender. Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired. Makes 4 servings. Prep: 10 min., Bake: 45 min.
Don't just think indoors when it comes to decorating. You can show a sense of style outside as well. One of our resident garden gurus showed us how to make this arrangement. First he placed florist foam in the center of an old hanging basket. Then he simply pressed clippings of aucuba and berries from nandina and privet into the foam. For a finishing touch, he spray-painted dogwood branches a bright red and used them to add a little drama and height.
Honor America's ultimate home by trimming your tree with the 2008 White House Christmas ornament. The design commemorates 23rd President Benjamin Harrison and the first documented tree to decorate the White House. The cost is only $16.95. To order visit www.whitehousehistory.org, and click 2008 Ornament, or call 1-800-555-2451.
Who says you can't have fresh-tasting bread in 20 minutes flat? Wow the whole family with "Mom's secret recipe" tonight.
Easy Garlic Rolls
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut 4 artisan rolls in half horizontally. Melt 1⁄2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Brush butter mixture on cut sides of bread. Place bread, cut sides up, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 2 min., Bake: 8 min.
Note: We used Chicago hard rolls from Publix. You could also use French bread rolls, a sliced French bread baguette, or any other small rolls from your grocery store.
Talk About Easy
Take Advantage of the sculptural form of winter trees to create an arrangement that doesn't even need water. First clip a few branches that catch your eye. (We love winged elm, but you can also try sweet gum, American beech, cottonwood, or crepe myrtle.) Then fill a clear glass vase with small apples to anchor the branches. A work of art--right from your own backyard.
A bed never looks finished without a headboard. But what to do if space dictates that you angle your bed into a corner? Try a screen. We had this one made to look like antique shutters and painted to match the bed linens. It's casual, contemporary, and simply neat.
Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave 10 bacon slices, in batches, between paper towels, at HIGH for 11⁄2 minutes. Cut slices in half crosswise. Cut 10 Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Wrap 1 bacon piece around each Brussels sprout half; secure with a wooden pick. Place sprouts, cut sides down, on a lightly greased wire rack on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with pepper to taste. Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until bacon is crisp and Brussels sprouts are tender. Serve with Creamy Mustard Sauce, if desired. Makes about 6 to 8 appetizer servings. Prep: 15 min., Bake: 25 min.
Creamy Mustard Sauce: Stir together 1⁄2 cup sour cream, 2 tsp. whole grain mustard, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Makes 1⁄2 cup. Prep: 5 min.
Decorate With Ease
The turkey's on, guests are about to arrive, and your table is bare. No worries. Even if all you have is five minutes, we have a nifty decorating idea for your Thanksgiving entertaining. The theme is "back to nature." Start with a baguette bowl or long, narrow tray. Cover it with colorful fall leaves, and then top it with pear-shaped candles interspersed with real pears.
Note: We used Vance Kitira candles.