Monday, October 05, 2009

Autumn in Avonlea

I don't know why, but every Fall - I just get the itch to watch Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea! This year hasn't been any different!

But, I was torn about how to do my Avonlea gathering this year. Nothing was feeling like the right fit as far as getting together. I thought through a zillion different ideas and here is what eventually ended up working out!

Oh, and I want to tell you about this great book I received as a review copy:

Now, most of you know we don't do Halloween here - but I was still interested in reviewing this book because I'm a fan of Country Living magazine and I figured there would be lots of fun Fall ideas inside! If you skip the Halloween stuff, there are still lots of wonderful Fall ideas and the Fall recipes are worth the book alone!

And, even though I won't ever use the stencil on the front of the book ~ I think that is a seriously creative cover!

Now, back to Avonlea! My friend, Melissa, and I got together to watch the first movie. A yummy dinner menu was planned and packed in brown kraft boxes. The brown boxes were a Michael's find (0.89 each) and I stamped them and added the ribbon. The paper cones are made out of scrapbook paper and then berries from our yard were wrapped in a plastic baggie with water in it to keep them fresh. A small pumpkin pod glued on was a cute extra touch!

Pumpkin Bisque
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple Butter
Chicken Salad with cranberries and sugared pecans; crackers
Golden Pumpkin Cake with Honey and Spice Buttercream
Hot Tea

I attempted to make caramel apples for a fun treat as well - but after two tries, I gave up. The caramel never set up, it kept running off of the apples. I'll try again some other time, I hope!

Our meal was very yummy! I think my favorite thing that night was the biscuits with maple butter! It was a fun evening enjoying yummy Fall food, a charming cozy movie and a good friend!

For the second movie, we decided it would be fun to do all together in Colorado! It was so fun to be able to do something like this with my mom and Carrie since we don't usually get to attend each others' fun little things like this. I packed the brown boxes and paper cones flat in my suitcase and the rest happened after I got there!

Since we were watching the movie after bedtimes, we decided to watch it in two nights. So, we got to pick out a couple of extra goodies to try from the book.

For the first night, we decided on:

Sparkling Spiced Cranberry Punch
Fall Cake Doughnuts with Cream-Cheese Pumpkin Icing
Maple Popcorn

The second night, we made the Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple Butter again.

The doughnuts were a b-i-g hit! They were a bit of extra work - but after we tasted them, I'd say they were definitely worth it! I should also mention, that we were challenged by the canned pumpkin shortage! My friend, Melissa, had a can in her pantry which got us through the first menu.

In Colorado, we couldn't find any and I had looked multiple stores near me as well. So, we went with baby food sweet potatoes for all the recipes in CO.

Want to try one of our favorites? Here are a couple of recipes for you to enjoy!

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Maple Butter

2 1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, chilled
1/4 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 425. Sift the flour, baking powder, allspice, cloves and salt in a large bowl. Blend in brown sugar. Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes and knead just until the dough holds together.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently for about 1 minute adding extra flour as necessary. Cover with a clean tea towel and let dough rest for 10-15 minutes.

Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into desired shape. Repeat for all of the dough.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet and brush tops with milk. Bake about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 18 biscuits.

** Note: having tried this with both mashed and pureed sweet potatoes, I thought they tasted a lot better with the fresh potatoes that had been mashed.

Maple Butter

1 cup butter, softened (note: I tried this with butter and with margarine ~ margarine does not work! It won't incorporate the syrup as well - but with butter it was delicious)
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I did not use this)

Beat butter and syrup together until combined. Press onto a waxed-paper lined baking sheet and cover with another sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Press with a rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick. Chill until hardened. Cut butter into desired shape.

Fall Cake Doughnuts with Cream-Cheese Pumpkin Frosting

3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 c. melted butter or margarine
oil for frying the doughnuts

Combine all of the above ingredients except for the oil in a bowl. Cover and chill for at least one hour.

On a floured surface, roll out dough (I had to add a LOT of extra flour!) and cut with desired cutter. We used a biscuit cutter with the donut hole attachment on.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 inches vegetable oil to 370. Fry doughnuts and holes, a few at a time, turning often, 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Beat 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. softened butter and 2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree (we used sweet potato) with 2 c. powdered sugar, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. vanilla until light and creamy. Spread on donuts!

This is such a fun Fall tradition!
Do you have a special Fall tradition that you try and recreate each year?


Bonnie said...

I LOVE the Anne movie's, and nearly have them memorized, they are one of the few that I can say even though they are definitely *based* on the books and don't follow them very closely, they are just as good.
Your Avonlea parties always look like so much fun!

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

We just had a ladies sleepover, with our small group, at church, this past weekend. OF COURSE - Anne of Green Gables was invited!! :)
Uhmmm, we should consider the themed Avonlea party ideas, though. That would be so fun.

Leanne said...

We take our family pictures in the fall leaves. I now have a collection starting with the first one when Christopher was only 10 months old! I decorated for Fall the day after Labor Day! I was ready for it to come!

Melissa said...

Thank you for a wonderful night in Avonlea! It felt like fall in my family room...cozy! The sweet potato biscuits were my favorite, and the maple butter enhanced the flavor!!! It's so fun to try new recipes with a dear friend!!!

*carrie* said...


Thank you for all your effort in planning these fun gatherings. I'm glad I got to attend! Love you, me

Wendi said...

Looks like fun!

We go on a mini-vacation each Fall. We stay at the same hotel and attend my family reunion. It is so much fun and a great way to re-charge. We are actually leaving on Thursday. Yeah!

Anissa said...

Monica, how I wish we could enjoy our old tradition -- watching the Wizard of Oz together around Thanksgiving. I am sure we only did this maybe once or twice, but it sure stuck in my memory. Probably because I thought it was cool you lived in Kansas back then!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing those lovely recipes! I will definately be making those biscuits for our Thanksgiving family dinner. What a fun way to enjoy Anne's Avonlea...We go to PEI every other summer, and visiting Anne's land never gets tiresome. LOVE it!

A JoyFilled Life said...

What fun! I'm going to have to give some thought to a creative "Little Women" night this winter!

A JoyFilled Life said...

You have inspired me! I think I'll plan a "Little Women" evening retreat this winter, with my little women :)

Carrie said...

Oooh...that all looks and sounds so fabulous.

Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book series in the world. I am actually hosting a giveaway of the Anne of Green Gables Treasury on my site (contest just opened this morning) and I think it something that you would LOVE to do with your girls.

As always, I love your creativity and I would imagine this book would inspire you.

Montserrat said...

This is a fabulous idea! All six of my daughters love to watch Anne. We usually have two Anne marathons a year. I should do something similar with the boxes and dinner to make ti really special.

Brie said...

Those recipes sound yummy. I just made apple cider doughnuts this weekend and ended up having to drop them in as small "fritters" because the dough was too sticky to cut. Sounds like I should have added more flour like you did to yours. I'll have to try that recipe too. Nothing like a warm homemade doughnut!

Beth Niquette said...

I loved Anne of Green Gables. I thought of myself as being like her. (grin) Imaginative child that I was, my mother agreed.

I loved your pictures, the recipes sound wonderful, and your photos made me hungry.

I'm off to bake!

Cassandra said...

What a great tradition! I love the Anne books and movies.

Jennie Shutt said...

"In Colorado, we couldn't find any and I had looked multiple stores near me as well."

That is odd because my family has had problems lately finding canned pumpkin here in Ohio. We were going to make pumpkin bread so we went to Kroger and bought the only 5 cans they had. When we went to buy more a week later they were still out and they didn't know when they would have any. This led us to 4 other stores in our area and found no canned pumpkin at any of them. We finally decided to buy a pumpkin to bake and froze the extra pumpkin.

Elise said...

I LOVE it!! I may have to do this one year, when I find a like-minded friend...
I am going to have to try those yummy looking recipes!!

Ginger said...

I am going to try the biscuits and the doughnuts!!!! They sound so yummy. I am so happy you had this wonderful time of memory-making with your mom and sister.

Kendra Fletcher said...

You do such lovely, inspiring things!

It might not have been your caramel; it might have been the wax on the apples if they're store-bought. You have to really scrub them to get it off sometimes.

Tim and Susan said...

What a cute idea...I love the little boxed lunches. I will have to remember that idea.

And I LOVE Country Living magazine too. I usually take a stack with me to Japan or have my mom send them to me.

Ruth said...

What great recipes. I need to get all the supplies and try those out. They look and sound great.

I love the idea for the kraft boxes. Country Living is one of my favorite magazines.


carriecaribou said...

What a great idea! I love the Anne movies and haven't watched them in several years! I love, love, love fall and fall-ish things (pumpkins, etc...) I hadn't heard about the pumpkin shortage...yikes! I think I have a can from last year...I'll have to save it for something really special! I love all your beautiful do you find the time?

Jenny said...

I love how you do this every year! Just today I was thinking I should pull these movies out again.

Anonymous said...

so cool! i wish i had been there! thoe doughnuts look yummy- i'm gonna give them a try.
gotta love anne!

Unknown said...

Those biscuits look so yummy! I am definitely going to try them! Thanks so much for the recipe :-)

Amy said...

Your meal looks delicious, just as it does every year. I will have to try those doughnuts! You girls all look so cute, Monica. I love traditions like these!

Devon said...

I LOVE the anne books and movies! What a great idea to have a little movie get together with some creative treats!

ParkerMama said...

Is there a place where I could find the spiced cranberry punch recipe?