While strolling through the garden this evening, I noticed that the flower beds are beginning to take on the hues of late-summer blooms like deep red dahlias, orange gladiolas, rust-colored mums and golden sunflowers. It’s a sure sign that autumn is not far off.
To be honest, I’ve never been one who looks forward to the change of seasons – mainly because, here in Minnesota, a couple of weeks of crisp, beautiful weather and brilliant foliage are immediately followed by seven months of unrelenting C-O-L-D.
The one redeeming feature of this time of year for me is that we can begin to look forward to setting aside the summer’s salads and fortifying ourselves with hearty, flavorful foods. As my mom always says, “If you have to face sub-zero windchill, you better have something warm in your stomach.” Mother knows best!
So in August, I anticipate Tastefully Simple’s Fall-Winter catalog with the same eagerness I greet seed catalogs in the spring. I LOVE perusing the pages of beautifully photographed, absolutely irresistible new products and making up a list of which ones I’ll try first.
Here’s my personal top 5 picks – the foods I’m most excited to get into my hot, little hands:
Cheesy Pizza Warm Dip Mix. They had me at “cheesy.” This super-simple dip mix promises all the melty, rustic goodness of a brick-oven pizza in a luscious dip. Just mix with cream cheese and mozzarella and pop into the microwave. Seriously, there is nothing about this idea that I don’t love. Do they sell it by the case?
Pomegranate Plum Ancho Sauce. This one scared me a little for a minute; I assumed “Ancho” was short for anchovies. In my book, minnows are for fishin’, not for eatin’. Then I learned (thanks, Google!) that Anchos are actually a variety of fairly mild, slightly sweet chili pepper, and I was intrigued. I’m betting this luscious sauce, with additional flavors of pomegranate, plums, apple cider vinegar and garlic, is going to be AMAZING on pork roast.
Southwest Slow-Cooker Sauce Mix. I’m a big fan of the slow cooker. My old pot isn’t pretty, but it still makes magic when I toss in some meat and flavor it with a distinctive sauce like this one. Who’s up for taco night at my place?
Pumpkin Bread & Maple Glaze Mix. I KNOW I’m going to love this one, because it’s a returning favorite. The moist, autumn-spiced pumpkin bread is delectable by itself. But add a drizzle of sweet, maple glaze? Ka-pow! Over the top delicious.
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bar Mix. Okay, may have licked the photo of these in the catalog. That’s how irresistibly scrumptious they look. So dark. So rich. So creamy. For this kind of delicious, I’m positively looking forward to a loooong, cold winter with nothing to do but bake up batch after batch.
Actually, there’s a slight nip in the air already tonight. Maybe I better get started on that whole “fortifying” routine early this year …
Tastefully Simple’s Fall-Winter catalog is available August 10. Visit tastefullysimple.com to see what’s new and discover your own must-haves!