Flavors of Autumn – A Colorful Delight

Autumn is here! Well, if you are here in Southern California and it being 90 degrees outside, in the shade, it does not feel much like autumn but according to the ancient Celtics and the alignment at Stonehenge we have reached the Autumn Equinox. Outside Southern, “All Things Brown,” California we understand that autumn is very colorful. The four dishes in this blog are light, very tasty and quite colorful. Taking a look below you will see that the ingredients are few and very quick to prepare. With school underway, soccer and baseball games in full swing we find ourselves pressed for time and that means stopping on the way home to get fast food for dinner. Well, if you did stop and get those burgers … get on home and mix up a quick soup or salad that rounds out the meal. Each one of the following recipes uses prepared items (from Trader Joe’s, by the way) as a base and with my never- ending meddling I have enhanced the items into an elegant, gourmet dish that only took minutes to prepare. Enjoy and if you alter any of the recipes let me know what you did – I might wanted to steal it.

Savory Butternut Squash Soup


  • 2 Boxes of Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Cubes

    Savory Butternut Squash Soup
    Savory Butternut Squash Soup
  • ¼ cup Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and whisk together:

  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • ½ – 1 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Maple Syrup for roasting
  • 2 tbsp. reserve to add to soup

Add butternut squash cubes , olive oil, salt, spice, syrup Butter and toss. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden and soft. Turning over cubes half way through the time. Remove from oven and cool (by the way – any leftover roasted squash will work well!). Place squash in blender, add squash soup to cover. Puree and place in sauce pan with remaining soup. Add additional syrup, more if you like and Cider. Heat to a simmer. Ladle into bowls. Top with a tablespoon of sour cream, Greek Yogurt or Mascarpone. Top with pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds.

Hint: If you feel adventurous – Try adding a couple of tablespoons of Chutney when you puree the squash in the blender.


                                                                            Happy Harvest Salad

Happy Harvest Salad
Happy Harvest Salad


  • 1 Bag Harvest Salad (it’s a complete salad – Awesome!)
  • ½ cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Fuju Persimmon either sliced thinly or Julienne
  • ½ Bag of Red Spinach

Basic Salad: In a large bowl, toss together Harvest Salad (all the ingredients), Pomegranate Seeds, Julienne Persimmon and Red Spinach. Serve.

Hint: Feeling Fancy? Toss together Harvest Salad Greens (not the mini packets of Croutons and nuts) and Red Spinach and Salad Dressing. Arrange on individual plates with slices of persimmon. Top with Pomegranate seeds, croutons and nuts.   Now, here is the Kicker – Top with thin slices of either honey goat cheese or Trader Joe’s seasonal apple goat cheese.

Broccoli and Kale Slaw

Broccoli and Kale Slaw
Broccoli and Kale Slaw


  • 1 Bag Trader Joe’s Broccoli and Kale Slaw
  • ¼ cup Blue Cheese Crumble (if you like more – it’s okay!)
  • 1 Apple in thin Julienne or dice (Granny Smith or any slightly tart apple)

Toss together and that’s about it! Great with Red Meats or any sandwich with BBQ sauce

… and for a little fun.

Fall Fantasy Meatballs


  • 2 Bottles Trader Joe’s Carolina BBQ Sauce
  • 1 Jar of Pumpkin Butter
  • 1 Bag Trader Joe’s Meatballs… We’re using party Meatballs but it’s your choice

Mix together in sauce pan. Heat until hot. Place in Crock Pot – set on low or warm – It’s a PARTY!

All of these recipes, except for the Fall Fantasy Meatballs were created within 30 minutes as a presentation to the Simi Valley New In Town Club.

Flavors of Autumn Display
Flavors of Autumn Display
Simi Valley New In Town Club
Simi Valley New In Town Club


It seems like everything gets started with the Greeks and the Romans.  They began eating mixed greens with dressing.  The word “Salad” comes from the French Salade , which comes from the Latin, salata (salty), from sal (salt).  Salt is associated with salad because vegetables were seasoned with brine or salty oil and vinegar dressing.  English began using “salad” during the 14 century. Salads began to be come popular in the United States in the mid 19th century around the time of the Civil War and it was not until the mid 20th century that salads began to appear the China,  and Japan.

There are five types of salads:

  • Green Salad – composed of leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach or arugula
  • Vegetable salad – use of vegetables other than greens, i.e., cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes onions carrots, etc.
  • Bound Salad – can be composed or tossed and put in a bowl and mixed with a thick dressing i.e. tuna salad, pastas salad, egg salad.
  • Main Course Salads- the proverbial dinner salads served as a main entrée (Cobb salad, Caesar salad, Greek salad)
  • Dessert Salads rarely composed of leafy greens and often sweet ( jello salad, ambrosia)



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