My Fall Prep Plans

mama's mac and cheeseIt’s difficult to think fall when the weather doesn’t agree. Days this week have been in the upper 90’s and low 100’s here in Wine Country. But it’s still not deterring me from preparing my home and heart for the inevitable cool and wonderful fall weather that’s surely on its way.

Here are some of the things I’m doing this weekend to prepare myself and my home for fall:

Prep the Garden: Time to cut back the blackberry vines from the back yard and the grape vines from the pergola. I’ll be picking the rest of the Granny Smith apples from the tree and pulling out the apple cobbler recipe from my recipe box. I’ll also be cutting dead flower heads from the rose and daisy bushes and sweeping the fallen leaves from the front porch.

Prep the Home: Time to pull out the calking gun and the touchup paint to reseal a couple of trouble spots around the outside of our house. Replace the worn weather stripping around the doors and windows. Remove and clean the furnace air filter, and vacuum all the heater vents so that first blast of winter heat doesn’t come with a cloud of pet hair.

Prep the Wardrobe: Since this is California, there isn’t a whole lot of prep in this area. But I do need to take my sweaters and coats down from the baskets on the top shelf of the closet and replace them with my sun dresses, shorts and flip-flops.

Prep the Kitchen: Time to stock up on all the winter baking staples in the pantry; flour, shortening, all of the sugars, vanilla, cocoa powder, yeast, etc. Gather all my favorite fall recipes together. Here’s a favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe that has everyone in my house wanting more:

Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 2 big pinches ground nutmeg
• 2 big pinches freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups shredded white or yellow cheddar cheese
(8 ounces)
• 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 pound elbow macaroni

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for a minute. Add milk. Cook until the mixture is smooth, thickened and gently bubbling, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the nutmeg and pepper. Stir several times, then add the cheeses. Stir until smooth. Cover the saucepan with the lid to keep the sauce warm and set it aside. Add the drained macaroni to the cheese sauce. Stir until well. Spoon into baking dish and brown under the broiler for a couple minutes. Serves 4.

Those are my Fall Prep Tips for the week! What are yours? Leave a comment!

A few more thoughts on fall:
   • Cozy Thoughts of Fall
   • My Fall List of Cozy Cooking
   • The Joys of Fall

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