A Halloween Love Story


A Halloween Love Story

I recently attended the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. During the course of the weekend, there was an “on the spot” contest for best flash fiction (super short fiction written on the back of an index card). The contest was based on the following prompt: A great way to get my…

Apparently my piece was somewhat of a dud, and I didn’t win. But I liked what I wrote, so I’m sharing it with you. Plus it’s about candy. What better time to talk about candy than Halloween?


Milk Duds Love Story by Talya Tate Boerner

❤ ❤ ❤’ Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

Spooky, Classics IV

Happy Halloween!

Butternut Squash Apple Bisque

Butternut Squash Apple Bisque

Butternut squash is as popular this time of year as pumpkin spice everything. Am I right? And if you love butternut squash bisque as much as I do, you are gonna be happyhappyhappy about the deliciousness I have for you today. The only thing better would be a real live taste, which sadly I can’t provide via my blog. WordPress needs a plug-in for taste samples.

Look at these perfect fall ingredients. Simple. Flavorful. Two kinds of onions and that’s a good thing.

Butternut Squash Apple Bisque Ingredients - Fresh and Flavorful

The recipe, originally a Williams-Sonoma dish, is easy too. I tweaked it a bit.

Here’s a picture of fall literally simmering in my favorite copper pot.  (Note to #Wordpress: a smell plugin would be ideal here.)

Butternut Squash Apple Bisque simmering in a pot

There is magic in the immersion blender. If you don’t have one, get one. It will turn chunky soft vegetables into creamy smoothness.

squash apple bisque

Butternut Squash Apple Bisque

Serves 8-10 main course servings, a crowd with smaller cup servings. Reheat on low heat.


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (use the white parts only)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 lb), peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In your favorite soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onions until softened. Add the apples and squash and cook until coated with the oniony goodness, about three minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and rosemary and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add thyme.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered about 30 minutes. Vegetables should be very tender.
  5. Remove from heat and puree soup until smooth.
  6. Stir in half-and-half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme on top for garnish if desired.
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Butternut Squash Apple Bisque. Perfect fall soup!

I consider this recipe a keeper. It will cure what ails you. For real.

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

Musical Pairing:

Killing the Blues, Alison Krauss & Robert Plant



The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin

The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin

I have an announcement. Sunday night, I finally watched The Fault in Our Stars. Am I the last (girl) person to see it? Probably so… Although I read the book months ago, the movie is haunting me. I’ve been thinking about the Shakespearean quote that inspired the title.

The Fault in Our Stars Quote

Since it’s pumpkin carving time at my house, I decided to do something a bit non-traditional. Instead of carving the typical bright orange pumpkin, I carved one of my gray-green pumpkins. I adore these peculiar pumpkins. They seem moody and broody, and if they could talk I’m certain they would say things like “whatever” while rolling their hollowed out eyes.

These are the teenagers of pumpkins, obnoxious yet with personality plus.

The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin1

When I saw this star design pumpkin from Reader’s Digest, I knew exactly what I wanted to do—carve the night sky into my green pumpkin. I’d call it The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin.

I gathered up all my pumpkin carving tools including a few nails, screws and screwdrivers. These would be used to make the star pinpoints.

pumpkin carving tools

First step of course was to clean it out. I wasn’t expecting this pale pumpkin to have such a rich, fragrant interior. It smelled more like a watermelon or cantaloupe than pumpkin.

pumpkin carving - The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin

This was truly an experiment in pumpkin carving. I made different sized holes to give the impression of star distances. And I avoided spacing the stars evenly because nature is random.

making stars in my pumpkin

I extended rays from a few of the larger stars using a knife.

There was a hammer involved too.

making The Fault In Our Stars Pumpkin

The Fault in Our Stars pumpkin isn’t perfect. Like the quote infers, it isn’t meant to be.

The Fault in Our Stars Pumpkin Okay?

can you find the little dipper?

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

Musical Pairing:

Ed Sheeren – All Of The Stars