Best Fall Recipes


2/3 cup shortening 1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 2/3 cups sugar 1/2 tsp. baking powder

4 eggs 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup (16 oz.) pumpkin 1 tsp. ground cloves

2/3 cup water 2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup raisins

2 tsp. baking soda

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 9x5x3 inches. Mix shortening and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, pumpkin and water. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into pans. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes; cool slightly. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing.

“I like this recipe because it’s convenient and easy and I feed a family of 7 every night, so that’s important. Also, it is nutritious and so good that even the grandchildren like it.”

– Dot LaBrum

Continue Reading →

Keeping It Green With The Big Orange

Holding a steaming hotdog dripping with mustard and relish in one hand and a giant Coke in the other, you traverse a dim corridor. Suddenly, you come upon a bright opening. A sense of adrenaline grips you, and you slowly make your way through the threshold. You emerge to a sea of bright orange, hear the roar of over 100,000 cheering fans and breathe in an air of pure excitement. Slowly your eyes descend to the surface, finally settling on the 50 yard line, where a giant orange T proclaims so boldly that this is Vol country.  Neyland Stadium: it has been the pride of Knoxville since it was first constructed in 1921. Since then, it has hosted some of the Volunteers’ greatest victories, with six national title banners hanging gloriously over the far side of the stadium. All in all, it cannot be argued that Neyland Stadium itself is the centerpiece of Knoxville. Yet what makes it so grand? What makes the experience of Neyland so unique and wonderful? The field, of course. With that perfectly mowed grass, the incredibly precise upkeep and that all-too-familiar checkerboard finish in each end zone. This is where Darren Seybold and his talented staff come in. As the Director of Sports Surfaces, Darren has been overseeing the maintenance of the field for five years. He has had twenty years of professional field management experience, ten of which was spent in Major League Baseball. We had a rare chance to talk with Darren and get a personal glimpse into his job and the challenges he and his staff face on a daily basis.   Q: In 1994, University officials decided to do away with turf and put in the natural grass surface we see today. Why was this decision made?A: Well, as turf developed, Sports Service Directors like myself began to see some major flaws. One of the main downsides of having turf is the heat. Turf fields hold an enormous amount of heat, so the players feel a higher temperature than the fans, and they’re the ones working. Also, turf grass tends to not give as easily as natural grass. This leads to more injuries and twisted ankles. I’d take a divot from a player stepping too hard over a sprained ankle any day, and at the end of the day, it’s about making sure the players stay safe. Q: What kind of grass is going to be used on the field for the upcoming 2015-16 season?A: The grass we are using for this season is Bermuda 419. It is as top-of-the-line as it gets.  Q: We have seen games where the rain is coming down, yet the field doesn’t seem to be affected as much as it should. To what do you attribute this success?A: Many people don’t know this, but the base of the field is actually made of sand. While this gives us some challenges in other areas, coupled with the field’s design, it does a spectacular job of draining the field.Q: What are some of the major challenges you and your staff face maintaining this field?A: After a game is over, we don’t waste a second. If you have ever been to a UT home game, you’ll see us fixing up the field before some of the players make it to the locker room. The field has to be mowed about five times per week during the season and repainted after every game. We also have state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, which monitors moisture, fertility and other factors that we have to constantly be aware of and regulate.  (Amazingly, we came to find out that Darren and his staff of only 33 are responsible for not only Neyland, but all thirteen of the major sports facilities at the University of Tennessee, including Baseball, Softball, Track and others.) Q: What do you think of the fans here in Knoxville?  A: Well, let me tell you. When you are talking about big-name schools in the SEC (and trust me, I know, I grew up in Alabama and got my degree at Mississippi State), ever yone always claims they have the best fans. I can say without a doubt that the fans here in Knoxville, Tennessee, are by far the best fans in college football. Period.  Q:  Is it a daunting task managing one of the greatest fields in college football, considering the pride that UT fans have for their football program? A: We understand and share the passion that this city has for its Volunteers, and we work hard to make sure that the facilities are ready and safe for our players. We know that Neyland is what matters to people. It’s always been the standard where football stadiums are concerned, and we are going to make sure it stays that way.

Continue Reading →

Chris Higgins: Capturing The Unexplored

For remote location photographer Chris Higgins, capturing the perfect shot isn’t just his job, it’s a way of life. Higgins was born and raised in Knoxville and currently works part time at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. The rest of his time is spent planning, traveling and documenting mountain and cave explorations across the globe.

This summer, Higgins took a trip to Mexico with the idea to climb the tallest mountain and photograph the deepest cave. Higgins, with friends Matt Bumbalough and Mike Green, flew out to Mexico City to attempt a feat that has never been tried by the same team on the same trip. The team would begin climbing Iztaccihuatl Mountain, which is 17,159 feet tall, to get acclimated to the altitude. Iztaccihuatl, or ‘White Woman’ overlooks Mexico City and the nearby active volcano, Popocatepétl.

When they were fully acclimated, Chris Higgins and his friends set their sights on the tallest mountain in Mexico: Pico de Orizaba. Standing at 18,491 feet tall, it is the third largest mountain in North America. Higgins and his friends spent a total of 2 weeks hiking the mountains in Mexico, a trip that he has already scheduled for next year.

After conquering the mountain, Higgins and Green began the next part of their adventure: documenting the Sistema-Huautla cave, which is the deepest cave in Mexico at 5,069 feet deep and over 40 miles long. But first, they needed to get there. Hailing a cab to the small village of Tlachichuca proved to be more difficult than Higgins and Green had imagined, not because of distance, but because of they could not correctly pronounce the name of the town.

Continue Reading →

Fall Flavors To Warm You Up: Roasted Turkey with Port Wine and Pear

The days of bright berries, crisp salads and succulent summer fruit are behind us for another year. While you might be disappointed to see the last of the seasonal salads, don’t fret – there are delicious replacements on the way with fall fruits and vegetables.

Autumn is a season of fruits and vegetables that have rich flavor and are wonderful for your health.

Here are some delicious items. Make them a regular part of your dining experience.

1. Parsnips. These might look like white carrots but they have a delicate, sweet flavor. Look for smooth and firm, small to medium sized parsnips for the best quality.
2. Sweet potatoes. Despite its name, the sweet potato is not related to the potato. Good-quality sweet potatoes will be firm, smooth-skinned and tan to light rose color. They are ideal for baking, grilling or steaming, and you can substitute them in any recipe that calls for potatoes.
3. Pumpkins. These are more than just Halloween decorations. The pumpkin’s bright orange color and sweet flavor lends itself to a variety of uses. It’s great served as a tasty side dish for a main meal and ideal for making hearty winter soups, as well as being baked into bread and pumpkin pie.
4. Clementines. These are the baby cousins of the Florida orange and are also known as mandarin oranges. They can be quite difficult to distinguish from tangerines, as they are both bitter orange hybrids, but the main difference is that clementines are often seedless. They go well with chicken dishes and seafood
5. Apples. Apples are great for more than baking. Try them in fruit chutney over a grilled salmon.
6. Pears. Pears are almost as versatile as the apple. You can use them in low-fat pancakes, sliced on sandwiches or poached and drizzled with maple syrup for a warm, sweet dessert.
7. Cranberries. If you are looking for berries that ripen in the autumn, look no further than cranberries. Only about 10% of the commercial crop is sold fresh – mostly in September through to December. The rest can be found as juice, dried or as cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries can be too tart on their own, but they pair wonderfully with other fruits such as apples and pears. Cranberries work well added to muffins and other baked goods and in compotes, relishes, chutneys and fruit desserts.
8. Figs. These often-overlooked fruits are full of flavor and their chewy texture makes them a tasty, nutritious addition to sweeten up mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Roasted Turkey with Port Wine and Pear

The fruitiness of the pear nectar, combined with the unique nuances of port wine, provide a delightful accompaniment to the holiday flavors
of this honey and sage roasted turkey.

Turkey Glaze


4 cups pear nectar
2 cups of a tawny-style Port wine
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp fresh sage, minced (or you can substitute 1/2 tsp of dried rubbed sage)

Combine all the above ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. The mixture should reduce to about 2 cups (this should take 40 or so minutes) once reduced, remove from heat. You will keep 1 cup of the mixture for the sauce (gravy).

1 20 lb Turkey
1 tbs minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sage
1 tbs sea salt
1 tbs cracked black pepper
3 Celery stalks
1 onion (quartered)
2 carrots (peeled and halved)
3 cups Chicken Stock

Continue Reading →

Goldenrod Won’t Make You Sneeze

Years ago I got to visit Vancouver, British Columbia. I was so excited about getting to see the Butchart Gardens in Victoria. It was delightful; Butchart Gardens covers fifty-five acres in beautiful floral displays. With a gardening staff of 30, there wasn’t a weed in sight and all the flowers were properly staked and deadheaded (The dead or spent flower were removed). This shows what you can do with a worked-out quarry if your husband pioneered Portland cement and leaves you a pile of money. I was enjoying the light misty morning when I saw a beautiful inflorescent plant about seven feet tall staked and blooming in bright yellow. I leaned over to read the name tag, knowing that I would have to have it for my garden back in Tennessee. As I stood there everything about the plant seemed familiar. The nametag read “Solidago”. When I got home and looked it up I discovered we all know it. The plant was our common roadside goldenrod. Fall is coming and soon we will see Goldenrod blooming along the roadsides and fields and now it is allowed to bloom in one of
my flowerbeds.

What took me so long to appreciate the beauty of Goldenrod? In our area it is considered a noxious weed. But we all have to agree that it is a breath of beauty at the end of summer when our flowers are waning. They are easy to grow. I didn’t even have to sow seeds or move a plant. The birds planted it for me.

Continue Reading →