Fabulous Fall Foliage

Fall foliage on tree in center of Dunbarton

My mind marvels at God’s glory every year when the trees turn their gallantly green leaves to Autumn’s fiery pallet of red, yellow, orange, gold, bronze, and burgundy.  Each day I can literally watch the same trees and yet see a totally different view.  If you are fortunate you live in or have at least visited a region where Nature’s artistry blazes so beautifully for weeks.

As a child I would see various sites and imagine my eyes snapping photograph after photograph.  If I could see it, my memory could capture it.  Yet, each Fall the foliage stirs my memory all over again.

Still I find myself wishing to instantly photograph everything I see.  It just seems that in any direction I look, my mind whispers, “Oooooh!  Ahhh!”  Sometimes the view is a scenic lakeshore splashed with colors reflecting from the trees in the water with stunning purple mountains rising above.  Other times, a single tree grabs my attention and holds my focus on its colorful perfection.

When the skies are gray or rainy, the brilliant foliage lights up the day beautifully, and when you see the trees against a cobalt blue sky?  Well, even in late Autumn, when the leaves are dusty bronze tones, it redefines the phrase, “make the colors pop!”


Backyard Bronze

I remember years of family car trips to “look at the pretty leaves.”  My folks never tired of this seasonal splendor either.  My Mom always packed a lunch and some snacks… usually including her famous Blonde Brownies and some refreshing fruit juice punch.

Now, when the warmth of the Autumn sunshine chills in the evening, I enjoy holding a toasty mug of some mulled cider or cranberry juice.  A favorite version was taught to me in the mid-1970’s, when it was known as Percolator Punch.  In this day in age, coffee percolators have given way to drive-thru windows, home coffee makers, and K-cups.  So, preparing this satisfying treat is even easier.  Still, I offer you the original 1974 recipe from Betty DeLuca of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, just in case you still have a traditional coffee percolator tucked safely away in storage.

Hot Percolator Punch       

In basket in top of percolator place:

½ T whole allspice                           ½ tsp salt

3 sticks cinnamon, broken             1 T whole cloves

¼ c brown sugar

Through the basket of spices pour:  2 c pineapple juice

4 c cranberry juice                           2 c water

Perk 10 minutes or until spices permeate juices.  (Aroma will be deliciously spicy.)  Serve hot in mugs.


In the mid-to-late-1990’s, I gave the original recipe a Super Simple Mulled Cranberry twist.  In addition to the heating method, one of my big changes made the finished product a lot less sweet.  I simply found the 2:1 cranberry to pineapple juice ratio and the brown sugar ratio made Hot Percolator Punch too sweet for my taste.  In the KISS Note you’ll find another Super Simple twist.

Anyway, for Super Simple Mulled Cranberry pour into a crock pot type slow cooker 8 cups cranberry juice for every 2 cups of pineapple juice.  No need for any sweetener.  Simply season with some pre-mixed, packaged spiced cider mix.  Let it simmer on low heat for a couple of hours.  This is absolutely mahhhhhvelous when guests are dropping in or you want to include a warm beverage for an open house or party.

KISS Note:  You can use whole mulling spices OR simply add 2-4 single serving envelopes of spiced cider mix, to suit your taste.  (Try the sort that Lipton packaged to be mixed with hot water.)  Serve hot in mugs.  You can float some whole allspice and cinnamon sticks for extra zip and impact.


Quiet Thunder Publishing featured these recipes, both the original and my variation, in the 2007 Collector’s Edition of the 2-volume series, Fifty Years of Fabulous Family Favorites.  You can find an eBook digital and soon-to-be paperback formats on sites such as Amazom.com.  These super cranberry recipes appear in the Appetizers and Beverages sections.  There are also LOTS more cranberry recipes in Cranberry Cooking, available on Amazon.com.   Meanwhile, get a taste right here from the free sample recipes.  Enjoy… with love and laughter!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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