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Kitchen Sink

Five Tips to Make Autumn More Fun (Or Less Fallow)

October 19th, 2011

There’s just something to be said about this time of year. It’s quiet, reflective, gathering, closing in, nesting, souping, preparing, gray skying, fire placing. So many elements I love.

 

The light is soft, the ground is fallow, the corn is high.

 

I don’t know. That just sounded good. Never mind that fallow ground would not make high corn.

 

Oh words! You taunt me with your polar oppositedness that should go together because the cadence is right.

 

So here’s the random thing. Some ways to make Autumn (I like that word better than Fall. And I also like capitalizing my seasons) more enjoyable:

 

 

Read The Shadow of the Wind.
It sounds Autumnal, doesn’t it? And it’s brooding and moody and mysterious and epic. Listen to this, one of the book’s first lines:

 

“It was the early summer of 1945, and we walked through the streets of a Barcelona trapped beneath ashen skies as dawn poured over Rambla de Santa Monica in a wreath of liquid copper.”

 

Good God. How could you NOT read that under a blanket beside the dying embers of a fire where a soup pot rocks over the coals?

 

(You DO cook soup in a fire right? And live in England? Circa 1463? Good. That’s very Middle Ages Fall-y.) Which brings me to…

 

Make Soup

 

Right now, I have chicken noodle soup bubbling on the stove (my fireplace is brass, not stone, and gas, not fire). I made it quite like I do many things: made-up and hoping for the best. Which is to say I shredded left-over rotisserie chicken, threw in some carrots and onions sauteed in butter, five packets of Trader Joe’s Veggie Broth, 10 cups of water and egg noodles, and salt and pepper. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t suck yet. Other soups to make? Lentil, potato, minestrone, and my personal favorite: Navy Bean. Here’s a simple recipe that doesn’t take me forever, one of my prerequisites for cooking:

 

INGREDIENTS

1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans

7 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup margarine

4 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/2 pound bacon

 

DIRECTIONS

Wash the beans. Place them in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for three hours (I KNOW.)

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the beans and the chicken stock and allow to simmer.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until onion is caramelized. Add this mixture to the pot.

In the same skillet over medium high heat, saute the bacon for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is crisp. Drain the grease and add the bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer the soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened. And while you’re waiting for the beans to soak (I KNOW)…

 

Go Booing

 

Late in the early evening about two weeks ago, our doorbell rang and The Rock went to answer only to find no one standing on the stoop. There was however, a pot of something on the threshold and my husband stuck his hand into it to retrieve something mushy. After we all recovered from thinking someone left flaming poo on our doorstep, we were thrilled to discover the mush was a delightful cauldron of Halloween cupcakes and assorted foodstuffs. We’d been booed! And none of us knew what the hell that meant! But good news! There was a note in the mushy cauldron that explained it all. You simply collect assorted Halloweeny goodies, put them in something with a note and anonymously place the whole thing somewhere on your neighbor’s property. And then your neighbor boos someone else and so on and so on and it’s like a chain reaction of Autumnal spookiness!

 

So the other night, Toots and Booger and I booed two of our neighbors with cupcakes that were supposed to look like this:

 

 

But ended up more like this:

 

 

(The above is thanks to my cooking approach as referenced above: Make it up and hope for the best)

 

But we had a heck of a good time ding dong ditching the neighbors and running away like maniacs. (Booing Fun Fact: Don’t wear flip flops.) Speaking of flops, next you should…

 

Plan Thanksgiving

 

I did this last year and boy oh boy was a good time had by all. Because nothing says delicious turkey dinner like someone who makes recipes up and bakes dirt cupcakes without meaning to.

 

But I’m sure you’ll be fine! And need I say? Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is Autumnal to the max. (Did someone say death and destruction? Which leads me to…)

 

Romp in High Corn

 

This Autumnal tip is optional, because I’m sure you’ll do great, but every time I take the kids in that pumpkin patch corn maze? We get lost for six hours while my children screech and I wander aimlessly down the same rows, vowing to get a corn maze GPS for next year and hoping the chainsaw guy doesn’t hack off our skin for a suit made of my family’s collective flesh.

 

Autumn is FUN!

 

Enjoy my tips.

 

On October 19th, 2011, tinsenpup said:

I like your version of booing. Non-dirt cupcakes are over-rated anyway.

On October 19th, 2011, Trish said:

Great tips! I’m always looking for good book recommendations. And the booing is super fun! And not just for the kids :-) Fall is my all time favorite season. Especially since relocating to the PNW. Where there actually is one.

On October 19th, 2011, La Jolla Mom said:

Nearly spit out my wine as I scrolled down to the pile of dirt, or Oreo crumbs. Enough said.

On October 19th, 2011, Smalltown Me said:

I read that book!

On October 19th, 2011, Mama Mary said:

Was just emailing with my book club gals about what our next book should be. Will suggest this one!

On October 19th, 2011, Da Goddess said:

1) I wish I had a neighbor to Boo me. That’s a great idea!

2) I miss San Diego!

3) I miss you!

On October 19th, 2011, Da Goddess said:

P.S. 4) I like capitalizing my Seasons, too. Like Salt. And Cardamom. But mostly Autumn and Spring.

On October 20th, 2011, christy said:

Cute ideas. That’s one of my all time favorite books. LOVE it.

On October 20th, 2011, green girl in wisconsin said:

I like your style, Deb.

On October 20th, 2011, Barbara said:

Reading your post really makes me feel in the spirit of the coming holidays!

On October 20th, 2011, julie gardner said:

1. I LOVE Shadow of the Wind. Oh my – fabulous read for Autumn or Fall whether or not they’re capitalized.

2. And soup is never a bad idea.

3. Also, I will not bake. I could only hope for dirt cupcakes. That’s how bad I am.

But, I am not averse to spending money on baked goods that other people have prepared.

Then I’ll boo the hell out of everyone.

4. Thanksgiving is at my in-laws’ in Temecula every year. I love them, but on day four (we stay a five days) I do scream silently. At least I hope it’s silent.

5. As for the Corn Maze: I’m sorry if that person screaming in the third row scared you and your kids. That was me.

I was hiding from my in-laws. Maybe.

On October 20th, 2011, Birdrockfab said:

Love your tips! Looking forward to making your Naby Bean soup recipe and sitting down to read Shadow of the Wind.

On October 21st, 2011, Laural Out Loud said:

I love Fall. The bundling up and the smell of cold knit. The sound of leaves crunching underfoot and the smell of pumpkin baking. I even love a good rain. Fall is so fresh! And I’m totally going to read that book.

On October 22nd, 2011, Aunt Snow (g) said:

Oooh, I’ll check out that book.

Fall is fickle here. One day its cold and foggy, the next its 80 and the sun is blazing.

On October 23rd, 2011, Cactus Petunia said:

I love that book! Full of intrigue, mystery, love and danger…a perfect read for Fall.
And by the way, I ALWAYS have a cauldron of soup bubbling away in my fireplace this time of year! BWAHAHAHA!

On October 23rd, 2011, SurferWife said:

Ohhh. Um. You forgot to say light your favorite scented Yankee candle.

The musky and mysterious #ScaredButt

On October 24th, 2011, fawn said:

i have GOT to try this boo-ing thing! so fun! i won’t wear flip flops. :)

On October 25th, 2011, Aunt Snow said:

I’ll be making some soup tonight! I know just what I’m making it with.

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