September 3, 2007

I Heart Fall

My friends, the time has come. I cannot contain my happiness any longer - Fall / Autumn is here!. Now, never mind the e-mails to tell me that it really starts September 23rd this year. I don't care what the calendar tells me. I only care that it's September. And in September we can mark the beginning of a change in temperature, a change in weather, a change in ambiance, and a change in color. As you stroll through the stores, you may see pumpkins, Halloween decor, and a variety of things in shades of oranges, browns, tans, and reds. You might start to see cake and loaf pans in the shapes of cornucopia and pumpkins, and you may even catch a glimpse of signs advertising for pumpkin patches and hayrides.

Without any reserve, I can say that Fall is my favorite time of year. Spring is too rainy - Summer too hot, Winter too cold and expensive (ahem). But Fall! Glorious Fall! I love your colors, your windy days with leaves skipping along the sidewalk. I love your cool evenings and the smell of neighborhood fireplaces shaking off the dust from the summer months. I love your hearty soups and warm banana bread. I love your pumpkin pies and your apple cider, sending the perfume of cinnamon through the house. I love your warm colors and your gentle reminders that another year has successfully fluttered away. I love the way your prepare us for Christmas by warming us into the season and filling us with anxious anticipation of the coming holidays. I love your Thanksgiving dinner filled with the turkey, the luscious cranberry sauce, the mashed potato, the green been casserole, and warm browned rolls and butter - all that we can devour in one sitting. I love your Sunday afternoon football and long naps. I love your hospitality - your ability to make us feel warm and snuggly and happy to be together again enjoying your season. How I love Fall!

So for me, it has begun. When the calendar "struck" September 1st, I could feel the season within me shifting. Bidding Summer a fond farewell, with all it's sweaty humid misery and saying "Hello" to a dear and timely friend - Fall. It never comes too soon, and never stays quite long enough. Once the trimmings of Thanksgiving are packed up and put in the fridge, we are often on to the next major holiday. I encourage you all to heartily enjoy this season with your family and friends. I'm no professional decorator, and certainly not a seasoned entertainer - but here are some of my favorite ideas borrowed off my good "friend" Susan Br@nch and excerpts taken from her lovely book simply titled "Autumn", that might inspire you, as it did me, to make your home a lovely Fall sanctuary, filled with the colors and smells of a warm and cozy season. Happy Fall!

Decorating ~

  • Set out puzzles and games for cozy and warm nights at home
  • Use Candles! Fires in the fireplace, brass, wooden or pewter candleholders are perfect for the season. Place a dark orange or red pillar candle into a large hurricane lamp. Surround it with tiny pinecones, leaves, berries, etc. Bring nature indoors!
  • Brew mulling spices and have friends over for tea
  • Display old Books and all your favorites for quiet nights spent together
Entertaining ~
  • Ask yourself: does it smell good, taste good, feel good, sounds good & look good? Appeal to the senses.
  • Plan your menu ahead - simple and delicious, so you can be an unruffled and relaxed hostess and enjoy your own dinner party.
  • Use molds to make butter or ice cubes shaped like leaves.
  • Hollow out oranges, then draw a leaf on the side and cut out. Slip a small votive or tea light inside and wala - yummy scented orange votive holders.
  • Set your table outdoors in the crisp air among the leaves. Or how about in front of a cozy fire?
  • Gather small dry leaves and write your guests name on them in gold or silver metallic pen.
Gift Baskets ~
  • Apple Bowl - Take an old mixing bowl and wooden spoon, 4 green apples and in the bottom of the bowl, a bag of fresh cranberries. Place a plastic bag with the dry ingredients measured out for Cranberry Apple Crisp. Tie the recipe to the spoon.
  • Sunday Breakfast - Into an old fashioned batter bowl put pancake mix, real maple syrup, two bananas, a whisk and lay all this into a dish towel.
  • Sock Neck Warmer - Fill a cute knee-high sock with uncooked rice. Tie the open end closed with a satin ribbon. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and then place it around the back of your neck. Cozy!
Recipes to warm your heart and home ~

Olive Bowls
Hollow out a sourdough round and fill with all sorts of delicious olives. Set it on a bed of herbs, like rosemary. Hollow out several other medium size rolls. Use one for the olive pits, and fill the others with creamy cheeses.

Side Dish:
Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes - (Recipe by:Susan Branch)
5 lbs. sweet potatoes (yams)

1/2 stick butter

1/4 c. bourbon

1/4 c. brown sugar

zest of one orange
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat over to 375. Pierce potatoes & bake 1-1 1/2 hours, 'til soft. Let cool 15-min. Halve potatoes & scoop pulp into a large bowl. Partially mash - add remaining ingredients, mash well & serve.

To come in another "Fall" post! Yum!

Cranberry Apple Crisp -

(Recipe by:Susan Branch) Serves six
4 lg. green apples peeled & sliced
1 c. fresh cranberries
3/4 c. brown sugar firmly packed

1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. oats

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 c. softened butter

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a square baking pan. Place apple slices & cranberries in the pan. Mix remaining ingredients well & sprinkle over fruit. Bake 30 minutes. Serve hot with ice cream or cold with whipped cream.

We are in for a spell of perfect weather now, every day luminous, every night brimmed with stars. Picnics at noon, supper by the applewood fire at night, a walk in the cool moonlight before bed.
- Gladys Taber


amy said...

I heart fall as well. Keep these posts coming. IM with you. I love the anticipation of Christmas. We really could be related..This is the best of the day so far!!

You rock!

Anonymous said...

Fall means I cannot get in the pool anymore. )-:

And you can come help me dip the leaves out of it anytime.

I am just kidding. Every season has it advantages. Fall is a reason to shop for new clothes. (-:

Momma Martha

Stacy said...

I LOVE fall!! I am ready for a change. This post is great. I am going to steal -I mean borrow- some of your tips. :)

Happy Fall!

Stacey said...

I swear you made me fall in love with fall all over again! I am so looking forward to those evening walks just cool enough to put on a oversized sweater and enjoy the breeze.

Cindy said...

Ever since I moved to New Hampshire, Fall has been my absolute favorite as well. It doesn't hurt that my birthday falls within THE peak of leaf peeping foliage.

Doris & Dan said...

Summer is my #1...Fall is a nice too though.

Keep smilin!

Anonymous said...

I'm there with you girl. Too bad, Fall arrives so softly in Texas. There was one Halloween I still had the A/C on! Nevertheless; I appreciate the stroll thru the season.

Love V

Anonymous said...

I love fall too, maybe the best but spring I think is my very favorite with fall neck and neck.

You are a great Martha Stewart and Erma Bombeck all in one. Ok Christie I hope you are making a book for the children from all your postings, and then I hope we get it published titled "Waiting for Keira", talk to me, we can do this, you are a natural writer and should consider a book, I mean it!!!
your fan

Elisa, Jarrod, Thomas & Zoe said...

I'll miss the summer nights but I have to say there is something very special about fall.

Susan Branch said...

It was so FUN to come upon your blog and see my book there! . . . I know just how much you love fall, I'm right there with you! You should try the Pumpkin Cheesecake in the Autumn Book, you can get the recipe on my website (it's under the Let's Cook icon). I made it the other day for a dinner party . . . it's huge, serves 12 but you will want all the leftovers to hide in the back of the fridge. Have a wonderful Day, it's October 1st! Best, Susan Branch