Fall is my favorite season. The air is crisp, the sunlight is golden and the nights are clear. Sweaters and scarves start to appear and pumpkin, apples and casseroles become the epitome of comfort food. To welcome the season try some of the ideas below.
– Have an Arboretum or Orchard Picnic. Get outside and enjoy the fall colors. Bring a big warm blanket to spread on the ground, don sweaters and head out. Bring picnic food that will keep everyone warm and cozy, like a thermos of bean soup, beef pies in puff pastry, pumpkin bread, and caramel apples. Don’t forget another thermos of warm cider or mulled wine.
– Break Out the Crock Pot. Fall is a great time for casseroles – they can perk away all day while you’re outside raking leaves or at the farmer’s market (or the more mundane task of just being at work). My favorite casserole at this time of the year is the beer pot roast.
– Visit a “You-Pick” Farm. Spend an afternoon at the farm picking a bushel of apples, choosing the perfect pie pumpkins (or jack-o-lantern candidates) or gathering a basket of pears. Make a full day of it by having that orchard picnic after the work is done.
– Volunteer at Park or Farm Clean-Up Days. Want to get out and rake some leaves, but you live in a walk up with no yard in sight? Parks, community gardens and farms often host clean-up days in the fall – you might rake leaves, clean out annual flower beds, pull garlic, or mulch vegetable beds. Check out your local park district’s website – information is often listed there, but if you don’t see anything, just send an email or make a call. Same thing when contacting a farm – if you’re not sure if there are any farms in your area, Local Harvest is a great place to start. They’ll be glad to have your help.
– Bring the Outdoors In. As we put away the summer stuff and the wool blanket takes up it’s rightful place on the sofa, we remember that environment is everything. Make your humble abode warmer and cozier by bringing the outdoors in – gourds and pumpkins on the kitchen table as a centerpiece. Dried grasses or a fallen branch of colorful leaves in a vase. A bowl of apples or pears.
– Bake Something with Pumpkin. Mmm pumpkin! Muffins, bread, pie, cookies – nothing says fall like pumpkin. A warm pumpkin muffin split right down the middle and spread with butter – there’s no better afternoon snack – or breakfast, or dessert.