Seasons of New England Part 2

Fall…Fall foliage,seasons of New England

It’s New England fall foliage season, at last. Labor Day has come and gone, kids are back in school and the leaves are quickly changing color.  Trees are exploding with vibrant colors of yellow, gold and red.  Tourists will come and take pictures to bring home…we call them “leaf peepers”.  The picture to the right was taken on the road where I live and take walks with my Airedale pal, Jack.

This is the time when us “Northerners” start thinking about harvesting seeds for next spring, closing up the gardens and getting our rose bushes prepped for the upcoming winter. There will be raking to do and pruning.  I have a mental list of more tedious chores like cleaning all the windows and organizing the garage and barn, albeit I think I get a bit lazier as each year passes.

Note to self: Make an appointment for the furnace to be cleaned.

Click here to read my blog “Autumn in New England” and try out a few delicious fall recipes like my Homemade Pumpkin Pudding.  I also tell you how to roast the most delicious pumpkin seeds ever.

Pumpkin… Fall’s trendiest flavor.

Slide over apple…this year it’s all about the pumpkin. It seems as every summer comes to an end the flavor of pumpkin becomes more popular and appears to have out done apple as the signature fall flavor.  It’s popping up in coffee shops, on menus, in the dairy aisle at the grocery store, in bakery shops, breweries and even fine dining restaurants.

We decorate them and carve them…carefully retrieving the seeds to be roasted and eaten like peanuts. Pumpkin lovers go wild when fall creeps in, for this is the season of pumpkin ice cream, cookies, cakes, bread, muffins, beer and lattes.

Speaking of coffee…want a taste of fall in your next cup? Try a white chocolate pumpkin or salted caramel pumpkin latte. 

Celebrate the season with a Pumpkin Martini. Mix vanilla vodka, Bols Pumpkin Smash and splash of cream served in a crushed graham cracker rimmed martini glass. 

Or, try this…a Pumpkin Pie Cocktail made with vanilla vodka, Shipyard Pumpkin Head beer served in a brown sugar & cinnamon rimmed pint glass.

So…what’s the deal with pumpkin?

Is it good for us? Are there any health benefits to this phenomenal flavor craze? The answer my friend is…yes and yes!  Read on…

Pumpkin is rich in Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium (bone health), zinc (extremely important if you’re pregnant or planning on getting pregnant), copper and selenium. 

Did you know…pumpkin seeds are a common ingredient in Mexican food.

Autumn in New EnglandAs leaves change from their summer green to the brilliant colors of fall, we are yet again amazed by the beauty this season brings.  It’s no wonder people drive great distances to experience New England’s fall foliage.  Take a drive up Mt. Washington or climb Mt. Monadnock, a hidden gem, and admire the vibrant landscape all around you.  The picture to the right is the road I live on and take walks with Jack.

May I suggest…

  • Halloween in New England.  Take a haunted hayride or walk through a haunted corn maze. I highly recommend a visit to Salem, Massachusetts, the Halloween capital of the world. You can tour a haunted house or take in the Haunted Dinner Theater.  Enjoy a fantastic day of touring the House of Seven Gables, walking through historic burying grounds and learning about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  Two of my favorites…the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch House.

Salem Mass

Did you know… still today, there is a vibrant witch and pagan population in Salem.

  • Spend a day at one of the many pumpkin festivals. 
  • There are awesome fall food and wine festivals, cider festivals, artisan festivals and harvest fairs.
  • If you’re visiting southern NH, attend the annual Pumpkin Rigatta where they host floating pumpkin races down the Piscataquog River.
  • Drive out to the seacoast and take a fall foliage tour over the Isles of Shoals in a helicopter. Seriously.
  • Let’s go apple picking!fall pumpkins,seasons of New England

Halloween is my daughter’s favorite holiday, next to Christmas.  Even as an adult, she still looks forward to creating unique costumes for close friends annual Halloween party.

Growing up, Halloween was THE holiday. One year, Mom made us King and Queen of Hearts costumes that turned my brother and I into giant playing cards. We won the local costume contest that year.  Halloween night, I wouldn’t come home until my treat bag was overflowing with good stuff. It was literally the only time of the year I was allowed candy…except for the Easter chocolate bunnies, chocolate Santas at Christmas and “ribbon candy”. Does anyone remember ribbon candy?   With a father who was a doctor…Halloween was a major disappointment for any kid that came to our house for a sugary treat. The only “treat” waiting for them was a bushel of freshly picked apples from a patient’s apple orchard. Needless to say, we were the most unpopular house on the block.  Nowadays, you couldn’t hand out a healthy apple if you tried and that’s sad.  When I was a kid, homemade cookies, brownies, candy apples, popcorn balls and other goodies were prized treats.

What a difference a generation can make. The loss of an innocent time…but that’s another story for another time.

Pumpkins are showing up at farmers’ markets and it’s the perfect time to pick up a few. 

Try this on your next English muffin…pumpkin-spiced butter. Just mix 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin-spice with a stick of softened butter.

Love Bacon?  My favorite way of preparing bacon is to bake it on a rack on a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the bacon and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Using a rack will insure your bacon is crispy and won’t be cooking in the fat.  Spice it up a bit for fall by adding a little pumpkin-spice to the brown sugar. 

I invite you to click here to read my blog “A New England Thanksgiving” which will definitely get you in the holiday prep mood.

Here’s a dinner idea for this fall…

To top a side dish of salad greens, prepare a holiday vinaigrette of 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

The only one I use is organic apple cider vinegar which is raw, unfiltered and non GMO.  And, it just happens to be a natural probiotic. A teaspoon each day has health benefits for us and a teaspoon in Jack’s water bowl provides health benefits for him as well.

…back to the vinaigrette – and add 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin-spice.  Just put the ingredients in a Mason jar, screw on the lid and give it a good shake.  This vinaigrette makes a nice holiday hostess gift.  Just tie raffia around the neck and you’re good to go. Make it extra special by attaching the recipe to the raffia…a personal homemade gift from your kitchen.

In closing

I hope one year you can take a fall trip and enjoy our New England fall foliage season. In the meantime, grab a hot pumpkin spiced coffee and curl up by the fire with that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

Skål

I invite you to try my ideas and let me know your favorites. I welcome your thoughts, comments and please like/share this blog.  Do you have a favorite fall pastime? Please share…I’d love to read about what you love to do in your corner of the world this fall.

4 comments to Seasons of New England Part 2

  • Netta

    Hey Karen:

    Thanks for the vinaigrette recipe. A friend just dropped off a bunch of pumpkins and we’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. I am certainly going to try the vinaigrette.

    One thing I like to do with it is to boil up pumpkin chunks with skins on, then stir-fry the things with a sauce made by adding soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic and crushed Chinese black beans. It turns out quite yummy!

    • Karen

      Thank you for your comments, Netta. With so many pumpkins now, you’ll have to roast the seeds. Just follow my instructions and they’ll come out perfect…and you won’t be able to eat just one haha. AND they’ll be a nice “thank you” gift for your friend.

      I’ve never heard of stir frying pumpkin as you mentioned, but I’m intrigued and may just give it a try. Thank you.

  • Cat

    Ahhhh! Fall in New England! As a life long Connecticut resident, I know it well! I love this time of year and all the flavors and smells that goo along with it. The only part I am not too keen on is the raking of the leaves. It is too tedious and here in Southern Connecticut, the leaves don’t finish falling until late November when it is quite cold outside. Nevertheless, the Fall is definitely fun for the whole family. Thank you for a great post and the martini recipes as well! Cheers!

    • Karen

      Thank you for your comments, Cat. This has been a tough several months for us between the extreme drought and now high winds are creating havoc with the beautiful foliage we’ve waited all year to see.

      I’ve never seen this many acorns on the ground in prior years and I’m wondering what it indicates for the upcoming winter. Also, my neighbor’s chickens molted early this year. If anyone knows the answer to this, I hope you’ll share.

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