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. The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler. 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, planting spring bulbs 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 chimney flues and 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.
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 a 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. Yum!
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.
Not so fast, fellow pumpkin heads… long live the apple!
According to Steve Wood, Co-owner of Farnum Hill Ciders in Lebanon, NH, “Cider is to apples as wine is to grapes”.
Did you know… Back in the 1800s, cider was the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage of adults in the United States. Apples were everywhere! We’ve all read stories about Johnny Appleseed, but I’ll bet you didn’t you know Johnny wasn’t planting apple seeds for eating…he was planting them for cider-making. Hard cider
Sadly, prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s killed the cider popularity and then beer took over. BUT…cider is making a big comeback and if you travel through New England in the fall, you can visit craft cideries that have popped up all over.
An age-old New England fall tradition… you’ll always find a gallon of sweet apple cider in the fridge!
On a chilly fall day, warm up with a mug of this…
Table 38’s Mulled Apple Cider
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine 4 cups of apple cider, 6 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1″ fresh ginger (peeled and sliced) and 1/2 orange (sliced). Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, then strain and pour into 4 mugs. Add a fresh cinnamon stick if you like. The cinnamon will smell absolutely delicious and the oranges add a bit of potassium and vitamin C.
As 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.
Fall In Love with New England
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.
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!
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 bunny, chocolate Santa 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 400 degree oven until perfectly crisp. 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.
Fall is the perfect time for a bowl of hot, homemade soup… Table 38 style.
Click here for my recipe Potato and Corn Chowder…you’re going to love it…guaranteed!
Here’s a dinner idea for this fall…
To top a side dish of salad greens, prepare Table 38’s 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.
I hope one year you can take a fall trip and enjoy our New England 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.
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.