I love fall.
The morning crispness, changing leaves, the soft warm sun or grey-covered sky. The smell of dampness in the air. Cinnamon, baking, scented candles. Cute boots and soft scarves. The anticipation of trick-or-treating and the warmth of Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the bend. Days and nights smothered in traditions, laced with children’s laughter and giggles and wide-eyed wonderment.
It’s a season before the cold of winter, before the leaves fall and dampness turns into wetness. It makes me want to snuggle up, read a book, watch a movie, play a game. The other night we played hide-and-seek in the dark while the clouds covered the early-evening sun for us. As I write, stew bubbles in the crock pot and warm brownies (grain-free, of course!) sit on the stove, cooling and waiting for little mouths to gobble them down.
For us, fall means a visit to the pumpkin patch, fresh apples from Apple Hill, watching the turkeys return to our property, shorter days, baking treats, carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds (see my amazingly delicious, accidentally-discovered recipe below), and just more of a relaxed, slow pace.
Not long ago, I made a pumpkin pie from scratch.
I put all the gunk from the pumpkin into a bowl of water and added a bunch of salt. I figured I would get to separating the gunk from the seeds later that evening. Well, that night, the bowl full of orange gooey-ness stared back at me, and I didn’t want to touch it. So, there it sat…for two days. Finally, a brilliant idea came to mind: what else would a young boy like to do, but put his hands in a sticky mess and separate seeds from stringy pumpkin? So two of my boys did the dirty work for me. After they got them all nice and clean, I made the best batch of pumpkin seeds I’ve ever had:
Shanti’s Accidentally-Delicious Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from 1 pumpkin
1/4 cup salt
Few tablespoons olive oil
Garlic salt to taste
Dig gunk out of pumpkin. Place into bowl of cold water and stir in 1/4 cup salt. Let sit for 2 days.
After 2 days, have a child separate out the seeds and get rid of the gunk. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse seeds in colander and toss in bowl with olive oil and garlic salt. Lay out on parchment paper-covered cookie sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes. Take out and enjoy! They WILL go fast!
So, what are some of your favorite fall traditions?