Despite the ever-shortening days, there’s so much to love about October. Cool nights morph into warm days and what I think of as Baby Bear’s kind of weather － not too hot and not too cold! But there’s more: football games, apple picking, candy corn, pumpkin carving, haunted houses and corn mazes. October offers a little something for everyone, and I hope this month’s Favorite Things list does, too! 🎃🕷👻
So let’s start with a short list of fall holiday favorites…
I hit upon CLEMENTINE JACK-O’-LANTERNS (pictured below) years ago when tasked with bringing a healthy orange snack to a school Halloween party. With the help of a Sharpie, they make an entertaining project, too. (Just start with room temperature fruit so the ink adheres better.)
In the dessert/snack department, the chocolate “pitchfork” makes NO BAKE BUTTERSCOTCH HAYSTACKS especially fun to fall, while CANDY BAG BROWNIES are a tasty way to use up the last of the Halloween candy, are perfect for bake sales and freeze well.
Lastly, “Donut Monsters” ⇩⇩ may not be the healthiest way to start the day, but they sure are fun! All you need are those silly fake teeth and candy eyes (which could also be blueberries, raisins, M&Ms, etc.). Tip: New plastic teeth can be stiff and tend not to stay closed, so I tie them with dental floss so they don’t pop out or, worse yet, break the donut by springing back open. (That happened!)
And because we can’t exist on clementine jack-o’-lanterns and monster donuts alone, following are a handful of recipes from a variety of categories that I start to think about this time of year:
Other delicious apple recipes include APPLE CRUMB CAKE (so good!), EASY SCALLOPED APPLES (great oatmeal topping or applesauce alternative), SLOW COOKER MAPLE APPLESAUCE (no sugar), my original CRUNCHY TOP APPLE CINNAMON BAKED OATMEAL or the APPLE CRISP BAKED OATMEAL version.
Trying to incorporate more hearty salads into the fall lineup?
To round out the October recipe suggestions, you may wish to try MORNING GLORY BAKED OATMEAL, PUMPKIN BRAN MUFFINS, SAUSAGE & CABBAGE STEW (pictured below), UNSTUFFED CABBAGE ROLL SKILLET and this easy HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE SPICE MIX for all your fall baking needs.
Favorite book of the month: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Soon to be a Hulu limited series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere takes place in idyllic Shaker Heights, Ohio and explores the weight of secrets, complicated family dynamics, race and social divisions and the pull of motherhood. Although I gravitate towards historical fiction, nonfiction and memoirs, this fictional story is equal parts fun and thought-provoking and well worth the read. It was easy to get lost in the book, as the characters and setting were so beautifully brought to life. You may struggle as to who you’d side with in the several topical plot issues－issues that make this read a great book club pick.
Quotes of the month:
“Never let your wants outweigh someone else’s needs.” －Lisa Thomas McMillan
Backstory: This quote comes from an article, sent to me by my friend Jenny, about McMillan who along with her husband Freddie, opened a restaurant called Drexell & Honeybee’s in Brewton, Alabama, which charges nothing for the meals they serve. You can read the inspiring article here.
“The best thing you can do for someone is provide them a humble, hot plate of food.” －Chef José Andres
Backstory: I heard the second quote in person recently (photo follows), when my good friend Pia (of STAT Chicken Noodle Soup fame) organized an evening with Chef José Andres that did not disappoint. Andres, who was in town for a dinner and speaking engagement, immigrated to the United States from Spain, and is largely credited for bringing the “small plate” concept to our country. A James Beard Award winning chef, Andres is perhaps best known for his World Central Kitchen, the non-profit/non-governmental organization he founded in 2010. The organization is devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters, notably serving hundreds of thousands of hot meals in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquake and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Chef Andres was engaging, funny and his energy was enviable － and exceeded only by his love for all people and his passion to serve. I asked him what his favorite food is, and after thinking for a brief moment, he replied “eggs…over-easy, fried until the edges are crispy but the yolk is still velvety.” Sounds perfect to me!
Word of the month: Copacetic
(koh-pə-se-tik) Adjective meaning fine or satisfactory; slang for “all is well”
Example: Instead of telling someone that all is well, you can perk up some ears by saying that “Everything is copacetic!”
Kitchen of the month:
Though a few commenters found the tile floor in this galley kitchen a tad busy for their tastes, most thought the unique floor added something special to the space. Readers also gravitated towards the calming shade of blue, the natural light and overall functionality. One person summed up her assessment by saying that “The only thing I would change is to have it in my house!”
If you’d like to weigh in on the weekly kitchen features, check in via my Facebook page every Friday!
Graphic of the month:
And finally, favorite photos for the month (with a throwback or two!):