autumn


The magical month of October! Cooler temps, crimson leaves, brisk breezes… We’re ending the year and beginning the holiday season; our thoughts turning to decorations, gifts, and good food. So, are you in a fall-ish mood? Are you looking to have a bit of fun? Remembrance Wreath Finished by rlc

First Stop, Samhain’s Sirens for their month-long virtual party. Each day with the Siren’s offers music, recipes, giveaways for handmade gifts, and sometimes even a craft! Today I’m sharing instructions for making a Remembrance Wreath—it’s like a family tree in wreath form! And, to get you started, I’m giving away a kit to make your own Remembrance Wreath. Just visit the Siren’s blog to enter. Samhains Sirens

While you’re visiting the Sirens you can pick up a recipe for Farmer’s Market Autumn Stew, or Autumn’s Apple Crunch Muffins—or read about the Legend and Lore of Halloween/Samhain.

Second Stop, Musiddity, my creativity and crafting blog. Come on over to learn about Punkin Sprites and other fall decorations I’ll be sharing this month. Punkin Sprite Decoration by rlc

The year is ending, it’s time to play!

Advertisements

welcome fall by RLCFor me, autumn is like the sigh after a long day; a time to release all the hectic busyness and settle down in peace.

Summer is flashy and gregarious; she likes to dazzle—the brighter the better (and I think she has power issues). I get grumpy in summer, it’s too hot. Can’t open the windows, can’t play outside, too hot to cook… In summer you’ll hear me say things like, “Oh joy, another flippin’ sunny day.” I become a sloth.

Autumn is more introspective; she takes in the world around her. By herself, or with a few close friends, she enjoys long hikes, crafting, cooking, or settling down with a good book and a cup of tea. That’s more my style! In autumn, I can tackle big projects. Open the windows! Pull out the paint and varnish! Turn on the stove; we’re making a big pot of soup! Inspiration dances in autumn–I go from no ambition, to not enough time.

Are you in your autumn groove? Tell me your three best enjoyed fall pastimes. Tea and a book? Collecting fallen leaves? Baking pies? Share your seasonal joy and spread some smiles!

The results are in for the winner of our Ponder Autumn Poetry contest. Even in this small contest choosing the winner was difficult.

Entries were judged by the following rules stated in the contest rules on October 15th:

So, here is my autumn call to all of you Poes, Thoreaus, Rumis, and Suesses to pen an ode to the season. Bring out the ghouls, the gourds, and the golden-hued leaves—whatever you fancy the season is up to you, just keep it family-readable. What’s the trick? Only one writer will win the treat.

Cast a spell over our judges with your originality, expression, and technical mastery. Although they will consider the pleas of the people, in the end the judges alone will decide your fate.

Limit is 100 words.

And the winner is…Until October by J.C. Nierad! Autumn Contest prize

Congratulations, J.C., you win the jewels.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Ponder Autumn contest; it was so much fun to read all of the wonderful entries.

It was suggested that I host another contest for the upcoming holidays–I haven’t decided yet but if I do it will be something different.

Wishing everyone a beautiful week!

Mystic Moon by rlc
The night is calling…

Calling us to have some fun!

We’re getting ready to have Halloween poetry judging party! Best of luck to all who have sent in their entries; the winner will be posted on November 1st.

I thought I’d share some of our party recipes with you. We’ll be snacking on crunchy, yummy, roasted pumpkin seeds and delicious Pumpkin Bisque soup. For cocktails we’ll have Bloody Mary and all her siblings (variations) or Apple Butter Cocktails.

First…a short video to get you in the mood!

 

Time to conjure up some treats!

Crunchy, Yummy, Pumpkin Seeds

Scoop out the seeds and rinse them in a strainer. They will feel a bit slimy and have little bits of pulp left on them but that’s okay, we’re going to soak them…

Fill a bowl with clean water and add enough salt to make it taste a bit like the ocean. Kosher salt is best. Soak your seeds for a couple of hours.

Place seeds back into the strainer, rinse, and set to dry on a clean towel.

Once seeds feel dry to the touch it is time to have fun—just toss with your choice of flavors and bake.

Here are some ideas but don’t stop here, get creative!

In a bowl, stir seeds with a little olive oil to help the seasonings stick. Sprinkle in one of these combinations:

Smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and a bit more salt

Salt and pepper (maybe add a dash of your favorite hot sauce or a little chili powder)

Go Asian

Instead of olive oil you can substitute peanut oil and sprinkle in crushed seaweed and a bit of ground ginger (maybe add a bit of Szechuan seasoning or some Chinese five spices which is cinnamon, anise, fennel, cloves, ginger, licorice, peppercorn and white pepper)

Go Buttery

Substitute butter for the olive oil and sprinkle in salt or your favorite popcorn seasoning (maybe add some crushed garlic)

Go Sweet

Toss with butter (or honey), cinnamon and sugar

Spread your mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 300-325 until golden (about 15 minutes). Toss them a few times while cooking so they brown on both sides. They will be soft when they first come out and get crunchy as they cool. Try serving with a sprinkle of grated parmesan or a squeeze of lime!

I came across this recipe in the Mother Earth News magazine- Oct 2011 I haven’t tried it yet but it looks pretty tasty for those who like sweet drinks.

Apple Butter Cocktail

1 tsp cinnamon
1tbsp sugar
Simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar until dissolved- in this case you will want the syrup to be chilled)
1 ounce hard cider
1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
½ to 1 ounce cinnamon schnapps
1 cinnamon stick for swizzling (optional)

Chill a martini glass
While waiting, mix the cinnamon and sugar together and pour into a saucer
Pour a little bit of simple syrup into another saucer (for coating the rim of the glass)
Pour the cider and schnapps into a shaker filled with ice. Do your bartending dance.
Coat the rim of your chilled glass with the simple syrup and the cinnamon/sugar, strain your cold cocktail into the glass and add the cinnamon stick.

Bloody Mary and her Siblings

You just can’t have a Halloween party without inviting Bloody Mary.

Here’s the classic Bloody Mary recipe. Serves 1
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 fresh lemon- squeezed
a dash of Worcestershire
Tabasco to taste
Choice of garnish (traditionally a celery stick)
Salt & Pepper
Combine the vodka, the tomato juice, the lemon juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco, salt, and pepper.
Pour into a shaker with ice and do your bartending dance.
Strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes.
Garnish with a celery stick, thin carrot sticks, or a lemon wedge.
If you wish to make a pitcher full start with 4 cups of tomato juice and adjust ingredients accordingly.

Get crazy!

Bloody Mary comes from a BIG family—the combinations you can come up with are almost limitless. Here are some ideas:

To the traditional, try adding:

Prepared horseradish, garlic, or both!
A dash of your favorite hot sauce
Some juice from your favorite pickled peppers
Some juice from your jar of olives
Pressed garlic

Substitute:
Lime juice for the lemon juice
V8 or Clamato for straight tomato juice
Flavored vodka for plain
I even heard that some people substitute beer for the vodka…

Garnish with:
Just about anything—pickled veggies, jalapeños, peppercini, cherry tomato, etc…

Finally, here is a pumpkin soup recipe I came across today on Mélange: A Medley of Life. I’m copying it here but to get the full effect you should visit the website and view the pictures!

Pumpkin Bisque

6 – 8 cups Fresh pumpkin, cooked
2 Large leeks
1 cup Yellow onion, diced
3 – 4 Garlic cloves
Fresh ginger, 1-inch piece ground
1 cup Fresh carrots
1 pint Half-n-half or cream
Low-sodium chicken stock
1 ½ sticks Unsalted butter
3 – 4 Bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste (at the very end)
1 teaspoon Nutmeg (or more)
Dash cayenne pepper or chili powder
½ to 1 cup Cooking sherry
1/8 to ¼ cup Flour (used to make a roux)
Crème fresh or low-fat sour cream
Parsley
Directions:

Scrape inside of pumpkin and peel. Cut pumpkin into cubes no more than 1 inch in size.
Chop carrots in ½ inch cubes.
Chop onions and leeks, making sure to thoroughly clean the leeks.
Melt butter. Sauté leeks and onions on high heat (about 2 min.)
Add sautéed onions to heated large soup pot.
Add carrots and toss 1 minute.
Add flour mixed as a roux. (Stephen didn’t tell me how he did this, but any cookbook should tell you)
Toss in pumpkin.
Add chopped garlic
Add cooking sherry: pour over mixture in pot.
Add chicken stock just until it covers pumpkin.
Bring the mixture to just barely a boil and then turn heat down to simmer.
Add bay leaves and cook uncovered about 35 minutes.
At the end of 35 minutes, take out the bay leaves. Puree the mixture in a blender. This will have to be done in small batches, probably three or four. Return to pot and on low heat add the cream slowly while stirring.
Grate the ginger and add to the mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a dollop of crème fresh or low-fat sour cream.
Garnish with parsley.

Have a Howling Good Halloween and a Merry Samhain

Share your secret potions…

Have a favorite Halloween Party recipe? Share in the comments box!

It’s gruesome at the end!

Our final entry is a tale of the macabre ritual taking place in nearly every home in America this very day. For anyone who thinks the sacrificial act is ancient history, the practice of heathens, I offer you Truth of My Demise by SA Lawrence.

 

Truth of My Demise

If you’re faint of heart, then I ask you not to read
As I vividly describe the horrors done to me
In retrospect I offer this brief soliloquy
In hopes that justice might make these hoodlums pay

On a cool brisk autumn morning with dew upon the ground
I sat alone meditating, the sun above me shining down
Off I heard a turtle dove cooing softly on the breeze
Not noticing the scoundrels stealthily sneaking behind me

They took me to a house of which I’d never seen before
And carried me around the back and through the kitchen door
They placed me on a table with newspapers all around
And shoved a knife inside me, there was no hope to be found

They shoved a spoon inside me and scrapped away the guts within
Then with an evil gleam they started cutting me again
As they continued, the horror suffered is painful to describe
The morbidity of this may make one feel queasy deep inside

They cut away my nose and left a morbid frightful mess
And as to what they started next was maniacal at best
The shoved the knife into my face and cut away the rest
They carved a gruesome smile while laughing and making jest

They set my hollowed carcass on the porch that night you see
And to add humility to it they placed a candle inside of me
They left me out there all night long in the damp and cold night air
Like a trophy from a conquest they left me sitting there

But these charlatans were not finished; no they weren’t done with me
The worst was yet to come when finally morning came to be
They carried me inside and on the kitchen table once again
Then like before, they took a knife and to my back they shoved it in

These Cretans took the pieces to an oven and put me in
Cooking down my body into a mush to use again
This travesty continued as they made some pies from me
And served me as desert for all their friends to see

There’s no evidence to offer, not a crumb of pie crust left
My seeds were washed and toasted and shared amongst their guest
From the field they took me, they’re plowed and seeded once again
And the remnants of my existence are but a memory now my friend

Jack O’Lanturn Postscript©
SA Lawrence
Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: Tue Oct 18 19:13:32 UTC 2011
Title :: Epitaff of Murder
Category :: Poetry

 

Fingerprint :: a2bebbd30d60a13592fc3bb8f9c6354bc7848721630cd3c45a8de6569b5955e8

Is it just me or is this one calling to be put to music?

I think it might be over the word limit but I’ll leave that for the judges to decide. For me, it provides a perfect lead in for the recipes we’ll be posting later today:)

There’s still time to comment/vote for your favorite entry…

 

This one has so much imagery I had trouble deciding on a picture!

Hallow Weeny(s)

Bats from the belfry
Swinging from the eaves
Overlooks skullduggery
And spiders in the leaves

Exposed skulls…very scary
And goblins giving fright
Gathering darkness very eerie
Enveloping this sordid sight

Moonlight bright and silvery
Cleaves the blackening night
Forcing a change of scenery
And flushing out the fright

The black witch of sorcery
Mounting her speedy broom
Knows that the weeny(s)
Will soon depart the gloom

–H. Weeny, H.W.C.,B.S.A

The pendulum sways, counting down the hours to the end…of the contest.

Don’t play dead, rise up to our invitation–we dare you to enter! Winner takes the jewels. You have until midnight Saturday.

For our fifth entry we have a beautiful seasonal poem by J. C. Nierad.

Until October

Nearly all year
the beige brick house
is ignored
until October.

When the tenth month taps,
Thick, yellow acrylics
paint the Cottonwood
quietly living at
the beige brick house.

Nearly all October,
Evelyn dances daily in the yard.
Silver hair swaying underneath straw brim.
Dark jeans, rose gloves
hint at humanity mingling with
glowing, golden forces.

The waltz begins at the corner,
circling popping leaves.
Step, rake, step. Step, rake, step.
Gracefully flowing into the street.
Responsibly honoring the tree’s fleeting fame.

Gliding around the goddessAutumn Cottonwood Tree by Lulu Brymer
nearly all October
until the branches bare
their beige
winter souls.

J.C. Nierad
dream-hour.com

image courtesy of LuLu Brymer

visit her portfolio at FineArtAmerica[dot]com

Autumn splendor, childhood memories, monsters lurking…I love the different themes being sent in! There are just a few days remaining in our Autumn Poetry and Children’s Verse Contest, deadline is October 29th, so key in your verse and send your entry to PonderAutumnPoems[at]yahoo.com. Prize is a pair of sparkly earrings–details and picture of prize posted on our October 15th post. Winner will be announced on All Soul’s Day, November 1st.

Need Snacks? I’ll be posting a few recipes later this week!

Next Page »