fall

Operation Autumn 2016

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Remember yesterday’s frantic, mopey, the rest of the year is ruined post?

Never underestimate the power of 24 hours.

I’m moving. The apartment is bigger, I’ll have slightly better bus access, and we’re going back to Mid’s old stomping grounds. Yep, I’m moved to cliches again.

There’s a lot of stuff to be settled out, the normal ‘breaking lease and moving’ stuff-but I know what’s happening now, and that’s a lot of where the stress was coming from.

So I feel safe in setting up another year’s worth of Operation Autumn.

 

  1. Door Wreath
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  22. Hold Mabon
  23. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  24. Go to Iron Island
  25. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
  26. Go to Forest Lawn
  27. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  28. Go to Oktoberfest
  29. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  30. See what Target has out for Halloween
  31. Go to a pumpkin festival
  32. Make fudge
  33. Donate to a food drive
  34. Hold a community thanksgiving
  35. Watch Thankskilling
  36. Hold/attend Samhain
  37. Have a bread baking day
  38. Make my Christmas shopping list
  39. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  40. Start my Christmas cards
  41. Decorate my plant
  42. Go to the haunted zoo
  43. Go to the park
  44. Got to Letchworth
  45. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  46. Go to Lily Dale
  47. Go to the USS The Sullivans
  48. Watch The Gravedancers
  49. Ride the haunted train
  50. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  51. Carve a pumpkin
  52. Make leaf crafts
  53. Drink pumpkin beer
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Operation Autumn Check In

This year was limping along…and this week happened.

Well, Sunday happened…and everything happened at once.

  1. Door Wreath
    More like a door leaf, but you get the general idea.
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
    Will read more, however
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
    Okay. The beginning of the ‘cross all the things off of the list’ day.
    empireapples
    Holly came to town from Austin, and I had a memory I shared on Facebook that said something to the effect of I want to go to a pumpkin farm. So she said that the Sunday that she was in town, we were going to go to Becker Farms-who has a pumpkin patch as well as being a working pumpkin farm.So if you were to be at Becker Farms this weekend, I was the oddly (for me, not necessarily oddly as in I think it’s weird) modestly dressed woman in the head wrap and the maxi skirt dancing around apple trees. I ended up picking a single bag of Empire apples, but I also know me and know that’s about the speed I could actually use before they turned.
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
    See also: Becker Farmsgourds
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Go to crafting weekend
  22. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  23. Hold Mabon
  24. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  25. Go to Iron Island
  26. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
    Two or three times over, but I’m actually more into Tim Horton’s version of pumpkin spice this year
  27. Go to Forest Lawn
  28. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  29. Go to Oktoberfest
  30. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  31. See what Target has out for Halloween
    This one was an accident. The night of the blood moon we went to Target for I don’t know, chocolate or something. At which point I lost my boyfriend. I didn’t think to look in the holiday stuff because he never goes into the Halloween section. It turns out that he really loves Target’s Halloween stuff this year, which may or may not make Christmas shopping easier this year.
  32. Go to a pumpkin festival
    Becker Farms, again…pumpkinsbeckerfarms
  33. Make fudge
  34. Donate to a food drive
  35. Hold a community thanksgiving
  36. Watch Thankskilling
  37. Hold/attend Samhain
  38. Have a bread baking day
  39. Make my Christmas shopping list
  40. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  41. Start my Christmas cards
  42. Decorate my plant
  43. Go to the haunted zoo
  44. Go to the park
  45. Got to Letchworth
  46. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  47. Go to Lily Dale
  48. Go to the USS The Sullivans
    thesullivans
    This one was an accident, or at least, not planned. But we were there. We talked about ghosts.
  49. Watch The Gravedancers
  50. Ride the haunted train
  51. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  52. Carve a pumpkin
  53. Make leaf crafts
  54. Drink pumpkin beer 

    I can’t remember which one. But it happened.

Roasted Applesauce (AKA The Best Applesauce Ever)

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board...but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board…but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

I can’t eat hot apples.

I can eat apples that have been cooked, I just can’t eat them hot. So I’m not sure why I got stuck this weekend on the idea of roasted applesauce-instead of my normal boiled down type.

I’m not even sure why I thought that it would be different-but different, indeed, it is.

We went on an apple hunt this weekend-I ran completely out of canned apple products last week and I had been putting off getting more apples. I decided I was never going to get them if I didn’t just make the plunge, I would keep putting it off, so I went off to my favorite vendor at the North Tonawanda farmer’s market. I came home with a Top’s paper bag full of Golden Blushes for $3.

After some basic Internet searches just to verify that this was even worth attempting, I was off. And sweet Pomona, this stuff is amazing. After blending it takes on this weird rubbery texture (look, it’s a good thing, I just don’t know how to describe it but trust me here) that you don’t get with boiled sauces. It’s more like apple pudding. Amazing, amazing apple pudding.

[I sometimes get asked this, so here’s my stance-I’m not picky when it comes to apples for saucing. If I can get my hands on it, I’ll use it. That means everything from free range wild to Aldis to heirlooms. If I can get it into a jar, I’m not a snob. The trick is trying the apple and seeing roughly how sweet it is and adjusting the sugar added to the sauce that way.]

Notes:

This, like all applesauces, is most of a structure than a firm recipe. You can adjust this as you go. I did add my sugar beforehand, and would recommend adding at least a little to help draw out moisture as it bakes. You can add a little more when it comes out of the oven if you feel like it needs more sugar.

You can roast other fruits in there with the apples at the same time for mixed fruit sauces.

I didn’t peel, I don’t peel my apples for sauce, but you can if you would like.

I froze this batch but I can’t think of a reason why this couldn’t be canned to be shelf stable. Follow the instructions for canning applesauce in the Ball Blue Book.

Roasted Applesauce

Heavy weight oven safe pan (honestly I baked it in a sauce pan)

apples, cored and chopped

about 1/2 cup sugar to start

nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 400 or 425 (temperature isn’t terribly important as long as it’s in that range)

Core and chop your apples. I just chopped until the pan was filled (there are many apples in my kitchen)

Place in the pan, and cover with sugar.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The apples will come out looking slightly dehydrated.

Very carefully-or let cool first-blend with an immersion blender or carefully add to a conventional blender and pulse till smooth. It might take a moment to get it going.

Add a little more sugar if desired and a couple of dashes of nutmeg, and stir into sauce.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

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I do have ghost material to post-I went to the Central Terminal for the Carnival of Parahorror, and want to get that post written up at least.

I love pumpkin spice, but nutmeg’s been my current love (though I admit that I’m surprised Pixabay has photos of nutmeg-the camera on my phone is getting touch and go and it’s really gray here today). We went to Spot on Elmwood on Sunday to see someone, and they had cold brew iced coffee-another love-and a shaker of nutmeg. On a whim I made myself a nutmeg coffee, and now I’m off and running.

There’s something slightly retro about nutmeg, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what that is. But I love it. Don’t be surprised if you see it here more often.

Nutmeg is a general healing herb, folklorically speaking. Nutmeg/allspice berries, like most ‘berry’ herbs, can stand in for coins in money draws.

Note:

I mix my syrups a little strong, because I don’t like terribly sweet coffee but want the spice to come through when I use it-so I use a heavy hand so I can get flavor out of a small amount of syrup. Use a lighter hand if you like a sweeter coffee.

Don’t over boil simple syrup or you’ll end up with candy.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

1 pint water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon each good quality ground nutmeg and cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (real/alcohol based preferably)

Mix dry spices and sugar together well, add to a pot with water and vanilla.

Over medium low heat bring to a gentle simmer and let cook down slightly to make a sugar syrup.

Take off of heat, cool, and keep in the fridge. It should hold for a fair amount of time, at least a couple of weeks due to the sugar content.

Operation Autumn Week 2

tops1

Still not much headway into the list, but it’s still only mid-August.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

I asked at Starbucks earlier this week and all I could figure out was ‘the next few weeks.’ Well yes, they’re always out by Labor Day, so that much was obvious. I don’t know if the barrista didn’t know or if there’s something odd going on with planning again this year.

They (Starbucks) did announce that there’s going to be actual pumpkin in the lattes this year. Call my cynical but now I’m waiting for the flood of ‘this doesn’t taste like normal’ complaints. I’ve always taken the stance that ‘pumpkin spice’ is a separate entity from actual pumpkin and therefore didn’t care/rolled my eyes at the Foodbabe melt down of 2014.

Seasonal Displays

Tops and the dollar store are both putting out their Halloween/autumn stuff. There’s a wreath I want at Tops and the dollar store has some signs I want with turkeys on. I might see how much stuff I pick up at the dollar store before I go for that wreath (my Facebook also exploded over the Tops display, stating it’s much too early. I don’t feel like it’s any earlier than normal).

dollarstoreM.R. James

One item I can cross off the list-I’ve started reading my way through M.R. James’ ghost stories. Sometimes you have to go back to the masters.

Operation Autumn 2015

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All right. I’m weak and -just- stressed enough to want to have something to keep me on track.

Buffalo also feels like fall already. I’m not sure why. It just feels like a particularly warm autumn, not late summer.

Welcome to this year’s Operation Autumn, where we attempt to tackle all the things that make autumn awesome. I’m not going to post a link up, but feel free to discuss what you’re doing this autumn in the comments.

In order to participate, write your own autumn bucket list and work on it until the first day of winter. Then feel awesome.

This is year 3 of Operation Autumn.

  1. Door Wreath
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Go to crafting weekend
  22. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  23. Hold Mabon
  24. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  25. Go to Iron Island
  26. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
  27. Go to Forest Lawn
  28. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  29. Go to Oktoberfest
  30. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  31. See what Target has out for Halloween
  32. Go to a pumpkin festival
  33. Make fudge
  34. Donate to a food drive
  35. Hold a community thanksgiving
  36. Watch Thankskilling
  37. Hold/attend Samhain
  38. Have a bread baking day
  39. Make my Christmas shopping list
  40. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  41. Start my Christmas cards
  42. Decorate my plant
  43. Go to the haunted zoo
  44. Go to the park
  45. Got to Letchworth
  46. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  47. Go to Lily Dale
  48. Go to the USS The Sullivans
  49. Watch The Gravedancers
  50. Ride the haunted train
  51. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  52. Carve a pumpkin
  53. Make leaf crafts
  54. Drink pumpkin beer

Trees

I have a tendency to get too stuck in the present.

Which is a horrible place to be.

One of my life mantras is that things are rarely as bad as they seem right now. Some of them are, admittedly. Most of them aren’t.

Life right now is a whirlwind of habit with a dash of stress thrown in for variety. My apartment needs a deep cleaning desperately but my days are the same pattern of laundry, walk to errands, go to work. Don’t get enough sleep, don’t breathe, nothing but laundry, errands, and work. It slowly kills the soul which is the worst of it.

One of the best ways for me to kick out of the brain melting routine is to start paying attention to what the world actually looks like-photography in autumn is awesome for that. They don’t have to be perfect. Just what the world actually looks like.