Recipe of the Month – November: Cranberry Crisp

Since November’s Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving, I’m breaking my own rule and posting a recipe this week.

Let’s be honest, next to green bean casserole, cranberry sauce is the least desirable dish on the holiday table. I suspect that’s because it’s so plain. Well, I found a recipe that might spruce up the trimmings, thanks to the good people over at Gimme Some Oven and their recipe for Cranberry Crisp.

CranberryCrisp3 GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

INGREDIENTS

CRANBERRY FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange

CRISPY OATMEAL TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios…you pick!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (or almond meal)
  • pinch of salt and ground cinnamon

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please go here: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-crisp/

CranberryCrisp GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

Now, instead of a boring side dish, you can serve a sweet and healthy dessert. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really make it pop!

 

Tips for Handling Post-Halloween Depression

Well, it’s happened. Another Halloween season has come and gone, and it’ll be 11 long months until our favorite holiday comes back around. Post-Halloween Depression is real.  There never seems to be enough time to do all the things we want to do during the month of October. While it’s easy to fall into the trappings of woulda, shoulda, coulda, guilt never brought back Halloween any sooner. If you have a serious issues, get help.  Young folks, talk to someone. For reals. Maybe you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is the loneliest time of the year and it doesn’t have to be.

If you think you got a handle on it and you’re just looking for ways to squeeze the spookiness outta the holidays. Here’s a few helpful tips:

Find Your Tribe

Life is simply too short not to hang with people who don’t engage your interest, inspire your creativity or support your vision, even if it’s just turning your front yard into a cemetery every October.

Halloween groups on Pinterest, Reddit and Facebook are great places to find likeminded fans. Commiserating with others helps us not feel so alone, and trust me, you are not the only one who cannot bear to watch Freeform’s sugary programming on repeat for the next two months.

ALL my Friends are Spooky

Shop ’til You Drop

Don’t put away that credit card just yet because shopping for Halloween items is even better after Halloween. This is the time when stores are blowing out their stocks and have slashed prices from 50-80% off.  Spirit stores, Michaels, Joanns and World Market, just to name a few, all have big sales still going on. Never underestimate the power of retail therapy.

Scare up Your Next Halloween

There’s no time to cry when you’re a notebook deep full of ideas for next Halloween, and next year is gonna be a doozy. Halloween 2020 will be on a Saturday, there’ll be a full moon and that’s also the day we set our clocks back. Sounds auspicious already!

Let Autumn Linger

I don’t understand why people insist on rushing into Christmas when we have the beauty and wonder of the harvest to celebrate. Pumpkins, scarecrows, fall leaves, much of what we love about Autumn is what we love about Halloween, and nothing is better than natural spookiness of fall.

dark-autumn-days-inge-bovens

You can always decorate with autumn lights and harvest candles. Hang a fall wreath on the front door or somewhere over the mantle. Instead of the Christmas tree, put up an autumn tree during the month of November. Check out this fantastic autumn home decor from All for Fall & Halloween member Megan Sanders:

Give Thanks to Dark and Moody

Maybe you’re one that needs to feed your gothic soul all twelve months outta the year. Well, Wednesday, keep your striped socks on, because it’s quite easy to flip the holidays to satisfy our love for all things dark and brooding, as seen here in this incredibly beautiful dark holiday photography:

For more photos like these, check out our Dark and Moody Holidays board on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/halloweenkristy/dark-and-moody-holidays/

Celebrate Bad Santa

Of all the bad Santa origin stories in the world, Germany’s Krampus is the clear winner. The half-goat, half-demon, schnapps loving, children whipping, horned god of the witches is the most recognizable of all holiday bad boys and has been depicted in numerous way, but the consistency has always been his long twisted horns, a long tail, snake-like tongue, razor-sharp claws, and black hooves for feet. Additionally, he often wears a long heavy coat, wrapped in heavy chains, with some type of big bell attached.

Krampus is bad cop to Santa’s good cop. He carries a bundle of birch branches for whipping naughty children and stuffs the really, really bad ones into a basket or sack that he takes home to torture, drown and eat.

How this devil ended up as Santa’s evil sidekick is a mystery but he’s the only one celebrated internationally, even has his own designated night, Krampusnacht on December 5th

Embrace the Spooky Side of the Holidays

Krampus is more proof that Halloween and Christmas go together like peanut butter and jelly. Artists, creators, and movie makers have been genre-bending and making the holidays scary for decades.

From twisted Santa histories to spooky holiday tales, there are plenty of the dark or supernatural elements to admire or revere during the holiday season.

So, dry your tears and get to planning, cuz the holiday scares are just beginning. Put some fangs on your snowman or hang some bloody reindeer antler bones on your front door and your relatives just might behave on Thanksgiving day.

 

Save the Planet Haiku

save the planet haiku.png

September Seduction

I love a good summer storm. Anyone else? Warm breeze. Dark clouds. Rumbling thunder. Lightning strikes. Can you smell and feel the hot rain?

September is like a good storm brewing. It’s a sexy month. The weather dances the tango with you. The unbearable heat embraces you and swings you around, dizzying your mind, and just when you can’t take it anymore, there’s a cool nip at your nose, keeping you on your toes. You never know what September might be thinking. She’s as tempestuous as the sea, like a wild woman searching for the calm.

September likes to remind us of what we love and who we are. She brings back memories and yearns for new adventures. She makes us lose track of time. We’re constantly dreaming. She sees through the false smiles. She wipes away our summer tears and nudges us to do things that make us feel whole. Do not ignore her.

This is your time. Look out upon the horizon and take in the electrifying light show of last summer storm. Enjoy September. She has so much more to offer than being a pre-month. September doesn’t live in the shadow of October.

September is the lover you wish you could hold onto.

 

Happy Caturday

The Halloween season is basically here, depending on who ask, and I love it!

CatHalloweenCupcakeHat CarolCavalaris
Cat in Halloween Cupcake Hat ©Carol Cavalaris

Artist: Carol Cavalaris

For more of Carol’s spooktacular art and much more, please visit her website: https://carol-cavalaris.pixels.com/

Haiku of the Week

crisp apples
the orchard clears my mind
september walks

 

Recipe of the Month – Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pies

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins…you may have noticed pumpkins and Halloween merchandise slowly filling up the aisles of our favorite stores. Soon, my friends, soon!

While Fall doesn’t officially start until September 23, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the plentiful, wondrous bounty of autumn today.  The folks over at Acorns & Custard feel us, and I found a delicious Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pie recipe, to go along with our pumpkin spice lattes. Bring on the gourds!

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Photo ©Acorns&Custard

Continue reading “Recipe of the Month – Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pies”

The Most Famous Pumpkin Patch Photo in the World

Joel Sternfeld McLean Virginia December 1978
McLean, Virginia, December 1978, ©Joel Sternfeld

blazing orange fire
autumn spoils on the ground
more to the story

I dedicate today’s blog in honor of World Photography Day.

I was immediately spellbound by the imagery of this photo that I stumbled upon over a year ago. A few more clicks led me to a fascinating story about photographer Joel Sternfeld, who one day, came upon this fiery scene in McLean, W. Virginia, and snapped the now-iconic photo.

In the photo, we see a fireman shopping for a pumpkin, while a farmhouse burns in the background, a few hundred yards away. In his arms, the fireman clutches his prize, presumably the best of the bunch. In the foreground, dozens of rotting pumpkins spoil and wither away, in what we could consider, Autumn’s last kiss. Amongst the barren trees, the burning farmhouse roof rages like a fiery inferno, yet, the fireman seems undeterred. On this day, the hero’s quest is not put out a fire, but to pick out a pumpkin.

The photo simply titled “McLean, Virginia; December 1978” was first published for Life Magazine in Fall of 1988. It would later serve as the cover for his 1994 book American Prospects, a visual color chronicle of the life and landscapes of America during in 1980s. For many years, the photo floated around the American consciousness, via magazines and journals, without context. When taken at face value, the photo of an American fireman ignoring his duty to peruse a pumpkin patch is quite flabbergasting, some people thought it so incredulous, they believed the photo was staged.

It was neither.

The truth is, the farmhouse fire was a controlled training exercise and the fireman was on a break. That is the scene that Joel Sternfeld photographed while driving cross-country in his VW campervan, under a Guggenheim Fellowship, looking for America’s truth. He kept mum on the details for decades, until opening up for 2004 interview on photography for the Guardian. In the interview, Sternfeld argues photographers are their own authors, capable of manipulations. They can turn the camera at different angles or leave out parts entirely, and tell whatever story they want to tell. Photography has always been about interpretation. That’s what makes it art. In the article, Sternfeld says,

“No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium. It is the photographer’s job to get this medium to say what you need it to say. Because photography has a certain verisimilitude, it has gained a currency as truthful – but photographs have always been convincing lies.”

For years, the worldwide public has relied on pictures to be evidence and visual aids in understanding. A picture says a thousand words.  But what or whose truth are we seeing?

Haiku of the Week

fresh pumpkin
halloween is coming soon
smiles return