There is something about October that I have always found enchanting. I think it has something to do with the trees bursting forth in brilliant color. The hills look as though they have caught fire and hold that alluring glow like slow burning embers. The air smells like cinnamon and crushed leaves. Apple cider mulls on the stove and swirls with a distant trace of bonfire smoke. It all makes for an alluring aroma of ancient autumn.
Nashville is absolutely magical at this time of year. There are pumpkin patches to be explored, new menus to be tasted, and views to be taken in. While September technically marks the beginning of fall, it never really feels like fall for me until I can decorate for Halloween. Which means fall starts for me on October 1st. I've spent the last week settling into flannel-wearing comfort of fall. Now, while I'm ready for fall, this Nashville weather does not feel like fall. At all. With high's in the near nineties and lows barely reaching the upper sixties, it took a little more than dragging out my halloween decorations and favorite flannel shirt to get me in the mood.
Where did I begin in my search for the fall feelings? Where everyone should begin their quest for the taste of fall. Fido. Fido is my absolute favorite for many reasons. One of the things I love about it is they mark the start of every season with seasonal signature drinks! Sunday morning I ordered myself a Summit County Cider (a mixture of matcha green tea, honey, pear, rosemary, clove, lime, and lemon juice, served hot) and set up shop to work on my latest freelance assignments. After typing away for a couple hours, breathing in the smell of autumn with each sip, and kicking myself for eating breakfast before hand and missing the opportunity to order sweet potato french toast, I gathered my work to take a break in search of more elements of fall.
Trader Joes has the best canned pumpkin. Hands down. It's organic and has the creamiest consistency. Remember this come Thanksgiving for velvety pumpkin pie! After visiting Fido, I picked up some canned pumpkin and scouted the new seasonal products at the Green Hills TJ's. After picking up the necessities, I continued on my adventure to Whole Foods, where Cinderella pumpkins are two for twelve dollars (regular carving pumpkins are two for ten).
The first week of October continued with more of the essentials; pumpkin muffins from scratch, a new fall scented candle, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, a mid-week bonfire, and of course soup.
Soup! Fall is the beginning of soup season! It is warm and comforting. No matter that it's eighty degrees outside, soup still makes things feel like fall. I was craving French Onion Soup one day this past week. As I searched my cookbooks for a recipe, I found I did not have the extensive list of ingredients necessary. Rather than give up, I created my own recipe for what I like to call American Onion Soup. It is possibly one of the easiest, cheapest, and most delicious recipes to come out of my kitchen experiments! And it's made from ingredients easily found in any American Kitchen.
American Onion Soup
4 small white onions, sliced
2 tablespoons salted butter
5 cups chicken broth
garlic powder and black pepper to taste
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions, stirring every couple minutes until golden. Cover and let cook until onions are nice and tender. Add chicken broth and let soup simmer. Add garlic and pepper to your desired taste. Slice sourdough bread and toast it. Pour soup into oven-safe bowls and set them in a shallow baking pan. Spread desired amount of cream cheese on toast (I used about a tablespoon per slice) and place a slice balancing on the rim of each bowl. Broil on high until the cheese melts. Remove the bowls from the oven, serve and enjoy!
This made enough for me to have leftovers for days. For a heartier meal, turn that cream cheese toast into a sandwich! Add sliced apples and onions from the soup to make that grilled cheese extra fancy!
If the baking, decorating, candle, bonfire, soup making, etc., was not enough, I rounded out the first week of October with my church's trip to Gentry's Farm! Just 45 minuets south of Nashville, this historic farm is full of all things fall! You can pick your own pumpkin for five dollars (and they're big pumpkins)! Or, you can purchase already picked pumpkins of every size shape and color; cinderella pumpkins, tiger striped pumpkins, tiny pumpkins and gourds, white pumpkins, and great big orange pumpkins. For seven dollars you can visit the activity area for the corn maze, farm animals, sorghum maze, nature walk, hayride, and more! We pretty much did it all.
A week into October, despite the persistent heat, I've totally got all the fall vibes! I'm tasting the pumpkin, I'm smelling the cinnamon and smoke, and I'm awaiting the bright hues that will cover the branches when the temperature finally drops!