Monday, October 8, 2012

Theme Week: Fall

Good morning and welcome to Theme Week:  Fall!  This week we'll all be posting about our various fall activities/foods/clothes/etc. (Mon.-Wed.), fall recipes (Thurs.), and finally, a fall themed photo Friday (duh).

How was your weekend?  Will's dad and stepmother rented a cabin at Wintergreen (a ski/golf resort) so we got to hang out with them and Will's two brothers for a few days and enjoy the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  The boys went golfing and the girls did a little shopping and relaxing.  So fun!  We're making it a tradition, so this was officially our "1st Annual Wintergreen Weekend."  Hopefully we'll find another weekend to head up there this winter so Tommy can learn to ski.  

Fall is definitely my favorite season.  I love pretty much everything about it:  the jeans and sweatshirts (and don't forget my fleece-lined flannel), the soups and stews, the changing leaves, the warm drinks, the cooler temperatures.  But the one thing that this season makes me think of and really need is mountains. For me, fall is the perfect time to spend a weekend in the mountains, which is why I was over-the-moon when Will told me his dad was planning the Wintergreen weekend.  The leaves were just beginning to change, the weather was perfect (on Saturday anyway!) and the views of the Blue Ridge were picture-perfect.  Here are some of the shots I took:

And here's a few fun family shots for good measure:

PaPa and Tommy:  twins!

Jer-Jer is such a good uncle!

Annabel loves to swing!
 We walked, we admired the views, we ate some really good food, we drank tea, and we spent time together.  A perfect fall weekend.  

Some other things I'm looking forward to doing in the next few weeks include drinking apple cider, eating an apple cider doughnut (or 4), making my first pot of mexican chicken soup (decidedly not a fall recipe, but my favorite cold-weather soup), picking out pumpkins for the front porch with my babies, finding a new perfect sweater, doing lots of knitting and reading, cooking from my fall garden, running outside in the cool temps, hopefully doing some more fall hikes, watching the leaves change color, and generally spending lots of time outside with Tommy and Annabel.  

Something else I'm going to try to do is us my oven more often.  I use my stove top every single day, but rarely use the oven to cook anything besides muffins and tater tots (we all love tater tots at our house at eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  But after making a really good pan of baked sausage with potatoes, apples, and onions last week (recipe coming on Thursday - SO easy!), I'm determined to find a bunch of recipes that require me to simply preheat the oven, throw some things into a baking dish, and put the dish into the oven for 30 minutes to an hour. 

I think my aversion to using the oven comes partly from all the leftovers (for a couple or family with small children) that inevitably come with a baked dish.  Even if it's delicious, it's a little overwhelming for me to have 3/4 of a casserole or lasagne or whatever left over.  So in addition to trying to use the oven more, I'm also going to work on portion size.  Instead of filling up a big 13x9 pan, I'll use something smaller and cut the recipe in half.  Looking forward to finding some easy, hands-off recipes for the coming weeks! 

I hope you're enjoying this beautiful (and tasty!) season and getting out to do some fun things!  What's your favorite fall activity?  I'd love to hear! 

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