Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

October is a beautiful month, isn’t it? Full of crisp air, sweaters out of storage, leaves changing colors and crunching under your feet. The start of the holiday season before the holiday rush. I think October is my favorite month.

On Facebook, I asked “What are some of your favorite fall/harvest moments?” Each reply was unique to the individual commenter, but there was one running theme: pumpkin. It seems pumpkin everything is what gets people most excited about October.

The Pumpkin Grinch

The Pumpkin Grinch

Each year I share this photo. It was taken by a friend about ten years ago. We were at the local pumpkin patch when I spotted this pumpkin. It looks so much like the Grinch to me. I asked suggested begged my friend to photograph it for posterity. A much better way of keeping it than, say, buying the pumpkin only to toss it out in three weeks or less, don’t you think?

As I was going through the blog last weekend, working to make it a better experience for both you as a reader and myself as the writer [read Under the Hood], I realized I’d not posted many articles on food for quite some time. No recipes, no foodie photos. No reasons to salivate or say “I want to try that!” And I’m supposed to be a foodie person.

It’s also been too long since I’ve posted a Five Things Friday as well. No connecting of the dots between A, B, C . . . you get the picture.

What’s This Girl to do? Why, combine it all together, y’all! So welcome back, October. Welcome back, Food. Welcome back, Five Things Friday.

Let’s get this post started.

  1. Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Creme Frappuccino. Oh, come on. You know you saw that one coming. I may as well get it over with right away. The first week of September ushers us into that wonderful realm of cinnamon, spice, nutmeg, and that must-be-in-everything-from-now-until-Valentine’s-Day ingredient, pumpkin.
    Autumn Bliss

    Autumn Bliss

    Now . . . who’s not a fan of Starbuck’s? I can’t even talk to you if you’ve raised your hand.

  2. Soups. Now is the time of year when the slow cooker and Dutch oven live outside the cabinets. They’ll take up residency on the stove top and counter, and stay there until January. Homes everywhere will be filled with wonderful aromas, not-so-quick but definitely easy concoctions of broth, creams, and one-pot meals.
    Homemade Chicken Soup . . . Good for the body and the soul.

    Homemade chicken soup . . . Good for the body and the soul.

    I love boiling a whole chicken with added herbs and seasonings to make freezable broth and stock. The only part I throw away are the bones and skin.

  3. Adult beverages. Please. I’m an adult. I find no shame in admitting I’m a fan of adult beverages. This time of year, I’m all about the pumpkin beer. Am I right? That crisp, dry flavor deserves to be imbibed with something special. Like a pumpkin muffin. Or a bowl of chili. Or a breath of autumn air. And let’s not forget my new holiday classic: The Chocolate Martini.
    Chocolate Martini made with Scharffen Berger Chocolate.

    Chocolate Martini made with Scharffen Berger Chocolate.

    Remember when I won that Scharffen Berger gift basket a few years ago? And that beautiful coffee table book came with it? In those magical pages I discovered this magical recipe. My holidays are oh-so-much happier now.

  4. Casey’s Cupcakes. Even though It’s been over a year since I’ve visited my beloved Riverside and my most favorite place, The Mission Inn, I still long for Casey’s most delicious treats. If you’re in Southern California between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I highly recommend you visit The Festival of Lights and indulge in a little holiday treat from Casey’s.
    Glamorous Gingerbread at Casey's Cupcakes

    Glamorous Gingerbread at Casey’s Cupcakes

    At any time of year, it’s an experience you’ll savor. (See what I did there?)

  5. And of course, last but not least, good for any day of the year, could there be anything better for This Southern Girl At Heart than a huge gulp of sweet tea?
    Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea at Blue Ridge

    It refreshes my body, it renews my soul. It reminds me of Blue Ridge and my trip to North Carolina. The writers’ conference. The connections. The beauty. We all need a little more sweetness in our lives, yah? Go on. Take a sip. You’ll be glad you did.

BONUS: To celebrate this unofficial beginning of the holidays, and the return of Five Things Friday with this Foodie Post, today only The Unemployment Cookbook Kindle edition is available for free download. Just click through the photo below to get yours.

The Unemployment Cookbook, Kindle edition

The Unemployment Cookbook, Kindle edition

Happy start to the holidays. Happy eating.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment and tell me: What are some of your favorite foods this time of year?

Tweet: Frankly, My Dear. . . #FiveThingsFriday. What are your favorite foods this time of year? #pumpkineverything @realmojo68 THIS: Frankly, My Dear . . . #FiveThingsFriday. What are your favorite foods this time of year? #pumpkineverything @realmojo68

Tweet: Frankly, My Dear . . . #FiveThingsFriday The #Foodie Post. #October is a beautiful month, isn't it? @realmojo68 TWEET THIS: Frankly, My Dear . . . #FiveThingsFriday The #Foodie Post. #October is a beautiful month, isn’t it? @realmojo68

Tweet: Frankly, My Dear . . . #Starbucks #Pumpkinbeer #cupcakes A few of my favorite things. #FiveThingsFriday @realmojo68 THIS: Frankly, My Dear . . . #Starbucks #Pumpkinbeer #cupcakes A few of my favorite things. #FiveThingsFriday @realmojo68

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

Do you have a copy of The Unemployment Cookbook? Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads? That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Feta Tomato Spinach Salad in a Jar

I’ve been waiting for this day. This day when I finally used my new OXO International Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner. Right away, the size is perfect. My little two-person household doesn’t eat much salad so using a full head of lettuce or other greens can lead to waste.

Last week I bought a set of 4 oz. canning jars. They’re the perfect serving size for us. For desserts, a special beverage, and yes, even salads. I’ve been planning to make my Feta, Tomato and Spinach Salad since I bought them. Enter the ease of OXO.

I started with just four simple ingredients: fresh spinach, crumbled Feta cheese, cherry Roma tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil.

After tearing a handful of spinach leaves, I rinsed them in the basket then spun them. This spinner is unlike any other I’ve experienced. It’s so small and easy to manage. The solid push-down button works so lightly, so easily. And the non-skid base made it worry-free. [You try juggling a camera in one hand and a salad spinner in the other! OXO makes it easy!]

After just a few quick pumps of the spinner, I removed the basket and dumped out the water. The spinach leaves were fresh, vibrant, and ready to go into the Spinner Bowl.

Next I cut the tomatoes. With small cherry Romas, it was quick and easy. Just look at those juices pouring out!

Then I topped it with the crumbled Feta cheese and tossed.

Now comes the part I’d been waiting for: the “canning” of my salad. I put in several spoonfuls, making sure that each serving had a delicious mix of the spinach, Feta, and tomatoes. I then lightly drizzled each jar with the olive oil.

Doesn’t that just scream “flavor”?!

I now have six mini salads in my refrigerator, just waiting to be eaten! How simple is that?

A little added dash of salt, pepper, and maybe a few croutons, and you’ve got yourself a salad!

Thanks, OXO!

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

[Disclaimer: I’m an active member of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, as well as an Amazon Affiliate. I have not been compensated by OXO in any way for this post, and all opinions and reviews are my own.]

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