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Monday, October 1, 2018

October 1: Welcome to the October Blog-a-Thon!

Welcome to my fourth annual October blog-a-thon! I hope you’ll join me daily as I continue my tradition of counting down to Halloween with style and panache. (Cue fine-print pharmaceutical commercial voiceover-guy-listing-possible-side-effects-including-death: “In this instance, Natalie is using the phrase ‘style and panache’ to mean ‘butter and sugar.’”)  

I’m exhausted already! What? Too soon? Okay, fine. I’ll wait until the 15thto be exhausted (much like my alma mater used to wait until the 15thto turn on the heat in the dorms. It was frickin’ freezing up in there, yo, and for what we paid to live there, that’s some bullshit. But I digress.) 

This year, everything seemed to start early at my house. (Maybe because it was so rainy and sad outside. Booo!) We bought our Halloween costumes the first weekend of September. We decorated our house a few days later. We went apple picking on the first official day of fall (September 22nd). And, because I was in the spirit (and had tons of apples—this year I didn’t limit myself to a half-peck. I went for the FULL PECK!), I made a few treats early. Heck, we even built some new Halloween decoration friends! 

A full peck of apples

Buttons hanging with our newly-built friends (from left):
Mr. Scary, Mumby, and Jonah Fang
Friends have been emailing and texting me festive recipes to try. Of course I've also been scouring magazines and Pinterest and, like that jolly fat guy, making a list (of things to make) and checking it twice. I've decided to try to add some more "nice" (to our waistlines) to my, historically, "naughty" recipe offerings. As things here tend to be sweets-heavy, I made an effort to rotate in some more savory recipes, providing fall-inspired dinner options. 

What is a fall-inspired dinner option, you ask? I consider it to be one which makes use of seasonal produce – read: various types of squash, carrots and parsnips, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, pumpkins, for instance – and/or something satisfying for cooler weather – read: hearty soups, stews, chilis; classic one-pot meals; casseroles, for instance. I’m also excited to share with you a couple family favorites, those satisfying recipes we return to again and again.

I’ll of course have plenty of sweet treats baking up, too. Plan on several pumpkin and apple based recipes, as well as chai-flavored things. Because YUM, that’s why. 

You can expect a format similar to what I’ve done in the past. I always link to and/or credit my original source inspiration. I appreciate the inordinate time and effort bloggers put into their content and I encourage you to visit their sites, too. For sure their food photography is worlds better than what you see here. I do my best, but nighttime baking and rainy days often derail my best intentions. (Maybe I should ask Santa for some photography lamps.) 

Sometimes I’ll send you directly to another page for a recipe if I’ve followed it pretty faithfully or it’s complicated. Other times I’ll type it up in my own words. I tend to like showing the process (in photos) of how things came together, so I’ll do that whenever possible. 
This gourd looks like a swan!
I’ve branched out this year from my normal source materials (those trusty, dog-eared copies of Halloween magazines) partly because I’ve made most of those things, but also because there’s so many new and exciting ideas out there. 

And now (to paraphrase Lumiere) I invite you to relax and pull up a chair, as my dining room proudly presents…a multitude of festive ideas to help you count down to Halloween! 

Lucky, in her new Halloween collar

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