Reading Recipes

Is It Autumn or Summer-Lite?

Happy Fall Y’all!  Bah humbug.  I am probably the only person in the world who doesn’t love to see fall coming.  Living most of my life in cold-weather places, fall always brought a deep feeling of dread to me.  I knew that the first yellow leaf I saw was a harbinger of snow that could come at any minute.  In Colorado, the snow has no decency to wait until Christmas to come.  Early snow and wind meant that pretty flowers, ripe vegetables on the vine and lovely trees would all be ruined, and we could look at a barren landscape for the next eight or nine months.  It also meant short, dark days were coming.  I’m quite sure I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) so the shorter days and gloomy weather would always depress me.

Now, lucky to live in AZ, I say bring it on!  Being situated further South means that our days are not drastically shortened.  We don’t do Daylight Savings Time and my body doesn’t have to adjust to that. The cooler weather means I actually get more sunlight than I do in the summer because I’m outdoors every possible moment. I think of our perfect “autumn” days as more of perfect summer days. Low 60s at night and high 80s are the temps during the day. That’s why I call it summer-lite. I have absolutely no symptoms of SAD now.

I get why other people love fall, especially in places like New England or the Ozarks where Mother Nature shows off big time.  Many places have an actual season rather than a couple of random nice days peppered by snow, rain, wind and longer nights.  People like wearing bulky clothes and lighting scented candles at night.  They like pumpkin-flavored everything at Starbucks. I know, I know.  It’s just not my season.

One problem for a desert-transplant like me is that I have always used the weather to inform me of the seasons.  When it’s still 100 degrees in October, I don’t remember to decorate for Halloween until about October 31st.  Whoops.  This year, I’m getting a head start on the fall decorating.

What I do love is Halloween.  I daresay it is my favorite holiday.  We often host Halloween costume parties and enjoy the creativeness of our friends and the opportunity for everyone to let their hair down – even if it might be a wig.  So, my fall decorating includes a lot of witches, bats, ghosts and vampires with the traditional pumpkins.  I’ll attach some pictures of my cute decorations next week.

What I’m Reading

I love words.  I love letters.  I love reading about words and letters and their originations.  This week I’ve been listening to the audio version of The Lemon Jell-o Syndrome.  This books is written by an English teacher about a grammar teacher. I like so many things about it, especially all the fun background on the English alpabet.  It’s nerdy and funny and clever.  Right up my alley.  Also about words, I’m reading The African Svelte, Ingenious Misspellings That Make Surprising Sense.  This book is written by a former editor of The New Yorker and is a collection of funny misspelling and misused words he came across.  I love how smart and funny this book is.  I also love that the author quotes John Mellencamp (my favorite) so I think he might be a person I would like.  I finished Before We Were Yours this week.  I didn’t love the book, but it was based on real-life Georgia Tann of Memphis who kidnapped and sold children for two decades.  I was glad I read it and heard more about this atrocity.

What I’m Eating

I have a tradition on the first day of football (or the first day the Broncos play) of making a pot of chili.  Even though it was over 100 degrees last Monday, I made a pot and it was delish.  You can see the darling little chili pepper bowls my sister Susie bought me on one of her vacations.  As always, my recipes are easy with very few ingredients.  I made this on the stove-top, but it also lends itself to a crockpot.  Depending on your eating plan, you can add as many or as few topping as you like.  I used grated cheddar, light sour cream and freshly roasted Hatch chilies.

Chili and Football

Beef and Bean Chili

  • 1 pound very lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cans of beans, drained (I use whatever I have in the pantry.  This time I used 1 can of pinto beans and 1 can of white kidney beans
  • 1/3 c tomato paste
  • 1 T cumin (or to taste)
  • 3 T chili powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spray a large pot with olive oil.  Brown meat, carrot and onion, drain any grease.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for an hour.

Also from my sister Susie is the recipe she loves for Almost Whitecastle Sliders from Allrecipes, and the beautiful meal she and her husband Mike made including an antipasto salad. Looks like they could put out a third glass of chardonnay and I would join them!

Thanks for stopping by.  I’m sorry to say it seems like every week I’m asking for prayer, but if you’re a praying person, please consider a few words for our friends in the Mid East.

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