Happy Fall! My favorite season. We are in the last bountiful month of the fall harvest season featuring pumpkins, apples, pears, kale, and all the cooler veggies. Corn mazes, harvest and pumpkin festivals abound. It’s wonderful weather for hiking and biking or just long walks in the cool, crisp air of autumn. Halloween festivities will begin with haunted houses and ghost tours. I can be found screaming through at least one each year with whoever I can talk into going with me. My husband refuses, I guess he’s too scared.
Throw a harvest party or potluck, check out a new hike or park and enjoy this beautiful season.
You will thank yourself for getting those snow tires on early before the tire store crowds and chaos of the first real snow. Put your window scraper in, I like to add a broom for faster snow removal. It’s also a good idea to throw in some boots, a flashlight, cat litter for traction and extra outdoor wear. You’ll feel ready for anything.
The Herbalist’s Happy Hour – Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the Garden is out on Amazon.
A great reference for cooking up easy, fresh, delicious drinks and appetizers for entertaining and enjoying. You want this book! Get it here.
Scrumptious Holiday Appetizers, Cooking Class and Dinner, Denver Botanic Gardens, Thursday, November 15, 6 – 8:30 pm. $59/ $54, members. info here
Take the stress out of the holidays and add some pizzazz to your entertaining with these easy, elegant offerings. We will make Baby Crab Cakes with Chive Aioli, Tamari Pumpkin Seeds, smoky Baba Gahoush, creamy Queso Fundido with Chorizo, Lemon Rosemary Olives and savory Veggie Flatbread. Recipes and generous tastings provided. Be the hit of the holiday season!
Gifts from the Herb Garden, Denver Botanic Gardens, Saturday, December 1, 9:30 am to noon, $59, $54 member. info here.
Spend a fun morning crafting enchanting gifts to delight friends and family. Make and take home chocolate delights including delicious chocolate nut clusters and irresistible chocolate dipped candied ginger and orange peel. Learn how to make spicy/sweet cocktail nuts, a soothing lavender lip balm, a pressed-flower glass candle holder and pot up some narcissus for fragrant blooms. We’ll have chai tea and scones to keep that creative juice going. Recipes and all materials included. Treat yourself!
Fun Things to Do
Cider Days, Lakewood, October 6 and 7, Lakewood Heritage Center. Music, history, tractor pulls, pie eating contest and more. http://www.lakewood.org/ciderdays/
Pumpkin Festival, October 6 and 7, Four Mile House, Denver. Pumpkin patch, hayrides, food trucks and more. http://fourmilepark.org/
Pumpkin Harvest Festival, October 12-14, Denver Botanic Gardens @ Chatfield Farms. Pumpkin patch, corn maze, and more. www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/pumpkin-festival
Crafts Spirit Festival, October 19 - 21, Breckenridge. Creative cocktails, small-batch distillers, seminars, historic and haunted tours, sampling and great views. info here
23rd Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race and Parade, October 27, Manitou Springs. The parade starts at noon with 70 teams racing coffins down Manitou Avenue. Beer garden, music, and costumes galore.
Halloween Happenings, Great fun from cemetery tours, zombie crawls, Victorian horrors at the Molly Brown house and fright fests. Check out www.denver.org/things-to-do/fall-winter/halloween/ for all the options.
Denver Art Museum, Saturday, October 6
Colorado Railroad Museum, Thursday, October 11
Four Mile Historic Park, Friday, October 12, noon to 4pm
Denver Museum of Nature and Science - Sunday, October 14
Clyfford Still Museum, every Friday from 5-8pm
Yes, it’s time to bid adieu to the garden as it settles in for the winter rest. The time for procrastination is over. Snow will fall, tomatoes will freeze, annuals will turn black. Get those houseplants in, the herbs and produce harvested, any perennials in your pots transplanted into the garden and your ceramic containers dumped out and stored for winter. Put in some fall bulbs for your spring show and plant some pansies and mums to brighten up the yard.
Mound up the soil from your emptied pots over your tender perennials and wait until spring to cut back your roses and grasses. I usually let all of my perennials stay unpruned and just cut back the messy dead annuals.The extra foliage adds protection and makes for some winter interest. Then it’s time to relax, those garden chores are over for a while.
The Cold and Flu Season Cometh
Whenever there is a change of seasons there seems to be a rise in illness. Natural methods for prevention include taking a good, food-based multivitamin/mineral daily, restricting skin contact in public places, eating a whole foods diet, getting enough sleep and limiting sugar which lowers immunity. This is actually a good plan year-round.
If you or someone in your household does get sick, wipe down keyboards, lights switches, TV remotes, doorknobs and other frequently touched places with vinegar. Relieve congested sinuses and chests with a tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil steam. Eat lots of organic veggies and hot foods with plenty of garlic and onions. Skip the smoothies, dairy products, and cold salads and go for spicy hot vegetable curries, stir-frys, and soups. Get enough rest and drink plenty of hot tea. I like elderberry or sage tea with lemon and honey.
Dress for the weather. It makes me crazy to see little kids with deep, rattly coughs and runny noses out in cold, wet weather without hats, scarves or coats. They shouldn’t be out in the first place, nor should you if you’re sick. Remember to sneeze and cough into your sleeve or elbow, not your hands! Grab a good novel, a cup of tea, take a long hot bath and go to bed!
Recipes of the Month
It’s apple time, here are few of my favorite apple recipes.
Napa Cabbage with Apples, Pomegranate and Radish
- 3 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 small head Napa cabbage, sliced thin and chopped
- 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced, (a mandoline is great for this)
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- ½ cup blue, gorgonzola or goat cheese (optional)
Mix together the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, and seasonings. Add rest of the ingredients and toss lightly. Add the dressing, use just enough don’t drown the salad. Add salt and pepper if needed. Put on plates and top with cheese.
Apple Crisp – serves 8-10
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 stick butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- 3 pounds apples, such as Granny Smith, Gala, or Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, until it is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to incorporate into the rest of the topping mixture..Transfer to fridge to chill while you prepare apples.
In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and with top with refrigerated oat mixture.. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.
- 3 large tart cooking apples (such as green Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 small red or green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbs grated orange peel
- 1 tbs grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid; let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 2 ½ cups
Butternut Squash soup – serves 6-8
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 13,5 oz can of coconut milk
- 1 tbs butter
- Cooking oil
- 1 onion sliced thin
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-5 cups of chicken or veggie broth
- Yogurt and cilantro for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly pierce squash with a knife around the circumference and towards the top and bottom. Put on a greased baking sheet and cook at 375 for 45-50 minutes until the flesh gives when pressed. Cool, cut in half and remove seeds. In a soup pot melt the butter and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and stir for another minute. Add seasonings, the pulp of the cooked squash, and broth to the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add in batches to a blender then add the soup back to the pot. Add the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning, top with a dab of plain yogurt and some chopped cilantro and call it done.
Chicken with Wine and Mushrooms – serves 4
- 8 rinsed and patted dry chicken thighs and legs (my favorite) or 4 breasts
- Flour for dredging and thickening
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced and diced
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms, (I like shiitakes for their immune-bolstering effects and hearty flavor)
- Cooking oil
- 1 cup wine – your choice
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Put flour on a plate and roll chicken in it until coated on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. I like Lawry’s seasoned salt for this. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a dutch oven or large covered cooking pot, covering the bottom, and heat until hot but not smoking. Add seasoned chicken and brown on both sides, transferring browned chicken to a plate and repeating with leftover pieces. Once chicken is done add more oil to the pan if needed and add peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute or so. Add 2 teaspoons flour leftover from dredging and mix into vegetable mixture. Stir for another minute or two. Add wine, stir, add broth, stir, add chicken and cover the pot. Simmer on low for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Adds a nice color contrast. Serve with roasted baby potatoes or wild rice and a salad for a lovely fall meal.
Toasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Don’t toss those pumpkin or squash seeds. Toast them for a tasty treat, or add to soups and salads. Great for fiber, prostate health and parasites.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take rinsed pumpkin or squash seeds and blot dry with a dish towel. Put into a bowl and add olive or avocado oil to coat. Stir in seasonings of choice. I like salt, pepper, onion and garlic flakes and some cayenne. I’ll sometimes add cinnamon and brown sugar for a sweet, spicy taste. Put in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and eat whole, yum!