Here's the thing. I like fall better than winter. I'll take gourds over evergreens any day. So apart from the severe peer pressure all around me, I'd be happy to continue scooping up colorful leaves, reading books about squirrels and corn and pilgrims and sipping hot cider for several more weeks.
Still, the rest of the crew is getting antsy. My older girl has resorted to smuggling in Christmas CD's from the downstairs closet this past week. She's working hard to woo the littlest into admiring these somewhat unfamiliar tunes. As of this evening littlest remains partial to nursery rhymes.
So before I turn the page entirely (there are two more glorious November hours), I wanted to pass along a simple fall tradition that has fast become a favorite in our home.
As we traipse through one of the pumpkin patches we visit each year, I ask the girls to find six or seven sugar pumpkins. They're always more than happy to comply. It feels so excessive to them - in the best eating double dessert sort of way.
We then load them up, drive them home and place them in a line right down the center of our dining room table. And there they sit - adding bits of orange pleasure for nearly two months.
Truly, sugar pumpkins are the most low-maintenance decoration ever. They don't need water or any further adornment - their plump orange presence is entirely enough. They require no electricity and never drop their needles like those green guys do in December.
And their most appealing attribute?
When the season wraps up, there's no need to store them away for next year. Truly clutter free! Instead, we bake, puree, freeze and eat them in all sorts of fabulous forms for months to come.
* This year I discovered that baby food storage containers are the perfect size (1/4 cup) for freezing pumpkin puree. This makes things easy on the back end when you're trying to figure out how much puree to pull out of the freezer for a particular recipe.
Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey-Raspberry Syrup
Morning Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Farmer John's Pumpkin Soup
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds