I love the new traditions that are emerging in my family now that my kids are getting a little bit older. With some help from my retired teacher mom’s extensive book collection, I have started our own book collections for each season. These are special books that we bring out only at the start of each season or leading up to a special holiday. I have been trying to keep these books separate from our regular books on the bookshelf by keeping them in a special basket near the fireplace and asking that they be returned there when we are done reading them. Right now, we’re loving our Autumn books and thought it might be nice to share some of our favorite titles.

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  • Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
  • Five Little Pumpkins illustrated by Ben Mantle
  • Pumpkin Faces: A Glowing Book You Can Read in the Dark! by Emma Rose and illustrated by Judith Moffatt
  • Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert
  • Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
  • When Autumn Comes by Robert Maass
  • Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith

I hold firmly to my proclamation that Fall is my absolute favorite season. It just makes me feel cozy and content. I know we all love lists, so here goes my attempt to capture the feeling fall gives me with a few of my favorite fall things.

  • Speciality flavored (decaf) coffee from Starbucks
  • Pumpkin Cranberry scones from Trader Joe’s (don’t bother looking, I got the last two boxes)
  • Going for neighborhood walks to collect acorns for the squirrels in our front yard
  • Watching the squirrels nibble acorns from our picture window with my girls
  • Blankets on the couch
  • The smell of the fallen wet leaves
  • Sugar pumpkins and my favorite spicy pumpkin soup*
  • A trip to a Halloween or Fall destination (Husband and I took one solo this weekend to Salem, Massachusetts!)
  • Crisp mornings
  • Fall cleaning/organizing (I love this more than Spring cleaning)
  • Comfy (fake) UGG boots – I don’t care if they look like elephant feet, they are SO COMFORTABLE

 

* Bonus recipe for you – Happy Fall!

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
(My working mamas: this is not a weeknight recipe)

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.

Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serves 8.

*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

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