Fallin’ (definition: chillin’ in autumn)

The reality has finally set in that our glorious summer has come to an end. But have no fear, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, particularly here on the East coast.

With every seasonal change, comes the newest styles, colors, foods and different weather. Savor every moment of the change from summer whites and shorts to snuggly colorful sweaters, long sleeve t-shirts, your favorite comfy jeans, and open your windows to allow the fresh, clean autumn air into your home.

And hey, let’s not forget about the seasonal food. YES, pumpkin stuff is everywhere and can be a little bit over the top. But I admit, I missed those pumpkin spice gourmet coffees, scrumptious pumpkin muffins and breads – and please bring on those caramel candy apples! Then there’s the apple cider — chilled on a warm fall day or hot with a brown sugared rim and a splash of rum on a chilly night. Bring on the squash casseroles, hearty mac n’ cheese, bratwurst with kraut, chili, chowders and pot pies! All of these scream “fall” to me and I’m relishing every sip and bite!

Fall rings in Halloween and I remember some of the spooky pop/rock songs over the years. We all know the “Monster Mash” – and you’d have to be living on another planet not to know Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but do you remember Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and the song that made him famous back in 1956? How about the one in 1968 by the Classics IV? I came up with a list of almost 40 songs – how many can you come up with? Watch my blog in the next few days and I’ll be posting my Halloween Song List, along with some fun, Halloween cozy mystery book reviews.

So instead of being sad that summer is exiting, relish in the autumn delights of food, fashion, fall festivals, cozy mysteries, and Halloween fun. And don’t forget to take the time to enjoy nature’s splendid coloring book filled with the brilliant orange, red and yellow foliage that only autumn can bring.  LET’S START “FALLIN’!”

Easy Spaghetti Squash Marinara:
Slice a spaghetti squash in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and membrane. Brush each half with olive oil (or butter), salt, pepper and a dash of paprika (optional) and bake at 400 degrees until soft and almost done (approx. an hour, depending on the size). Then pour your favorite marinara (red sauce) into the hollow of each half and top with parmesan cheese. When marinara is warm and cheese is melted, scoop out and enjoy. It’s like eating spaghetti – the squash will be very stringy. Easy, delicious and healthy!

Loaded Mac N’ Cheese
Buy premade mac n’ cheese (or make your own). Add any or all of the following: small broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, sliced tomatoes and carrots. If you love veggies, add more, if you just want a more cheesy flavor, add less veggies. You can go to the local salad bar and just buy a small vegetable assortment if you want the variety, but can’t use the whole head of broccoli, whole bag of carrots, etc.
Mix the veggies into the mac n’ cheese casserole and bake until hot and heated through.