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A little bit of pumpkin spice sure would be nice…

I keep seeing posts online about a certain crisp in the air. I’m enviously scrolling through pictures of people enjoying Fall festivals, corn mazes and pumpkin patches with their families on social media. My mouth waters as I watch videos meticulously documenting how to make various apple, cranberry and pumpkin delights. Advance warning: I’m feeling very “emojinal” today….😔🍎🌽🍂

I would certainly be getting in on all of the action if I were stateside. I would haul all of my Fall themed decorations down from the attic and shove plastic squash and pumpkins in every imaginable nook and cranny. My red vase with sunflowers would be center displayed on the kitchen table. A cornucopia would move in to it’s new home on the mantle for the next few months. I would heartily sip on coffee laced with pumpkin spice creamer every morning. I would likely begin to warm up my baking muscles for the holiday season. 🌻☕️🥧

Yes, I am addicted to Fall and I’m not ashamed. I love the vibrant colors, hearing the sound of stirring leaves and feeling the morning chill on my skin. I adore the standard Autumn uniform of boots and scarves worn regardless of unseasonably warm weather (which is a common reality if you live in the South). I confess to owning more than a few goofy Fall themed T-shirts that say things like “Pumpkin spice is my favorite season.” 🧣👢😀

I would have a hay bale on my front porch adorned with Mr. and Mrs. Scarecrow, complete with a various assortment of pumpkins and gourds. Flanking this display will be burgundy, burnt orange or perhaps even violet mums for a pop of color. I will be motivated to water them on a regular basis in order to preserve their vibrant hues. I will even watch the cheesy, over the top Fall themed movies on the Hallmark channel (I’m actually watching one right now). 🤫🍁🌺

lt’s also football season which, for me, translates to being in the kitchen, making savory snacks and consuming lots of grilled fare. Admittedly, I may not always follow the whole game. “What is an onside kick again?” I ask my husband for the hundredth time.😊I associate watching football games with food and take immense pleasure in serving up dips and chips while rooting for my Auburn tigers. See, even Auburn sounds like Autumn. And the icing on the cake? In addition to navy, the team color is burnt orange! 🏈🍔🧡

The first holiday of the season is Halloween when you can turn your house into spookville, dress up into crazy characters and go to parties. You get to be a kid again and eat copious amounts of candy without all of the guilt. Or you get to experience the joy of picking out a cute costume for a little one, going trick (or trunk) or treating and seeing the magical world of Halloween through their eyes. 👻🍭🎃

Don’t get me started on Thanksgiving, my personal favorite! The smells wafting from the kitchen as an array of cozy carbs and heavenly desserts come to life. The love involved in preparing those sacred, passed down family dishes for your nearest and dearest. Getting together for a Friendsgiving to share a meal without worrying about calories or portion control. Who knows, you may even get too wild on the turkey and need an afternoon siesta. 🦃🍷😴

For me, the perfect ending to the day is going outside, maybe tossing around a football and enjoying the Fall foliage with your fellow Thanksgivians (after that nap of course). The chill and sunshine working together in perfect harmony to make you feel so alive and grateful. However, the absolute best part of this blessed holiday for a foodie is….wait for it……the leftovers that can be enjoyed for days to come! Turkey salad croissants anyone? 🍗🥐😋

This year, I am spending the harvest season in Argentina (small sigh). Instead of pumpkin spice creamer I must settle for sugar and leche to jazz up my morning cup of happy (I 😍coffee)! Winter is finally over and Spring is just starting to kick off. The air outside currently feels more like early April than early October. Oh well, at least there’s plenty of sunshine, luscious greens and an abundance of dandelions to admire. 🌞🌳🌼

If I want to summon the comforts of Fall, I will just have to sip on a hot cup of chai tea, warm up some soup and make a gooey grilled cheese. I will pull up a corny love story on Netflix that takes place on a small town pumpkin farm. Maybe this little foodie film seance will teleport me back home, if only for a little while. My Fall themed doormat that I put out annually says “Harvest Blessings.” It’s important for me to remind myself to count them throughout each and every season. You can still be grateful and carry on traditions no matter where you are in the world. You may even learn some new ones! 😉🙏🇦🇷🥟🇺🇸🍗

Fall in a bowl with pancetta grilled cheese and strawberry aji jam

Ingredients: 1 package of your favorite vegetable soup (or homemade if you’re feeling extra festive), 3 tablespoons of strawberry jam, 1 dash of aji seasoning, 2 slices of queso, 2 thick slices of pancetta, 2 slices of bread, 2 tablespoons of butter

To prepare: Pan fry pancetta in a skillet until slightly browned and crispy. Remove from skillet and pat dry with paper towel. Butter one side of each bread slice. Meanwhile, spoon jam in a small pan and add a dash of aji, salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of water. Stir frequently on low for about ten minutes or until reaching a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and spread on the inside of the buttered bread. Assemble sandwich with cheese and pancetta. Wipe down skillet and grill sandwich on medium low heat until golden brown on each side. Enjoy! 🍽

Note: You can really make this your own or alter components to what you may already have on hand around the kitchen. You can sub bacon for pancetta, raspberry jam for strawberry or chipotle for aji. Any soup would be fabulous. I chose vegetable soup because of the colorful Fall ingredients including corn, spinach and of course the star of the show, pumpkin! ✌️🧡🍴

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Mood Ring Kitchen

I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.

The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩‍🍳👩‍💻

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