At the end of September, I had a portrait session in Peterborough. Now it’s a town that is only 1 1/2 hours away from Toronto but as I was driving up, I was amazed by all of the fall leaves. The leaves in Toronto had not begun to change at that time. Seeing them on that drive up made my heart flutter. The colours were nothing short of magical. Memories of fall as a kid started flooding in. The sounds of leaves crunching under your sneakers. The smell of them. And then with those memories came thoughts of all the other good fall things: cozy sweaters, pumpkin everything, baking, curling up on the couch with a good movie. I love this season and I cannot imagine living in another part of the world where you did not experience it. Yes, people complain that they don’t like fall because they know that winter is coming shortly after. But you have to not look that far ahead and instead, enjoy these magical couple of months before that white stuff hits the ground. Ever since that drive to Peterborough, I was itching to experience some fall things: 1) Autumn leaves 2) Pumpkins and 3) Yummy Food (and drink).
I had a plan for a Fall Adventure where we would leave the city and see all of the autumn leaves. I had an idea for the beginning and end of the Adventure but I didn’t know anything other than that. Josh was totally in the dark for where we are going which makes things both easy (no expectations, I can do what I want!) and terrifying (what if the day ended up sucking and I failed?!). The plan was to start at the Cheltenham Badlands located north of Brampton, a place that Josh had never been to. It has been a couple of years since I visited the badlands. I was amazed by how many cars were parked on the sides of the road. There were two OPP’s there and big traffic signs to slow everyone down to 40k/hour. Despite the busyness, the Badlands did not disappoint. Walking around on that red soil makes you feel like you are on a different planet. Having those autumn leaves as a backdrop was nothing short of beautiful.
After the Badlands, we wandered down country roads heading further West. I wanted to see all of the leaves. We drove through a tiny town called Belfountain that seemed to be where all the Sunday motorcyclists seem to hang. The cafe there even had a specified nook for their helmets. We stopped in Fergus next and checked out the river before ducking into an awesome antique shop there. Our final stop was Elora. I had been to that cute town a couple of times before and knew that they had a proper pub which would be perfect for a late lunch. Plus they are also famous for that gorge. The maple trees here were in perfect coloured ombre and I could not stop commenting on them. They’re something that can never be truly captured in a photo. You need to experience their magic in real life.
When I was a kid, my Grandpa used to take us all on the Great Pumpkin Hunt. My sisters and cousins would pile into the car (likely our family’s station wagon) and we would head out to the country. Grandpa would drive around, seemingly aimlessly, telling us little kids that we were lost. It would feel like we were out there for hours and suddenly we would turn a corner and out of nowhere, the most perfect pumpkin patch would appear. We would all pile out, choose a pumpkin each and then head home. It was a lot of fun. Sure enough, last Sunday while on our Fall Advenutre, we turned up one road heading toward Fergus and there it was: the perfect pumpkin patch. Josh happily grabbed a wheelbarrow and within minutes he had chosen his seven pumpkins. Halloween is his favourite and this year he has great plans for decorating and I was told that seven pumpkins were what were necessary. (He also claims that Halloween is a holiday which we all know is not true. I did buy him a Happy Halloween card though, just so that he will continue to participate in any of my Christmas shenanigans. Good equal relationship for the win!) Pumpkins rule.
Yummy Food (and drink)
Obviously we are fans to good food and drink in our house. I especially love all of the comfort foods that seem more appropriate to enjoy this time of year as it becomes a little chillier outside. My favourite holiday (actual real holiday) is Thanksgiving which we all know, falls in October in Canada. I love Thanksgiving because there isn’t the pressure of gifts like at Christmas. It’s all about getting together with good people and enjoying an awesome meal. This year, my Mom came to ours and we had a potluck with eight friends and it was perfect. To me, this is what life is all about. We ate all of the food and yet still managed to have a ton of leftovers.
The second that I saw pumpkins at our local grocery, I had to buy one for Josh. It sat for a week at our house before I decided to make something with it. I asked on my social media’s what I should do with it and pretty much everyone suggested making a pumpkin pie. Classic, I know, but since it’s just Josh and I in our house, the idea of having an entire pie made me cringe a little. After sifting through Pinterest forever, I found this recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Sage Pasta and just had to try it. Let me tell you: this is now going to be one of my go-to recipes. The pasta was so creamy and dreamy that you forgot there was no cheese involved. Health for the win! (Note: I substituted the breadcrumbs for walnuts and loved it.)
Another classic fall dish that I love to make is apple crisp. Apples are so abundant this time of year and apple crisp is an easy thing to make with them. I have a little oven proof dish that is almost exclusively used for this purpose bcause it’s makes a perfect two-person portion. Just peel and dice two apples. Mix with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. For the crisp, I mix cold butter, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon with a pastry cutter. Press it on top and bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour (depends on the type of apples you use). So good. So fall.
Another awesome thing about fall? Pumpkin beers. At Thanksgiving, we had a little pumpkin beer tasting with these three guys: Great Lakes Brewery Saison Dupump, Great Lakes Brewery Pumpkin Ale, Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale and Church-key Brewing Smokey Pumpkin Ale. None of us could agree on which was the favourite but I really liked the Churchkey one.
So there it is, all of the fall things. What is your favourite thing about this season?