Staff+Gives+Advice+on+How+to+Enjoy+the+Fall+Season

Photo Credit: Alyssa Miller

Staff Gives Advice on How to Enjoy the Fall Season

September 29, 2022

Living in the Alabama heat, we all welcome the cool breezes of the fall weather. Besides the chill in the air, the smells, tastes and feel of a warm blanket speak to the reason so many enjoy the fall season.

A+flapper+girl+scarecrow+graces+one+of+the+pathways+at+the+Botanical+Gardens.+Patrons+who+create+the+scarecrows+can+choose+a+theme+of+their+choice.+

Photo Credit: Anna Beck

A flapper girl scarecrow graces one of the pathways at the Botanical Gardens. Patrons who create the scarecrows can choose a theme of their choice.

Botanical Garden’s Scarecrow Trail Offers Fall Entertainment

Starting on Sept 3 and ending on Oct 31, Huntsville Botanical Gardens is kicking off fall with their annual Scarecrow Trail for their Festifall celebration. Local community members will create nature inspired scarecrows to display at the Garden for others to see and enjoy.

For more than 20 years, the Scarecrow Trail has been a tradition giving the Garden an opportunity to celebrate the fall season with the community. Guests are also able to enjoy pumpkin displays, mums and black-eyed Susans and a fall family photo opportunity with a 1949 Ford tractor and its wooden- wheel flatbed wagon.

“The Scarecrow Trail is just one part of Festifall, the Garden’s two-month celebration of the changing seasons. Festifall also features additional programs and special events, such as an overnight campout, guided night hikes and BOOtanica,” Anna Beck, the Director of Communications for the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, said. “The Garden Cafe is open daily to serve fresh salads, soups, sandwiches and more for guests to enjoy during their Festifall adventures.”

During the summer, the plans for the Scarecrow Trail have already begun. Community members begin registering and creating their scarecrows in order to prepare them for installation late August. After the celebration has come to an end, the participants are welcomed to pick up their scarecrows on Nov 1 before the Garden takes down the Festifall decorations. 

“Because the Scarecrow Trail takes place outside for two months, all participants are asked to build their scarecrows with durable materials that can withstand the elements. The Garden staff monitor the Scarecrow Trail to ensure that every scarecrow remains in good shape,” Beck said. “Additionally, the Garden’s expert Horticulture team works daily to maintain the pumpkin displays and seasonal fall plantings.”

Not only is the Scarecrow Trail one of the most popular events during Festifall, but the annual Fall Plant Sale has gained popularity as well, giving people the ability to select from a large variety of native plants, trees and shrubs. The Halloween celebration, BOOtanica, as well as the Raptor Show, which gives people a chance to see a live demonstration with birds, are also two very popular events for all families to experience.

“Fall is such a special time of year to be at the Garden,” Beck said. “ Whether you’re learning something new or exploring familiar scenery, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature, and we hope our guests leave feeling more connected to plants and feeling inspired to spend more time outdoors.”

Junior+Autumn+Gollop+enjoys+the+cool+weather+while+visiting%0ANoccaluoa+Falls+Park+and+Campground.+

Photo Credit: Trinity Thomas

Junior Autumn Gollop enjoys the cool weather while visiting Noccaluoa Falls Park and Campground.

Fall Is The Perfect Release From The Heat

We live in an area where the 90–95 degree weather is accompanied by high humidity. Being outside at all is miserable, unless you’re sitting perfectly still in the shade, with a cold drink in hand.

I’m a ginger, so I have to avoid the sun at all times to avoid skin cancer, which runs in my family. Along with the humidity, there’s the sticky feeling of sweat, paired with sunscreen. Then add in insect repellent at night, and your skin constantly feels all oily and caked. I wear makeup and false lashes as well, and the sun makes it just come right off. 

Autumn, though,  has absolutely no flaws. Trees that were once green explode into beautiful hues of gold, red and orange. Pumpkin flavors can be found everywhere in Autumn”

— Autumn Gollop

As terrible as Summer is, Winter isn’t any better. When I wake up in the morning during winter, tears come to my eyes as I shiver to put my clothes on. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD (seasonal depression). This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. 

Autumn, though,  has absolutely no flaws. Trees that were once green explode into beautiful hues of gold, red and orange. Pumpkin flavors can be found everywhere in Autumn, particularly in traditional favorites like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, and in more modern treats like pumpkin-spiced teas and coffees. After months of blasting the air conditioning, the beginning of Autumn often ushers in cooler breezes that allow you to finally keep the windows open.

It’s also the perfect weather for a bath- you won’t get out of the water feeling too hot or freezing cold. It’s also a great time to go camping or fishing or take a road trip. Autumn is a beautiful season, but it’s not as beautiful as the real Autumn…Autumn Gollop.

Lyons+Farms+uses+plenty+of+decor+to+make+a+visit+seem+the+perfect+place+to+get+in+the+fall+mood.+

Photo Credit: Lyon Farms PR

Lyon’s Farms uses plenty of decor to make a visit seem the perfect place to get in the fall mood.

Find Some Fall Fun at Local Events

As the leaves start to fall and the air starts to cool,we all start to look for something fun to do. Pumpkin patches and scarecrows make the feeling of fall grow, eat a pumpkin pie to make your heart glow. To get outside in this crisp air, maybe go downtown to the county fair. Here are some places that you can visit if you really want to feel that autumn spirit.

Lyons Family Farm is a great place to go if you want to take a little drive to have some fun. As it is located in Tennessee it is quite a trip but definitely worth it. With a corn maze and pumpkin patch it definitely screams fall.

On Saturday, Oct.1, Bridge Street will host ChalktoberFest which is definitely something to put on your bucket list. This event will showcase the talents of many local artists, so go watch some amazing chalk artists do their thing or show your own chalk skills as well.

North Alabama Railroad Museum  is hosting two upcoming fall events, the “Punkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza” and the Fall Color Special. The Punkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza includes a train ride near Alabama A&M and will pick up some pumpkins. The fall color special is a fun train ride throughout north Alabama to see the fall scenery.

Tate Farms is a classic family spot as well as a great place to go with friends as it is close to home in Meridianville. They have a pumpkin patch and a new attraction called the Day of pumpkin destruction which is an event where they spend the entire day using different ways to destroy pumpkins. Definitely a must-go fall destination to enjoy a pumpkin patch and corn pit.

Substitute+Needles+Her+Way+Into+The+Fall+Season

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Kelly Knight Allen

Substitute Needles Her Way Into The Fall Season

Substitute Kelly Knight Allen enjoys specializing in the hobby of needlework in her free time, bringing smiles to both her and the people she gifts them to.

The art of crochet and embroidery first caught Knight’s attention when she was just eight years old. Watching her mother do embroidery and her neighbor crochet, she soon began learning the technique, starting her lifelong talent and passion for it. 

Knight specializes in crocheting different items along with doing needlepoint, embroidery and cross stitch. Most of which she learned from her mother and neighbor, but now watches videos to catch new patterns to tackle. 

“I crochet afghans, baby blankets, scarves, hats and stuffed animals,” Knight said. “For me they are easy gifts to make and I also just enjoy staying busy.” 

“I enjoy my hobby because for me it is relaxing and I can do it just about anywhere,” Knight said. “And I so enjoy making people smile when they receive something I have made””

— Kelly Knight Allen

Along with making things to keep busy, Knight specializes in making things for those close to her and is currently planning to make a Christmas tree skirt for a close friend. The item she is most proud of is an afghan she made as a wedding gift for an alumni couple that took her about three to four weeks to make.

“They were members of the Sparkman High School band when my oldest son was in school, who became very special to me,” Knight said. “They are expecting their first child at any time, and I made a baby blanket and a lovey for the baby.” 

Knight enjoys using this hobby as a way to relax. Along with her favorite aspect being the ability to share her love for those around her through the gifts she makes.  

“I enjoy my hobby because for me it is relaxing and I can do it just about anywhere,” Knight said. “And I so enjoy making people smile when they receive something I have made”

After finishing one piece, Knight searches for the next piece that catches her eye, never missing the chance to learn something new or put a smile on someone’s face.  

“When I finish a piece I usually go through the process of washing and drying it and checking to see that everything is good, after that I am looking for something else to get involved in,” Knight said. “Another afghan or a cross stitch, unless something comes up I usually jump into the next project, always looking for new patterns.” 

Get+A+Little+Pumpkin+In+Your+Drink

Photo Credit: Makayla Barchett

Get A Little Pumpkin In Your Drink

Pumpkin spice drinks are a staple of fall. Every year businesses release their pumpkin special to initiate the fall season.  Each year as the craze increases more businesses join the trend. When you begin to hear the talk of pumpkin spice you know fall is right around the corner.  Next time your craving that fall feeling make sure to grab a pumpkin latte.

 

Find Fall In The Kitchen

Photo Credit: Art By Autumn Gollop

Find Fall In The Kitchen

Crockpot Mac and Cheese:

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  •  4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  •  1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Recipe:

  • Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes. Drain.
  •  In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.
  •  In a slow cooker, combine cheese mixture and add the eggs (I omitted the eggs), sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper. Add the drained macaroni and stir again.
  •  Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

 

Peach Cobbler:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans (15.25oz.each) Del Monte® Sliced Peaches in Heavy Syrup
  • 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a 13×9-inch or other shallow 3-qt. baking dish, dump 2 cans of peaches and syrup. Drain the third can and add only the peaches to the baking dish.
  • Top peaches with dry cake mix; spread it out evenly across the entire surface of peaches.
  • Drizzle cake mix with butter.Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until top is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Dust with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream before serving, if desired.

 

Corn casserole:

Ingredients:

  • 15.25 oz. whole kernel sweet corn, drained
  • 14.75 oz. creamed corn
  •  8.5 oz. Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  •  1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Recipe

For Oven

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  •  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the cheddar cheese. Be sure to drain the whole kernel corn.
  • Pour into a greased 9 × 13 casserole dish or 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  •  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
  • Top with shredded cheddar. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the top begins to brown.
  •  Let stand for 5 minutes prior to serving.

For Crockpot

  •  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the cheddar cheese. Be sure to drain the whole kernel corn first. Add it to a lightly greased Crock Pot.
  • Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4.
  • Add the shredded cheddar during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  • Ensure the center is firm and set prior to serving.

 

Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Oil or cooking spray
  • 12 slices white bread, thick cut
  • ⅔ cup milk

Recipe:

  • Add all the ingredients (except the bread) to a medium-sized bowl or shallow dish. 
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Heat a frying pan to low-medium heat, or a griddle to 350F.
  • Lightly grease with oil or cooking spray.
  • Dunk a piece of bread in the French toast mixture, covering each side. Gently wipe/shake off any excess batter.
  • Grill for 2-4 minutes on one side until golden, then flip and continue frying on the second side until both sides are golden and the bread begins to puff.
  • Repeat with the rest of the toast, adjusting the burner/griddle temperature as necessary. 
  • Serve immediately with syrup and whipped cream.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce OR canola oil
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips reserve a couple tablespoons for the top of the bread if desired

 

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Flour, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Mix to combine.
  • In a separate small bowl combine all the wet ingredients. Pumpkin puree, maple syrup, egg, coconut oil, vanilla extract. Use a whisk to combine.
  • Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Using a gallon Ziplock bag, pour all the batter in, push it to the corner and cut a ½inch hole on the corner to create a piping bag. If you do not have a Ziplock you can spoon the mixture into the donut pan.
  • Spray the donut pan with cooking spray and pipe the batter in a circular motion to form donut. Only fill donut mold about ¾ full.
  • Place in oven for 18 minutes and then remove from oven. Insert a toothpick and they are done if the toothpick is cleanly removed. Carefully remove the donuts from the pan using a spoon, and place on cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  • While the donuts cool, combine the dry ingredients for the cinnamon topping: sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin spice. Using a brush, lightly brush each side of the donut with the melted coconut oil and then twist/dip into the cinnamon sugar. You can do one side or both sides. Best served/eaten fresh.

 

Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 9 Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 medium Yellow Onion
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 can Cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 2 green onions

Recipe:

  •  Peel and dice potatoes then add to crockpot.
  • Dice yellow onion, and garlic keep separate for now.
  • When olive oil is hot, brown garlic then add onion keep stirring until they start turning translucent.
  • In sauce pan heat up olive oil.
  • When onion and garlic is done melt cream cheese and butter then add cream of chicken milk and pepper.
  • Add mixture to potatoes in crock pot mix together put on high heat for five hours checking every hour if needed add water to make more creamy.
  • Around the four hour mark brown and drain bacon when cool to touch break up in little pieces also dice green onions then mix in soup. (for added taste add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to soup).

 

Crockpot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Recipe:

  • Brown the ground beef over medium heat. 
  •  Add the onion halfway through the browning process and cook until soft.
  •   Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
  •  Drain any excess grease and add the ground beef mixture to the crock pot.
  • Whisk together the beef broth and tomato paste. 
  • Pour on top of the beef mixture
  • Add the diced tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, brown sugar, red pepper, and cayenne.
  • Cover with the lid and set to low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. 
  • Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • Seeds from 2 large pumpkins
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • Dash of salt

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Scrape out and remove seeds from your two pumpkins. Wash and clean your seeds from your pumpkin, making sure you remove any unwanted pumpkin rinds or deformed seeds. Wash in a colander and once again remove any unwanted items.
  • Soak the clean seeds in a bowl full of water for 1/2 hour on the kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the seeds, discarding the water.
  • Fill a pot with water and a dash of salt (enough water so that it will cover the seeds). Bring the water to a boil. Place seeds into the boiling water and boil gently for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and drain the seeds and place back into your empty bowl. Toss seeds with olive oil. Lay out seeds in a thin layer onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Place in oven and move and turn the seeds over about every 10 minutes, making sure they are not burning. Seeds are done after about 40 minutes or when they become firmer and are no longer soft. You do not want dark spots on your seeds, you want them to be a darker yellow.
  • Season with additional salt if desired. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place into a clean mason jar or another food-safe storage container. Enjoy!

 

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 4 Anaheim peppers or poblano peppers
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram or oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15.8 ounce) cans great northern beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn drained
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Monterey Jack Cheese or Pepper Jack Cheese (optional)

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Place the Anaheim or poblano peppers on the baking sheet with space between them. Roast for 8-10 minutes. Using  tongs carefully flip them and roast for another 8-10 minutes. Place them on a cutting board and invert a large bowl over the top to steam them.  Steam for 30 minutes.  Cut the stems off, peel the peppers, and the discard the skins. Dice the peppers and set them aside for a few minutes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Reduce the heat to low and add the minced garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, marjoram, and cayenne pepper.  Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.  
  • Add the chicken broth, beans, corn, cooked chicken and diced peppers. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove 2-3 cups of the chili and using an immersion blender or stand blender puree the chili. Add the pureed chili back to the pot and heat for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in the sour cream and chopped cilantro. Reserve some of the cilantro for a garnish for each bowl. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Ladle the chili into bowls and top with shredded Monterey Jack Cheese and chopped cilantro.

Pumpkin Muffins: Easy to Bake

Music Goes Perfectly With Apple Cider

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