A list of things essential for the changing of the seasons.
A Good Book
It is a universal fact that every fall weekend morning needs a good book to go with it.
Here are two I personally recommend.
Bringing Down the Duke, by Evie Dunmore
A darling historical romance with modern-day touches.
The hero reminds me so much of Anthony from the Bridgerton novels; dashing, hot-tempered, thinks he’s uninterested in marriage, faithful to his role in society and family, and of course, super sexy. I adored this read and the brilliant writing of Evie Dunmore.
“England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.”
The Heart Principle, by Helen Hoang
If you’ve been here long, you will already know Helen Hoang is a must buy author for me. Her first book, The Kiss Quotient, captured my heart immediately, and I have loved everything she has put forth since. No pressure, Helen, LOL. So when I heard her newest book The Heart Principle was out for early release, of course I snatched it up immediately. Full disclosure: I haven’t had a moment to devote to really giving this book my full attention. So I haven’t read it quite yet. But I have no doubt I will love it, as I have all of Helen’s love stories. If you love her like I do, you’ll want to get this book asap.
Here’s the synopsis:
“When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.”
Eating in Fall
I don’t do pumpkin spice.
It’s probably my age. I used to squeal with glee when Starbucks would bring out their fall menu items. Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte, please would roll off my tongue quicker than a chicken sliding across a Safeway floor.
But now the idea of anything pumpkin spice makes me gag a little. The candles, the coffee, the creamer, the ice cream…before you know it there will be pumpkin spice mouthwash and pumpkin spice toilet paper.
You know what is a great fall flavor? Dead chicken. Okay, okay, calm down. I’m only kidding. Well, sort of. What I mean is, fall is generally a time for making soups and the base of any great soup, in my opinion, is a terrific bone broth.
Bone broth comes in all levels of quality ranging from Swanson brand to the ultimate, lottery-winning, don’t give anyone your secret, mason jar gift that comes from your farmer neighbor down the road. Since most of us don’t have said neighbor, the next best thing is to make your own.
And here’s how (taken from Instagram account @chandashinesagain)
1 carcass of whole chicken or chicken bone parts or roasted beef bones
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, quartered, skin left on
1 head of garlic, halved, skin left on
2 strips of seaweed (say what? Yes. Just do it. Try kombu)
1 Tbs whole peppercorns
5-6 dried mushrooms of choice
1/2 bunch of fresh thyme
1 bunch of fresh parsley
1-2 chicken heads or feet (Gross, I know. But this is where the most collagen and gelatin are stored).
1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
Put the bones in a crockpot, instant or stock pot on the stove. Cover with water. Just to cover the bones.
Add 1 Tbs of ACV and let it sit for 20 minutes
Add everything except the parsley into the pot.
Instant pot: cook for two hours on broth/soup setting
Crockpot/stovetop: let simmer on low for 24 hours. If it boils too vigorously you’ll lose all the gelatin.
When done cooking, add one bunch of parsley and let sit for another 20 minutes so parsley can infuse it’s goodness into the broth.
Strain and put into mason jars and keep in the fridge, or pour into containers to freeze. Use in soups, chili, as a base to cook rice in, as a hot drink to sip when you have a cold or flu or the you-know-what. It truly is a miracle broth.
If you need an Instant Pot, Amazon has the one I use on sale for less than $70.00 right now.
Obviously socks are number one on the list of cozy fall clothing. This pack comes with four and are cabin-ready.
Butter-soft leggings, by Colorfulkoala
I can vouch for the softness of these leggings. They are 100% butter on my skin. My daughter actually ordered these first. I tried them on one day after they came through the laundry and basically haven’t given them back to her yet. Not only are they soft, but they actually are well made – not see through during squats – and even though they are high-waisted, they don’t roll. For less than $30 these are my new favorites.
Probably the most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever considered purchasing at Target ($99), this versatile shawl is a wrap, a hoodie, a blanket, and a sweater. And apparently it’s the world’s softest material. Sign me up — I can always return it if I don’t like it. But this screams “put me on and pour a cup of coffee”.
This is my coffee. I’ve tried several kinds over the years, too many if I’m honest. But this one is the one I keep coming back to. In fact, I have it on auto ship now. It really has the best flavor, not bitter at all, no weird aftertaste, and the beans are nice and oily but not gross. And the name..well, it was love at first sight.
Hope this fall finds you seeking out warmth, coziness, and as always, a good good book.
Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a few pennies if you purchase an item I’ve recommended. You don’t get charged extra though, so don’t fear. They make me say this.