It is fall here in North Dakota. It’s a time of year that I truly love – there’s just something about the color of the leaves, the crunching beneath our feet, the cool but not cold air that just makes me feel calm and cozy. I’m always ready to break out my sweaters at the end of summer, to curl up with a cup of hot cider, to sit out in our backyard and have a fire in the evenings.

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My apple tree in the fall

And my cravings for food certainly shift. In the heat of the summer I gravitate towards salads, sandwiches, cold pasta salads, and the like. But when the air starts to cool and the leaves turn color, that’s when I begin to crave soups, stews, and warm casseroles. And of course, pumpkin – although not that pumpkin spice craze that has permeated the U.S., but the taste of real, roasted, smooth pumpkin. Or any kind of squash, although I particularly like butternut squash – roasted with some maple syrup and a little bit of cayenne for some extra heat.

The trouble I have is that I often can’t sit and truly enjoy autumn, because it is a sign of the impending winter – the bitterly cold temperatures that make your face hurt when you step outside, the wind that cuts right through you, jacket and all. The dead, cold, frozen ground that seems to last from November until May (and usually does unless we get very lucky).

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There’s something about little kids enjoying the fall leaves that makes it a little less depressing

But today, I’m taking some time to enjoy the colors of fall, the beautiful weather we’ve been having, the lack of snow. And I’m thinking of all the foods I plan to eat in the coming months – Guinness stew, chicken pot pies, roasted birds, homey casseroles. And just maybe, if I focus on the right things, I’ll the season for what it is, look forward to my favorite holidays that are coming, and forget to dread the winter that I hate so much.


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