Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival and Last Day of September


Shaggy Throw Rug at Cost Plus World Market

  • Let's spend some time today on our area rugs and throw rugs. I'm going to vacuum all of mine, sweep under them, and sponge-clean the one by my front door. The rug by my back door (the one that gets lots of muddy dog feet on it!) has been hosed off and is hanging to dry on the railing. My bathroom rugs are currently in the washing machine, and my kitchen rug has been shaken out thoroughly and replaced in its spot by the kitchen's back door.

  • Have you made time the last couple evenings for yourself, to linger in the bath, or read the book by your bedside table? Or are you just dropping into bed exhausted and ready for sleep?

  • It's Harvest time. Have you enjoyed a fresh apple or fresh pear this week?

  • Create menus for the upcoming week. Need to think about packing lunch boxes, or refilling your child's school meal account?

  • It's the end of the month. Let's look back over our September and quietly reflect on how the month went. Did we budget well, exercise, eat healthy, take our vitamins, spend time with family and friends, make quiet time and alone time for ourselves, do something charitable, maintain our homes in a lovely manner, try new things? Remembered all the birthdays we needed to? Called and wrote relatives to stay in touch? Wrote in our journals, painted or drew, wrote, worked on our knitting or craft projects? Read your book for our book clubs? Tried cooking something new? Rather than beat ourselves up for any failures or missed opportunities, let's vow to do better next month!

  • Take inventory of fall supplies such as firelogs and matches, and add anything you need to your shopping list. Do you have all the things you'll need for fall ready? Are they stored where you can easily find them when needed? Fire logs, matches, rain boots, raincoats, leaf bags, a rake, caramel or pumpkin scented candles? Kleenex packets for coat pockets? Caramel for dipping apples as an occasional treat? Decorative pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn?

LOVELY HOLIDAYS: Mid-Autumn Festival

Thanking the Moon, on Amazon

I'm not attending or hosting a mid-autumn festival party, but I'll remember my Taiwanese and Chinese friends who are celebrating tonight.

Mid-Autumn Festival, on Wikipedia

Mid-Autumn Festival 101, on Sassy Mama Hong Kong

TODAY'S PROJECT: Fall Kitchen Prep

Arbor Dishtowel, at Crate and Barrel

As the days grow steadily colder, our appetites and our cooking styles change with the new season. New types of produce become available at the farmers' markets and grocery stores. We begin to crave different foods - hot soups, crusty breads, pies, apples, pears, and hearty vegetables. I personally start craving fondue!

Those of us who live in cold weather climates might find ourselves going out to restaurants less in the upcoming months, staying home for quiet meals, even having just two or three other people over for dinner. (Plus in this economy it's probably a good idea to eat at home as much as possible to save money).

Pumpkin Covered Casserole, at Crate and Barrel

It's time to start gearing up for fall cooking, baking, feeding overnight guests, and entertaining. Time to sort and organize our kitchens, take inventory, and stock our pantries with necessities.

Even if you hate cooking personally or don't consider yourself a cook, you'll need to get your kitchen in order so someone who does the cooking in your household (your husband, boyfriend, child, grandmother, mother-in-law, or good friend who comes over and commandeers your kitchen?) has all the tools and supplies they need.

  • Go through your stack or folder of takeout menus from various restaurants. Throw away duplicates or out-of-date menus, and organize your collection. Store near the phone for easy access. There'll probably be a few cold nights when you're too tired to cook and don't want to go out, so those menus will come in handy. Get in the habit of grabbing a take-out menu whenever you're at a restaurant you like that offers them. Plan ahead for those cold, rainy, snowy nights. And tip your delivery person well, if you're ordering in during miserable weather!

    Pumpkin & Vine Pot Mitt, at Williams-Sonoma

  • Go through your potholders and kitchen towels and immediately discard any limp, smelly kitchen towels or crusty, stained potholders. Be firm with yourself - don't give in to the temptation to keep an old towel around "just in case." It's ok to transfer old kitchen towels to your Rag pile (I use mine for dusting, cleaning floors and windows, etc.) But then get rid of one of your worst rags for every old kitchen towel you put in the rag pile. It's all about avoiding clutter and weeding out unnecessary items in our lives. Put new potholders and new kitchen towels on your shopping list as needed. You can easily grab some affordable ones next time you are at the grocery store or Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

  • If you have guests helping you in your kitchen often, please be sure to have plenty of clean, soft, dry towels for people to dry their hands with. I can't tell you how often I end up with red, chapped hands from helping do dishes at someone else's house and not being able to properly dry my hands; or from drying my hands on very rough scratchy thin towels. It's nice to have a few absorbent terrycloth towels for guests to use. Speaking of towels, check your paper towel inventory and be sure you have a good supply.

  • Get yourself in the fall cooking mood, if you at all enjoy cooking magazines, by treating yourself to reading one or two today. Pick up Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light or even just the fall Williams-Sonoma catalog. Or you can just read their websites to save money. Have a nice cup of coffee or tea and something to munch on as you browse - looking at beautifully photographed food makes me so hungry! Visit fun food, cooking and home-decor webpages tonight during your nightly Internet browsing time. Drool over kitchen gadgets you don't need and can't afford, impractically beautiful expensive dishes, and amazing mail-order pastries. Get on your TIVO and look for cooking shows that are coming up to record, if you like such a thing.
    (If you absolutely despise cooking and are angry at me for even mentioning the topic, go to your favorite fashion website and drool over fall fashions instead!)

Have fun looking at beautiful things today, because we have a lot of work to do tomorrow and next week!

LOVELY BLOGS: The Slow-Roasted Italian

"Taking complicated out of the kitchen." Donna blogs from the Southwest, creating delicious foods for her family. Recent posts include Maple Almond Granola Clusters; Six Fabulous Fall Cocktails to Ring In Autumn; and Homemade Crock Pot Tomato Paste. (That last one looks especially useful, I'm going to try it!)


Black Sesame Unbaked Snowskin Mooncake (Veganlogy)

Colorful Painted Pumpkin Cookies (Glorious Treats)

Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Mooncakes (Celestial Delish)

Mini Bunny Snowskin Mooncakes (Food Is My Life)

Over the Moon for Homemade Snowy Moon Cakes (Bam's Kitchen)

Passionfruit Snowskin Mooncakes (The Baking Biatch)

Piglet Moon Cake Bento (Mothering Corner)

Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Hole Muffins (Glorious Treats)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Annie's Eats)

Red Beans Crystal Jelly Mooncakes (Her Frozen Wings)

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