Best Fall Recipes

IT’S FALL, GUYZ. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Pumpkin. Squash. Cinnamon. Spices. Hot tea and coffee. Soups. Stews. Deliciousness.

Fall cuisine is my favorite. Probably because I love the heartiness of stews, the comfort of a hot dish, and all of the different things I can do with soup. The leaves are turning and it’s getting cold outside and slaving over a hot stove is not nearly so terrible as it is in the summer.

So, without further adieu, here are a few of my favorite fall recipes!

untitled-8-3-620x775Caramelized onion and stout mac ‘n cheese
Seriously, how can you go wrong with this? The rich undertones of the stout (a bourbon barrel aged stout is my personal favorite with this dish) combine with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and creamy provolone cheese. Bake with bread crumbs on top to add the perfect crunch. Get the recipe.
12599306425_ed4bac5b06Dijon and cognac beef stew
A little more work, this baby is worth every last minute. It seems like a lot of mustard, but it really just adds the perfect flavor and tang, while you can’t help but bite all the round little mustard seeds. The beef falls apart in your mouth. Serve it over egg noodles—you won’t regret a single bite. Get the recipe.
french-onion-andmushroom-soup-recipe-mountain-mama-cooksFrench onion and mushroom soup
We all know that French onion soup is kickass. Now, add some mushrooms and barley. Now you have a kickass soup that’s a touch more filling. Tip: if you make slow-cooker beef at any point, SAVE ALL THE LIQUID. It can turn this soup from good into something your coworkers will moan over when you heat it up in the break room. Get the recipe.
158Butternut squash and leek soup
Easy, delicious, and comforting. The recipe says to swirl with sour cream, but I like some Greek yogurt on top. Don’t forget the cracked pepper! Get the recipe.
Chicken-Pumpkin-Soup-aboveChicken and pumpkin soup
You knew the pumpkin was coming. This one is hearty, easy, fairly cheap, and it has the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, adding the perfect amount of kick. Don’t miss out on this soup. Get the recipe.
roasted-pumpkin-shallot-sage-soup-1Roasted pumpkin and sage soup
All right, all right, another pumpkin one. This is another favorite (it actually calls for A REAL PUMPKIN). Roast that pumpkin and then include  the delicious, fall-y flavor of fresh sage, one of my all-time favorite herbs. To be extra freaking cool, serve your pumpkin soup IN AN ACTUAL PUMPKIN (I won’t judge if you serve it in a plain ole bowl). Get the recipe.

What are your favorite fall recipes? I’m always looking for new, delicious things to cook.

Vanessa is a digital media coordinator by day and a writer, novelist, and badass cook by night. In her spare time she haunts used bookstores, gets serious about tea, and loves a good stout (Russian Imperial, please). Follow her on twitter and instagram if you wanna be buddies, and maybe check out her writing blog.

Octobers & Being Grateful For Now

Anne of Green Gables once said, “I’m so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I wholeheartedly agree with her. Despite the fact that I’ve relocated to South Carolina, I still get Octobers. They’re slightly warmer than in MI, sure, but they are just as beautiful. The trees turn reds and golds and yellows, the air smells like leaves and something crisp, and there’s apple cider and donuts. Best thing is, there are mountains to climb to better see the world changing colors.


It’s a little strange to, for the second year of most of my life, not be going back to school when fall rolls around. But the novelty of not having to go back to school hasn’t rubbed off—I’m still pretty happy about it. I’ve just recently quit my first job and moved onto another (as referenced in this post), and things are changing around here.

Granted, it’s still hot as hell in SC. My body is aching for fall. I want to wear boots and drink coffee outside in the mornings without being attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I want hot spiced apple cider, Halloween candy, walks in cool night air. I want fall.

Fall has always been my favorite season, but I don’t think it’s just because of the weather and the cool, windiness of it. Since I’ve been in school for the vast majority of my life, fall means school and fall means change. A new year.

Even though I don’t miss school, I miss the clearly defined fresh start that a new school year always brought. It’s a huge adjustment to not being in school. Now I have a real job (well, a real part-time job and several freelance ones), a wonderful relationship (though I have not nearly as much writing material as I did when I was miserable), and I’ve been in the same city in the South for over a year now.

I am the kind of person who always looks for a new season. I realized, lately, that it might not be a good thing. I’m struggling to find some sort of perfection in my life. “Oh, well it’s fall so this will be a new start!” “Oh, 2013, best year yet!” One of the most difficult things for me is stopping to accept that life is lovely just the way it is, and that I don’t need a new start to make it so. I don’t need a new school year for change, I don’t need fall to remind me to focus on the small things.

I can do that anytime I want.

So, after getting to this realization, I created a little something that sits on my desk. My adventure jar. It says For Adventures on it. I put coins and dollars into it.

Last week, I used some of it to travel to a wonderful coffee shop about 30 minutes away. My next purchase will be a small journal. Journals are adventures, right?!

I guess the point of this long, rambling post is that we don’t need new seasons to try to enjoy our lives again (even though I’m still really excited for October). There is so much waiting for us right here and right now, but all our minds can think is, will it be better this time?

It won’t be better this time. It will be different. So try to stay a little more focused on the present.

(If you need help focusing on the present, as I always do, read The Tao of Pooh. It’ll get you every time.)

Vanessa is a digital media coordinator by day and a writer, novelist, and badass cook by night. She loves used bookstores, is way too serious about tea, and doesn’t give a damn if she wears the same outfit 2 days in a row. She totally wants to be your friend, so you should follow her on twitter & maybe check out her writing blog.