Believe it or not (and I don’t), fall is here, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This year seems to have come and gone in one swift breath. Here are some fall ideas to do, both to have fun and to make the unchanging Florida environment feel a little bit more like Fall (I realize y’all live all over the place, and I think that these ideas can be enjoyed by anyone!). So, here are my fantastic five fall favorites (Ah! apparently, I absolutely adore awesome alliterations!).
Store bought is great, I’m sure (or rather, so I’ve heard). However, I have been raised on and I have fallen in love with the homemade stuff. There are many ways to make eggnog, but here’s the simple recipe my mom uses yearly (around Christmas/New Years), and I love it, but I’m sure you could tweak it to your specific taste (sweeter, thicker, etc.):
4 cups skim milk
2 large eggs plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan until steaming. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and sugar in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 4-6 minutes, or until the custard thickens enough to coat the spoon. Do not overcook or the custard will curdle. Immediately remove from the heat and pour it through the strainer into the bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until chilled. Before serving, pour half of the custard into the blender, add 2 ice cubes, and blend until it’s frothy. Pour into glasses and serve! (Makes about 6 servings)
#4 Leaf Cookies
Nothing special here except the shapes. Make basic sugar cookies, but cut them into creative leaf patterns, making sure to decorate them with different color frostings. And don’t forget sprinkles!
#3 Leaf Pile Jumping
I did this when I was really little, and I still remember how much fun it was! Rake the leaves into huge piles (or one humongous pile) and, you guessed it, jump right in! I absolutely love this idea, and I really wish there were more deciduous trees in South Florida.
#2 Leaf Book
Leaves changing color is a beautiful thing to witness, but not much of it happens in Florida. So, we should cherish those couple leaves that take on a pink or yellow or maybe even an orange hue. If you live somewhere where leaves change color every year, perhaps choose leaves that are unusually vibrant or funny shaped. Put these leaves in a leaf book collection. To create your leaf book, simply put one or two leaves between two pieces of wax paper, making sure to include a label for each. Then gently iron the wax paper pieces just enough so they stick together. Punch holes in the wax paper sheets and two pieces of construction paper (for a front and back). Tie a ribbon through each of the holes and decorate the cover!
My mom and I made a leaf book of all the awesome leaves I picked up in Georgia when I was 7. I look back at it now and just marvel at the beauty and uniqueness of each one. We truly have an amazing Creator, y’all! Here’s an example from my leaf book:
#1 Oreo Turkey Cookies
More cookies. Most everyone loves cookies, and I am no exception, so here’s one of my all-time favorite cookies to make. For the last couple years, my mom and I have made these simple, adorable turkey cookies for a quick Thanksgiving dessert, and they are especially awesome to have around with young children, as they are not messy at all.
So, here’s the basic recipe:
~ A pack of double filled Oreo cookies (or however many packs you want – you will need 1 cookie for each tail and 1/2 a cookie for each body/base; I have tried both double filled and regular cookies, and the double filled work better, but either will do)
~ A bag of candy corns (you will use about 3-5 per turkey tail, and the pointy half of one for each beak)
~ A box of malt balls (you will use one per turkey for the head; also a small peanut butter cup will work as well)
~ Royal Icing (the best is from scratch – and that’s the way I’ve always done it – but I’m sure store bought will work, too)
To begin, open half of the Oreos, so that all of the filling is on one side of the cookie. Attach a whole cookie on its end to the filling with some Royal Icing. Stick 3-5 candy corns in the Oreo cookie tail (I have found that securing these with Royal Icing works great, but they will often stand up by themselves, as well). Finally, attach a malt ball in the crease between the filling and the whole cookie with Royal Icing. Cut some candy corns in half and use the pointy ends for beaks, securing them with Royal Icing. Use a toothpick to add Royal Icing eyes to the malt balls. And there you have it! A tasty Oreo Turkey Cookie! I will make sure to update and post a picture of this year’s batch! For now, here’s a basic idea of what your cookie should look like (they used peanut butter cups, instead of malt balls, for bodies and red icing, instead of candy corn halves, for beaks):
Let me know what y’all thought of these ideas!
Feel free to comment and share some of your all-time