This would work for any fall get-together from Mabon to Thanksgiving in Canada (October), to Halloween and Samhain, and to Thanksgiving in the US. The stems on the oranges disguised as pumpkins are pieces of celery.
Harvest Pot Roast
This is a tender slow cooker pot roast with a flavorful homemade gravy. If you don’t care for rutabaga, use turnips or more potatoes and carrots. I used a boneless beef chuck roast, but any boneless pot roast cut will work.
Six slices of bacon halved crosswise.
2 pounds red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
One small rutabaga, cut into 2-inch pieces.
4 to 6 carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths, halved lengthwise
Salt and pepper
One teaspoon of dried leaf thyme, divided
One boneless beef chuck roast, about 3 pounds
One bag, about 16 ounces, frozen small white onions
8 ounces mushrooms, scrubbed and left whole, halved if large
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Three tablespoons of tomato paste
Two tablespoons flour
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Place bacon over the bottom of the crockpot. Arrange potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots over the bacon. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the thyme. Place the pot roast on the vegetables, then add onions, and mushrooms over and around the roast. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme. Combine beef broth and tomato paste; pour over the pot roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Remove the pot roast to a warm platter. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and arrange them around the roast. Cover and keep warm.
Separate fat and broth using a fat separator, or skim the fat off the top of the broth; discard fat. Put the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour with water until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the broth until thickened and bubbly. Serve gravy with the meat and vegetables.
Fall Cinnamon and Spice Ornaments
Makes 32 two-inch wonderful smelling ornaments.
Do not eat! Not for internal use.
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground coriander (if available)
¼ teaspoon ground anise (if available)
3/4 cup applesauce, drained
2 Tablespoons white (Elmer’s-type) glue
In a medium bowl, combine spices. Add the applesauce and the glue.
Stir to combine. Work the mixture with your hands for 2-3 minutes or until
the dough is smooth and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Divide into four equal portions.
On a lightly floured board, roll each portion to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut dough with floured cookie cutters. (Make holes in the top to thread
ribbon or raffia if you want to use them as hanging ornaments.)
Place cutouts on wire racks and allow them to dry at room temperature for several days. (For a more uniform drying process, turn ornaments over once daily.)
For even more cinnamon and spice scents, make a spray with water and
essential oils and lightly mist the ornaments throughout the holiday to
~ Author Unknown
A Tea and Comfort Tea Party for September
In times of stress and struggle, people have always turned to the comfort of herbs.
Lavender is probably first among the most-loved herbal comforts, for its scent is both soothing and refreshing (and, scientists tell us, the chemicals in lavender actually calm the brain).
Chamomile tea is an age-old favorite to calm jangled nerves, while peppermint and ginger soothe a nervous stomach.
The essential oil of basil, inhaled, refreshes and relieves mental fatigue, while a bath oil scented with clary sage warms and relaxes both body and spirit.
A potpourri with the rich floral scent of jasmine raises the spirits, and roses–that most beloved of flowers–have strong antidepressant qualities.
Among the spices, cinnamon and nutmeg warm the heart and remind us of Grandmother’s kitchen. In many ways and in many different cultures, herbs have always helped us to recover our spirits and regain our balance.
Decorations / Activities
Tussie mussies: Arrange several vases in the middle of the table, filled with flowers and herbs that symbolize compassion, strength, and comfort in the Victorian language of flowers. Each guest receives a card that lists these symbolic qualities; beebalm compassion, basil love, borage courage, chives “Why do you weep?”, daisy” I share your feelings.”, dill soothing thoughts, fennel strength, fern sincerity, dianthus (pinks) bonds of affection, goldenrod encouragement, honeysuckle generous affection, pansy hearts’ ease, horehound health, lady’s mantle comfort, lavender devotion, lemon balm sympathy, marigold grief, marjoram happiness, mints wisdom, parsley celebration, rose love, rosemary remembrance, yarrow strength. Provide a box of supplies: floral tape, paper doilies with an X cut into the center, rubber bands, ribbon and gold thread, scissors, small white cards, a hole punch, colored pens. Each guest makes a tussie mussie by choosing flower and herbs from the vases arranging them in small, simple bouquets, and fastening with a rubber band. (An example: a tiny rosebud, encircled with ferns and sprigs of basil, dill, mint, yarrow, parsley, and marjoram.) Then push the stems through a paper doily and wraps them in floral tape and ribbon and adding a bow. The meanings of the flowers are written in colored ink on a small white card, a hole punched in the corner, and the card is tied with gold thread (gold is the color of love) to the bouquet. The guests exchange these, so that each takes home the loving thoughts of another.
Lavender hearts: Working with lavender is comforting, and its soothing scent lingers almost forever. For this activity, invite friends into the herb garden. Each friend cuts six spikes of fresh, pliant lavender and makes two braids of three spikes each. Holding the braids at the stem end, form two loops, with the flower heads downward. Fasten this with string or wire tie (the kind that comes from a bread wrapper) and adds a pretty bow.
Dilled Salmon Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Individual quiches, baked in foil tartlet pans and decorated with flower garnishes: chive blossoms, daisy, honeysuckle, lavender, rosemary, mint, goldenrod
Herbed Cheese in a Pot, with crackers
Martha Edmond’s Comfort Cookies, from China’s latest mystery, Bloodroot
Assortment of your favorite teas
Dilled Salmon Cream Cheese Sandwiches: 8 ounces light cream cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 10 slices white bread, 3 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon. In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, dill weed, parsley, and chives. Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts from the slices of bread. Using a rolling pin, roll to flatten each slice slightly. Spread about 1 1/2tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over the entire surface of each slice of bread. Top with the salmon. Cut into squares, diamonds, or rectangles. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread. Arrange sandwiches on a serving plate, cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Makes 40)
Herbed Cheese in a Pot: 4 oz. cream cheese, 4 oz grated Cheddar, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried summer savory, 1 teaspoon dried thymes, mall crock or pot, 8 oz. size. Combine cheese, garlic, and herbs and mix well. Spoon mixture into crock and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for at least a day to blend flavors. Serve with crackers and a small knife. Makes 1 cup.
Martha Edmond’s Comfort Cookies: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup margarine, 1 egg, beaten, 1 cup grated zucchini, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil, 1 cup chopped nuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and margarine, add egg and beat. Add grated zucchini alternately with dry ingredients, mixed together. Stir in basil and nuts. Drop by small spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes. Makes three dozen.
Lavender Madeleines: 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tbls dried or 5 tbls fresh lavender flowers, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled, 2 large eggs, room temperature, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 cup unsifted flour, confectioners sugar, madeleine cookie mold. In food processor, process granulated sugar and flowers until flowers are finely ground. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl beat eggs with lavender sugar mixture and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Gradually beat in melted butter. With wire whisk, fold in flour. Spray madeleine mold with cooking spray. Soon a scant one tablespoon batter into each madeleine mold. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving. (If you like, substitute rose water for the vanilla, for a wonderful rose fragrance.)
Rosemary-for-Remembrance Cookies: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 cups flour, 1 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients except rosemary and mix thoroughly. (If dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time). Add rosemary and mix in gently. Form into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 6 minutes. Turn pan and bake 2-4 minutes longer, until cookies are just golden brown and firm. Makes 3-4 dozen.
~ Unable to locate author and source.
The above image is my Oktoberfest set made in the PetCity1 game.
Oktoberfest takes place in the last part of September and originated in Germany. It began in 1810 to celebrate a royal marriage:
“The occasion for the first Oktoberfest in 1810 was the wedding of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. On October 12th, 1810 the festivities began and they ended on October 17th with a horse race.”
“The wedding was celebrated with multiple days of drinking, feasting and horse races. The celebration then became an annual event”
Events in Munich includes “the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Official Tapping of the Keg on Opening Day (at the Schottenhamel tent), the Oktoberfest Mass, the Böllerschießen (handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue, and the Open-Air Oktoberfest Music Concert Fest.”
“Why is Oktoberfest in September and not October?
As the festival got longer, the starting dates were moved into September because the days were longer and the weather was warmer. Visitors could stay out later to enjoy the gardens and the famous fields that make up the festival grounds without getting chilly.”
Lederhosen and Dirndl. It doesn’t matter if you have German heritage or simply want to embrace the festivities—everyone is encouraged to wear traditional Bavarian attire during Oktoberfest. … https://www.wikihow.com/Wear-a-Dirndl
Wooden clothespins with special names/designs on them are a common sight at Oktoberfest. They’re known locally as Glupperl, and make the perfect nametags/keepsakes for your Oktoberfest party.
rubber duckies wearing dirndls and lederhosen
Beer and Steins.
Create a welcoming space where your party guests can try out different traditional German beers, alongside other European favorites. Have taste-testers vote on which is their favorite Oktoberfest beer, or ask them to guess which they think they’re drinking based on the taste.
Enjoy a Mug Rootbeer Float
Spezi: half Fanta, half Coca-Cola. It’s one of the most popular soft drinks in Bavaria. You can easily DIY it by mixing any cola with any orange soda!
Learning popular Oktoberfest dances
The Chicken Dance…
For unusual entertainment…. play the German drinking game flunkyball. http://www.beerballrules.com/
Karaoke with popular Oktoberfest songs.
Set Up a Dance Floor and Hire a Live Band
Learn classic Oktoberfest songs and dances: such as FLIEGERLIED
An Oktoberfest photo booth https://www.amazon.com/Iceyyyy-Oktoberfest-Photo-Prop-Set/dp/B08FR34KQ2/ref=dp_prsubs_2?pd_rd_i=B08FR34KQ2&psc=
Make a station where people can pick up crafting materials and look over DIY instructions on how to make things like a traditional German star or decorate their own beer stein.
Gingerbread heart decorating https://www.oktoberfest.de/en/magazine/eat-and-drink/the-recipe-for-perfect-gingerbread-hearts
Oktoberfest finger foods:
Large soft pretzels
Obatzda (an amazing Bavarian cheese spread)
Bread slices with Bavarian toppings (e.g. Leberkäse)
Mini-salads in mason jars (e.g. German potato salad)
A Bavaria-inspired charcuterie platter with various kinds of cheese and cold cuts
Apple strudel and roasted almonds
Here are two delicious recipes I have in my collection:
Oktoberfest Brewer’s Casserole
14 oz diced beef
2/3 cup dark beer
good 3/4 cup bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp basil
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tbs chopped parsley
1/2 – 1 tbs tomato purée
1 shredded leek
2 sliced carrots
1/2 tbs flour + a little water
Pour beer, bouillon, salt, spices, garlic, parsley, and tomato purée in a
pot. Bring to a boil. Add the meat, little by little, and let boil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Add the vegetables and boil on low heat for 10 minutes.
Mix water and flour, add this thickening, and let boil for another 5
minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes, pickled gherkin (cucumber), and a
Germany-Beer-Basted Sausage with Caramelized Onions and German Mustard
8 sausages, such as bratwurst, knackwurst or wieners
4 ozs. Oktoberfest beer
2 ozs. hot Dusseldorf mustard
3 ozs. oil
16 ozs. yellow onion, peeled, quartered and sliced very thin
Place oil in a large nonstick skillet (12-in. diameter) and add the sliced onions. sauté over low heat, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, soft and caramelized. Do not let burn. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the hot Dusseldorf mustard. Set aside. Prepare a grill, and cook sausages, basting with Oktoberfest beer every minute or so. Serve the grilled sausages with the mustard-seasoned onions.
(Note: you may prefer the traditional sauerkraut, which is delicious when heated with whole brown mustard seeds)
I would include my grandmother’s potato pancakes and apple crisp.
German Potato Pancakes
6 lg Potatoes — mashed
2 Well-beaten Eggs
1 1/2 tb Flour
1/4 ts Baking powder
1 1/2 ts Salt
1 sm Grated onion
Mix above ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls into 1/4 inch cooking oil. Turn to brown on both sides. This makes about 12 (3 inch) cakes. Good served with applesauce.
Autumn Apple Crisp
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine (not soft)
5-6 cups of apples, peeled and sliced
Mix brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is
crumbly. Spread sliced apples over the bottom of a buttered square baking pan.
Sprinkle with crumbly mixture over apples, patting lightly with fingers. Bake
uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream orice cream.
And don’t forget the big soft pretzels and German mustard, the aforementioned sauerkraut, and of course beer.
This beer stein is from Amazon, in case you can’t make it to Munich: https://www.amazon.com/Dresden-Germany-Panorama-German-Stein/dp/B06Y5ZNTXY