Everyone is all gaga over pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that, but I’m just sitting over here in my corner saying BOO to fall. I really don’t like it. There I said it! I know, haters are gonna hate on me, but that’s the truth in a nutshell, I can’t even pretend I love it. So, I won’t. Sorry not sorry. I’m not going to apologize that I am a summer girl and you can’t change my mind. Don’t get me wrong; there are some perks to fall that I’m A-OK with (like Halloween candy being sold in September and decorating for Halloween and then handing out candy to all the cuties in their costumes, that is assuming I have any candy left for them), but it usually takes countless pep talks to turn my frown upside down and by the time I do, it’s already winter and if it wasn’t for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’d be writing an “I dislike winter” post. Although I know that summer is difficult for many people with MS, I struggle more in the rainy and cold weather. The climate where I live is perfect for me in the spring and summer – not too hot, not too cold, but just right – like goldilocks porridge. I just don’t get the allure or appeal of fall (or winter for that matter).
I don’t know about where you live but I feel like summer just flew by – we went camping a couple of times but didn’t really venture out far for multiple reasons. But life goes on, seasons change and we are on to pants season here on the East coast of beautiful VI. And that there is reason # 1 why I dislike fall…..the fact that I have to wear pants again. Am I the only one who is happier living in shorts and cute summer dresses? Here are a few more reasons to support my case that fall is on my “don’t like it” list.
# 2 – Bulky sweaters. With my MS, my skin is sensitive. Sometimes it feels like I have little fire ants crawling on me, other times it feels like I am rubbing up against sandpaper and sweaters and pants only add to the discomfort. Plus, its cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon then cold again when the sun sets – its totally confusing. It’s like Mother Nature is PMS’ing, having an identity crisis or maybe she’s deep into menopause. Warm and sweating one minute and cold and clammy the next and she just can’t make up her damn mind. I don’t need any reminders about impending menopause, thank you very much.
# 3 – Spiders. Those 8-legged bas&%#ds are everywhere and with that is their damn spider webs. And, with every year that goes by, it seems like the spiders grow bigger. I walked into a lovely web yesterday that was like walking into a holey crocheted potholder. But this potholder had things hanging in it (bugs, leaves, etc) and I screamed like the little baby I am when accosted by a silky sticky dental floss like structure meant to catch prey and apparently, I was the victim of the hour. The terror didn’t stop there, when I thought I had sufficiently destroyed his handiwork by flailing around and dancing like an elephant in a tutu, I turned to go back towards the house and the little bas&%#d spider had another booby trap lined up for me. For a construction job done right people, save yourself some money and get a spider to do it.
# 4 – Leaves. There are leaves everywhere………just ask my neighbors. Because how the wind blows in our neighborhood, most of our leaves end up in their yard. I walk outside feeling guilty when I look next door and silently curse the wind and the trees which I love and will never cut down if I can help it. So, I’m sorry guys………. We did however buy a good leaf blower this year so there is hope that we will be the responsible neighbors that we strive to be and clean our leaves off your yard!
# 5 – PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. Yucky, nasty, gross. I don’t like pumpkin spice, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin yogurt, and I can’t even say that I like pumpkin pie, I just can’t do it. I don’t want to smell it, drink it, eat it or hear people talk nonstop about it. Even Tim Horton’s has gotten on the Pumpkin Spice train, someone please stop this madness. No thank you, I think I’ll pass. I do however, like pumpkin seeds. Oh right, I also like Pamela Pumpkin (https://youtube/kFFMAyE7Zdc), she is absolutely hilarious, check her out, you just may become a believer. So you see, I’m not completely heartless where pumpkins are concerned.
# 6 – Long dark nights. I love the early evening breeze of summer when we sleep with the windows open and listen to the crickets and frogs singing to us as we drift off to sleep. This makes falling asleep a lovely night time ritual that I look forward to (at least it is when sleep finally comes to me). However, when the nights get longer and the cold weather appears, windows are shut, heat is turned on, and there you are, trying to sleep with a silent, boring, stuffy room. Who in their right mind would choose these long, dull nights for the soothing summer ones?
# 7 – No more Village Ice. This is the saddest of sad – Village Ice is a small family run food truck type thing tucked in an alley in the little village of Cumberland. It’s a hidden treasure that us locals like to keep all to ourselves and while I am telling you about it, you may be hard pressed to find it. This yummy treat tastes just like better than we had on our trip to Hawaii. They make their own syrups out of fresh ingredients, and organic cane sugar and they are out of this world! We try to head there weekly through the summer so we can fill our bellies enough to handle the Village Ice withdrawals through the long fall and winter months!
# 8 – No more sandals and cute shoes. My toes again need to get locked up in boots and running shoes while all my nice cute sandals are shunned and stuffed in the closet all alone.
# 9 – No more hide and seek with the vegetable garden. I’m a little bummed that my morning no longer consists of finding sneaky zucchini, tomatoes or cucumbers. Oh well, the good news is that my veggie surplus will be lasting all year long because I canned as much as I could so I can put that sh&^ on everything; winter, Spring, summer and fall!
# 10 – Winter comes after fall. Enough said.
So, it’s probably obvious now that summer is my favorite season, but I hope you can see that there are a few things I can tolerate about this time of year so you can stop thinking I am a completely lost and heartless soul. However, trust me when I say that I wouldn’t mind living in a world where every day was 80 degrees and rain only happened on Thursdays. Luckily Arizona is again in my future for a couple of months!
If it’s still summer where you live, don’t worry the clock is ticking and your time will come but know that it’s ok if you aren’t dusting off your pom-poms to give it a special welcome cheer, because I am right there with you sister (or brother)!
Now, I’m sure you would all love the recipe for my Roasted tomato basil pasta sauce so you too can enjoy the veggies from your garden all year long, so here you go!
Canned Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
- Water Bath Canner
- Tomatoes Any tomatoes will do but Roma tomatoes have less water and more meat in them
- Garlic To taste
- Onion At least 1 large yellow
- Olive Oil To taste
- Balsamic Vinegar To taste
- Salt & Pepper To taste
- Rosemary To taste
- Oregano To taste
- Basil To taste
- Honey To taste
- Halve the tomatoes and placer them in a large roasting pan or bowl
- Add the garlic (at least one whole head peeled). We like garlic, so I usually use 2 whole heads
- Chop the onion into quarters and add it to the pan or bowl
- Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Don't be stingy here either (although you can add more before putting the sauce in your jars).
- Using your hands, toss all of the above together mixing well making sure everything is coated well.
- Put on a cookie sheet in a 400° oven for approximately 40 minutes. You'll know it is ready when the skins shrivel and start to look roasted or blackened in a couple of places.
- While the veggies are cooking, get your canning jars out. Since I never know exactly how much sauce I am going to get, I sanitize more than I would likely need. You can sanitize them in the hot water bath or run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize setting.
- Place NEW lids in a pan of simmering water. Wash the rings with hot soapy water.
- When the veggies are done cooking, transfer everything to a food processor or blender. You may want to use a slotted spoon if you don't want all the liquid from the tomatoes.
- Add fresh basil, oregano and rosemary them blend it up adding more salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey until it tastes how you like.
- Using a wide mouth funnel add sauce to each jar leave ½" headspace. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean damp towel and add the lids. Screw the bands on finger tight
- Add the jars to the water bath canner and add water so all jars are fully submerged and bring the water to a boil. Process the jars for 40 minutes (starting the timing process after the water starts to boil).
- At the end of 40 minutes, remove the jars from the canner using a jar lifter and place them on a clean kitchen towel on the counter. Allow them to cool for 12-24 hours. Check to be sure each jar has sealed before storing. If the top has play, it hasn't sealed properly so make pasta and use it up!
- This recipe is very forgiving and can be adapted to whatever your taste preferences are.
- It will take a lot of tomatoes to make a few jars of sauce, so don't be shy about using too many of your tomatoes. For example, I have used upward of 25 tomatoes and gotten only 3 large jars of pasta sauce out of it.