As the weather changes and we experience the second season in California (it is highly debatable if there are truly more than two seasons here), our culinary attentions turn from the fresh fruits and vegetables of sunny days (like watermelon, cherries, corn) towards the sweet treats of the impending holiday season. Already, stores are advertising for occasions that center around not-so-healthful eating, with plenty of triple-wrapped bags of neon-colored goodies.
Happily, Max is still focused on the other pleasures of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays, including pretending and visiting with friends and family. However, I fear that those modern American overtones that have come to dominate will grasp hold of his attention soon, and this season will come to be defined by gorging on sweets.
How do we combat this, when every store has aisles dedicated to bags of sweets, and the healthful sweet treats of warmer days are now out of season and becoming rarer or more expensive?
Looking to the historical sweet treats is one option. I delighted to learn from my CSA last week that many of the squashes of the season become sweeter with age. I already have Delicata, Butternut, and Pumpkin squash becoming sweeter by the day, and enjoy that there is no rush to use them before spoiling, and they don’t take any room in the fridge, as they’ll keep nicely on a counter. We’ll be using our whole pumpkin this year the shell for a Jack O Lantern, the seeds toasted with a little salt in the oven, and the pulp cooked into a pie, some cookies, or soup. The dried corn ears that so many buy for table arrangements can be popped and served in lieu of processed popcorn in a bag. And I’ve even discovered the joys of beet lollipops, using our mildly flavored golden and pink beets (in thick slices, they get put on a stick and roasted in the oven). With recipes like these in mind, we’ll get our vitamins and skip the artificial colors and flavors, and appease our longing for sweets.
Here are this week’s events:
Monday, October 12th at 10 am we’ll meet at John W Christian Greenbelt. Amy L. and little Adelina will lead a speed walk / jog along the lovely wide, paved greenbelt in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Dogs allowed but be sure they can manage on a faster-paced walk/run. We’ll take a break around the halfway point for the trip, to play at the large playground for toddlers (which includes water features, so bring clothes), along the greenbelt. Meet at the pedestrian bridge on Ahwanee Avenue and San Junipero Drive (the bridge is just NW of San Junipero Dr.). Here is a Mapquest Map of the Starting Location (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/Ahwanee+Ave+and+San+Junipero+Dr+Sunnyvale+CA/). For more information about the trail, see the John W Christian Greenbelt Webpage (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/GreenbeltSunnyvale/GreenbeltSunnyvale.html). If you’re running late, call Amy at 650-207-6556.
Monday, October 12th at 4:30 pm join Melissa and little Maxwell for a Toddler Trek at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino/Los Altos Hills. If toddlers are up for it, we’ll tackle Coyote Loop to Deer Hollow Farm (with some uphill and downhill), but if toddlers are not so ambitious, we’ll take Deer Meadow Trail to the Farm. For more information or directions, see the Rancho San Antonio Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/RanchoSanAntonio/ranchoSanAntonio.html). Sorry, dogs not allowed. Bring your toddler’s bike if you’d like. This hike is at least half shaded. Meet near the large bathrooms at the park (stay right as you enter, then follow the road downhill). Call Melissa at (650) 224-5461 if you’re running late.
Tuesday, October 13th at 9 am Loren and little Angelo will lead a hike around Almaden Lake and down Los Alamitos Trail. Meet at the water dragon by the big playground near the bathrooms and swimming beach in the main parking lot near the intersection of Coleman Avenue and Almaden Expressway. No dogs allowed! Any type of baby transport or strollers will work. For more information about the area or directions, see The Los Alamitos Creek Trail Webpage (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/LosAlamitos/LosAlamitos.html). If you’re running late, call Loren at 831-227-6737.
Thursday, October 15th at 4:30 pm join Debbie and little Max for a Toddler Trek at Santa Teresa County Park in San Jose. Come out to see the wildflowers blooming, look for checkerspot butterflies, try to spy a deer, and find serpentine rock formations. Much of this route follows the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail. To get to the trailhead, take the Almaden Expressway exit from Highway 85, then travel south on Almaden Expressway. Turn right onto Harry Road, then left on McKean Road. Turn onto Fortini Road, then park at the dirt parking lot at the park entrance (where San Vicente Avenue also enters the park). The trail is a 2.5 mile loop; we’ll follow Fortini Trail along the Santa Teresa Creek for almost a mile, then turn left on Mine Trail, then left on Stile Ranch Trail for some nice views and a return back to the parking lot. There is no parking fee at this park entrance. If you’re running late, call Debbie at 650-776-1082. This is a Santa Clara County Healthy Trails (http://www.parkhere.org) outing.
On Saturday, October 17th at 10:30 am join Bike Buddies for a Family Friendly Bike Ride through downtown San Carlos. The ride will last up to an hour. For more information, see SanCarlosGreen.org’s Website (http://www.sancarlosgreen.org/home/bikebuddies.html).
Last week I asked about costumes and festivals. Several of you commented on how to build costumes, but no one had a costume to trade, sell, or give away these are precious, aren’t they? Joey Franco’s PW Market is sponsoring a costume donation drive for the underpriviledged, if you have an extra costume you’d like to give away. You are still welcome to share holiday festival ideas I’ll add them to the calendar; don’t forget to come out for Palo Alto’s California Street Carnival on Halloween Day.