Fall Comfort Foods and True Mom Friends

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This is not one of those perfectly styled, gorgeous, home inspiration posts. This one is just REAL.

Welcome to Fall. And guess what? Right this minute, we are all where we are. And it all is what it is. Hurricane season. Back-to-school transitions. Plus Life. We’re all just doing the best we can.

See how that wall is spackled but not primed nor finished? And see that backsplash? Nope, it isn’t there yet? Right. And yes, this is the only 6 square feet of almost clear space in the whole house right now. It’s a metaphor for sure. We are where we are…so let’s just take a break, heat some cider with mulling spices, throw a cloth from the pile, under a board from the collection, and pile it with fresh-baked cookies, and just sit for a minute, laugh, snack, and refuel on love and cookies, and talk about Fall Foods because Liza showed up — with cookies!

TME readers, meet Liza. She’s as tried and true blue as they come. I’m only confused about my own age because she pathologically lies about hers, and well, life is relative. (For the record, I’m younger.) She’s an education researcher and educator by paid profession, and a gifted raiser of all the funds for all the schools, all the arts, and all the causes. She’s the only person I know who remembers everyone’s birthdays without a calendar or FB reminder. She’s my eldest daughter’s G_d Mother for good reason. She’s got all the letters, and could care less about them, except for the last six sets: JD, PhD, and MOM (of 4 boys 10 and under, mind you) FRIEND, DAUGHTER, SISTER, PARTNER, LOVE. In addition to always having her head, heart, and thumb on the pulse of the city, the world, fun events, movies, culture, current events, and politics (seriously, I challenge you to find a person who reads and/or does more) she is also…wait for it…our resident hidden-talent-secret-local-best-baker ever! It might be a natural talent, or it might be the fact that she does it EVERY NIGHT. No joke. That and Diet Coke, I’m pretty sure, are what keep this woman going. So stay tuned…b/c once this kitchen is done…we’ll start doing a Liza Bakes series, and we’ll all be sweeter for it!

Until then, all you need to know is yes, she’s always in that helmet because she moves around town on her bike, at warp speed. And she’s the friend that drops in, says, “I have 20 minutes. Give me 5 boxes and I’ll pack the kitch.”  Or on the other end…”I have 20 minutes, fresh cookies, and I’ll unpack as many boxes as you throw my way in 20 minutes.” But for a few minutes today, we both did something unusual, and we sat down. And talked about all the fall foods we’re so excited to start cooking in this unfinished, imperfect, but just about working kitchen!


Let’s start out with the easy wins. Sure, you can light a candle to get those fun fall smells going. That works. Even better: toss some mulling spices in a pot with some apple cider and warm it up! It tastes delicious, the kids all love it, and yes, when necessary, the big kids can spike it.


Baked Goods

And then there are the baked goods.  She rode by on her bike the other night and left a bag of hand-me-down clothes from a mutual friend for my girls, and of course, she also left a half loaf of Zucchini Bread. Just to get me through the next day. Is that friendship and love, or what? Today, she popped-in to unpack a few boxes and had Banana Bread (her staple) and these amazing new Cookies she just tested. Truth: I don’t prefer sweets. I’m a salt chips and wine kinda girl. But when Liza bakes, I test. More truth: they are freaking delicious!
More truth per Liza:

  • Never short the butter! (Go ahead, giggle, it’ll feel good.)
  • While all the recipes call for a mixer, you are a mom, you have strong arms, just hand mix.
  • Blackened Bananas. Always. (If you are a Philly Girl from the 70s and or 80s, you will giggle here too!)

Need more fall baking inspiration?  Try these:

Fall Food

And then there’s the food. Liza bakes. I cook. It’s our division of labor. These are some of the Fall Foods I’m most excited about right now!

Baked Figs & Goat Cheese

Figs are just so delicious, even just all by themselves, raw. And they are good for us too! I’m a giant fan of The Barefoot Contessa. Her food is always delicious, and I find her recipes surprisingly doable. That said, the most frequent thing I do with Figs in the Fall? I half them, place them skin side down in a mini-muffin tin, smear a little goat cheese, drop a piece of a sprig of rosemary, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees, for 10-15 minutes. Yum. No recipe needed. Cute as can be as an easy snack or app.

Pumpkin SoupPumpkin Soup is a fall favorite!  I love this Martha Stewart recipe, it’s delicious! But…sometimes, everything — soup included — needs to be souper easy. Have you made soup in your Vitamix yet? If you haven’t, you should. Here’s the easiest and most delicious recipe I’ve found for that route:

Thai Pumpkin Soup | Vitamix

Have you ever met a sweet potato you don’t love? I have yet to. I love them sliced and baked with a little olive oil and pepper, and so do the kids! Not top much olive oil, give them space, and bake at at least 425 degrees. That’s the trick to crisp. Slicing is easier with this, or this. But wear the glove. I have a scar on my thumb from not. You don’t need one of those. And if you are up for a little more sweet potato fun, try this:

Sweet Potato Fritters

Fall Food for Thought/Mid-Term Elections

You know what other season Fall is? It’s Mid-term Elections Season. If you want more information on that, click here. Skimming is great. And those girls have gone ahead and made understanding why we vote, where we vote, what we’re voting on, and why it matters EASY. So follow their links. They will help make it easy for you to do as we all need to do.

Your political views are yours, ours are ours. They can both exist. What we have in common? We all need to vote in order for the whole system to work. This is a post, from just before our last Presidential election, where Liza and I, in helmets, of course, preached, on why we should all vote. The photo screams our views; and we respect yours whether they are ours or not. The point is – just get out there. Let The Skimm help you make sure you are registered, help you figure out your dates, and help you feel more informed in this agreeably crazy world in which we live.  xoxo A and L

And wear your helmet always. Just in case.

OK, we’re off to orchestrate a yard sale. At this point, it’s actually a yard give away. And there’s no yard.  We’re city dwellers. But you know, we are where we are. And where we are, is get it OUT.  xoxo A

P.S. For more Home inspiration, follow us on the ‘grams at @themomedit.home.


About Author

The Mom Edit Home Editor. Fierce lover of momming, 3 amazing kids, blessed with the most wonderful family and friends, likes coffee black, wine dry, chocolate dark, and salt chunky, resting position is in motion, particularly where salt water and wind are involved. Moderately obsessed with home design. Feels super lucky to be a part of this community. xo

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    • Annmarie Naples on

      Those are marble. Yup. While I recommend the alternatives to just about everyone, so that you can cut, juice, spill, and live, I’m a sucker. I’ve done it before. I’ll keep doing it again. And we templated them to within an inch of their lives when we ran into fissures. I chose two giant gorgeous slabs. And they make me so happy. It’s not easy to choose slabs. But I find choosing them like choosing art, it’s no, no, no, no, and the Ooooo…this one speaks to me. We’ll get you a good shot of the whole kitchen once the boxes clear, because there’s an 18 foot run of it. If you are willing to seal, and care, and have kids and adults and kids that can follow a few respectful rules…and if you can be a mom that lives with things being imperfect when they age through life, well, then marble might be for you too. xoxo A

  1. Oooohhh, Annmarie, so many good things in this post. Yay to great friends. I’m ready, too, to elevate my chocolate chip cookies and to try those sweet potato fritters. And a parting thought: Where we already are is sometimes the best place to be. Love you! xxoo

  2. AnnMarie, Posts like this are exactly why I follow your blog! UNTIL I reach the very end and see…Politics! Everywhere I look, I am BOMBARDED with politics and the anger and divisiveness that come along with them. For me, your blog is a respite and a escape. I am so sad to see, that even here, a place where I come to be uplifted and to relax, is no longer SAFE for me.

    • Janice, I’m so sorry. I thought I did an ok job of speaking to something I associate with Fall, and that’s on my mind and in my heart in a reasonable way that wouldn’t offend anyone. So I apologize for upsetting you with its mention included. I will have a think on it and will talk to S. Sure, I can just leave politics out of what I write, but that wouldn’t be true to who I am. I’m a talk about it, put it out there, open respectful conversations kinda girl, who likes to talk about issues, and complicated things, politics included. I get that not everyone wants to read everything I write, and that many of views other than mine. And if we need ‘lighter,’ ok, maybe I can do that. And maybe I should. It’s just that it wouldn’t be true to my voice. So please accept my apology, and a promise that I will have a deep think on it, and a talk with S. In general, she typically supports me speaking my mind and heart, but of course, as a woman, especially a mom, there’s always a thought of first do no harm to anyone ever. And if this is harming you and others, then I’ll sleep on that, with my whole head and whole heart and figure out something better. xoxo A

  3. In this case, I disagree with Kerri and Janice.

    In general, I don’t like it that politics comes up as much as it does on this blog, but it’s S’s blog, and it’s clearly important to her, so here it is. S can be a little passionate about it, and I do find her political-inspired posts frustrating, mostly because I get the impression that she may have a hard time imagining that there could be good people who disagree with her (that they must be hard-hearted, something-ists to come to different conclusions – and I genuinely sympathize, because I have a hard time understanding how people can come to some conclusions, and sometimes I’m unkind about it, and then I feel really bad later, but I still don’t understand). But I keep reading because it’s good to be exposed to other ideas in the context of an actual person, and also, I assume that in real life she’d come across as more nuanced and inclusive than it’s possible to really do on a page, and she’s clearly full of love as a person. Plus she seems honest about who she is, and where she is, and what she thinks, and I respect that.

    However, Annamarie, your post here is not inflammatory or polarizing at all. I felt no need to remind myself to calm down and be charitable toward other people’s views. It’s 0% frustrating. You’ve gone out of your way to make it clear that while, yes, you have your own strongly-held opinions, you fully expect others to have different ones (and I do 🙂 ), and the main thing is to be involved, and that you want everyone’s participation. I think maintaining our civic tradition of free speech and debate and dialogue and civility and involvement is more important than any political issue individually in the long run (because we need those norms long term! how can we figure out what will work best if we can’t talk? or if we keep making people who disagree with us into “others”?), and I really appreciate how you wrote this one.

    • Annmarie Naples on

      Amanda: My heart is warmed. My mind is more clear. And I appreciate your support 100%. It’s hard…the common ground. I have three kids. If there’s nothing I learn from them, every single day, that I didn’t learn from my career before them, and that I don’t from life in general, it’s that consensus building is hard. Thank you for appreciating that it’s more the act, of our civil liberties, and the privilege of living in a society where we have a voice, and a vote, that I was encouraging, rather than any particular political party view. And for appreciating the long run. We’re all in it for that. And for finding words, where I was at a loss today. I do run out of them, more often than people appreciate. And I love that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and find the relay race to be the most rewarding in terms of humanness, friendship, and love. Thanks for picking this one up and carrying it forward. xoxo A

  4. I liked the post. I also like when blog contributors or writers include their political views. I like to know what I am investing my time in. While I recognize we’re on the same page politically, I did feel you went out of your way to be respectful and say everyone has their own views and you didn’t try to “convert” anyone to your side of the aisle. I want to hear someone’s real voice, who they really are – not some glossy version that sells more clothes (or home goods, or…whatever) – where is the heart in that? Just wanted to say there are some readers who don’t mind mixing life with politics as long as it’s inclusive and respectful.

  5. I just want to add my two cents and say that I agree wholeheartedly with Amanda’s post above. And I found your response to criticism really considerate, Annmarie. I like your voice on this blog!

    • Autumn, that feels like a giant hug. Thank you for it. I am one of those crazy people who actually appreciates being called to task. And questioned. And challenged. I like to think about all kinds of things. And I always want to know how I make people feel in what I put out there. I hope it’s mostly positive. And when it’s not, I appreciate when people reach out and say so. It’s a growth thing. Always room for growth, right? But we all also need support, to keep us going on through the tougher days and challenges and even just when we’re tired/sad/hungry/mad. So thank you for saying what you did, in the words you did. I’ll hold them close to my heart, and keep them in my mind. xo A

  6. Agree wholeheartedly. Politics and political/ethical/moral issues are part of life, and part of why I like this blog over other fashion blogs I read is that it seems more REAL. Fashion is an expression of oneself, and I want to read a blog by people who express themselves. Clearly there is a balance, and if this blog starts focusing more on politics/candidates than on fashion, I’ll stop reading (even though my politics are in line with Shana/Annemarie) because that’s not why I read this blog. For now, however, I think TME is striking a good balance.

    • Always shooting for the balance. In everything. Failing miserably at times. But always trying for it. Thank you for the support. It means a ton, genuinely. xoxo A

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