Autumn thoughts

Autumn is a great time for running.  The temperatures have cooled down to a level where you don’t sweat just walking out the door.  Okay, I have to admit, this summer has been unusually cool, and it hasn’t been too hard to run outside.  But it’s perfectly lovely running in temperatures around 65 degrees.  The leaves are starting to turn colors and fall, and while you have to be careful to avoid turning your ankle on those stupid black walnuts that insist on falling right on the path, the rustle and crunch of leaves under feet is a nice sound.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

The other nice thing about running in the fall is the running clothes.  I don’t mind running in shorts and tank tops, but I do rather like tights and sweatshirts or jackets a bit better.  First, cool weather outfits provide a little more coverage of the little belly I’ve developed over the years (I blame this on my husband, who cooks far better for me than I ever did for myself, and on the pharmaceutical reps who keep bringing yummy and not-so-healthy food to the doctors’ office where I work.  I should probably also blame myself — I mean, I could do a few more crunches and eat fewer helpings… but why go there?)  The coverage is also nice to avoid chafing.  In addition to my hips hurting on Saturday in that 15K, I also developed some chafing under my arms.  Owie.  (By the way, I attempted to take a photo to share, but have you any idea how difficult it is to take a picture of your own upper inner arm?  Very.)

Autumn is also good because of the food.  (I know, I know.  This is the cause of my non-supermodel belly.  But food is happifying.)  Soup begins to take a more prominent role in meals this time of year.  I don’t totally understand why people don’t like to eat soup when it’s hot outside.  We eat hot lasagna in the summer, or hot fried chicken, or hot grilled hamburgers, but people don’t like to eat hot soup when the temperatures are above 65 degrees.  Maybe it’s because when the weather is cooler, we have a stronger desire for things that comfort us, and fuzzy blankets, fires in the fireplace, and yummy soup all fall into that category.  We had a marvelous soup at our Monday Night Dinner this week.  I had found a recipe online for Zuppa Toscana — a knock-off of the soup they serve at Olive Garden.  I made it for Stephan about a week ago for the first time, and we liked it but it needed improvement.  Monday night, Stephan made all those lovely delicious improvements, and the soup went from being quite good to out of this world.  Oh, yum.  Sorry, I didn’t take photos.  I was too busy filling my tummy, as was everyone else.  (I think this was the first Monday Night Dinner ever that were were NO LEFTOVERS.)  The soup is comprised of sausage (a mixture of ground sausage and diced Polish sausage is one thing that helped improve upon the original recipe), bacon (lots, and fried up until it’s very crispy), onions (sauteed in the bacon grease), diced red potatoes, and chicken broth, and finished with heavy cream and chopped kale.  Oh delight of my eyes.

Chef also prepared Apples’n’Onions, a dish Almanzo Wilder used to eat as a boy. (Surely you’ve read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Farmer Boy?  It is All. About. Food.  Seriously, the whole book talks about farming, horses and lots and lots of food.)  To make Apples’n’Onions, fry chopped bacon, then add sliced onions and saute.  Add thinly sliced apples, and cover and steam until the apples are soft.  No other seasoning is needed.  My darling husband also made the best bread in the world — Charlie’s Bread, which is a rapid-rise yeast bread baked at 500 degrees and finished with salt and an olive oil & herb blessing.  Can you see now why not a bite of food was leftover on Monday?

The good thing is that while autumn brings richer, heavier foods than I generally eat in the summer, it also brings nicer running weather.  Therefore, I should be able and willing to run more to work off the food I eat.  Well, theoretically.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rita
    Oct 01, 2009 @ 10:38:51

    Hi, Karen!
    Sounds like I missed a fabulous MN dinner. What I made for Rosie and a friend who dropped by, went over very well, just using up what needed to be used up in the style of Ropa Vieja.
    She thinks I’m a great cook, which is helping my self-cook-Koch-esteem 🙂
    Your hip pain must be gone then?
    It was fun to find a new post so soon. I always enjoy reading what you write!
    Love ya’!

  2. Kim
    Oct 02, 2009 @ 14:08:39

    Is happifying a word? If it’s not, it should be!
    Love that soup from Olive Garden. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Will have to see if I can get some good sausage here (or make my own) so I can make the soup.

  3. Heather
    Oct 02, 2009 @ 16:25:54

    What? No bacon in the bread?

    I like “happifying” too. I shall adopt it and raise it as my own.

  4. Trackback: Monday Meal: Let’s Hear It For the Boyz « The Small Town Runner
%d bloggers like this: