Fall

Homemade Pumpkin Soup for a Fall Dinner

October 22, 2017

pumpkin soupMy daughter wanted to make something for dinner with pumpkin in it, it being that time of year and all, and I suggested pumpkin soup. She countered with the idea of serving the soup in little scooped out pumpkins instead of bowls, and we both decided it was a great idea!

The soup turned out better than I imagined, and using the pumpkins as bowls is fun and easy, if a bit labor intensive. This soup is really simple, so make sure you use high-quality ingredients so that all the flavors come through. We found wonderful little locally grown organic sugar pie pumpkins on sale at our local market, and we used Yukon Gold potatoes that we dug up ourselves at the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch a couple weeks ago.

Family Halloween Events in Marin & the Bay Area

October 19, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. Find a variety of family-friendly Halloween events that's right for you! We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

Marin and Sonoma Events

  • LEGO Haunted House Workshop
    Play-Well Marin, San Anselmo
    Monday, October 30, 3–5 pm
    This Halloween season, join Play-Well TEKnologies for a LEGO Haunted House workshop! Participants will have time to engineer their own trap then they will see if their LEGO Minifigure to go through. Can you make it out of the haunted house without getting scared! Fee: $20. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Halloween Trick-or-Treat Trail
    Downtown Petaluma
    Tuesday, October 31, 3–5:30 pm

    Join over 60 participating downtown Petaluma merchants for a fun and safe community Halloween for the entire family and goodies for costumed kids under 12. Prepare for a hautingly "ghould" time  as the scary, the cute, the ugly and the creepy descend on Downtown Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

October 17, 2017

I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.

I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients

A Visit to Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

October 9, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

This weekend we paid a visit to the popular Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, a certified organic pumpkin patch that has been a Marin County tradition for 20 years! Located in the small west Marin village of Nicasio, the farm is just west of the Nicasio Village Square right on Nicasio Valley Road. Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week through Halloween from 10 am to 6 pm, and it's always worth a visit.

Get Your Tickets Now for Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms

September 18, 2017

Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms In addition to producing healthy and sustainable local food, Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms also puts on fantastic family-friendly events throughout the year. This fall, their annual Pumpkins on Pikes event continues this tradition. Come on out to the farm for Halloween fun with pumpkin carving, live music, dancing, a corn maze, BBQ and more.

Pumpkins on Pikes takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 2 to 10 pm. Bring your pumpkin carving tools, blankets and coats to stay warm after dark, a sheet to cover hay bales for seating, and favorite treat for the dessert potluck. Free pumpkins for carving will be provided with admission. The carved pumpkins are placed on pikes out in the cornfield, and when the sun goes down, the pumpkins are lit. It's an amazing spectacle! A BBQ dinner will be available for purchase $10 a plate at the event.

Fall Camping in Marin and the Bay Area

August 27, 2017

Slide Ranch Family CampIntroduce the kids to camping at Slide Ranch's Family Campouts at their spectacular seaside location. Photo: Slide Ranch

Fall in the Bay Area, especially at the coast, can have some of our best weather of the year, making it a perfect time to dust off your gear, pack up the kiddos and head out for a weekend camping trip. No tent? No problem! Some of these campgrounds even have cozy cabins you can rent. Here are our picks for great fall camping spots in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area.

California State Parks have an all-new platform for camping and lodging reservations—visit www.reservecalifornia.com or call 1-800-444-PARK to reserve your camping spot at any of the state parks listed below.

Fall Family Fairs & Festivals in the Bay Area

August 21, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchFall is one of our favorite times of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and beyond. Find a family-friendly fall festival, fair or Oktoberfest to celebrate the season. We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

  • Halloween Harvest Festival
    Marinwood
    Friday, October 13, 5–7 pm

    Come to Marinwood for its annual Halloween Harvest Festival for children 12 and under. Activities include carnival games, pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, caramel apples, and a bounce house. Tickets: $12 advance or $16 at the door for kids ages 2 to 12; adults free. Food available for purchase. Event website.

Pick Your Own Apples in the North Bay!

July 25, 2017

Apple Picking

Late summer marks the start of apple season, and plenty of the tasty and popular fruits can be found in the North Bay, especially in the area around Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. Sebastopol is the de facto apple capital of the Bay Area, and it's justifiably famous for its Gravenstein apples, a variety that you won't find grown commerically anywhere else. While it's fun to eat and cook with apples, it's even more fun (and educational) to head out into an orchard and pick them yourselves!

If you're not lucky enough to have an apple tree growing in your backyard, then head up to one of the local apple farms that offers a u-pick experience. It's a fun family outing, and prices and quality are usually bettter than you'll find in the supermarket. There's nothing quite like an afternoon on the farm, too.

Yummy Fall Minestrone Soup

November 7, 2016

winter minestrone soupI love to make a big pot of soup on Sunday evenings, since it's a great weekend meal and makes for leftovers all week long. This version of the classic Italian minestrone soup uses vegetables that are available locally during the fall months. It's hearty and filling and good for you, too.

Leave out the pancetta to make it vegetarian/vegan. I also like to make this soup using just water instead of chicken broth—the flavor of the fresh vegetables really comes through. I cook the pasta separately and add it to the bowls when serving. That way when there are leftovers it doesn't absorb all the liquid in the soup when it sits.

Ingredients

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