Autumn

Pumpkin Muffins: A Tasty Fall Treat

October 2, 2016

Pumpkin Muffins Having a mini muffin pan has changed my life. No really, it has—not in a big way, but it's inspired us to experiment with different muffin recipes. A healthy muffin makes a great breakfast treat, lunch box snack, playgroup munchie, or Halloween party goodie. One of our favorite muffins to make in the fall (and year-round, even), are pumpkin muffins. They're delicious, healthy (pumpkins have lots of fiber, beta carotene, and protein), and easy to make. Sometimes we just grab a box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix, but more often than not, we make them from scratch. They make the house smell great when they're baking, too.

Make Your Own Easy and Delicious Applesauce!

August 25, 2016

ApplesauceAfter apple picking, and having a surplus of apples, I love to make this easy and delicous applesauce. My daughter loves to pack this in her lunch box. Homemade applesauce is very easy to make, and really beats that stuff you get in a jar at the supermarket.

Serve it to the kids as a snack, or as a side dish with potato pancakes, pork roast, and more. You can also use it as an ingredient to make other tasty treats like applesauce muffins.

Ingredients

Delicious Pumpkin Waffles for a Fall Breakfast

October 18, 2015

Pumpkin WafflesWe always experiment with a lot of pumpkin recipes every fall. The hands-down favorite of all our pumpkin creations has to be these pumpkin waffles. With a subtle spice flavor, they're moist on the inside with a crisp exterior, just like a waffle should be.

Serve them for breakfast with butter and maple syrup, or even for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream. They're a great fall treat that's so good we'll probably start making these year-round, since canned pumpkin is easy to come by!

They're easy to make, too, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.

Old-Time Family Fun at the Tolay Fall Festival

October 12, 2014

Tolay Fall FestivalYesterday we made our annual visit to the fantastic Tolay Fall Festival at Tolay Lake Regional Park outside of Petaluma. The festival, held over two weekends in October—this weekend and October 18 and 19, is the successor to the popular pumpkin patch held at the park's former incarnation as Cardoza Ranch. The Tolay Fall Festival is much more than a pumpkin patch, however. It's an old-fashioned, down-to-earth celebration of fall with tons of fun activities for the whole family, and one of our favorite autumn happenings in the Bay Area. It's a wonderful event that has plenty to do for kids of all ages.

Of course there's a pumpkin patch—it's huge and located way out in the back 40 of the park, and you need to take a tractor-drawn hay ride to get there. But there are also plenty of other other attractions, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Our children enjoyed making old-fashioned corn husk dolls, carding wool, spinning yarn, and dipping candles, and more.

There's also an animal area with the opportunity to pet some friendly goats, scarecrow-making, a world championship pumpkin-seed-spitting contest, lawn games, a giant straw maze, a demonstration of old farm equipment and early gas engines, archery for kids and grownups, an astronomy display, a Native American village, and more.

The 2013 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll!

October 23, 2013

Petaluma Pumpkin PatchEvery family has their favorite place to pick their Halloween pumpkins. What's yours? Tell the world by voting for your favorite pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' fourth annual Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known!

2012's winner was was the Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch, with Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze in second, and the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm coming in third. Who will take the top honors this season?

If you don't see your favorite Marin or Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or make it a "write-in" vote by leaving a comment.

Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
17% (19 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
21% (23 votes)
Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
15% (17 votes)
Punky's Adobe Farm, Petaluma
5% (5 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
6% (7 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
5% (6 votes)
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
15% (16 votes)
McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
11% (12 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
5% (5 votes)
Total votes: 110

A Day Out at Punky's Adobe Farm in Petaluma

October 7, 2013

Punky's Adobe FarmUpdate: Punky's Adobe Farm will not be opening for the 2014 season.

Traditionally, Adobe Pumpkin Farm in Petaluma was the first pumpkin patch of the season that we visited. This year, while planning our Halloween content, we learned that Adobe Pumpkin Farm had closed! We were happy to see, however, that a new fall attraction called Punky's Adobe Farm was taking over the space. Located at the intersection of Adobe Road and East Washington Street in East Petaluma, Punky's has many of the same features as Adobe Pumpkin Farm—fans of Adobe will recognize a lot of old favorites— and in some ways is even better!

Punky's is a project of the Gutzman family, who have run the long-time favorite Punky's Pumpkin Patch at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. Everything offered here is either grown on-site or at the Gutzmans' farm in Sonoma County. All the pumpkins and squash offered at Punky's are organically grown. We were impressed at the enourmous size of many of the pumpkins!

Located just minutes from the suburban sprawl of east Petaluma, Punky's Adobe Farm is a real farm experience where you can pick your own pumpkin from a large field or choose from already-picked varieties in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes. Plenty of wheelbarrows are available for hauling your pumpkins back to the barn and eventually to your car. You can also buy squash and gourds of all different kinds at the Organic Squash Barn.

The 2012 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll!

October 20, 2012

Petaluma Pumpkin PatchEvery family has their favorite place to pick their Halloween pumpkins. What's yours? Tell the world by voting for your favorite pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' third annual Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known!

2011's winner, for the second year in a row, was the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, with the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm in second place and Adobe Pumpkin Farm bringing up third.

If you don't see your favorite Marin or southern Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or make it a "write-in" vote by leaving a comment.

Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
9% (34 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
4% (14 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
1% (5 votes)
Adobe Pumpkin Farm, Petaluma
3% (12 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
1% (4 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
1% (5 votes)
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
36% (133 votes)
McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
3% (12 votes)
First Light Farm Organic Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (3 votes)
Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
40% (150 votes)
Total votes: 372

The 2011 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll!

October 31, 2011

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchThe 2011 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll has closed. The winner, for the second year in a row, is the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze. Congratulations! The Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm is second, and Adobe Pumpkin Farm brings up third. Thanks to everyone who submitted their vote.

Every family has their favorite place to pick their Halloween pumpkins. What's yours? Tell the world by voting for your favorite pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' third annual Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known!

2010's winner was the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, with Peter Pumpkin Patch in second place and Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch in third.

If you don't see your favorite Marin or southern Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or make it a "write-in" vote by leaving a comment.

Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
26% (46 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
12% (21 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
6% (10 votes)
Adobe Pumpkin Farm, Petaluma
13% (23 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
7% (12 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
3% (6 votes)
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
31% (54 votes)
McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (2 votes)
Anderson Organic Vegetable Stand and Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (2 votes)
Total votes: 176

Chef Daddy Cooks Up Some Pot Roast

October 26, 2011

Mmmmm. Pot roast.Fall is upon us, and with it come the delicious rib-sticking dishes that are perfect for cool autumn evenings. Pot roast is one of those meals that, when done right, has few equals in the world of hearty cool weather cuisine. Unfortunately, it has the reputation of being hard to make, and is often tough and flavorless.

I confess that many of my early attempts at pot roasts didn't turn out very well. But by utilizing a few key ingredients, classical cooking techniques, and patience, I managed to overcome the tragedy of blah pot roast, and you can, too. Ready? Then let's begin!

First, you'll need to gather up your ingredients:

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