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Coffee Date With Autumn

Behind the scenes of a food blog – grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever you desire and let’s chat. What’s happening? Autumn is here in all her glory. I missed you Autumn.

A pot of tea.

A pot of tea.

A cup of tea.

A field of yellow aspen.

Autumn Beauty

Maybe you have always lived in a place with trees that turn beautiful colors and drop their leaves in the Fall.  The crunch beneath your feet as you walked home from school was your annual companion, announcing the coming of Winter.  Maybe when the temperature started dipping in the 50’s you asked your mother for her special soup, the kind that only she can make right.  I didn’t, until now.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area, or cement city as I remember it, before moving on to the piney woods of North Carolina and then to the cedar soaked Hill Country in Texas.  I remember having to drive three hours to see maple trees at Lost Maples State Park.  Nature’s detritus consisted of pine needles and juniper berries.  They have a beauty of their own but they aren’t blazing red maple trees or golden aspen.

Now I am in Northern Utah, a high desert with its own challenges, 15 minutes away from the nearest trailhead of the Rocky Mountains.  Autumn is in full swing here and I am smitten.  So of course I am filling this post with pictures from my Autumn hikes because while amazingly beautiful, Autumn is very short here, in fact it lasts only about three weeks.  It already snowed here.

Enjoy friends.


Hiking in the Wasatch Mountains

At first when I moved here I was nervous about hiking in the mountains.  ‘What if I get lost?’ ‘What if I get hurt?’.  While there are a lot of ‘What if’s?’,  just know that there are a lot of ‘What if’s?’.

‘What if….. I see a moose, bear or mountain lion; amazing beauty worthy of a postcard; listen to natures music of rustling leaves or quaking aspen?’  Don’t be afraid of the ‘What if’s?’, embrace them.

I love to hike alone but occasionally enjoy hiking in groups.  I get a lot of worried responses from friends, mostly from those that don’t hike, when they realize I am alone when taking these amazing pictures.  Don’t be so afraid that you stay home instead of hiking.  Just start on short hikes that are crowded and venture out from there.  Join a hiking group.  Buy some good hiking maps that have trails on them and good contour lines.  Learn to read a map.  There are plenty of map reading classes out there, and if not, try YouTube.  Embrace the ‘What if’s?’, don’t run from them.



Backpacking Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Hoh Rainforest


Tina with a backpack on.


My annual backpacking trip happened in August.  As always, I saw amazing beauty in both the landscape and in the people I was with.  There is something intangible that happens to people when they leave civilization and are immersed in nature.  I wouldn’t even know how to describe it.

Is it the teamwork that is needed to accomplish moving 12 people dozens of miles in the wilderness, relying on each other instead of ourselves?  Perhaps it’s about going off grid, free from distractions and truly being present to the people around us.  I don’t know what it is or what causes it but if you have had this experience and have some insight, leave a comment.  For everybody else, give backpacking a try.  Don’t know where to start?  Sierra Club National Outings have trips for everybody.

My past trips:

The Wind River Range

The Glacier Peak Wilderness

The Olympic Peninsula


My Favorite Autumn Soups

My old, scratched soup pot comes out when the temperatures dip.  There is something comforting in a steamy bowl of nourishing soup.  You might not need a recipe.  Make your broth, add your spices and aromatics, add your protein and starch.  But if you do feel the need for hearty Autumn soup recipes, I gathered some of my favorites below.

What are your favorite soups?

Orange & Ginger Pumpkin Soup with Miso. A light, healthy, vegetarian soup garnished with pepitas, parmesan and fresh herbs. This healthy recipe will satisfy without the guilt.

White Bean Chorizo Soup Recipe. Learn how to use the magic of chorizo to simplify soup and make this amazing, hearty soup.


Turkey Soup with Split Peas and Smoked Paprika. A hearty soup perfect for when the temperatures dip. Celebrate soup season with a turkey and split pea soup seasoned with smoked paprika.

A bowl of Harira soup.

French Mushroom Soup, a creamy and earthy soup perfectly seasoned with shallots, sherry, garlic and parmesan. A quick and easy soup for everyday, try it! |

Senegalese Chicken Soup, A West African classic soup




Hubby’s Weekend Chore

Grapes in a juicer.

Homemade grape juice in mason jars.

We have been blessed with three grapevines that dress our backyard chainlink fence.  It’s large green leaves create a beautiful wall of greenery and in Autumn, gifts us with juicy, plump concord grapes.  Each with two seeds.  They are delicious eaten and even better as juice.  We borrow Mom’s juicer and just throw in the whole lot, stems and all.  At the business end of this low-tech steamer pours out this amazing hot purple liquid that is well received by its recipients.  So for six weeks in September and October, hubby takes out the juicer and makes wonderful presents for us and our family.


Biking the Suburban Trails

A tunnel painted in murals.

I am lucky to have hundreds of miles of paved bike trails near my home.  Trails without cars makes all the difference to me.  Road biking with cars is actually really dangerous and being able ride safely has allowed me to explore the city on my bike.

Without trails, I never would have met Romper, a friendly goat that lives on a suburban farm.  He loves to be petted.  What a cutie!  Seriously.

A goat.


YouTube videos that I have enjoyed lately.

Mastering Your Habits – We are all creatures of habit! Bad habits can be broken, and good habits can be built to give way to a healthy, happy and successful life.


On my nightstand

Amazon affiliate link.

One of my backpacking friends sent me this book.  This memoir by Barbara Kingsolver tells the story of how her family abandoned the industrial food pipeline and embraced rural farm living, committing to become locavores.  The transformation of her family is sometimes funny as they realize they can’t have everything they want to eat when they want to eat it.  Each food has its season.  This enthralling narrative will open your eyes in a hundred new ways, revealing an old truth – you are what you eat.

Thank you Hannah!  I love this book:)




I will say ‘Until next time…’ with this pic of a beautiful leaf-covered road I came across in the woods.  Just around the bend lies your next adventure.  Embrace it.




Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Fall is my absolute favorite! There is no better autumn day then starting with a warm cup of coffee, a hike through the fall foliage, a cup of flavorful soup for lunch, and a good book to cuddle up and read at the end of the day šŸ™‚

Your pictures Tina are absolutely beautiful!! And Iā€™m totally jealous you have Concord grapes in your backyard.... I can eat those things by the bushel.


Thursday 18th of October 2018

I love Autumn, I wish it lasted longer around here. Having a relaxing down day is my favorite. It feels like Autumn only lasted three weeks. How is your Autumn going in Denver? I need to bring you some grape juice sometime:)