At Samhain, pumpkin comes into its own. Obviously, the very image of a pumpkin is the recognized symbol of Halloween, but that’s possibly because it’s been such an integral part of the celebrations at this time of year. Pumpkin dishes abound at this time of year, so much so that it can almost become too much. Instead of building a meal around pumpkin, use it to enhance the other delicious foods that are traditional for this time of year.

For the main course, roasted meats are a great choice. Autumn and winter are made so much better with roasted meat, I think, which is saying a lot when I come from Florida and live in Texas! It never gets very cold here, but a nice roasted meat just feels so nice and comforting, and that’s exactly what I want at this time of year. I usually prefer beef for the Autumn Equinox; with the cooler temperatures and the advent of pumpkins, I go for pork at Samhain. A pork roast with apples is just what Samhain needs.

For side dishes, autumn vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to a roast pork shoulder. Mashed sweet potatoes are easy enough to do, and tasty too. Butternut squash is also a good choice for Samhain. Roast it on its own and drizzle it with maple syrup or cook it up into a casserole with some apples. Wild rice is always nice for autumn. It’s got that wonderful warm, nutty goodness to it, that just screams autumn to me.

For breads, I do like to go back to the pumpkin and bake with it. Pumpkin bread – with a little bit of cinnamon butter – is a delightful Samhain treat that will never get old. Good for breakfast, dessert, or just a snack, it is always satisfying. One of my absolute favorite treats this time of year, though, is pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. These are great for breakfast, but they can be a little addictive, which is why I pull them out only for Samhain. If pumpkin is just not your thing (or if you’re sick to death of it at this point), apple bread is another alternative.

Speaking of apples, they’re a good choice for dessert too. Especially when paired with caramel. In, say, a cheesecake. Or you could just have some apples and caramel. But only if you make your own caramel. Please, for my sake and yours, make your own caramel. Storebought caramel is full of things that caramel doesn’t need. I promise you, it’s easy to make and whatever effort there is, it’s worth it by a thousand-fold. Your apples will thank you.

Happy Samhain, folks. Blessed Be.

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