Candy and Costumes, then Turkey and Traditions
With the drop of Autumn leaves we “fall” into favorite family traditions and fellowship with friends. Everyone has personal memories of the sights, sounds and smells of the fall holidays that are unique to them – and that goes for the residents and team members at Frontier Communities.
Whether you sit by the fire and carve pumpkins or take the kids on a socially-distanced trick-or-treating adventure, Halloween has always flickered with its own kind of charm. Creative costumes come out of hiding and even more enticing are the candy collections that roll out onto store shelves like a conveyor belt.
Data shows that approximately 95 percent of Americans buy candy at Halloween. Dentists may see it as a spooky stat, but for sweet tooths it means there are plenty of wrappers to unfurl.
We spoke to a few of the Frontier Communities team members to see how the season typically shapes up for them.
Despite the rich mix of Halloween treat possibilities, two of them say they prefer a classic. You can probably guess which one…
“It’s not everyone’s favorite, but I really do like candy corn,” says Adriana Zaragoza, new home sales associate at Asher Ranch in Rosamond, Calif. “I know … weird!”
Well, it’s not as unusual as she thinks, according to data website Statista. Research shows about half the population likes candy corn. Susan Thompson, a Frontier Communities team member at Diamond Ridge in Victorville, says the little striped triangle treats are her Halloween favorite too.
Anastasia Howard of Frontier Communities’ Barrington Place in Jurupa Valley, chooses Reese’s Pumpkins, while Debbie Miller, new home sales associate at Barrington Place South, claims the whole category. She says the Halloween candy that tops the list at her house is “ANYTHING with Chocolate!”
As the first day of fall fades further into the background, cold air leads to warm soup for Anastasia. She says the leading contender for best Autumn dish in her home is Butternut Squash Soup, a Williams-Sonoma specialty. “This recipe has been a family favorite for years,” she says.
Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage Croutons
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 fresh sage sprigs
- 1 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 jar (2 lb.) butternut squash puree
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 3 cups crustless bread cubes (1/4-inch cubes), preferably from a batard
- 2 tsp. minced fresh sage
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Crème fraîche for serving
- Using kitchen twine, tie the thyme and sage sprigs into a bundle. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree, broth and herb bundle. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook until dark green and crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the bread cubes to the same pan and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes, adding the minced sage during the last minute of cooking. Transfer the croutons to the paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
- When the soup is done, season it with salt and pepper and discard the herb bundle. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each portion with a dollop of crème fraîche and garnish with the fried croutons and sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Adriana has a similar dish to share. “My favorite is the White Chicken Pozole!” she says. “It’s delish and easy, and best of all – my kiddos will gobble it up and even have seconds.”
White Chicken Pozole
- 4 chicken breasts
- ½ Onion
- 10 garlic teeth
- chicken bouillon
- large can of hominy
- 1 lemon
- 1 cabbage
- corn tostadas
- Boil 4 chicken breasts, half of an onion and 10 garlic teeth with chicken bouillon. Boil the chicken until it is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove all ingredients and shred chicken, put aside. Place the garlic and onion in a blender and put paste back in broth.
- Get a large can of hominy. Rinse and add to broth. Boil for about 10 minutes, then add chicken. And done!! Serve with lemon, cabbage, onion, corn tostadas and radish.
Debbie Miller’s favorite fall recipe is a special version of Brussels sprouts.
Garlic Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 tsp butter
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp butter
- Cut an ‘X’ in the core end of each Brussels sprout. Set sprouts aside.
- Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes; drain and cool on paper towels. Crumble.
- Heat 1 tsp butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts; toss to coat. Stir in broth, salt, and black pepper; cover and cook until Brussels sprouts are tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain liquid from pan.
- Stir remaining 2 teaspoons butter into Brussels sprouts mixture until melted. Mix in bacon and serve.
When it comes to Susan’s Pumpkin Cake recipe, you may need a security clearance! “It’s my daughter’s secret recipe, and it’s awesome!” she says. “I tried to get her to give me the recipe, but she said it’s a secret.”
Like many families who model their own Thanksgiving after the original harvest celebrations, Susan’s traditions involve food. “Cooking and eating!” is how she describes her annual family get-together, adding one more component: “We always go around the table and say what we are grateful for.”
Debbie’s family includes a similar practice as a part of their Thanksgiving Day tradition. “Nothing fancy at our house,” she says, “just get the family together and as we sit around the table eating, each one says what they are thankful for!”
Adriana’s family adds a creative component to their thoughts of thanks. “I have a Thanksgiving tree,” she says. “I give everyone fall colored paper in the shape of leaves. I ask everyone that I am celebrating with to write down what they are thankful for. It’s fun to read and to reflect on future Thanksgiving holidays.”
Anastasia’s family has a forward-thinking twist on that tradition. “We have a ‘giving tree’ and we have construction paper cutouts of leaves in different colors,” she says. “Each person at the table ‘gives’ something to each of the other people at the table and writes it on the leaf that is then attached to the branches of a little faux tree. You can give an hour of time to Mom to help with dishes or to Dad to rake leaves or clean the pool … or even give time to a local favorite charity, etc. It puts you in the spirit of giving.”
Nothing brings you home like the holidays and fall at Frontier Communities gives families the opportunity to gather in a comfortable setting to participate in whatever style of celebrating they choose.