We tend to think of fall colors in the family of rusts and browns, pumpkins and mustards. But you can also reach across the color wheel and pull in some cooler hues. Shades of indigo and slate are a perfect match for warm harvest tones, complementing them beautifully without taking away their autumn feeling.
So here is some fall color palette inspiration – with a few projects and recipes along the way.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – This is a great breakfast on-the-go – especially during the holiday season when you have a lot of pumpkin around and not a lot of time. I added pecans and an extra cup of plain Greek yogurt to Jamie’s recipe.
Pie Slice Cookies – I haven’t made these, but they were so adorable that I had to include them! (If you’re looking for cookie decorating ideas and tips, there are TONS on the Sweet Sugarbelle blog!)
Fall Succulent Planter – Rachel of Maison de Pax planted succulents directly into ceramic pumpkins. Another option would be to place potted succulents inside a real (or ceramic or foam) pumpkin and take them out when you take down the autumn decor.
It seemed fitting to post this on Indigenous People’s Day (which I’m glad is gaining traction over Columbus Day!), since the recipe includes several local ingredients originally used by the Native American tribes in this area.
Also, unrelated to the video, we went to an IPD screening of two documentaries by Diné (Navajo) filmmakers at the Heard Museum yesterday. Both films were really great!
You may get a chance to see them too, since they’re traveling around on a Navajo Films Documentary Tour starting in November, and one of the films, The Mayors of Shiprock, will air on the World Channel November 6.
The cafeteria serves native-inspired foods that span the American continents. I got a buffalo burger and fry bread.
The menu also includes options like wild rice and ceviche.
This is definitely a place I’d like to come back to and try more things!
National Air and Space Museum
When I walked down Independence Avenue to the south entrance of the Air and Space Museum, I was discouraged to see a line over 100 feet long to get in. I had started back toward our hotel, when I looked back and saw that the northern entrance – along Jefferson Drive – didn’t seem to have a line! Sure enough, about five minutes later I was in the museum!
So keep in mind that there is more than one entrance, especially since, as Stephanie later told me, the Air and Space Museum is the most popular of the Smithsonian museums.
Immediately upon entering, I saw display spaces festoooned with replica and original air and space craft – a lunar landing module, the “Spirit of St. Louis,” the front half of the fuselage of a 747, rocket nozzles as big as my living room.
In the past I had wanted to be an astronaut, so I was particularly intrigued by the exhibits showing relics of the U.S. space program in the 60s and 70s – toolkits, suits, windowed hatches, flight manuals, and the like. There’s even a very official and ornate “certificate of merit” presented to the first chimpanzee sent to space by the U.S., which I found both ridiculous and moving. While I was certainly impressed by the spacecrafts themselves, oddly, it was these historic bits of ephemera that captivated me the most.
The guided tour moved a bit too slow for me, so I bailed out to cover more ground.
Marty met up with me about an hour into my museum visit, so that was a nice surprise. We toured the World War II fighter aircraft exhibit together. I especially appreciated the naval aircraft display that replicated both the deck and interior of an aircraft carrier.
Unfortunately, our time soon ran out at the Air and Space Museum. We went to the food court with the biggest McDonald’s I’d ever been to. There was a large seating area and lots of windows to let in light. Fortunately, we went as the day was winding down, so we didn’t have to wait in line long.
I enjoyed sitting in the gradually-emptying mega-McDonald’s and debriefing the museum sights with Marty.
After our morning hike at Tumamoc Hill, we returned to the Mission Garden that evening for demonstrations on agave rope making and roasting, tequila tastings, a display of products made from agave fibers, plant sale, and The Opening of the Fire Pit.
The day before, probably about the time Phillip and I were driving from Phoenix to Tucson, a group had gathered at the Mission Garden. Jesús García, an Education Specialist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, was demonstrating how to build a fire in a traditional roasting pit and fill it with agaves. They would be covered with metal from the side of an old washing machine and then layers of dirt to keep the heat inside the earth oven.
Other than the repurposed washing machine, the pit would be similar to the ones we had seen evidence of on our hike that morning, the charcoal gray rocks contrasting with the reddish desert clay only hinting at what was under our feet.
We don’t know exactly how the ancient roasting pits worked. Current tribes in the area have not continued this tradition. However, Jesús García pointed out that just a few miles south of the border, “the tradition is still alive.” He talked to his family in Mexico about the process, taking notes and drawing extensive diagrams about every step. Adapting those techniques to the Tucson area has taken some trial and error. Apparently. Last year’s cooking time wasn’t quite enough.
So this year, they would give the agave a full 24 hours to cook underground before literally digging in and opening up the fire pit.
That must be the magic number. It was soft and slightly sweet. Each variety had a different flavor. One tasted like sweet potatoes.
So what if you don’t happen to have access to a 5-foot by 6-foot roasting pit?
Carolyn Niethammer shared how she roasts quartered agave heads in her home oven – just roast at 350 for 17 hours (!)
Once they’ve been roasted, you can add them into other dishes. With an electric skillet, she demonstrated how to saute up some agave along with nopales (prickly pear pads), peppers, and tepary beans, a drought-tolerant heritage bean that has recently come back into use. It was delicious!
She followed up by passing around some “Aztec delights,” bite-sized treats she made from amaranth, chia, agave syrup, and chocolate.
It was a sweet finish to our Mission Garden visit.
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