Completed October To Dos

October was this great, strange month for me that found me spending most of my days scribbling in my journal, trying to shape some kind of path and decipher some deep emotions- I can't say that I was completely successful, but I think I did make some progress and I hope to share some of the fruits of those labors with you soon. But for now, it's time to glance back at other aspects of October, such as to dos!

A few years ago my mom gave me a copy of Mireille Guiliano's book French Women Don't Get Fat and, since I don't usually go in for that sort of popular diet/ self-help sort of thing, it's been sitting on my bookshelf pretty much since she gave it to me. But, say what you will about Ms. Guiliano or the ideas behind her book, her book does pretty much rock. What finally broke my resolve about the whole business is that my friend Suzy really liked the book and had told me that she thought I would like it- Suzy's one of those friends who just can't give you a bad book recommendation so if Suzy says that I'll like it, I'll read it, no questions asked. And so I read, and so I enjoyed. I admit that while Guiliano can get kind of annoying at some points in the book, overall she comes across to me as a well meaning motherly type of person and maybe that's why I was willing to give some of her recipes a chance- and I'm glad I did because the recipes, for me, are what make the book. The point of all of this seemingly mindless jabber about Mireille Guiliano and French Women in the middle of a post on October to dos is that two of this month's to dos were based on her recipes: the Ratatouille and the baked apples. At this point, I've made several Guiliano's recipes and they're all pretty fantastic, focusing not on the addition of unnecessary fat and sodium for their flavor but on the natural flavors of the food itself- which means that if you're used to eating a lot of processed foods, it may take a while to appreciate the flavors and simplicity of her recipes, but it's definitely worth it. The Ratatouille was flavorful and the perfect thing for a cold day- and surprisingly filling, while the baked apples really brought home fall for me and made me want to eat the one I made for my husband because they're just that good- not overly sweet, like a little crust-less pie all bound up in a hollowed out apple. I highly recommend them! N.B. if you make the ratatouille, I would double or triple the recipe- the version in the book is tripled from what is on the website and I did about 2 1/2 lbs of each vegetable.

Speaking of vegetables, however casually, the winter garden is still alive and kicking even though we've had a few days of freezing weather here already. This was probably my favorite of all of the to dos- so much so that I wrote a whole post about it and chocked it full of pictures- if you missed it, you can read all about it right here.

Which leaves us finally with the fairy tales which I had so much trouble with in September, resurrected-- zombie-like, for October. Did I do it, then? Did I read a fairy tale a day? Yes and no. I read 31 fairy tales/ stories selected from Grimm and Andersen and while I did honestly try to read one a day, every single day, sometimes life just got in the way and so some days found me reading one fairy tale, others two, a few three or more. Overall though, I managed the one a day far better than I thought I would be able to and I'm pretty content with the whole endeavor. Reading the tales as I did, weaving back and forth between Grimm and Andersen, was quite interesting and really highlighted some of the differences between the two; for example, the Grimm's tales are more or less always set in a magical world which retains touches of ours, while Andersen's tales tend to be set in our world but include touches of the fantastic, of the magical- and for different reasons I like them both, although I admit that I favor the Grimm's a bit more finding that their stories stick with me far longer than Andersen's, hauntingly and beautiful all at once. Below you'll find the days of October and which tales I read on which day:

1. The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich- Grimm. 2.The Star Tales- Grimm. 3. The Fisherman and His Wife- Grimm. 4. The Singing, Soaring Lark- Grimm. 5. The Children Living in a Time of Famine- Grimm. 6. The Bird Phoenix- Andersen. 7. A Fairy Tale About a Boy who Left Home to Learn About Fear- Grimm. 8. Little Red Riding Hood- Grimm. 9. Godfather Death- Grimm. 10. Fitcher's Bird- Grimm. 11. The Three Feathers- Grimm. 12. The Snail and the Rosebush- Andersen. 13. The Old Street Lamp- Andersen. 14. The Candles- Andersen. 15. The Most Incredible- Andersen. 16. What the Whole Family Said- Andersen. 17. Grandmother- Andersen. 18. The Three Little Men in the Woods- Grimm. 19. The Seven Raven's- Grimm. 20. The Steadfast Tin Soldier- Andersen. 21. Mother Holle- Grimm. 22. The Twelves Brothers- Grimm. 23. Rapunzel- Grimm. 24. Cinderella- Grimm. 25. Little Brother and Little Sister- Grimm. 26. The Bremen Town Musicians- Grimm. 27. The Princess and the Pea- Andersen. 28. The Evil King- Andersen. 29. Snow White- Grimm. 30. The Golden Key- Grimm. 31. A Happy Disposition- Andersen.

November to dos will be up by the end of the week!

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