The October Bucket List + Easy Recipe for Homemade Spiced Apple Cider

Oh hello October! This month is definitely a crowd favorite and it's no secret why. You can clearly begin to feel the seasons changing and there's so many special events that are just perfect for October. We love all the pumpkins, feeling cozy in sweaters, watching the leaves change colors, dressing up like ghouls, indulging in sweet treats, there's so much to get excited about!

My Top 10 Best Ways to Enjoy October

1. Soups All Day, Every Day - Probably my favorite meal when the weather turns chilly is a warm bowl of soup. They’re so easy to make at home, there’s so many different flavor options and they freeze easily. You can make large batches and meal prep them in the freezer so you’ve always got multiple soup flavors on-hand. A delicious and easy way to eat healthy. Check out my popular recipe for Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup.

2. Hot Tea - One of my favorite chilly weather rituals is sipping a hot cup of chai tea in my favorite mug. It gives me those happy warm and cozy vibes with nostalgia of my favorite autumn memories. You can get fancy with it and make a chai latte or go simple with just tea bags. Lemon ginger is one of my favorite simple teas and it’s so healthy! My two favorite artesian tea brands are Art of Tea and Just Add Honey.

3. Watch My Favorite Not-So-Scary Movies - Although I am a grown woman, I cannot handle watching real horror movies. It will literally make me scared of the dark. My kind of Halloween movies include The Adams Family, Hocus Pocus, and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. We are members of the Disney Movie Club and they have awesome movie selections for all the holidays, and a lot of them are not available on Netflix! I like to curl up on the couch with my daughter, my doggie and a big cup of freshly made apple cider.

4. Carve Pumpkins - I absolutely love going to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin and enjoy the whole autumn scene. I grew up in Half Moon Bay, Ca and during the month of October the entire town turns into pumpkin land filled with pumpkin patches. 🎃

Pumpkin lovers are so creative and nowadays there’s so many different carving and decorating options, I've got an entire Pinterest board full of ideas. If you’re not into the messy scene of cutting open the pumpkin, or if you just prefer more color, on my board you’ll find a lot of painting and bejeweling options.

5. Eat Pumpkin Flavored Everything - If you’re like me, your heart skips a beat when you see pumpkin spice goodies hitting the shelves in stores. But I also love cooking recipes with fresh pumpkin at home. I've got a whole pumpkin recipes Pinterest board for this one too. Over 100 pumpkin recipes that are both sweet and savory. Pumpkin soup please!

6. Día de los Muertos - While this is a traditional Latin American holiday dating way back, it has recently become very popular for modern families. In english it translates to Day of the Dead. The blockbuster movie hit Coco has definitely aided in its popularity. A couple years ago I went big dressing up for Day of the Dead and I wore a complete sugar skull outfit. ☠ If you’re planning on dressing up this year, I have a shopping guide to modern and trendy headpieces in this blog post. The blog post also includes where all the big Day of the Dead festivals are happening in California.

7. Apple Picking - We went out to the apple orchards last fall and it was a blast. I came home with so many boxes of apples, perfect for homemade apple recipes. I would totally love to go again this year!

Truth be told, the apple picking season usually begins in September and may or may not spill into October. If you live in or near California, I’ve got a complete guide to the best u-pick apple orchards in both Northern and Southern California. A lot of these farms also offer fun fall activities such as u-press fresh apple cider and fresh made pies. 🍎🍏🍎

8. Make Homemade Apple Treat - After our day of apple picking we had a ton of apples to eat up. A great way to enjoy fresh fall apples is to cook up my Spiced Apple Cider Slow Cooker Recipe (scroll down for recipe). Perfect for any fall gathering and it makes your house smell so wonderfully like autumn. Another classic is warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

9. Enjoy Sweater Weather - We've had a brutally hot summer this year and I am throughly enjoying the cool crisp air in the mornings. I’ve been pulling out of storage my thick chunky sweaters, dark wash denim and boots.

10. Hunt for the Best Fall Foliage - As a blogger by profession, taking beautiful photos in front of colorful fall foliage pretty much runs in my blood. There’s often a misconception that we don’t get changing leaves in California but in fact there are some great places where to can see a true autumn season. Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite are three of the most common places in California with lots of trees with changing leaves. One of the coolest ways to see the landscape in Sacramento is to take an old-fashioned train ride through the countryside.

Spiced Apple Cider Slow Cooker Recipe

Ingredients

  • Around 8 apples. For a sweeter blend use Fuji, Gala, or Golden Delicious. For a more tart flavor you can use Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jonathan, or McIntosh. Feel free to mix-n-match, there’s so many options.

  • One tablespoon of whole cloves.

  • One teaspoon whole or ground allspice.

  • A few cinnamon sticks.

  • 10 cups of water.

  • Add 1/2 cup brown sugar towards the end.

Directions:

  1. First chop your apples up into quarters.

  2. Put all your ingredients (except the sugar) in your crockpot.

  3. Cook in your crock pot for 3 hours on high.

  4. Smash up the very soft apples to get the remainder flavors into your cider.

  5. Cook for another hour on the low setting.

  6. Strain all the particles from the liquid and toss them out.

You can use this recipe as a base for a mulled apple cider recipe, aka Wassail. Just add an orange with cloves stuck in it, and some nutmeg if you choose. To make the cider very “adult’ you can add rum. I’ve also seen people add some pears as well. The combo of flavors and spices is up to you. There aren’t any hard or fast rules with these delicious fall drinks so feel free to experiment.

If you make a large batch and don’t plan on drinking the whole pot, you can freeze it for later consumption. You should drink up the fresh batch within a week. If you make this recipe in November, it’s perfect to serve at Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with apple slices, orange slices and/or cinnamon sticks.

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