Trick or Treat?

This was one of several premature Christmas decorator offenders.

‘Tis the Season. Haven’t you heard?

I was feeling pretty good about myself at the mall today, starting my search for an insanely cute Halloween costume for Alex 27 days early. In the past, I’ve relied on the holy trinity of procrastinator enablers: rush Internet orders, Target, and the kindness of strangers (Mommies on Etsy will customize orders quick with a slight tug on their heartstrings). I was there–with my wallet (another miracle; I have better luck finding my keys since I’ve transitioned from handbag to diaper bag)–ready to sift through racks of costumes. I had no fear I’d find one worthy of the photos I will forever keep of Alex’s second Halloween. No pressure…none at all.

Imagine my horror when I was greeted by Santa? Not just Old Saint Nick…ho, ho, ho, oh no…a winter wonderland full of festive Christmas trees decorated with shimmering lights, lush garland, and jewel-toned ornaments; overflowing pots of poinsettias; holiday china outlined with winterberries; and a dizzying array of candy canes.

All I am saying is give candy corn a chance!

I felt compelled to ask one of the associates when Santa and his elves regurgitated their workshop in her store. She said everything went up last week. Did I miss the memo that Christmas now starts in September? I know I am Jewish, but come on.

As a fan of both Halloween (feel free to share costume ideas) and Thanksgiving (the Super Bowl for home cooks), I am feeling a little Grinch-like about spreading the holiday cheer this early…and I grew up celebrating Christmas (my Mom converted to Judaism before I was born and still loves the holiday). Are you with me? Or do you think we’d be even better off cuing the Christmas music in July?

In my silent protest to premature Christmas decorator offenders, I went straight home and made Baked Apples. ‘Tis the Season for one of my favorite fall dishes.

Fall on a plate.

Baked Apples

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

6 same-size McIntosh apples

2 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 teaspoon-size pieces

1 cup apple juice

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Core apples, making sure not to puncture the bottom of the apples so that the juices will remain. Remove skin from 1/2-inch around top of apples at the opening. Fill each cavity with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Top each apple with a teaspoon of butter. Place apples in a casserole dish and pour apple juice around them. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Yum. Top with ice cream if you’re feeling indulgent!

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