Happy happy first day of autumn! It felt like it would never come. It is hot where I live most of the time. Humid and hot. In fact, I didn’t expect the first day of fall to feel much different from the last 90 days of summer. So imagine my happiness when I woke to a cool breezy morning. I opened all the windows wide and waited for everyone to wake.

I do not deal with heat well. I act like a big baby all summer long, moaning and complaining and acting like I can expect something different from the weather in the southern U.S.  I diligently tend my garden until about July when I can no longer stand it and I hunker down behind closed shutters in a kind of reverse hibernation. I plot out all the soups I will make when the mercury drops. I send others out to harvest for me. The outdoors is neglected until the temperature returns to something habitable.

But I have a child and children need to be out of doors and I feel terrible about not wanting to do things outside in summer. Certainly my husband does plenty with him outside but I was starting to feel left out.

So I came up with the Breakfast Picnic.

I am an early riser and my son has always been an early riser, too. So on the first Sunday of summer break I filled a thermos with orange juice and heated two breakfast burritos I had made on my last freezer cooking day. I woke my son, we quick threw on some clothes, told dad we were leaving and were off to the park at 7:30 a.m.

It was the nicest morning.

It was quiet and not too warm. Only a few joggers were in the park. It felt like a secret. The best part? Talking with my son – he talked at length about school and ideas for new lego sets, and how he will decorate his mansion when he grows up (bowling alley and arcade, in case you were wondering) and on and on and on. He ran around on the playground for a little bit after we ate and then we headed home where dad was just getting up. It was only an hour, but it was the best hour.

The next Sunday when I went in to wake him he was already ready to go. This time we got bagels at a drive through. Another week was blueberry muffins, then breakfast sandwiches, then a donut run and so on until it was time to go back to school. We didn’t make it every single weekend, but we got most of them. We changed up our parks, too.

The first weekend after school started I was happily surprised when he asked what we were taking for our breakfast picnic.

Today, in honor of the first day of fall we took Pumpkin Oat Muffins. It is a recipe I got a few years ago from a magazine and tweaked. I usually write down from where I get a recipe but I didn’t on this one. I tried a search for the recipe but nothing turned up quite like mine, so I’m sorry I can’t tell you where it originated. I do, however, hope you enjoy them.


Pumpkin Oat Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3.4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat over to 400.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Blend together the wet ingredients with a fork in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and combine until just moistened – do not overmix. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin and fill each well with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for five minutes. Pop the muffins out and continue to cool on the wire rack. Enjoy!