Fall is in full swing, and if you haven't already, now is the time to pull out the warm woolen coats, move the rubber boots to the front door, and prepare your garden bed for winter.
It's also a good time to create a bit of coziness in your home with softer lighting, warmer colors, and thick, fleece throw blankets and cushions. In your kitchen, you can pull out the warm, grounding spices, dust off the slow cooker, and mix up some hearty soups, stews, and casseroles for the family. Indeed, nothing invites our favourite comfort food back into our lives like a cold, dark, rainy fall day.
As the fall season draws closer to winter, our senses are reacquainted with the wonder of autumn. Our taste buds are naturally drawn to warmer, richer foods. Our eyes become a little more sensitive as they take in less light with the darkening days. Our ears prick to the sound of leaves crunching underfoot, the hollow of wind through trees' bare branches, and the thrumming of rain against the windows. We crave the feel of soft sweaters and the touch of crisp cold air on our cheeks. Our olfactory sense digs rich, earthy, spicy scents like cloves, cinnamon, and frankincense. Not to mention chocolatey brownies, apple pies, and coffee cakes!
As we close up the windows to keep out the cold, we may notice that the indoor air starts to smell a bit fusty after a few days. If your home is solidly weatherproofed then the indoor air exchange rate is suboptimal, which explains that closed-closet smell.
We recommend cracking the windows open a slice every day for a short time to allow some fresh air in, especially in your kitchen where there tends to be an abundance of (sometimes) conflicting odors.
(If there's another unidentifiable odor persisting in your kitchen, it may be something that needs proper attention. Find out why your kitchen stinks.)
We also have some excellent and easy recipes up ahead for mixing up mini cauldrons of sweet, warm, spicy scents in your kitchen. And if you have a slow cooker, you can make any room in your home smell warm and welcoming. We've included homemade potpourri with oranges, cinnamon, cranberries, coffee, vanilla, and more.
Not only do these beautiful-smelling blends add warmth and welcoming spirit to your home, they're a quick and easy way to mask unpleasant autumn odors, like wet dog and stinky boots!
Simmering Festive Twist Stovetop Potpourri
Fresh n' squeezy with tart, warm, earthy undertones. Guaranteed to render your kitchen an official holiday zone!
1 whole orange or orange rind
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tbsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
Cut the orange into quarters (or just the rind) and place in a saucepan.
Add the cranberries, cinnamon sticks & cloves.
Fill the pot with water and place on the lowest heat.
Add more water as necessary.
Keep over low heat to activate the scent. Cover and remove from heat when not in use. This blend will last several weeks, but you can freshen up the ingredients as you wish.
Fresh Baked Simmer-on Buns
Catch the play on words? Simmer-on = cinnamon? Create that heavenly cinnamon bun scent in your kitchen without the baking (and unfortunately without the fresh doughy buns). For those wanting to cut back on the edible indulgences, this scent helps satisfy those sweet carby cravings just by giving our olfactory sense a little hit of baked goodness.
3 cinnamon sticks
A few drops of vanilla extract
A few drops of almond extract
Fresh or ground nutmeg (optional but highly recommended!)
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and add several cups of water (exact measurements aren't necessary).
Place on the lowest heat and simmer all day.
Cover and remove from heat when not in use and freshen the ingredients as you wish.
Simon & Garfunkel's Favorite
If you're a Gen X'er then you likely knew the ingredients in this recipe just by its title! This herbal blend gives your kitchen a mellow herbed lift that everyone loves, though your guests may be asking, where's the turkey?
Combine equal parts of fresh or dried herbs in a saucepan or boost one herb in particular if you want it to dominate.
Fill the sauce pan with water and simmer over the lowest heat.
Sometimes just the scent of coffee is enough to energize and lift our spirits. And best of all, you can inhale this one to your heart's content all evening and still get to sleep!
¼ cup roasted whole coffee beans
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp whole cardamom pods
4 star anise
1 tsp allspice berries
Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and add water to fill the pot.
Place on low heat and simmer as long as you desire.
Remove from heat and cover when not in use.
Pumpkin Apple Spice
This is probably the richest, most decadent stovetop potpourri on the list. It will certainly have you and your family drooling! With the addition of canned pumpkin, this one doesn't keep as long as the others. So, to extend its shelf life, leave out that ingredient.
2 cups apple juice
½ cup canned pumpkin
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1 tbsp vanilla extract
A few dried apple slices (or ½ fresh apple, sliced)
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and fill it with water.
Place on the lowest heat and simmer throughout the day to release the magical spiced aroma of pumpkin pie.
The Perfect Holiday Gift…
Know someone who would dig these recipes? Show the love and create individual servings of these blends and stash them in pretty little bags tied with ribbon or in small glass jars bedecked with fancy labels.
Since we're on the subject of scent, don't forget to check out our free guide on diagnosing and solving that kitchen stink.
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From our kitchen to yours, enjoy the sweet, warm, aromatic scents of fall throughout your home!