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Easy Times, November 1, 2023

Pretty sunset and a bench overlooking the view.

Dear friends,

First of all, if you received a weird, discombobulated email this morning wishing you a happy October I am SO sorry! Somehow an old draft was automatically sent to my entire list, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Instead, may I wish you a Happy November? Here in Colorado, winter has arrived and we had our first big snowfall over the weekend.

As we enter the season of holidays and festivities, I’ve shared some of my best easy Thanksgiving recipes below. You’ll also find 40 creative ideas for low-cost Christmas gifts your recipients will love, plus one of my family’s favorite dinner recipes.

On a personal note, I confess I wasn’t thrilled about snow last weekend because it meant saying goodbye to the dahlia garden.

This was my first year growing dahlias, and after a cold, wet spring they began blooming in September and were magnificent.

Four dahlia flowers.

The flowers were still gorgeous last week, and I was not excited about the hard frost in the forecast. We’d had a glorious, extended autumn for which I should have been wholly grateful, but I was in a funk.

Then over the weekend I discovered a fun article from Kelly at the Montana Happy blog, “31 Winter Hygge Ideas.” Hygge, as you may know, is the Danish concept that loosely means “coziness and comfort.”

Following Kelly’s suggestions, I put on my softest flannel shirt, got some new library books to read, made a pot of homemade soup, turned on the fireplace, and snuggled under a blanket on the couch. Soon the blues faded away as the snowflakes drifted down.

I still felt a twinge of sadness when I saw the dahlias’ blackened stems after the snow, but now it’s time for the tubers to rest.

I think I’m ready to embrace the slower pace of winter, too — the quiet darkness, the soft moments, and the comfort of nature’s seasons and cycles.

How about you? Do you love winter, or have mixed feelings when the temperature drops? I always love hearing from you, so share a comment below.

I hope these simple recipes and ideas help make your November a little more hygge.

Until next month,

Eliza Cross

Easy, Versatile Dinner Idea: Green Chile

Two bowls of green chile surrounded by tortilla chips and cut limes.

Homemade Green Chile is so hearty and tasty.

You can enjoy it as is for dinner with chips or tortillas, or serve it over enchiladas, burritos, baked potatoes, beans and rice, and so much more. Here’s the easy Green Chile recipe.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Ruby red whole berry cranberry sauce in a serving bowl with a silver serving spoon.

Over the years, I’ve shared many of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. These are always on our table:

Ultimate Chex Mix

Brown Butter Roasted Almonds

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Golden, Crispy, Juicy Roast Turkey

Best Bacon Green Bean Casserole

Getting a Jump on Christmas

Potted herbs and garden tools.

Could you use some new, creative gift ideas? Here are 40 Christmas presents that don’t cost a lot of money.

More Simple Living Ideas on Pinterest

I’d love to connect with you over at Pinterest, where we have dozens of boards with ideas and recipes to make your life easier!

Pinterest header for autumn.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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