Everything happens in October
The Friday Newsletter is double-booked.
October is one of the best months of the year in my book, if not the best.
It’s the good part of fall, with all the good vibes and none of the consequences. It’s a great time to go on a hayride, throw a wedding, or catch a football game—heck, it might just be the absolute peak of the sporting calendar.
This weekend, we’ve got the MLB playoffs kicking off (Go Guardians!), conference games in college football (Go Bearcats!), preseason basketball (Go Cavs!) and a full slate of soccer both here and abroad (I have no rooting interest here but I’m happy for those of you that do!)
This particular time of year can be whatever you want it to be.
I took a lunchtime walk through Louisville’s Waterfront Park earlier this week; I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a jacket for the slight fall chill. To my surprise, though, when I walked past the splashpad, it was on—and there were still children running through it, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of summer.
October’s greatest asset is also its biggest drawback: everything is happening at once.
I don’t have a single day this month that’s unscheduled, between birthday parties, anniversaries, fall festivals, work travel, personal travel, and more. Next week, both of my kids have field trips and days off of school, and none of them on the same day. I’m moving things around on the calendar like a frazzled air-traffic controller, just hoping that nothing collides catastrophically.
October is still wonderful—don’t get me wrong—but it takes a little creativity to fit it all in to 31 short days.
Thankfully, I’m a bit of a scientist myself, and the ACBN Friday Newsletter is all about maximizing your weekend’s potential. Today, I’ve got an October-friendly slate of food, drink and entertainment options perfectly suited for these busy autumn days.
I’ve got a make-ahead breakfast to fuel your weekend, a spiffed-up version of a regional cocktail oddity, chill music, easy reading, the one movie you must watch this weekend, the Internet’s Best Comment Section, and a cavalcade of reader pets.
Won’t you join me?
7) Prior proper planning prevents poor performance
Tomorrow is a perfect example of the kind of 10-pounds-in-a-5-pound-sack issue I’ve been talking about.
To wit: at noon, my beloved Cleveland Guardians will play their first playoff game of the year. I won’t be able to watch the whole game, as the mid-afternoon is reserved for my daughter’s birthday party. I hope to be home in time to watch the second half of my beloved Bearcats’ homecoming game, but I’ve also got plans to dismantle an old garden plot in the backyard, hang up Halloween decorations, grocery shop, and maybe prep a recipe that’ll show up here in a week or two.
It’s a busy Saturday, is what I’m saying! I’m looking forward to it, but I’ll need a nice, hearty breakfast, and I won’t have much time to pull it together.
Enter the strata.
One of my favorite moves when the weather cools a bit is to prep a strata on Friday night—a baked mixture of egg, bread and fillings that can soak together in the fridge until Saturday morning, when it’ll bake up into at least two days of breakfasts.
I’ve always used stale white bread in my stratas, but recently realized that they could be the perfect place to use up one of the most oft-wasted food items in my household:
Hot dog buns.
My kids love hot dogs, but they’re not consistent about eating the buns; often, they’ll just pick the dog out of the bun when eating it, and when they ask for a second, I don’t bother giving them a new bun. (I can’t just eschew the bun entirely. They insist on having it, even if they don’t eat it.)
Consequently, I seem to always have at least half a package of semi-stale hot dog buns on hand, and I was delighted to realize that they’re actually the perfect bread for a strata—soft, slightly sweet, and spongy enough to almost completely merge with the eggs overnight—enough so that I’d buy them specifically for the purpose.
So they don’t feel entirely out of place, I paired them with a smoked turkey sausage (something I refer to as “hot dog sausage” when selling it to the kids), along with chopped broccoli, cheddar cheese and buttermilk.