For me, the arrival of fall heralds great things! It means apple picking, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. It’s pumpkin flavored muffins, donuts and coffee; homecoming weekends and football. Fall also brings changes. It marks the end of summer, and a time when most kids are heading back to school or preschool, and of course Christmas is that much closer. With that in mind, I wanted to take this column to share some of my favorite things about fall.
Autumn weather is so invigorating. The cool, dry air is a welcome relief from late summer's overwhelming heat and humidity, but most days are still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors without a jacket.
Growing up in New England, I always enjoyed the foliage. It wasn’t until I was older and had friends from around the country who missed seeing the leaves change colors that I realized how wonderful it was. Before we had children, we used to do a lot of foliage trips. We would just get in the car and go to Vermont or Canada to leaf peep.
Ever since we’ve had children, we make it a point to try and go apple picking every year. The kids absolutely love picking their own apples. Depending on where we go, there are also hayrides and tons of other activities for the kids. It’s also a wonderful way to spend a day with friends.
I inherited my dad’s love of cooking. I not only love cooking, but love sharing recipes. A great fall recipe shared by one of the ladies I met through a mom's group was "Baked Apples." It’s easy and delicious, and I will share it with you at the end of this column.
Apple pie is another favorite. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like some form of baked apples – be it in a pie, or apple crisp, a turnover or some similar kind of food. My late father had a fantastic apple pie recipe. He used Macintosh apples. Though not as common for baking as some other apples, they make for a delicious pie.
Something else I love about fall is roasting pumpkin seeds. When my dad wanted a pumpkin pie, he bought a pumpkin and made one! And when that happened, that guaranteed roasted pumpkin seeds for us! Now every year we get a pumpkin to sit outside the house, and when we carve it, we clean and roast the seeds. There is nothing nicer on a cold fall night than eating freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. One trick I’ve learned is to let the pumpkin seeds dry out overnight before you cook them.
Another reason I think I am partial to fall is because I was born near Halloween, and as a result my birthday parties were always costumed affairs. I have pictures from my earliest birthday parties all the way through junior high and high school, and costumes were always involved. For this reason, I think I’m partial to Halloween over every other holiday.
Fall is just such a great time of year. I can’t help but be happy and enjoy it.
Tiffany’s Baked Apples:
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 c up flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground ginger
1 stick cold butter, diced
8-12 Cortland apples depending on size
In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and diced butter. Rub mixture between finger tips until it forms a loose mixture. Refrigerate while preparing the apples.
Cut off top and discard. Remove core. Place apples on a baking sheet or pie dish and fill each center with honey. Spoon in mixture, packing lightly until heaped and overflowing over sides of the apples.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees until filling is golden brown and the tip of a knife can be inserted into the side of the apple with little or no resistance. Let apples stand for 10 minutes before serving.
It really works with any type of apple just be aware that some apples are harder and take longer to cook!