Tag Archives: apples

Apple Butter

Last weekend we went to the market and came home with bags of apples. I peeled, watching the skin tendril down from the delicate pinky white flesh of the apples, while Mr. Michie sliced them up.

Together we made our first batch of apple butter of the season and it is delicious! The house smelled of Christmas. A sweet tangy cinnamon scent filled the air, while it slowly simmered down. We have spent this past week, gobbling up our first jar. We have had it smeared over toast, biscuits, sandwiches and last night I had some mashed into a baked sweet potato! MMM!

So, our first batch is ready and jarred up for us to feast on and to give as Christmas presents.

Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 1 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 2 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 3 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 4

The St. Jude Storm 2013

Singing in the Rain

We were awoken early this morning by the winds and rain of St. Jude. But, so far, so good today. We have had to tuck a few of our plants away and tie up the olive tree, so it doesn’t keel over in its pot. But we aren’t going to be hit as hard as others have been, but, it doesn’t sound like that at the moment as the wind is howling around the house.

Mr. Michie has coffee brewing, I am about to start working on making us a little breakfast and then we are going to finish making our first apple butter of the season. My mom gave us her recipe and so far so good, it looks just like her’s looks at this stage, so I am really pleased. And the whole house smells like apples, it reminds me of my days working on the farm at the Shed, that heavenly apple scent was infused into everything! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Autumn

I felt it today, that slight shift in the seasons. The sun shone a little brighter and higher in the sky, the shadows were a little longer and cooler, the air had a hint of crispness in it. 

It is here! Going back to school season, hot apple cider season, pumpkin season, autumn is on its way, I can feel it!

A Kiss Goodbye

Today, as September comes to a close the last little taste of Summer is clinging to it. Even though the sun shone bright this morning, through the mist on the common, it was still so cold. Our breath hung in little icy moisture droplets above us as we waited for our cherry red bus to come.

I love Summer and all it holds, but I love this time, when seasons change from one into the other and as the curtains draw on the final little bit of Summer and we kiss it goodbye, I welcome, with arms open-wide, all the best that Fall has to offer us. And one such thing is a bounty of gorgeous apples. I grew up on a farm and one of our staple crops were apples. There was nothing better than when my Dad, came home with the first of the year’s apple cider in frosty jugs for us to gobble down.

Apples in season, meant ever-ready bushels of sweetness awaiting us. Thin sliced apples with crackers and hoop cheese, fresh frosty cider, my Dad’s applesauce for breakfast and my Mom’s apple butter spread over hot biscuits. Fall holds a sweetness to it all of its own, a beauty of color and taste.

As we truly kiss the last of Summer goodbye and welcome in Fall, I found a recipe that I thought I would share with you, I have had cookies similar to this growing up and this was just something to delicious not to share!

Iced Apple Cookies
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup(s) pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup(s) raisins
  • 1 cup(s) chopped Red Delicious apple
  • 1/2 cup(s) apple cider
  • 2 tablespoon(s) apple cider
  • 3 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar

Directions
  1. Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Cream the sugar and 3/4 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the pecans, raisins, apples, and 1/4 cup apple cider.
  2. Bake the cookies: Drop by heaping tablespoon, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten each mound slightly and bake 18 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, remaining cider, and butter until smooth. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of icing over each cookie. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

(Recipe & Image copyright Country Living)

Crab Apples

Last night we walked home from work and even though I ended up with a blister the size of Texas, I loved our walk.

The sun was just beginning to set, the air was so crisp and clean and as we passed the park, a gorgeous crab-apple tree stood before us.

Its boughs laden with little yellow and red apples. Some had already fallen from their branch and they stood out so cheerily from the dark green of the dewed grass, others had been munched on by woodland creatures. They were little orbs of swirled autumnal colors laying at our feet.

And they made me smile.

Gobble Gobble

I was looking over the Gooseberry Patch Blog this weekend and this post was at the top of their list. It made me think of being little. We made little apple turkeys just like this in elementary school, sans the cereal feathers, they were all marshmallows going up our little feather toothpicks.

I loved celebrating holidays in school. At Thanksgiving we paraded around with our construction paper pilgrim hats or Indian headdresses upon our heads. We brought canned goods in for the needy and made turkey pictures out of our hand prints.

There are times when I think we forget how simple our world’s were when we were little, that there is something to just taking in life, having fun in the moment and just breathing. Looking at the Tom Turkey apple made me think of just that. I think I am going to hunt up some apples and mini marshmallows and have a little fun of my own!

tom turkey gobbler

Click on the picture above for a How-To, to make your own little turkey apples.

(Images copyright to Gooseberry Patch)

Pumpkin Carving

I have been so involved the last few days with all of my Christmas Fair projects I have almost forgotten it was pumpkin weather. Walking out into a crisp autumn day early this morning, to post a letter, I did remember!

It was the kind of English Autumn day where the sky was silver and the brilliant color palette of the leaves stood sharply against the silvery mist. As fallen leaves squeaked under my feet I started thinking about what I would carve on my pumpkin this year.

I love the “lantern” pumpkins that Country Living has in their latest issue. That would be a great idea for any occasion. I can just imagine having a barn party with “lantern” pumpkins guiding you down the hay bale path to a fun affair, like the Halloween party held in the barn at the end of Summer Magic, I love that movie!

They also showed how to turn mini pumpkins into votive holders. I have done that many times with pumpkins and apples, it is very effective and sets such a sweet tone to your table with leaves and ivy mixed in amongst them. It can also be a less expensive alternative to flowers if you are doing a dinner party on a budget. The votives work as both candle holder and decoration, with some foliage and twigs cut from your backyard or the woods and woven along the table you have an interesting display for not a lot of money.

I did a lot of printmaking in College, so, I loved their “Cinderella” Pumpkin Flower too. The carvings with the wood tools are so beautifully folksy. Or, maybe it is just that this orange pumpkin is contrasted against a pink background and I love PINK!

What are you carving on your pumpkins? Click here to go to the Country Living website for templates to create the pumpkin “lanterns”.

(All images used copyright Country Living)

Apple Picking Season

I met my husband last week after work and walking away from his building we passed the most delightful apple tree near the gates. Its branches were laden with fruit ripe for the picking. Their juicy ruby red skins glittered in the afternoon sun. I wanted to jump the small hedge in front of the tree and start picking apples. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to carry them in, for once I was unprepared. My husband handed me his phone and I attempted to photograph my discovery in the blustery weather.

It brought me back to being little. I grew up on a farm and during this time of year my dad would come home with bushels of apples and my parents would start making the most delicious applesauce. My sister and I would sit at the counter and watch my dad run the cooked apples through a food mill and see the now smooth mixture plip-plop into the pot below. Seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, we would live off of this, it was one of our favorite breakfasts!

My mom would portion off some of the plain apple mixture for herself and start to make her apple butter for the winter. She would sterilize her jars and our job was to hand her the lids to screw on over this rich cinnamony reddish-brown spread that tasted like heaven on biscuits or toast. We would have it all winter long to enjoy and she always made enough to give away as gifts as well.

This apple tree reminded me of being little, when your world was so simple and there was nothing better in the universe than to wake up to a bowl of fresh applesauce on a cool morning, your dangling legs swinging back and forth off the chair at the counter, watching the sun creep over the orchard from the kitchen window. I think there still might be nothing better in the world, than to wake up to your favorite comforts in a cozy home filled with love.

As Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

(Apple Basket Image by Susan Branch)

A Farmer’s Market Saturday

Western_NC_Farmers_Market_Asheville_CVB_54761Yesterday, was the perfect farmer’s market day! The sky was an azure blue, filled with puffy little clouds and the air was fresh and crispy. It made me long for home, to jump into the car with my family and head up to the farmer’s market in Asheville. There is a major market there that overlooks the Biltmore House, it is my favorite market in the city.

The long rows of sheds are filled to the brim with delights. Jars of honey glisten in the golden sun, cured hams hang from poles in their cotton sacks, baskets and crates overflow with seasonal vegetables and fruit, jars of homemade jams and jellies stacked up on tables and right about now the pumpkins would be out for sale. For someone who is not familiar with Southern food culture, it is quite an experience.

There is this wonderful smell in the air of warm hay, soil, vegetables, peanuts being boiled and apples just picked from the orchards being dipped in rich oozing caramel, all intermixed with the coolness in the air and the warmth of the people around you.

Yesterday, would have been a good market day if the weather in Asheville was like it was here. To just stroll through the sheds and stock up on apple butter and fresh honey and a few pieces of country ham, to sizzle up on Sunday morning with grits and fresh buttermilk biscuits.

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