It’s that time again…yep! It’s officially Fall. People are losing their ever-lovin’ minds over the possibilities of sweaters and boots and crunching leaves and pumpkin flavored everything! Rah! Fall!
Blech. Fall to me means things dying. Morbid, I know. The leaves DO turn all pretty colors…and then they fall off the trees and die and the trees look all nekkid and cold. Sweaters are nice…unless you have hot flashes and need to GET IT THE HELL OFF OF ME BEFORE I EXPLODE ahhh that’s better. Oops. Forgot to wear a tank top under it today. Crunching leaves turn into slippery little suckers when it rains. Which it does. A lot.
I’m not going to bitch about pumpkin flavored everything. Even I am not that cynical!
Although, honest to God, people! Draw the line somewhere, okay? Somewhere BEFORE we get to this:
But today, I ate an apple. Not the Granny Smith apples I usually eat, but a McIntosh apple. I have truly, honestly, not had a McIntosh since I was a little kid! I don’t know why…I used to only buy Red Delicious until my brother turned me on to the tart, crispness of a Granny Smith. But the other day at the store, they had McIntosh, and they were $2 cheaper a bag. So, guess what went home with me! The taste of that apple…that McIntosh apple, specifically, transported me back to a place in Upstate New York from when I was a kid. I am pretty sure it was Schutt’s Cider Mill. We would go there and pick apples, or buy apples, and they had a cider press and you could buy gallons of fresh apple cider. They also had these wonderful hot fried cakes (I would call it a cake doughnut, but what do I know) – crispy on the outside, melty on the inside. I have vague memories of going there with my parents and brothers…but more memories of going there with my next door neighbors (I was best friends with their daughter). You could actually watch the process of making the cider, and watch the workers making the donuts. Everyone was smiling and happy, because there was the smell of apples and sugar and cinnamon in the air, and all the kids knew without even asking that they were going to get some kind of treat by the time they left for home!
My mom would make homemade applesauce back then – I don’t think it was from those apples, though. I think we knew someone who had an apple orchard and would let her pick bushels of apples for the applesauce. I remember the person who owned the land passed away, and his kid or kids were not as magnanimous and wouldn’t let folks pick apples anymore. But still, we had the yearly treat of going to the cider mill.
Well, in honor of today’s memories, I’m going to give you TWO, yes TWO recipes!! Ready? Here we go!
- 8 “sweet” apples, like McIntosh, Jona Gold, etc (mix them up, don’t use all one kind
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- White or Brown Sugar to taste
- In a medium saucepan, cook water and apples together on medium high heat until apples are beyond soft and right into the mushy stage. If you like your applesauce chunky, stop a little sooner than this.
- Add Cinnamon and mash apples with a fork or potato masher.
- Taste the applesauce and decide for yourself if it needs further sweetening with sugar. With using naturally sweet apples, it may be sweet enough already. However, if you decide you need to add sugar, start with small amounts of either white or brown sugar and mix thoroughly while the sauce is still warm, so the sugar will dissolve.
- Eat! Nom nom nom!
Next up (and you knew it was coming, right?)
Pumpkin Flavored Coffee Creamer (a little shout out to Shugary Sweets, from whom I stole this recipe)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream, cinnamon, allspice and pumpkin puree. Simmer over low for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Once cooled, whisk in the remaining heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into mason jars. Keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- **SHAKE WELL before using
Hey – did I say TWO recipes?? Guess what? Here’s a little bonus coffee creamer for you if you don’t want to cook:
Vanilla Caramel Coffee Creamer
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups milk (whole, skim, 2%, whatever your little heart desires)
- 2 tsp REAL Vanilla extract (you CAN use artificial, but it can taste mediciny)
- 1 Tbsp Caramel extract
- Place all items in a container that has a tight-fitting lid. I like to use a 1-quart mason jar.
- SHAKE THE EVER LOVIN CRAP OUT OF IT.
- Pour desired amount into your coffee. Stir. Enjoy. Refrigerate remaining creamer. Will keep for as long as your milk was originally good for. However, mine usually doesn’t make it for more than a couple of days around here – I drink lots of coffee.
- **SHAKE WELL before using each time
Another memory that was forgotten, and brought back to life by something so simple as an apple. Sometimes, food really is Food for Thought!