Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Abundance Of Apples!

One of the glorious things about fall is the abundance of apples. There are just so many things you can do with apples; cook, bake, make yummy drinks and craft to name a few. Apples have been the long standing symbol of good health. We've all heard the expression "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Did you ever wonder why though? Check out this list of 9 reasons on Health benefits of apples

There are alot of other expressions that use the word apple also such as, an apple for the teacher, Adam's apple, apple of my eye, as American as apple pie, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch, The Big Apple, apples to apples, apples to oranges,don't upset the apple cart, she'll be apples, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, polish the apples(I had to look this one up. It means: Someone who polishes the apples with someone, tries to get into that person's favor), and my favorite, in apple pie order, meaning in perfect order, well organized. It is said that this expression originated with the housewives of New England as they cut their apples in even slices. Then they filled their pie pans with them in an organized way, row after row. They loved to have everything in its place.

 Last evening I mentioned to my husband that I had not made his favorite apple crisp yet this year. His eyes lit up and I knew right then and there I had better get making it. I received this recipe more than 25 years ago from a woman I lived across the hall from in my very first apartment. I have changed it a little over the years and I have to say it is scrumptious. Here is what is left of it this morning(although DH did take a big piece to work).

Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 c. sugar, 4T. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsps. vanilla, 2T.butter,7-8 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
Mix together well the  sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, vanilla,butter and the apples. Let sit. Meanwhile in a separate bowl mix together the following ingredients for the batter: 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder,3/4 tsp. salt, 6T . butter and 3 eggs. Grease well  with shortening a 9X13 baking dish. Pour the apple mixture after you have stirred it well  a second time into the pan. Spread batter mix evenly over top of apple mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown about 25-35 minutes. Yummy!

In an earlier post entitled Fresh Apple Cake, I printed a recipe for a delicious apple cake with cream cheese frosting. Be sure to check that one out too.When I taught cub scouts years ago the boys made applesauce from a recipe I found in The Daily Star newspaper. It is made in the crockpot and will fill your home with the best  autumny aroma. Here's the original printed recipe I actually sent home with the boys after they made it. I can't believe it survived all these years in the cupboard. You can click the picture of the recipe to make it bigger so as to read better.

Growing up we didn't get many store bought treats. My mom was excellent at making something out of nothing and coming up with treats for us that didn't cost alot of money. One treat I remember well was her baked apples.Here is her recipe.
Clean and core apple. Place apple in pan and add pat of butter to center. Pack with brown sugar(about2 TBPS.) Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Cook in oven at 350 degrees till apple is soft or it shrinks and collapses about 1/2 hour.

Another recipe I really like is red hot apple cider. Simply take 1 gallon of cider and place in a crockpot on low. Add 1/2 cup red hot candies.You can adjust the amount of candies to taste.  Stir till candies melt. Serve when desired warmth is reached. We make this for parties and at Thanksgiving. It makes the house smell delightful and it really gives the cider a red festive color.

I have a zillion other apple recipes but I'll save them for another time .

Here are some of my favorite pictures of ways to decorate with apples.

Here are a few of my favorite apple websites.

Did you know?

• October is National Apple Month.

• According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest known apple weighed 3.2 pounds. The world’s longest apple peel, 172 feet 4 inches long, was carved by Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16, 1976.

• Twenty-five percent of an apple’s volume is air. That is why it floats.

• More than 7,500 varieties of apples are grown around the world. China grows 41 percent of all apples, making it the leading producer of apples in the world. The United States is the second largest apple producer. The states of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, and Washington are the biggest producers in the United States.

• President John Adams drank a pitcher of apple cider every morning and credited it for his long life. He died at the age of 90.

The average person eats 65 apples per year.

Apple trees don't bear their first fruit until they are four or five years old.

It requires about 36 apples to produce one gallon of apple cider.

Johnny Appleseed was the nickname for John Chapman, a kind and generous American pioneer born in 1774 who planted apple seeds in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Three apple tools I love!

So how do you like them apples???

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy First Day Of Fall!

Although it officially doesn't start until 11:09PM, the first day of fall has arrived in all it's glory! I have been waiting for this day for awhile now. Fall is undoubtedly my favorite time of year with its wonderful sights, smells, tastes, sounds and touch. I don't think I use my senses as much during any other season . The leaves have really started to change here especially in the last week or so. I have yet to see any place as beautiful  as the Catskill Mountains in fall! My goal is to post lots of autumn ideas now that fall is officially here so check back often.

Picture from Mary Engelbreit

I came across this old song entitled September Song written by Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill. It was written in the 1930's and used in several movies over the years. Here are a portion of the words.

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September

When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn't got time for the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few

September, November
Oh these few precious days I'll spend with you

These precious days I'll spend here with you

The last two lines especially sum up perfectly my thoughts on fall.

It really is a beautiful song and there are many versions sung by many artists but I really liked this old one from 1955 sung by Jimmy Durante. You can listen to it by clicking this link

Happy First Day Of Fall everyone! Go out and enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Fall Decoration To Make

I came across this in a magazine a long time ago and thought it was adorable.Take an old metal lunchbox and fill it with well soaked floral foam. Insert mums or any moderately sized fall flowers into the foam. Attach magnets to the back of Scrabble tiles to make a message board!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

I told myself I would wait until the official start of autumn to start my autumn posts but I just can't wait. Here is a recipe I tried for the first time  about a week or so ago when my daughter Britt held a back to school bonfire. It is called Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Caramel Corn . I found the recipe over at Picky Palate. I made each flavor on its own separate baking sheet. The girls were going crazy for it especially the pumpkin spice. They ate it right off the sheet with spoons warm right out of the oven. You are supposed to use Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses for the Pumpkin Spice recipe but I'm not sure if they even make these anymore. Has anyone seen them this year?

 I used butterscotch chips as I didn't have the Kisses.  I wonder if you could add a touch of pumpkin pie spice to the butterscotch chips maybe? I guess I will have to experiment next time.I also used milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet for the chocolate popcorn.  Here is what we had left the next morning after 2 large jellypans full. It really was scrumptious!

I think this would be wonderful packaged up and handed out for Halloween or just an autumny treat!
For the recipes and much nicer looking pictures click the following link

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last First Day Of School

I just love back to school time. It stirs so many good memories of days gone by. You know, that butterfly feeling in your stomach, the smell and feel of autumn in the air, seeing all your friends again and wondering if there were any "new" kids. Then there were the new outfits, lunchboxes, school supplies and wondering what your new teachers and classes would be like. I remember it always took what seemed like forever to fall asleep that night before school started. Although I was anxious for school to start back up again this year, it definately is a bittersweet year for me. My "baby" is starting her senior year of high school so today is her last first day of school. It seems like she just started Kindergarten yesterday. Where has the time gone? I know this will be an exciting year for her and will fly right by but I will be sad to see these days go. But for now I will just enjoy every day and make the most of them and I know she will too. Happy Senior Year Brittany!

Here is Britt on her first day of Kindergarten 12 years ago!

And here she is her  first day of 12th Grade!

I can't let the first day of school go by without a shout out to two of my favorite teachers, Miss Brewer and Mrs. Shea.

Miss Brewer was my First Grade teacher (1968-1969) at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Brewster, N.Y. She will always be my favorite teacher. She paved the way for my love of learning and reading and teaching. Mrs. Shea was my daughter's wonderful First Grade teacher and I had the extreme pleasure of working with her in Pre-K last year. She taught me so many wonderful and valuable things about teaching and life. She is a dear friend and person who I feel extremely blessed to know. The teacher reading to the students outside in the picture below(10th picture down) entitled The Growing Season by John Sloane reminds me so much of Mrs. Shea.

School days, School days
Dear old golden rule days

Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick

You were my queen in calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate
"I love you, so"
When we were a couple of kids

Photo by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Back To School by John Sloane

First Day by John Sloane

John F. Kennedy Elementary School Brewster, N.Y.
My elementary school ,Kindergarten -5th Grade
The Growing Season by John Sloane

Little House On The Prairie Schoolhouse

Click below for the entire words and music to School Days by Gus Edwards/Will D. Cobb, 1907

Music and Lyrics to School Days

Sunday, August 22, 2010

For The Love Of A Clothesline

There's just something about a clothesline.  Every time I see one it brings back memories of simpler times.Ever since I can remember we always had a clothesline growing up. Back then it was pretty much out of necessity.With four children and 2 adults there was always laundry to do. I remember our clotheslines were long and I can still see my mom pounding in those thick hooks to hold the pulleys and expertly stringing the line through the tightener to make a perfect clothesline. At times we had so much laundry I can remember the clothesline being full and my mom would put blankets and sheets on the grass to dry. I can also remember the fun we had as kids diving in and out between the sheets and blankets hanging on the line. I'm sure mom knew we did that but I don't remember her yelling at us for it. I can remember hanging clothes on my grandma's clotheslines on the farm and having to use tree branches to prop up the lines to keep the clothes from dragging on the ground.

I think we've all used the concept of a clothesline at one time or another. Can you remember hanging your bathing suit or towel over a tree branch, rock, fence post or porch railing to dry?
I was talking to my stepmother on the phone the other day and she said where they live in Connecticut they are not allowed to have clotheslines.They say it lowers property values and is a marked sign of poverty. Poverty? I say practical. Personally I think  the benefits of having a clothesline far outway the negatives. Dryers use between 6-10 percent of all household energy.  Clotheslines save both energy and money.Sunlight is a natural bleacher and disinfectant. Clothes last longer and don't shrink as much by line drying them.  For me hanging clothes is a stress reliever and a way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. The smell of freshly dried laundryfrom a clothesline just can't be beat.
I'm not saying everybody has to love a clothesline but for me I wouldn't be without one. In fact if a clothesline ban ever comes to Franklin I might just need someone to come and bail me out of jail!

1950's Clothesline LATimes