Archive for the ‘Fall’ Category

I took the munchkin to her first pumpkin patch this weekend. We went to Leeds Farm in Delaware County.

Leeds Farm was not what I think of when I think pumpkin patch. I pictured us walking into a field of bright orange pumpkins and letting her walk around until she found one. Leeds Farms was a lot more fun than that. Especially when I realized she wanted every pumpkin she saw.

At the farm, the munchkin got to feed goats. She loved getting to see the goats up close and was very excited to feed them, since feeding our dog at home is discouraged.

She also played in a corn box, which was like a giant sand box, but instead of sand, it was a play area with kernels of corn. We rode in the banana car train, which was pulled by a tractor. She also slid down a huge slide that in another life was some kind of huge drainage pipe. It was cooler than it sounds.

And those were the activities that she was also old enough to do. There was also a zip line, pumpkin pillow jump, and human gerbil wheels – all of which she was too little to do this year. But we will go back next year for sure.  

We also picked out some pumpkins to take home too, include a cool green pumpkin. Along with the pumpkins, the farm was also selling a few varieties of winter squash. 

The entire outing cost us $19.00, which included a bag of kettle corn, two drinks, and our pumpkins. The admission was $7.00 for ages three and up. Under three was free. 

Location: 8738 St. Rt. 36, Ostrander, Ohio 


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Looking for something to do with the kids this weekend? What’s a better fall activity that going to a pumpkin patch?

Here is a website I found that lists pumpkin patches: Pumpkin Patches and More. You can search by state, then by area. 

[Photo Credit: Pumpkin Patch]

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More fall recipes…

I love fall and fall recipes. I love apples and pumpkins, and so does my daughter.

So here is another fall recipe. It’s easy, healthy, the munchkin loves it, and uses my favorite kitchen appliance – the crock pot. (OK, the coffee part is actually my favorite, but you don’t cook with the coffee pot.)

I felt like a cooking rock star when I tried this recipe for the first time. Yes, I know when you read the recipe you will think I’m crazy because it is so easy. But I never would have though it would be this easy to make homemade apple butter. 

The most time consuming part of this recipe is cutting up the apples. It takes a lot of apples, but I didn’t peel the apples for this recipe, which saved me a ton of time. After cooking the apples, I put the apple butter in my blender. I have the oldest, worst blender ever, but it worked anyway. After blending, you can’t taste the peels.

This recipes makes 4 cups of apple butter. 

Crock Pot Apple Butter

5 pounds apples (about 14 apples), cored and cut up
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

1.  Fill a large crock pot with apples almost to the top.  Cover and let stand at room temperature all day.

2. Add spices and toss apples. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, or overnight. (I did overnight.)

3. Remove the lid and let the apple butter cook an additional 2 to 8 hours on low until the butter reaches the desired thickness. (I cooked mine for 4 hours.)

4. Turn off the slow cooker and let cool. Then transfer butter to blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Store in plastic containers. The butter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. (I refrigerated half of my apple butter and froze the rest.) 

Note:  I used Golden Delicious and Molly apples to make this. If you use tart apples, you may need to use sugar. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar. 

This recipe is based on a recipe from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook is a great cookbook!

[Photo Credit: Apple]

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I’m a lazy cook. I don’t like complicated recipes. I don’t like to bake because you have to be precise. I like simple recipes.

I also like healthy recipes too. I try not to give my daughter store-baked cookies and cupcakes, because I don’t know what is in them.

This fall, I wanted to make some cookies for the little one. I looked for pumpkin cookies recipes, and it was hard to find a healthy one. This original recipe had an entire stick of butter in it. I replaced it with applesauce, and the substitution was fine. The original recipe also called for 2 cups of white flour. Replacing with the whole wheat didn’t change the taste of the cookies. I will probably still work on making the recipe healthier by reducing the sugar.  

The recipe as is, is good. The munchkin loves them. She has been asking for them ever since I made the first batch this fall. 

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin  
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white, all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease the cookie sheets.
2. Mix together applesauce, brown sugar, egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix.
3. Drop by the teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool.

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On Saturday, October 4, the North Market will be hosting its Harvest Festival.

The Harvest Festival is free and has activities such as pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pumpkin bread contests; free cookies and apples for kids; face painting; crafts; and music. 

If you haven’t bought any local apples, pumpkins, squash or cider this fall, the Farmers’ Market at the North Market is a great place to do so. Last week, the selection was great. It seemed like there were more vendors at the market last week than in previous weeks. As usual, the Farmers’ Market opens at 8 a.m.

Scheduled Harvest Festival activities include: 
•Farmers’ Market and North Market merchants open at 8 a.m. 
•Pumpkin Bread contest, 9 a.m. 
•Live music by Slate Ridge, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
•Pumpkin Pie contest, 10 a.m. 
•Free pumpkin cookies for the kids, courtesy of Mozart’s Bakery, 10 a.m. while supply lasts. 
•Free apples for the kids, 10 a.m. while supply lasts. 
•Autumn crafts with the Columbus Jaycees, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
•Apple pie contest, 11 a.m. 
•Face painting, 11a.m. – 4 p.m. 
•Live music by Cowboy Hillbilly Hippy Folk, 12 – 2p.m. 
•Live music by Loosely Strung, 2 – 4p.m.

For more information about Fall activities in Central Ohio read this post about Circle S Farms and a great website to find pumpkin patches and apple orchards.  

[Photo Credit: Pumpkins]

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I love fall and fall recipes. I have so many recipes that I only make this time of year.

This is one of my favorite apple recipes. It’s similar to apple crisp, but the topping is more like a cookie topping instead of an oatmeal topping. It’s not the healthiest recipe (but it is so yummy), so I usually only make it once a fall. 

Apple Crumble

6 medium apples – cored and sliced thinly
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate. Prepare filling in a large bowl. Combine apple slices, both sugars, and cinnamon; mix well. Transfer apple mix to pie plate.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Gather small amounts of crumb mixture and press together to make large streusel-like pieces.  
3. Arrange crumble randomly on top of filling. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. 

Notes: I usually use a sweet apple for this recipe, such as Golden Delicious or Gala. If you are using a tart apple, such as Granny Smith, you might want to add more sugar to the filling. 

What are your family’s favorite fall recipes?

[Photo credit: Apple]

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Happy First Day of Autumn!


Fall, Leaves, Fall

by Emily Jane Brontë 

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; 
Lengthen night and shorten day; 
Every leaf speaks bliss to me 
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 

I shall smile when wreaths of snow 
Blossom where the rose should grow; 
I shall sing when night’s decay 
Ushers in a drearier day


[Photo Credit: Blue Hen Falls]

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