Monday, October 22, 2012

The Big Fat Fall Post

Fall used to be my favorite season.  And then the realization hit me that fall is too quickly proceeded by Winter, which (living in the arctic circle as I do) is my least favorite season.  So now I greet fall with the happiness that wearing boots and scarves, drinking apple cider and eating pumpkin spice hershey kisses brings, but with the apprehension of knowing that cold and dark and ice is coming soon.

Our fall so far:

Labor Day
Does Labor Day count as Fall?  I'm going to count it because a) it's the unofficial end of summer holiday and b) I haven't posted our pictures yet so this is as good a post as any to throw them in, right?  Although it definitely didn't feel like Fall because it was hot, hot, hot!

Per our usual routine, we went to our local town's Labor Day celebration.  They have a great kids area, with a dozen bouncy houses and activities for the entire family.  I had to work Saturday and Sunday but took Monday off and spent a much needed day with the family.
Last year we watched the pony rides but this year, we hoisted Barrett up onto the pony for his first ride. Without hesitation, he held on, even pushing Tim away at one point so he could do it himself.  Such a big boy. 

Little boy with hot pink cheeks.  It was so hot, especially after jumping your heart out in a few bouncy houses. 
 Little Audrey slept most of the time. It was very hot holding her, but she slept great. 

Apple Picking

We made our annual trek to a pick-your-own apple orchard and had a blast.  This was our 4th time going here and it's funny to think that the first we were childless (and carefree. and wrinkle free. and bags-under-the-eyes free), the second I was wearing Barrett, last year I was pregnant with Audrey and this time I'm wearing her.  Pardon me while I get all weepy about how fast time is flying.

Okay, I'm back.

So we had a gorgeous September day to hit the apple orchard.   I was a little nervous about going because this place gets crowded and due to the early spring followed by a freeze and the super dry summer, the trees struggled this year.  But I think we got there early enough in the season and in the day that the trees still had some apples. 

Before we made our way to the orchards, we had to stop for a gratuitous photo op with the two cutest pumpkins in the patch.

(Please disregard Barrett's sock & sandal combination.  He's a two year old boy with strong opinions on footwear.) 

Showing off his picks

After the apple-picking, we went inside for some apple cider and apple cider doughnuts.

The orchard had other kids activities and so we boarded Barrett onto the Apple Train.  I'm not sure how he felt about it, since he was alone, but he hung in there without complaint.  Maybe next year he'll enjoy it more.

I have a new little helper in the kitchen these days.  Barrett loves helping me out.
So far this fall, we made some delicious seasonal recipes.

One was this Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage.   I make it once each fall and we gobble it up.  It's not necessarily my favorite meal to prepare, but it tastes really good to eat so is worth it.

Another fall recipe I die over is Pumpkin Pancakes.   I could eat these every day.  I like to spread butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and forgo syrup.  But is there really a bad way to eat pumpkin pancakes?  The kids devoured these (I think Barrett may have had three) so I definitely need to make these again before the end of fall.
photo from
But our favorite recipe this year just may be these Pumpkin Spice Cookies.

They are made with Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses.  If there was any way of making these bite-sized pieces of heaven even better, it's to add them to the top of a spice cookie.

I think Barrett agrees
Smelling the deliciousness

waiting patiently until I give him the green light

 He was definitely my little helper on this endeavor, which we did on Columbus Day while Audrey napped.  He loves to smell all the ingredients, pour them into the bowl, and stir.  Evidence of his stirring is seen in flour dusting on his chin in the photos.  He kneels on the stool next to me on the island and waits for his turn to "help."

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
(I can't remember where I got this recipe)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 package Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap Hershey Kisses and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
3.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add to butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
6. Place rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined or sprayed cookie sheet.
7. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey Kiss into the center of the cookie. Move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Run, don't walk, to the kitchen to make these.  They are awesome.  Seriously.  I have a few uncooked in my freezer and it's taken all my willpower to not eat them all immediately.

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