Fall! It's officially here, with drifting leaves and renegade snowflakes announcing the beginning of the cozying-in season.
It's the time I like to light candles, cuddle up with a book with my sweet ones or by myself and take time to breathe in the beauty of crisp weather, golden and maroon leaves dancing slowly to the ground, and a breeze swirling around gently reminding that life is changing, days are marching toward another year. This is a time to take hold of moments and remember how precious each day is.
Now, I have become so much more organic and natural with each passing year in my tastes for cuisine. Yet, there are certain celebrations that speak "home" to our family which we take time for at least once a season--sugar and all.
I hope autumn is a favorite of yours, too. While most of us enjoy lots of outdoor time and trips away over the summer, it seems everyone turns their thoughts toward home a bit more come fall. Here are a few ideas to help you add some fall flavor to your home.
I have a recipe of real warm cider using lots of juices and cinnamon sticks but this one is a sort of "cheaters" recipe, easy to throw together at the drop of a hat when company surprises you.
Sally's Secret Cinnamon Cider
* 1 gallon apple cider
* 1 cup-1 bag of red hot candies (choose your flavor level, wink!*)
Pour the apple cider into a large saucepan. Add as many of the red-hots as you think you'll enjoy! Stir together on the stove over medium heat until hot. That's it! So much easier than bundles of spices, yummy, and makes your house smell amazing. I make the cider the real way, too, but when I have my Bible study crowds, I use this simpler recipe instead, as it is fast and goes a long way! My mom used to do this!
There are also wonderful mulling bags at Whole Foods; I place one bag in a cup of warmed organic apple juice for my sweet ones and sit by the fire and soak in being with them.
These may seem tricky, and they're very expensive at the fairs and candy shops, but you can make your own quite easily! Only three ingredients:
* 6 firm apples (green Granny Smiths are great, as their tart taste balances the caramel's sweetness)
* 1 pkg individually wrapped caramels
* 2 Tbs. water
aaaannnnddd ... that's it! Of course, you also need wooden craft sticks of some sort (sometimes they come in the bag, or check the craft store!)
Prepare first a cookie sheet or tray by covering it with tin foil which you then spray or butter. This will give you a place to put the dipped apples and an easy way to get them into the fridge for "setting time." Insert wooden sticks about 3/4 into the stem end of apples. Unwrap caramels and place into saucepan; add the 2 Tbs. water and melt over medium heat, stirring smooth. Holding apples by wooden sticks, dip into caramel, turning to coat evenly and scraping off excess on side of pan if necessary. Place apples on greased foil, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
If you do want to get fancy, a shake of chopped nuts or candy leaf sprinkles while the caramel is still soft, or even a drizzle of melted chocolate after it sets can take them up a notch!
My mama also did this every year and I thought she was a gourmet cook! :)
How are you enjoying fall this year? For more cozy recipes be sure to check out The Lifegiving Table!