Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall...My Favorite Season of All!



My original thought for the title of this post was "Fall...the most wonderful time of year!", but that's just not true. I reserve that title for Christmas! Each season holds a special place in my heart, but there is just something about autumn: the crisp air, football games, weather warm enough to leave your jacket at home but cool enough to bring out the long sleeves, cider (and donuts...a great combination that I realize may only be popular in my wonderful home-state of Michigan), and the smell of chili cooking in the crock pot all day. This post highlights some ways I celebrated fall in my home this year...

Home Decor


Decorating the home (or anything related to fashion, really) is not my natural gift. I make things work, but I don't have a feel for the "mood of a room". So when I do add an extra special touch, it's a big deal!

As I mentioned in one of my previous gardening posts, we grew corn this year -- albeit, unsuccessfully. I didn't want the crop to be a total bust, so I bundled the cornstalks to create a harvest centerpiece, if you will, on my front stoop with a couple pumpkins and some mums. Nothing too imaginative, but classic nonetheless.  [See picture above.]

We also have russian sage growing near our mailbox. If you don't know what this is, it's amazing! Small lavender flowers bloom from this bush and emit this wonderful, sweet smell. It appears to be a pretty hardy plant since we haven't killed it yet! I cropped some off a few weeks ago and arranged them as a centerpiece on my dining room table. Again, nothing fancy, but it's a big win for me.



Garden

I planted a few fall crops this year. Last year, I sowed some onions and garlic. The onions were a bust for some reason. The spring onions did really well, but I couldn't get the fall onions to grow. So, I'm giving it another shot this year. The garlic was a huge success, so I'm hoping for another good crop this year. The onions should be ready around late November, and the garlic will be ready in early summer.



Mesclun


Spinach

I've not grown lettuce before, so I thought I would give it a try. I planted mesclun as well as spinach. The verdict is still out...












I also harvested carrots this fall, and they are tasty! I shredded the carrots and made carrot muffins. I froze the remaining shredded carrots, and I'll use them in a savory carrot pie or make more carrot muffins this winter.



Apple Pie


Without question, pie is my favorite dessert. I like them all...blueberry, chocolate chess, lemon meringue, and the list could go on and on. However, apple pie holds a special place in my heart. If I had a "signature dessert", apple pie is it. This is one dish I vividly remember my mom and I making in my youth. She shared with me the secret to making the perfect crust, and we would peel the apples together over the sink. I'll even brag on myself and tell you that I won blue ribbons at the county fair for my apple pies when I was a young girl. 

One reason why I love fall so much is because of all the varieties of apples available. When there are crisp, sweet (or tart) apples around, delicious pie can be made. So, I capitalized on the apples this year and made a few apple pies. My family ate one pie and the rest went in the freezer (uncooked) to be enjoyed later. I'll probably pull one  out and bake it for our family get together over Thanksgiving. 


If this makes your mouth water, fear not. Next month's posts will include instructions on how to make pie crust as well as my apple pie recipe. Stay tuned...