November 15, 2017

Nothing Says Fall Like . . .

Nothing says Fall like pumpkins!

So orange and round; so full of possibilities!  They are the official mascot for Fall's first really Autumny holiday, Halloween.  Just cut holes in it and let it sit on your porch till it collapses of mold!  If you're too lazy (or smart?) for that, you can simply strew them on your front steps and leave them through the whole long season as decorations.

These pumpkins were grown in my best ever garden.  The vine sprouted in our compost area and they just grew with no work on my part whatsoever!

And not just decorations - you can eat them!!  Roasted pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie!  Let's not forget the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte - which is really just a hot coffee and pumpkin pie smoothie.  If you like that sort of thing.  And many do!

Pumpkin pie works right through Thanksgiving and even into Christmas ("There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy, as we pass around the coffee and the PUMPkin pie.")  (Perhaps that's where the idea of the pumpkin spice latte originated)

Yup.  Nothing says Fall quite like pumpkins.

Except maybe falling leaves. When they're falling from all the trees after turning the bright hues of the sunset of the year.  Because, you know, isn't that where the season got that name?  They say Fall, by actual example.  How lovely!  I like how the tippety-tappety-tip of the leaves sounds like rain.  Forget all that stuff about pumpkins saying Fall.  Nothing really says Fall like leaves falling.  (What was I thinking?!)

Lots of people start speaking of Fall when school starts up again.  Not me!  It's still summer till that long day, right around September 22nd, when the day and night tip from lengthening to shortening.  That's what the calendar says.  And the earth gets to that point in its journey around the sun.  But, I am not an astronaut; I must trust the calendar.  And calendars do not rule my life.  Fall is when those leaves change color and fall.

Don't those falling, burnished leaves make you think of warm sweaters?  For a moment the world looks like Mother Nature crocheted an afghan of warm colors to lay over for the woods in preparation for the chill air.

It's true.  Nothing says Fall quite like the falling of leaves.

But you can't eat leaves falling from trees, however bright they are.  If something says Fall, I want it to be edible.  Apples!  Apples are both edible and fall from trees in the autumn!  Nothing says Fall like apples!  I didn't know what I was talking about before.  Cross out all that drivel about leaves.  Leaves.  Apples are what really does it.  They just shout Fall!  They have everything going for them!  They're pretty Fall colors, you can eat them, they fall from trees.  Perfect.

And no one associates them with having to go back to school.  You can give one to your teacher, which seems to be a tradition for some reason.  But you can give one to anybody to sweeten them up.  And, it's a scientific fact that eating one a day keeps the doctor away.

The eating of them spans the effort spectrum from more complex, like apple strudel (Look, I have no idea what apple strudel is, which is the only reason I chose it as my example), to no effort whatsoever – just take a bite of the apple.

People start posting pictures on social media of their families going apple picking and I know Autumn has arrived!  They tell you how many gallons of apple sauce they made that day.  They show you their latest apple pie creation.  So, that’s my cue to go to the store and buy a few Honey Crisps (who doesn’t want crisp honey?!), Fujis (which will bring you all the joy of a tropical island) or Galas (a party in every bite!). 

Sometimes my family cooperates and they eat them, sometimes they just grow lonely and shrivel up.  My personal favorite fall apple treat is warm, tasty and easy as pie.  Actually, it’s way easier than pie and that’s why it’s my favorite.  I like baked apples.  Here’s the recipe:  you basically turn on the oven and put them in.

Okay, it’s a little more involved than that, but that’s the gist of it.  You just bake them!  And then you put your mouth around theur warm sweetness, they bespeaks the best of the season of Fall.

Nothing says Fall like baked apples!

It's a comfort food, and not very attractive, even in a pretty bowl.  But what comfort food is?

My Baked Apple Recipe

The first thing to keep in mind is that you can get baked apples by shoving a stick into a whole apple and holding it over a fire.  With that in mind, follow as much or as little of these suggestions as appeal to you.

- Core the number of apples that will fit into your oven safe dish with a lid.
- Set them into the dish (I know, but if I didn’t say it . . .) 
- Put some raisins into the bottom of the hole in each apple. 
- Then fill the apples with the following in no particular order, but I tend to do it in this order. 
- Put a little granulated gelatin into each apple.  (This step is totally both optional and optimal.  It makes a sort of syrup at the bottom of the pan and adds a little nutrition.  Yum!)(It will still get syrupy without it)(I've included a link to my Amazon thing just so you can see what I'm talking about it and, if you ordered it from there, I might benefit financially, but I doubt it!)
- Stuff a bunch of butter into each apple.  (Don’t skimp.  It’s going to run out the bottom and add to the deliciousness of that syrup.)
- Sprinkle (or just pour) spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice in the proportions you like.  (Think apple pie or pumpkin spice) 
- Add a little water to the pan. 
- Maybe sprinkle with chopped nuts.
- A little alcohol might be nice, too.  You decide. 
- Really, you get the idea.  You’re baking apples filled with pie flavors that will melt down into the moisture at the bottom and can be spooned back over the baked apples. 
- This is not rocket science. 
- Bake in the oven at a temperature determined by your level of patience (350 is they standard go-to temperature for baking, but you’ll get to eat them sooner if you set it at 400) 
- Bake them till they’re as soft as you think you’ll like them.  Personally, I like the skins to burst and the insides to be almost mushy.  Occasionally, I have forgotten them until they resemble applesauce in deflated apple skins.  Others say they like a little firmness.

They will be quite hot when you take them out, so for heaven sake, don’t burn your tongue!!  Consider serving with vanilla ice cream or a little heavy cream or half and half poured over.



  1. Nothing says fall! I have always loved fall, maybe because my birthday is in the fall. I have a funny baked apple story that is probably more summer than fall. I played on a traveling softball team one summer and we traveled to some small town in the middle of California with 110 degree (or more) heat and spend the whole day playing softball. Someone on the team left an apple on the dashboard of the van. When we got back it was baked through!! So 350 in an oven for an hour or 110 in a van for a day...whichever makes you happy!

    1. Ha ha ha!! See? It's not rocket science! I'll bet it was yummy if anyone actually ate it! Might have been a big clean up job, though. :-)

    2. Hey! It worked! I replied to a comment and it showed up!


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