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Happy Fall, everyone!

September 22, 2010

Is there anybody who doesn’t love Fall?  I’ve spent the last 14 years in Pennsylvania, where fall’s display is so beautiful people drive hundreds of miles to behold it. Here in the south I’m learning the excitement we feel has nothing to do with leaves turning. It’s doubtful we’ll have that, but this morning, on the first day of fall, there is a slight C.H.I.L.L. in the air. We haven’t felt a chill since we arrived this past spring.  That alone is worthy of celebration.

As I sit here sipping morning coffee on the sunporch there’s a chorus of birds calling; funny-looking cormorants screeching, mockingbirds and bluejays making racket, mourning doves cooing; the swallows stay out closer to the lake. Woodpeckers tap away at the mostly-dead tree in the lot next door and the buzz and cheeping of hummingbirds at the feeder is only a few feet away. Bluebirds skit across the lawn, making me feel like I’m in a Cinderella movie. And the heron, standing stock-still, on one leg, on the roof of the boathouse across the water, watching and waiting for breakfast to come swimming by. Solitary, serious, he fascinates me.

Everyone is storing up – worms, acorns that hit the roof and scatter across the yard, pecans that drop on the lawn, and the red nectar we’ve put out. I guess they know that chill will get more serious soon, and they’ll either be heading further south, or nestling in for a long winter, with food scarce to come by.

Back in PA we’d celebrate fall’s arrival by pulling sweaters and jeans out of storage, then raking those leaves into big piles. We’d come inside to a crockpot of chili, a fire in the grate,  and freshly baked pumpkin bread. Sadly, when I tried to find canned pumpkin at the grocery last week they sent me to the ‘seasonal’ aisle and all I found was bags and bags of candy. So to improvise I’m baking an apple crisp. Susan Branch calls it, “an old standby with a deliciously crunchy top. Serve it either hot or cold – pour thick cream over it or serve with ice cream.” I vote for warm with ice cream, but that’s just me.

Apple Crisp

4 medium, peeled, sliced, tart apples (Granny Smiths work well)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup softened butter

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a square baking pan. Place the apple slices in pan. Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the apples. Bake 30 minutes or til apples are tender and topping is golden brown. This recipe is easy enough you can call the kids into the kitchen to lend a helping hand.

If you keep a handful of apples on hand (and they store great in your fridge, so pick some and bring them home!), you can have warm dessert coming out of the oven by the time unexpected company rings the bell. Or better yet, call someone, ask them over, throw this together, and it’ll be ready by the time they arrive. We’re having this tonight – to celebrate the arrival of Fall, hoping to share it with our next door neighbors. That sound of acorns hitting the roof sparked the baking bug in me – Happy Fall, everyone (and side note, if you don’t own a Susan Branch cookbook, buy yourself one for the pure pleasure of it. That she includes recipes is a bonus.)

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2010 4:33 am

    I have 3 bags of apples to cook on the counter right now, Bev. I think I will make this too. It sounds wonderful!

    • September 22, 2010 5:46 am

      Wow, no pumpkin! That’s just weird. But it’s funny how everything little creature there is storing up too . . . and you get to watch it all. Enjoy your new fall living!

      • September 22, 2010 6:57 am

        Dianne, canned pumpkin is always one of those items I have trouble locating – do they put it with vegetables, pie fillings, or what? I swear I went up and down those aisles (with poor husband following me) and it just was not there! When I do find it I plan to stock up on it – good grief, it’s fall – you can’t be without canned pumpkin!

    • September 22, 2010 6:56 am

      Hope it turns out – hubby really enjoys this simple dessert.

  2. September 22, 2010 5:46 am

    Well, I thought I was the only insomniac on the computer this morning. :o)
    My girls gave me a S.B. Summer book for Mother’s Day last year, and I love it. The ideas, recipes, and just ordinary, everyday-ness of her writing is endearing to me. I went to our local on-line library and requested four more and have been enjoying them so much the past few weeks. She has so many inspiring ideas.
    We’re in stage two of planning out our raised bed, white picket fence garden to copy hers.
    It sounds like you are savoring every minute of life in your new surroundings. I’m so happy for you!
    I’m heading out to the store this morning, and now I must get the ingredients for the apple crisp. I was also thinking pumpkin something, but you’ve changed my mind. :o)
    Have a great week!

    • September 22, 2010 6:55 am

      Good morning Karen, I have to confess I set most of my posts to come out at 1 am, when I am happily asleep. I’m such a sleeper you could possibly call me a professional! Don’t you just love Susan Branch? Her story behind how she got started makes me love her even more, and when I look at my own handwriting, then hers I’m absolutely in awe! Thanks for taking the time to visit – I ran over to your site and had such a nice time there – I’ll be back.

      • September 22, 2010 6:36 pm

        Thank you for visiting me and your sweet comment, I hope you will come back soon!
        I also was impressed with her handwriting. Mine just looks like chicken scratch to me. :o)

  3. September 22, 2010 7:49 am

    I had heard this summer that there was going to be a pumpkin shortage and I did have a hard time finding it, but I located 2 cans that I am hoarding for Thanksgiving. Walmart didn’t have any at all. But they usually keep it with the pie fillings.
    I LOVE apple crisp too – I made one a couple weeks ago myself.

  4. September 22, 2010 9:40 am

    I am so glad you reminded me of the Susan Branch collection. I will see if her autumn book is in at the library.

    I spent the last couple of days making apple butter and it smelled delicious. On our trip to the apple orchard last weekend we discovered Honeycrisp apples, which we had never tasted before. Divine!!

    Happy fall to you my friend!

    • September 22, 2010 1:33 pm

      One my very favorite days of the year – I LOVE, LOVE fall. Everything about it except pulling jeans out and finding they’re a little snug – hate that part!

  5. Vickie permalink
    September 22, 2010 1:07 pm

    I love Susan Branch books too. They are such a treat to read.

    It’s funny, I was just looking for an apple crisp yesterday and couldn’t find one that appealed. I’m going to have to try yours. It looks yummy.

    I just bought a couple cans of pumpkin today at Walmart too. I’m not sure where it’s normally stocked. They had a big display of it. There was a shortage last year, so this year I’m stocking up. I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin bars.

    • September 22, 2010 1:33 pm

      Vicki, thanks for letting me know I’m NOT crazy! I looked and looked and looked. I think the small grocery in town will have it, and I plan to buy enough to last all fall. When you bake the apple crisp, right before you serve it, use a big serving spoon to flip it in the dish. The more moist bottom will come to the top and the drier top will go to the bottom.

  6. September 22, 2010 3:32 pm

    Happy Fall! One of my favorite days too, and I would love to celebrate it with chili, but at 91 degrees today, it is feeling more like a grilled chicken night!
    Fall in TX sounds like it is beautiful in its own way, which I imagine is the joy of retiring to a new climate… lots of fun new ways to enjoy the tried and true! (Plus no more raking leaves has to be a HUGE bonus!)

    • September 23, 2010 9:28 am

      Absolutely – we raked leaves for a solid month back in PA. Our leaves wont even fall til sometime in November, and hubby treated himself to something called a ‘Cyclone Rake’ – this contraption that rides behind the mower and magicallly sucks up all the leaves. Well worth the money since he had surgery on both shoulders this past year! I am enjoying a new climate – just yesterday we saw kale at the hardware store for winter landscaping. Back in PA they eat it…

  7. September 22, 2010 4:28 pm

    Fall certainly will be different for you this year, but I can imagine how exciting it is in TX to feel some cooler air coming in (even if it’s only below 80?!)

    I heard that the pumpkin crop was bad in 2009; so canned pumpkin will still be scarce until the 2010 pumpkins are harvested.

  8. September 22, 2010 5:56 pm

    No pumpkin! That is a crime! The crisp looks wonderful. It is one of my hubby’s fav desserts. I have often wondered how Autumn will be when we get settled in Oregon. As for now, it is gorgeous in the Black Hills!

  9. September 22, 2010 7:00 pm

    Apple Crisp is one of my all time favorite desserts. I will have it any time, not just fall!

    No canned pumpkin. Wow. Now that is sad.

    • September 23, 2010 9:28 am

      Susanne, I investigated and there was actually a severe shortage last year – the stock of Libby canned pumpkin was down to six cans sitting on some executive’s office shelf! They say this year we’ll have plenty and I plan to stock up, just in case!

  10. September 22, 2010 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the recipe and idea…we enjoyed a yummy apple crisp for desert:)!

    so easy and so good!

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