Savoring the Change of Seasons

Last week I had the opportunity to be a parent volunteer on my daughter’s 6th grade class camping trip to Wisconsin. While the kids were involved with science classes one morning, I grabbed my camera and took a walk. The signs of fall were all around in the colors (burnt oranges, reds, yellows), sounds (dried grasses blowing out in the marsh in the not quite cold wind), and smells (dried leaves, campfires). It was nice to take a few days off a busy fall schedule to just be outside. I now have the photos below spread out on my desk for quilting inspiration and to study the shapes, colors, lines, composition – just some of the considerations when designing and making a quilt!

The area we visited also has several fruit orchards and is home to the Elegant Farmer, famous for selling pies baked in a paper bag. I brought home many pounds of apples for eating and baking, as well as a delicious apple blueberry crisp to eat until I had the energy to bake something myself! The second night home, I made a batch of applesauce (now gone) – scroll down to after the photos for the recipe.

Homemade Applesauce

  1. Wash and quarter/thickly slice apples, then cut up into 1/2 inch chunks. Use an apple that will get mushy/fall apart when it is cooked, like Cortland apples. No need to peel the apple – the peel will add color and flavor and will be barely visible by the time the apples have cooked.
  2. Place the apples in a pot (I use a large enamel Le Crueset pot) and fill it about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch with apple cider or apple juice.
  3. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring periodically.
  4. Then, when the apples are tender and falling apart, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. If you need to add a bit more cider/juice because the sauce is thicker than you want, do so now.  You can also stir in your favorite warming spice now such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or a combination of these – just taste and experiment to get the amount of spice right for your taste.

The sauce is great right out of the pan. It is also wonderful served with pumpkin pancakes. (Make your own or use Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix).

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