Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In the Kitchen

As we enter the month of December my mind is quickly switching gears. The leaves are gone, the pumpkins are rotting (and need to be thrown away!), and the burnt orange and brown decorations are slowing being converted to reds and greens to make way for Christmas. I love autumn, I'll miss autumn, but I'm also looking forward to this new season: to a blanket of white, warm hot chocolate, evenings by the fire.

I started this Soul in the Season list at a time that I felt myself loosing sight of the little things that make life so meaningful. After publishing it here I printed it out and hung it on the fridge. I had no idea at that time just how important it would become. This little list has been my lifeline the past three months. Each time I felt myself getting overwhelmed with work or keeping the house clean I'd come back to it and it would remind me that laundry can be done another day, we have an apple orchard to visit or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to bake.

I'm happy to report that we did all but one item on the list. We did not make it out on our running trail to take pictures during fall colors. The weather this October was a bit uncooperative and when we were home it was too darn wet and cold, and when the weather was nice, we were out of town. So, next year. Next year.

A number of items on my list for this season involved baking or cooking and rather than posting these individually I thought I'd do one big "in the kitchen" post. Here are the things I've been making this season.

Apple Crisp

I actually lost track as to how many apple crisps we made this year. I believe it was 5 or 6. One day while Collin was home with Keaton he made two or three himself and put them in our freezer so we'll be able to enjoy it this winter, when fresh apples are a thing of the past.

When I make apple crisp I use this recipe. I started using this in the fall of 2002, when I made my first crisp in my apartment in Waukesha. I still love this recipe.

When Collin makes apple crisp he uses the recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook: Bridal Edition.

Both recipes are delish.

Why yes, that is a piece that has already been eaten, just minutes after being removed from the oven :)

Apple Sauce

I've never made homemade apple sauce before but after making it this summer for Keaton I had to ask myself why not?? Homemade apple sauce tastes SO MUCH better than store bought. SO MUCH better.

I looked up some recipes online, some called for sugar, some called for cinnamon, some called for boiling the apples, some for steaming. In the end I steamed the apples, peeled off the skin and then put them in the blender, just like I did over the summer for Keaton's puree. I used a Bakers Mix selection from Lapacek's Orchard and because these apples were so fresh and so tasty, we decided not to add any cinnamon or sugar.

We pulled our last container out of the freezer last week and I think we're all going to be a little sad when it is gone. Note to self, buy more apples next year!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I got this recipe from Swistle (it's the 2nd recipe in the post and for pumpkin chocolate chip you use 1 cup canned pumpkin, I have never tried the banana variation). When I made my first batch this year my mom was up visiting and when I told her what I was making she scrunched her nose up at me, ewwww, pumpkin? But, after I made her try them on Saturday morning, she was requesting a copy of the recipe before she went home.

I think I made three or four batches of these this fall; one of which, I brought to work. Am I the only person who worries about bringing things into work and having no one try/like it? Thankfully, the worry was for naught, those suckers were gone within the first couple of hours.

Keaton loved these muffins so much that if he saw you eating one he would instantly drop his nuk and insist on an "uppie" to get a bite.

Fall Soup: Salsa Pumpkin Soup

My list simply said a "fall soup". I've always wanted to try something with pumpkin or squash but every recipe I ran past Collin was instantly vetoed. Most suggestions when something like this:

Me: How does xyz soup sound?
Collin: Disgusting

I ran my dilemma past Kim while we were at the apple orchard and she instantly had a solution. Salsa Pumpkin Soup. After looking through the ingredients Collin agreed to try it. And guest what? It was mighty tasty and he approved. I look forward to making this soup again next fall.

Fresh Bread from the Bread Machine: Whole Wheat

To complete my list, this past weekend I dusted off the bread machine and took 'er for a spin. When I got done I had the exact thought I figured I'd have, why don't I do this more often?

I switched up my old trusty stand-by recipe because it called for honey, and Keaton isn't supposed to have honey, and tried the recipe on the back of Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour because it used molasses instead.

The result is a nice dense textured, intense flavored, wheat bread. Keaton has been gobbling this stuff right up, so I think it's safe to say we'll be making many more batches.

So, that concludes my Soul in the Season list for this fall. I've already started working on my winter list and hope to share it with you here soon.


Kate said...

That ALL looks amazing. You go!

And speaking of, I go away for a bit and you do a gazillion awesome things like running a half marathon and all kinds of cool homey things and Keaton turns 10 months... congratulations all around!

Em said...

Yum! All those mouth-watering carbs make my blood sugar spike just looking at them. :) I'll have to try your pumpkin soup recipe. The one we tried this year was ok, but I'm looking for another option. Thanks for sharing the recipes. Congrats on doing so well on your list!

amanda said...

Hmmm...fresh bread machine bread and apple crisp...I sure do miss the college years! I, too, dusted off my bread machine to make cinnamon roll dough...sooooo yummy! Great work on the list!