Have an adventure. Eat good food till your pants are too tight. Enjoy a good belly laugh.

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Cold morning, warm fire and cider donuts

My recipe for a perfect one-week-till-Thanksgiving morning is a chill in the air + a crackling fire + hot lattes and cocoa for the girls + the ultimate hot cider donuts fresh out of the oven and dipped in cinnamon sugar. I know you’re drooling. Here’s what you do.


Cider donuts

Whisk 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

In your mixers bowl beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening until they look like sand. Add 1 egg plus 1 yolk and 1 cup applesauce. I like using cinnamon applesauce without chunks but it is up to you. after everything is well mixed add half of your flour mixture and combined. Next add 1/4 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. I accidentally spill a little extra vanilla extract in it every time, whoops. Then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just barely combined. The dough will be really sticky.

Set out a piece of parchment paper and flour it lightly. Coat your hands with flour and then scrape the dough out onto the parchment. Pat down the dough until its in a 7 by 11 inch rectangle or whatever shape as long as it’s about half an inch thick. At this point I always put it on top of a cutting board for a little stability then cover with plastic wrap or more parchment paper and put in the fridge.  it needs to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours but I always do it overnight.

The next morning heat vegetable oil in a cast iron pan till it reads 350 degrees. For me this means being patient with medium heat and then turning it down just a bit. You want to be using enough vegetable oil that your donuts will be able to just barely float, not sitting on the bottom. If they are sitting on the bottom they won’t cook evenly. While you’re oil is heating up pull the dough out of the fridge and start cutting your donuts and donut holes. I have a donut cutter but you can always make you with cookie cutters. When your oil is heated place a couple donuts in the pan and occasionally flip until they are a light brown color on both sides. Make sure to crack open the first one and taste test, as this is the only way to know how good the product is. 🙂  As you get the donuts done set them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a warm over.

When the donuts have all been cooked toss them in cinnamon sugar (2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.) Please serve warm. They just aren’t the same once they have cooled off. In fact they are so horrible once cold that I should probably eat all the rest of these myself.

Num, num, num.

Girls at Henrietta Orchard

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10 Ways to Make the Most of Fall

Girls at Henrietta Orchard

Visit to Henrietta Orchard

We are still having some hot temps but I can tell fall is coming.  It may have something to do with the fact that I have to convince my dog Harry to come in from the cool evening breeze.  I am going to try to enjoy this weather and time of year by getting out and doing stuff.  Lots of stuff:

  1. Go for a walk.   Come on.  You know you want to, If you are afraid that the kids will drive you nuts give them a task.  Give them a bucket and tell them to collect colorful fall leaves or tell them to hunt for perfectly round rocks.
  2. Make apple cider donuts.  How can warm cinnamon sugar covered donuts be bad.  Ummmmm… Donuts.
  3. Go pumpkin picking.  There is nothing like hunting for the perfect pumpkin.  I will be going to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch so that we can get some caramel corn and a hayride while I am at it.
  4. Carve your pumpkins.  If you have little kids grab some paint or markers and it can still be lots of fun.  All else fails cut out shapes and let your kids glue them to the pumpkins.
  5. Make chili.  It might not make it more chili outside immediately (I crack myself up) but it can’t hurt.  Bonus points if you enter a chili cook off.
  6. Grow something outside. Buy some mums to pot on your patio or plant some fall pumpkins in the garden.  It is not important what you plant.  It is important that you will now have to go outside to water them.  This will force you to slow down and notice the change of seasons.  I realize this takes away the precious moment when you go out to the car and realize that you missed it, but oh well.
  7. Eat a caramel apple. If you don’t want to try making them your self buy one at the store.  You deserve it.
  8. Make a pinecone bird feeder. Grab a pinecone and smear peanut butter on it. Then roll it around in bird food and hang it from a tree.  How easy is that.
  9. Celebrate Oktoberfest by having beer and brats.  Not into beer?  I would highly recommend Woodchucks Seasonal Fall Hard Cider.  Fall in a bottle.
  10. Go Apple picking. I have already done this, but it is still a great way to spend an almost fall afternoon. Besides I hit writers block on no 10.  If you don’t know where to go check out  We were lucky enough to find Henrietta Orchards which also sells honey and has kitchen gardens and chickens.  My girls just loved it and I love the photos and memories that I walked away with.