Fall Bucket List: PSL, fall decorations, and candles

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September is almost over and I have a few things complete on my fall bucket list! Not too many, but October should be a good month for some lovely fall crafts and activities. It doesn’t totally feel like fall right now. We’ve had weather in the 80s just last week. The past two days have been pouring rain, but you never know when the sun will come out again.

Anyway, I’m crossing off PSL, new fall candles, and decorating the house from my list!

Fall Bucket List
Fall hike
Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks (second week of September! Any earlier is too early for me)
Pumpkin patch trip
Decorate or carve pumpkins
Make whey popcorn balls with Uncle Joe
Have a Halloween party
Make butternut squash soup with hearty homemade bread
Get a new fall candle
Go apple picking
Apple week (can apple butter, apple pie filling, make fresh apple juice)
Pumpkin bread from scratch
Decorate the house
Have a fire
Make at least one quilt as a Christmas gift

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The Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is more of a fall ritual for me, rather than a drink I’ll have often during the fall. Since we got our own espresso machine I find I don’t like the flavor of Starbucks coffee too much. I think I can probably make my own version of the PSL. Hmm…

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I’m also loving my new fall candles from Yankee. Yankee candles are kind of expensive, but I had a great coupon for buy 2 get 2 free. That’ll be enough candles to last the fall and probably some of Christmas, too! I got a pear, pumpkin, coffee cake, and “harvest” scent.

candlesAnd of course, I had to get my fall decorations up. I have some nice leaf garland and a wreath on the front door, as well as some decorations on my mantle, dining room table, and bookshelf!

pumpkinsI actually leave all the fall decorations up until November. In October I add the Halloween touches then remove them the day after.

decorThat’s all on my bucket list for now! Pumpkin patch coming up soon I hope and some other lovely fall activities! Hope you are all having a wonderful fall.

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Kale and red onions with white beans

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Kale is versatile and hearty and one of my favorite dark greens to cook with. Whether I’m putting it in smoothies, soups, or just sauteeing it with lemon and garlic, the result is always great. This kale and red onion side dish goes well with many different proteins and is easy to make. The addition of white beans adds some starch and pleasant texture.

Ingredients
1 red onion in thin slices
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale (or about 4 gently packed cups) washed and chopped
1 can of white, drained and rinsed
2 tbs of lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions
1. Drizzle about 1 tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Saute garlic and onions until tender.
2. Add kale and lemon juice and sautee until kale begins to wilt.
3. Add white beans and cook until everything is heated through.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Best served warm.

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David’s Anti-Inflammation Berry Breakfast Smoothie

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Another anti-inflammation smoothie from David! This one has a wonderfully summery flavor from the lemon and berries. It’s kind of like eating cobbler filling. Since this one has a half a lemon—skins and all—he recommends using a Blendtec or Vitamix as it can truly pulverize ingredients like that.

You could omit the whole lemon and just add the juice if you have a regular blender. If you are using a regular blender, really take the time to blend these ingredients thoroughly.

Ingredients
2 cups organic mixed frozen berries
1 cup packed baby spinach
1 cup kale (baby or regular)
1 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbs flax
2 tbs chia
2 tbs honey
1 baby lemon or a half of a lemon (with skin)
1 apple (Honeycrisp or your preference)
1 scoop hemp protein
1 cup ice

Makes about 3 16oz servings

Directions
1. Add all ingredients and blend thoroughly. If you find the mixture is too thick and not blending well, add a little water. Serve immediately.

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David’s Anti-Inflammation Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

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My uncle David is on an anti-inflammation diet right now which really limits what he can eat. But instead of letting that get him down, he invents creative recipes to satisfy his cravings. That includes the ever popular pumpkin spice flavor! This smoothie is not only very healthy, but makes a great breakfast or treat. It has all the pumpkin spice flavors but contains no dairy, soy, gluten, and other inflammation causing ingredients.

I was impressed with the deliciousness of this smoothie and asked if he’d be willing to share. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients
3/4 small can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 small apple, cored and sliced (such as Jonagold)
3 tbs agave
1 cup unsweetened coconut-almond milk
1/2 cup carrot juice
2 tbs flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 scoops of vanilla plant protein mix (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Dash of all spice
Dash of clove
3 cups of ice

Makes about 2 16 oz servings

Directions
1. Add all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

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Grape Jam with Grandma

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Gramwama and Grandpa grow their own grapes on the farm. They’re absolutely beautiful and make the best juice, jam, and jelly. This year I helped grandma make a batch of spiced grape jam we’d never tried before. The result was absolutely amazing! The jam was richly grape flavored, greatly enhanced by the spices.

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Picking grapes off the vine is pretty time consuming work. You have to be careful not to leave any little twigs in the jam. It looks weird in the jar and doesn’t have a very good texture. With both of us working on it we were able to get the three pounds of grapes needed in good time.

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Grandpa was very pleased we were making jam. He loves growing the grapes and enjoys seeing them put to good use. Grandma saved some jam for him to eat, but most of the jars will be given away as gifts.

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We didn’t follow the directions for Prize Grape Jam exactly. People say it’s very important with jams and jellies to follow the recipe exactly to ensure it sets properly, and that is true. But we didn’t have dry pectin like required, and ended up using liquid instead. It still turned out great. 🙂 We also didn’t sieve anything since these grapes are seedless and have extremely thin skin.

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The recipe we used is from Cooks.com and can be found here. We modified the recipe though, which is what you’ll find below!

Ingredients
3 lbs. concord grapes (or whatever grapes you are growing), picked over and washed
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp allspice
7 cups of sugar
1 package of Certo liquid pectin

Makes about 5 pints

Directions
1. Prepare your jars, rings, lids, and water bath using your desired method.
2. Place all the grapes into a big pot and use a potato masher to crush them a bit.
3. Add one cup of sugar and the spices to the pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. At this point, if your grapes have a lot of seeds or thick skins, you should sieve that out. If everything looks good, you should have about 5 1/2 cups of the grape mixture. If you have too much, remove some.
5. Add the 7 cups of sugar and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture burn!
6. Add the liquid pectin, still stirring constantly, and bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and proceed with the canning process.

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Posted in Canning, Year 'Round Harvest | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

My Fall Bucket List!

Beautiful candied apples from last year.

Beautiful candied apples from last year.

I see these all around Pinterest and decided to make my own! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, almost more than winter since the weather isn’t freezing yet and the leaves have all turned colors. My plan is to do photo galleries of some of the more photogenic activities to share with you all. Let the fun begin!

A little pumpkin cake! Love my Martha Stewart pumpkin mold. Need to do that again this year!

A little pumpkin cake! Love my Martha Stewart pumpkin mold. Need to do that again this year!

Fall Bucket List
Fall hike
Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks (second week of September! Any earlier is too early for me)
Pumpkin patch trip
Decorate or carve pumpkins
Make whey popcorn balls with Uncle Joe
Have a Halloween party
Make butternut squash soup with hearty homemade bread
Get a new fall candle
Go apple picking
Apple week (can apple butter, apple pie filling, make fresh apple juice)
Pumpkin bread from scratch
Decorate the house
Have a fire
Make at least one quilt as a Christmas gift

Almost time to break out the fall decorations again.

Almost time to break out the fall decorations again.

I’m sure there are so many more things I’ll end up doing or want to do, but these are the basics. What’s on your fall bucket list?

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Photos from the Farm 2

I happened to have my camera with me while harvesting a bunch of wonderful produce from gramawama’s farm, and some extra photos of lovely lilacs I took a while back. The wild plum tree that split two or three years ago during a heavy ice storm stopped producing fruit, but this year it suddenly decided it had a lot to give. There are hundreds of pounds of plums! So far we’ve made crisps, plum jam, and blackberry plum jam out of them. The jams will make fabulous additions to my yearly Christmas baskets.

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