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Autumn Fun

 

There is only one topic and type of recipe from the Summer Reader Survey that I have not yet dealt with.  Several readers requested this topic: “holidays,” and “family get together ideas.” This is a huge topic, especially with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming in fast succession. So I will be writing about and discussing this topic several times between now and the first of the new year. 

So let’s get started. Let’s take a look at some easy and inexpensive fall activities. Those of you who are regulars here know that basically I am pretty lazy. Why recreate something that has already been done; especially when it is done better than I could do it, is my philosophy.

So that leads me to a wonderful website that I found that I think you will all like to take a look at. Domestic Cents has lots of wonderful ideas, recipes, and thoughts on frugal living. I encourage you to take a look. I am also adding Domestic Cents to My Favorite Sites List.

This site has some wonderful and inexpensive ideas for fall family activities. With written permission from Domestic Cents here are five.

Frugal Fall Activities For Your Family

By Nicki at Domestic Cents blog

I love Fall. The scents and traditions just make me smile and say, “Mmmmm ….” I think Fall is one of the best seasons for families. There are so many things to do that your whole family can enjoy. Today I’d like to share a few frugal ideas for Fall family fun. Sorry if I’m killing you with the alliteration – I just can’t help myself.

Fashion a Scarecrow

This can be made entirely out of things you already have. Rake the leaves in your yard (or someone else’s?). Find some old clothes: jeans, long sleeve shirt (flannel shirt if you can). Grab some of those twist ties that you never use, if you don’t have those then rubber bands will work too. We usually fill the jeans and the shirt separately, tying off the openings. I sit our scarecrow on the porch, adjusting the pieces as necessary. For the head you have several options. An old pillowcase is the favorite – draw a face on it and put a hat on top. We used a basketball one year but had to prop it up. Be creative and make it fun!

Feast on Apples

Find an orchard and go apple picking! This is a family tradition of ours and we look forward to it every year. Something about the crisp air and the crunchy, fresh apples makes everyone happy. The baking that follows is always good too I know – this one costs money but I still think it’s frugal. It isn’t often you can purchase fruit so inexpensively. Apples are great because as long as you keep them cool they last a long time.

Fun with Pumpkins

Each year I usually purchase a few pumpkins to decorate with – growing them would be better but my garden spot isn’t big enough. I hunt around for them so I can get the best deal. A lot of times the best deal is a family farm selling them on the side of the road. Pumpkins are great fun – carve them, draw on them, decorate with them, scoop out the seeds and roast them. Don’t forget to let the little kids play with the ooey-gooey stuff inside

Find a Corn Maze

There are quite a few of these where I live. I’m not sure of the availability or even the popularity in other areas. To find one near you, check here. Corn Mazes are great fun for kids and adults of all ages. I remember taking Chloe when she was around 2-1/2. We brought the stroller right in. She got a huge kick out of it. The cost was pretty minimal – just a few dollars per person and we spent hours in there.

Form a New Tradition

There are few things as sacred as a family tradition. There’s something about doing them and keeping them that strengthens the bond of your relationships. Introduce your children to a Fall family recipe and teach them to make it. Plan an outing, like one of the above, and do it every year. What makes things special isn’t how extravagant they are – it’s how much thought you put into them and the reward of seeing ALL members of the family smiling.

NOTE ON MAZE LINK: I found the maze link above a little confusing and hard to locate a maze for a particular state. So I found another link I found much easier to use. Maybe you will too.  Simply click: Corn Mazes in the USA and then click on your state. Only 47 states are represented.

I really like the idea of a maze. That would be a fun activity and many children would enjoy it too.

I have a few activities to add to Nicki’s:

  • Make leaf rubbings.
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor.
  • Make a fall wreath and hang it on your door.
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs.
  • Roast marshmallows over a grill and make S’mores.
Featured Recipe:          Homemade Applesauce

If you and your family go apple picking, or even if you just take a drive in the country to a farm that sells fresh, home grown apples, you can make many apple dishes when you get home. Applesauce is one of the easiest apple dishes you can make.

I first made my own applesauce more than thirty years ago. Then I slavishly followed a recipe my parents gave me. Since then I have experimented and played around and now I have my own unique take on applesauce. I have a few secret ingredients I use. I guess after today they will no longer be so  secret will they?

And the neat thing about making applesauce is it can be an entire family activity. I especially think it is a great activity for children. They can  see how applesauce comes from apples and not go through life thinking it comes from a  glass jar or plastic small paks. And the apple sauce they make this way will be with real food stuffs, not chemicals.

This is what you will need:

6 cooking apples (I used Gala)

¼ cup water

¼ cup lemon juice, about 1 big, heavy lemon

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla*

A medium pinch of allspice*

A medium pinch of ground ginger*

*Not so secret anymore secret ingredients

Makes 2 cups or four 4 ounce servings

Here is what you do:

Using a fruit peeler, peel and core the apples. I do not worry if I do not get all of the skin peeled off. I figure it adds nutrients to the sauce. (Older children can peel and maybe cut depending on their age and knife skills.)

Here is how I do this. I peel and cut the apples in half.

Then I cut each half in half again. (By the way, this is a great way to introduce fractions to young children. You don’t have to be formal about it. Just say, “I cut the apple half.” Then, “I cut the apple into fourths.” Then, I cut the apple into eighths.”  And maybe let them count the pieces. Just expose them to the concept.)

Then I cut in half again, now I have eighths.

Then when all the apples have been cut into eights I remove the cores with a small knife by simply slicing it out of each small slice of apple. This is the easiest way I have found to remove the core of an apple.

In the picture below you can see the cores cut out of 1 apple.

I cut each of the apple pieces in half. You will then have about one-inch pieces to cook. Not as pretty chunks as perhaps Emeril would do. But functional enough.

APPLE CUTTING NOTE: As I read and re-read these directions they sound more and more confusing to me. And I wrote them. I’m not sure what that says about me. So just go ahead and chop the apples up into about one-inch chunks any way you want.

Now place the apples in a big pot.

Add everything else. (These chores by the way can be done by children.)

Turn the heat to medium high, mix the apples and the seasonings well, cover and cook the apples stirring once or twice for about 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and lower the heat to medium low and let the apples simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes or so stirring a few times.

Now remove the pot from the stove and using a potato masher mash the apples into the size chunks you want. I like my apple sauce in small chunks. If you want a smoother sauce, cool the apple mixture and then puree it in a processor or blender.

You can serve the applesauce warm or cold. Applesauce is great with sausages or pork chops.

That’s it. That is all you have to do.

I shared my apple sauce with my good next door neighbors Floyd and Betty. Floyd was born on a working farm in Central Ohio. He and Betty were both children during the Great Depression. We love to sit around and talk about our experiences growing up.

Betty said she liked applesauce on her toast in the morning. Here is a picture of Floyd and Betty ay breakfast. Floyd told me that he could take or leave applesauce. But he said he really liked this applesauce. It had more flavor than most he said. That’s my not so secret anymore ingredients at work.

If I told you Floyd is in his 90’s you would not believe me. So I won’t tell you.

Food. Good company. Sharing. Lively conversation. Laughter. That is what cooking and eating  is all about.

Cost                                                                           

6 apples                                $2.92

¼ cup lemon juice                $0.39

¼ cup brown sugar               $0.20

1 teaspoon cinnamon             $0.21

1 teaspoon vanilla                  $0.30

A medium pinch allspice         $0.25 

A medium pinch ginger          $0.23

¼ cup water    

Total Cost for 2 cups = $4.50
Cost per person = $1.13

Bon Appetit!!!

Quote of the Day:  Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.  William Cullen Bryant

 

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