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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

a trip to ritter's cider mill

the weather was exceptionally gorgeous on sunday.  it was the perfect fall day.  after hiking and having our picnic at prompton state park, we drove home past ritter's cider mill.  we found this family owned cider mill three years ago and we fell in love with it, so we started making a little tradition of visiting the cider mill each fall.  they sell a variety of apples and they press their own apple cider right there in front of you!  their apple cider is the best i've ever tasted.

while we were at ritter's, we watched the cider being pressed and one of the workers even gave us a taste of it fresh off the press!  it doesn't get any fresher than that!  we also enjoyed a hot apple cider doughnut straight out of the fryer, admired the exquisite sunflowers on the farm, walked through the corn maze, and visited the farm animals.  it was a nice fall outing!

we didn't come home with any apples this time because we still have a ton of apples at home from our apple picking adventure last weekend.  so, we are looking forward to going back to ritter's again this fall when we need to restock our apple supply!

^see that stream of apple juice being pressed out of the apples?  the guy stuck two cups right under that stream and handed them to us to taste.  so good!^
^a warm apple cider doughnut straight out of the fryer covered in cinnamon and sugar.  it was good, but i have to say that i really like my homemade version of baked apple cider doughnuts made with ritter's cider.^
^i absolutely love sunflowers, and these sunflowers were exceptional!^
^our fearless leader, guiding us through the corn maze.^

love, laurie

. . . 

previous trips to ritter's cider mill: 2012, 2013, and 2014

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

apple cider waffles with sauteed apple topping

it's apple cider season!  over the weekend we visited a farm and picked up a container of fresh apple cider.  it is such a great treat, especially in the fall.  apple cider isn't just for drinking.  we have used it to make baked apple cider doughnuts which are incredible, and we have also incorporated it into breakfast in apple cider doughnut pancakes.  yum!

i woke up on sunday morning thinking to myself: if we have made apple cider pancakes, why not make apple cider waffles?!  thus, off to the kitchen i went to whip up a fall apple breakfast.

there's a full cup of apple cider in the batter of these waffles, as well as a ton of fall spices, including: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.  needless to say, they have some great flavor!

we didn't stop there though . . . to really punch the apple flavor, we topped our apple cider waffles with sauteed cinnamon sugar apples.  wow!

these waffles are absolutely delicious and the are great for kicking off an autumn weekend morning!

this recipe makes about three servings, so we had leftover waffles.  they store nicely in the refrigerator or the freezer.  just pop them in the toaster and warm them up when you are ready to enjoy them again.  they would also make a great waffle-and-ice cream sandwich too with your favorite fall ice cream flavor!  :-)

apple cider waffles with sauteed apple topping
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yields: 3 servings
adapted from the baker chick

waffle ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 cup almond milk
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

topping ingredients:
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large honey crisp apple, cored and diced
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.  in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices, and sugar.  whisk to combine.  add the milk, apple cider, vanilla, and the egg, and whisk well.  stir in the melted butter.  pour enough batter into the waffle iron to just barely cover the waffle grid (usually about 1/2 cup of batter per waffle).  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the waffles are golden brown.  once cooked, transfer the waffles to a cooling rack while you prepare the remaining waffles.  serve warm, topped with sauteed cinnamon sugar apples and warm maple syrup.

to make the apple topping, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  add the diced apple and saute for 1-2 minutes.  evenly sprinkle the cinnamon and the sugar over the apples.  toss the apples to ensure that all of the apples are evenly coated.  pour in the vanilla extract.  saute, stirring occasionally for 2-4 minutes, until the apples are tender.

love, laurie

Monday, September 28, 2015

hiking and a picnic at prompton state park

sunday was glorious!  we woke up and had absolutely nowhere to be and no plans for the day, which is something that is so incredibly rare for us.  we took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and drove up to prompton state park after breakfast.

we have only been to prompton state park once before just to stop by to check it out.  so, we were excited to be able to hike the trails and to enjoy the park.  we hiked around one of the trails and then had a picnic lunch next to the lake.  after lunch we walked down to the lake and ryan was pretty excited to find a frog in the water on the shore line.

the whole day was so nice!  the weather was exactly how it should be in the fall, and we practically had the whole state park to ourselves.  there were only a handful of people there.  it was such a great way to spend a sunday morning.

love, laurie

Friday, September 25, 2015

have a wonderful weekend!

i just love this picture i took last weekend when we went apple picking on sunday.  we still have a ton of apples left.  we have been eating them all week long, but i think they are multiplying in our kitchen!  it's friday and we could not be more thrilled about it because this week has been nutty.  we're looking forward to a relaxing weekend with great weather!

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, September 24, 2015


last friday we met up with my parents after work and went out for hibachi.  hibachi is always so much fun.  (we sat around a giant hibachi table with 18 people!)  the food was great (i got the salmon and it was really good) and we had plenty to take home for leftovers.  it was a fun outing.

love, laurie

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

pumpkin spice baked french toast

happy autumnal equinox today.  it's officially fall, and we're on a pumpkin roll over here!  recently we made pumpkin spice french toast which was out of this world.  keeping with the pumpkin breakfast theme, we also recently made pumpkin spice baked french toast.

there's something wonderful about baked french toast.  it's like bread pudding for breakfast.  cubes of bread get covered with pumpkin goodness and spices, then topped with chopped walnuts and brown sugar, and baked until crusty.  yum!

this recipe is a great way to use up any old bread that you have sitting around (like the stale old white and wheat rolls that we recently inherited from a co-worker's family reunion).  it's a warm and comforting breakfast that will put you right in the mood for crisp autumn air, apple cider, and colorful leaves.

pumpkin spice baked french toast
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 30 minutes
yields: 4-6 servings

10-12 rolls (or thick bread) cut into cubes
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  arrange the bread cubes evenly in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish (making sure you have enough bread to cover the baking dish).  in a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, vanilla, and spices.  pour the mixture over the bread and toss to make sure that all of the bread is evenly coated.  evenly distribute the brown sugar and the chopped nuts across the top of the bread.  bake for approximately 30 minutes until brown and cooked throughout.  serve hot, dusted with powdered sugar and with maple syrup.

love, laurie

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

roba family farms

after our apple picking adventure on sunday, we kept our annual tradition alive by taking a trip to roba family farms.  we absolutely love walking around the farm in the fall, seeing the animals, and getting lost in the cornfield maze!  i didn't take many pictures while we were there, but i managed to snap a few . . .

love, laurie

. . .

previous trips to roba family farms: 2012, 2013, and 2014

Monday, September 21, 2015

apple picking!

we had so much fun apple picking the last few years, and we just couldn't wait to do it again this fall.  on sunday we went apple picking at a local orchard with my parents and family friends.  it was a beautiful fall day and the weather was perfect.

we had a great time walking up and down the rows of apple trees.  we picked (and ate) several different varieties of apples and came home with a ton of apples.  we can't wait to make so many delicious recipes with them!

love, laurie

. . . 

previous apple picking adventures: 2012, 2013, and 2014