The Night Before the Killer Frost

apple harvestTwas the night before the killing frost,

and all thru the house,

not a creature was stirring,

because they were all outside frantically picking apples!

And jalapenos and tomatoes and green beans.

But mostly apples.

Red Delicious. Golden Delicious. Red Rome. Granny Smith.

It was a bumper crop – limb breaking actually.

We filled every box and bucket we could find.

And still we had apples.

We’ve been slowly picking apples for the last two months, picking a box or bag as needed. There are several bags in the freezer, several quarts of apple pie filling on the shelf, and many, many crisps and pies consumed.

I see many, many more pies and crisps in our future.

But not tonight.

Tonight I want a hot shower, and a big cup of tea.

And maybe some chocolate.

Apple Pie Bagels

Apple BagelI was pretty tired Saturday night and had forgotten to get bagels out of the freezer for Sunday morning breakfast.


I also realized that the only cream cheese we had was still frozen.

Double oops.

And the kids had their friend Bethany overnight.

Triple oops.

We could all eat stale cereal and Bethany would see how we really live – or I could get creative.

As I tossed the frozen bagels on the counter, I thought, “Now what can I do with these?”

Then I remembered  of all the apples we still have left – and how my kids love apple pie and apple crisp – and thought to myself what a treat that would be for breakfast.

And so the Apple Pie Bagel was born.

I took diced apples tossed them in cinnamon and sugar and put them on top of a buttered bagel and sprinkled it all with a streusel topping.


Apple Pie Bagels

1 package bagels (I used plain – but I think cinnamon raisin or wheat would be great, too)
butter to spread
2-3 cups of apples, peeled and finely diced (Golden Delicious were perfect)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons oatmeal
3 tablespoons browns sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cut the bagels in half and lay each half out on a baking tray. Butter them liberally.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and toss it with the diced apples.

Layer the cinnamon-sugar apples on the buttered bagels.

Combine the melted butter, oatmeal, flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle it on top of the apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the apples are soft and the streusel slightly browned.


I’ve linked this post up with  Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Somewhere Between…

We’re in a between place –  it’s not quite summer and it’s not quite fall.

The days are warm and sunny, but the nights are cool and crisp.

School has started, but we’re still wearing shorts and t-shirts.


My garden is still producing summer crops – like these cantaloupes – all eight of them harvested on one day!

But my fall crop of  apples in the orchard are already starting to ripen.

We picked 5 tubs of apples from a neighbor’s tree this week and canned almost 50 quarts of applesauce – and still have 3 tubs to work up.


The pears aren’t far behind them.

The cicadas are singing and the world is starting – very slowly – to turn brown.

One season is closing and another is just beginning.

A part of me is ready for the schedule and structure of the fall – yet another part of me already misses the freedom of the summer.

While my mouth still waters for another taste of meat on the grill, I find myself lingering over recipes for warm comforting casseroles and rich thick stews.

We’re hanging in the “between” right now, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful breezes.

For just a little while we can forget the heat and humidity of the past months and the cold and snow that are surely in our future.

Yes, we are most definitely somewhere between and I think it’s a pretty sweet place to be!

So How Do We Iron Chef?

One of our favorite family traditions is our Annual Iron Chef Competition at the Remix.

Since we are a family of foodies (people who love to read about, talk about, think about, make, and eat food) our very own Iron Chef Competition just makes sense.

Our rules are simple. The official judges (Nana and the grandkids) chose a secret ingredient and announce it a few weeks in advance. Any one – of any age – can enter as many entries as they wish.

The day of the event all of the entries are placed on a table, labeled and given a small plastic cup to hold the votes. Whenever we are all assembled and quiet (now that’s a major undertaking!), each chef shows their dish and describes the ingredients.

Our Iron Chef Dishes

Then we all go around the table taking samples of everything. We each have a small cup of M & M’s that we use for voting by putting them in the cups of our favorite dishes.

This year’s secret ingredient was apples.

We had everything from apple muffins to apple salads. We had apple brownies, apple snacks, and apple desserts. We even had apple butter pancakes!

Some of the amazing entries were:

Thick Skinned Apple

The simple: “Thick Skinned Apple” – an apple that was peeled, then peanut butter was used to re-apply the peel.

Chocolate Bars

The Chocolate: Caramel Apple Bars

Apple Salsa

The Unique: Apple Salsa

William Tell's Son Cake

The Artistic: A Rice Krispie sculpture of William Tell’s Son complete with apple and arrow!

It was a fun and delicious family activity!

Snacky Apple Snickerdoodles: A Snack With A Fun Name

Here’s a heart-healthy recipe from Nana that fits right into any fall menu…

Snacky Apple SnickerdoodlesOur family likes to pass magazines around, round-robin style, and it was in one of those magazines that I found this heart-healthy recipe.

Since we hosting a weekly Bible Study, I need to create a different snack each week and since we had some delicious “handed around” apples, this recipe was the perfect fit!

What is a Snickerdoodle?  It is an old-fashioned cookie using basic ingredients much like a sugar cookie, except it is rolled in sugar & cinnamon.

It probably originated in the late 1800’s in New England with people from a German and Dutch background.  Unfortunately there is no clue as to how they got their name.

This modern “healthy” recipe has no eggs, uses oil instead of butter and has whole wheat flour. The cookie has a cake-like texture.  It’s good with a glass of milk, a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Snacky Apple Snickerdoodles Cookie
From: Heart Healthy Magazine
Yield: 36 cookies


1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Non-fat Dry Milk Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Dash Salt
1 Cup Low-fat Vanilla Yogurt
½ Cup Honey
4 Tbs. Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Tbs. Oil
1 Cup Peeled & Diced Raw Apples

2 Tbs. White Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, milk powder, baking soda, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and salt; Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, applesauce, and oil.

Stir the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture all at once, stirring until just combined. Stir in apples until just combined.

Using a rounded tablespoon, spoon dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Combine sugar and cinnamon to make topping. Sprinkle over dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.  After cooled they can be stored in freezer containers in the freezer for up to 1 month, if they last that long!

Until next time,


So What Do You Do With 20 Bushels of Apples?

There were over 20 bushels of apples on my back porch.

I avoided that porch for days because I really didn’t want to deal with them. It seemed as if they grew in number every day. I would close my eyes at night and see gigantic apples rising up and chasing me.

So what does one do with over 20 bushels of apples? A lot.

First we needed to determine the kind of apple. While red delicious apples are wonderful to eat, they aren’t good for cooking, sauce or baking. So they are carefully picked over and left in a cool spot to be eaten. My unheated porch works well, but a refrigerator would also work.

The Granny Smith apples are very firm and hard. They are waiting patiently to be made into pies, crisps and other delicious treats.  They will do fine in “cold storage” on the porch for a few weeks or even months. If they start getting soft before we use them- we’ll cut them and freeze them.

Before we store apples we always look for bruises or blemishes and eat those fruit first. An apple with firm flesh and no bruising or cuts will keep much longer. The saying “one bad apple spoils the bunch” is absolutely true!

The Yellow Delicious, Red Rome and Jonathon we processed into applesauce, apple pie filling, and apple butter. We also used our apple corer/peeler on some and froze them in quart bags to be used all winter in pies and crisps.

I now have a 3 year supply of apple butter, a 2 year supply of applesauce, and enough apples in the freezer for several pies this winter. And I still have apples!

So I boxed up several bushels and shared them with my sisters, my sister-in-law, my friend from Michigan, and anyone else who happened along and looked hungry.

Crate by crate, box by box I’m making a dent in the piles! What an amazing harvest!

Apples, Apples, Apples!

red delicious apples

The last two years we’ve had dismal apple harvests.

They’ve been so bad that last year I had to import apples from my sister-in-law in North Dakota to make applesauce.

This year is a totally different story!

Apple trees that have never had an apple are loaded this year. There are so many apples in southern Iowa that I’m afraid to look people in the eye for fear they will offer me some.

I’ve even heard of people leaving random bags of apples on the porches of unsuspecting neighbors. We might need to start locking our car doors.

Every potluck and church dinner has row after row of apple pies, apple cobbler, apple crisp, apple salad, and apple muffins.

I’ve already done over 58 quarts of applesauce and we have barely touched the apple tree. Can new apples sprout over night?

Right now I have 4 banana boxes of apples sitting in my porch reminding me that I’m not done yet.

Yet, I want to get as much out of these as I can because I don’t know if there will be a harvest next year.

So my plans for the week are pretty well decided. Applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, then lather rinse, repeat.

Apple crisp anyone?