Tag Archives: fall

It’s C-C-C-C-Cold…

It has been REALLY cold lately. I mean it’s not just curl up under a blanket or put on a sweatshirt cold, but more like put a on sweatshirt-then put another one on along with a hat and some gloves-then curl up under three blankets-while you have a space heater pointed right at you cold. Oh, also, you’re indoors in this scenario. Yeah, it’s that cold.

Of course, I can’t really complain. Sure, it’s been below 0°F for at least a week and continues to waver between negative and positive degrees, but it’s nothing compared to the north of the state.

See, I am in Anchorage which is in the South Central part of the state, meaning it’s closer to the equator (well, as close as we can get in Alaska). There are other places much closer to, and actually in, the Arctic Circle. See map below.

That dotted line? That runs across the state West to East? Near the top? Goes into Russia and Canada too? Try zooming in…Yeah! That line! That’s the line showing the Arctic Circle! Check out how much of Alaska is above that line. Pretty cool, huh?

Actually, it’s pretty damn cold.

Spending four years in New York definitely messes with your internal temperature gauge in terms of what the weather should be like during certain seasons and how cold it is outside. I keep hearing from New York friends who say that the 40s are way too cold and it should heat up now. I just chuckle. One of my good NY friends actually sent me a picture of her phone’s temperature readings for Anchorage a week ago. It said it was -4°F. She said “It’s a bit cold eh?”. Yes. Yes it is. It’s even colder up in Barrow (again, see the map).

Remember those berries you froze this summer? Oh, and that peach butter you made? Remember how I had said they would be a little reminder of warmth in mid-winter? Yeah, time to pull those out and enjoy.

What? Your favorite season is Fall and you’re mourning that it will be a long winter, a damp spring, and a mildly warm summer before you get to see the beautiful colors and smell and eat the comforting smells and food again? I feel ya. May I present you with: Pumpkin Butter!

Pumpkin Butter

Cooking Spray
A 3-4 pound Sugar or Pie pumpkin – NOT the kind you carve for Halloween (you can also use canned pumpkin, but it just won’t be the same as roasting a pumpkin!)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
As much of your favorite pumpkin pie spices are you’d like (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, all spice, nutmeg, whatever your heart desires)
Sugar (if desired, to taste)

 

To roast pumpkin: Preheat oven to 375°F. Use cooking spray to adhere parchment paper to baking sheet pan, set aside. Split pumpkin in half using a large chef’s knife. Clean out pumpkin innards and carefully remove stem and bottom knot. Cut pumpkin halves into slices for easier peeling. Using either a knife or a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the pumpkin slices and, if you want things to look nice and neat, peel inside of the slices too to remove straggling innards. Cut slices into chunks. Roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool.

Once pumpkin is cooled, puree in the food processor with the cider, spices, salt and vanilla extract.

Put puree in a medium saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste to see if you would like to add any sugar to sweeten, and if so add to your liking. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

The leaves are already mostly off the trees here in Anchorage. It’s sad. White stuff is slowly making its way down the mountain sides and, word around the weather station is, it may be on the streets by next week. Please, let fall stay a little bit longer.

Just because the temperature has dropped into the 40s (the 30s at night, by the way) doesn’t mean that the tastes and smells of fall have to leave entirely. The house has been over taken by pumpkins recently and some Halloween decorations are finding their way to their display destinations. The whole family had mugs of hot apple cider the other night, and many a fall baking list has been made.

Seriously, half of everything on my computer is either recipes or lists of food to make. Multiple lists too. In various colors to show what has been attempted, what still needs to be tried, etc. It’s reminiscent of a Kandinsky.

While walking around the grocery store a few weeks ago, I remembered the newish mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups that are now available and popular among bakers. I did find them, but instead of picking up a bag I grabbed Reese’s Pieces for one main reason: color.

Suddenly visions of orange, yellow, and brown dotted cookies filled my head and I knew they had to become a reality. Plus color just rocks. Huge fan. Maybe I should be eating less of these cookies…

Reese’s Pieces Oatmeal Cookies (with a hint of Pumpkin Spice, cause why not?)

2 sticks of room-temp butter (8oz)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups oats
1 – 1 1/2 cups Reese’s Pieces (Or really, however many you want)

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In stand mixer, mix butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix in oats and Reese’s Pieces until just combined. Scoop out onto lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set to cool, and enjoy!

Anchorage in Fall

I love fall. It’s just so beautiful.

Peachy Keen

It’s cold. I mean really, it’s cold. Our thermometer thing-a-ma-jig says it’s 52 degrees outside. Brr. Actually, this Friday it is being reported that the HIGH for the day is 50!

Oh Alaska, way to have temperatures 20 degrees colder than the rest of the country.

Summer ends fast up here. Then there’s fall, or what we call fall. The air is crisp and chilly, the leaves are turning yellow, and the occasional bush is turning orange or red, while the pine trees remain evergreen. Hehe, get it?

I love it. Dad, Smidget and I have discovered a new bike bath through the city and it is absolutely beautiful. Especially right now, during fall in Anchorage.

The only problem is the length. Not only does summer end fast and suddenly it’s fall, but fall only lasts a short while before the ground starts to get frosted and termination dust (local phrase for that white fluffy stuffs that starts falling after the frost) settles on the mountain tops and oh, I don’t want to even think about it!

Can fall last longer here? I love fall. I NEED it.

But even though it is starting to become fall here doesn’t mean we can still have some summer!

Yesterday the sun was out, and it was almost too warm to be wearing a sweatshirt. Lots of people were out enjoying the weather, we even got to use the grill again before it gets too cold to keep the back door open. As a partial tribute to the end of summer, but more so a way to use some of the summer fruits that will be disappearing off store shelves soon, I found a great recipe for this fancy toast topping.

Peach Butter

Peaches (I recall using between 5-7)
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar (or brown sugar)
Pinch or cinnamon

Peel and de-pit the peaches (I find peeling easier if you stick the peaches in hot water for a bit first).
Cut peaches into bits, then put in medium size pot. Add the water, sugar and cinnamon. Keep peaches on the heat for 10 minutes.
Using either an immersion blender or a regular standing one, puree the mixture until desired consistency (it will be fairly thin).
Cook in a crock pot/slow cooker for 10-12 hours, or overnight on LOW heat. Also, this is important, don’t put a lid completely on. You don’t want to steam the peaches, you want to cook them. So either cover with a splatter guard or use spoons or something to keep the lid off the crock pot.
Honestly, just keep it in the low crock pot until it gets to your desired consistency.
Don’t forget to stir it.
Boil canning jars and lids with seals. Put peach butter into the jars and close them, they should seal on their own.
Spread on toast, waffles, pancakes, mix into yogurt, or even top ice cream and enjoy!

Recipe adapted by: Katrina Runs for Food

Yeah, that jar there that is looking empty? It’s gone. All gone. It’s good stuff. A bit of summer for all year round, to go with those frozen raspberries!

Birthday Blunders…

I have recently been made aware of a terrible situation that is occurring throughout elementary (and even middle, junior high, and high) schools throughout the land. Yes, that’s right, the land.  And this tragic topic is:

Summer Birthday Shunning.

As a summer birthday girl, I personally can relate to the issue at hand. All throughout elementary, middle, and high school there were parties, celebrations, goodies, whathaveyou for the people who had birthdays in their respective months. AKA September babies had a party in September, October babies in October, etc.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating birthdays, nothing at all, they are a reason to let loose and have a bit of fun, but there is just one problem. The summer’s are always overlooked.

Those born in May/June/July are never celebrated within the school year. It sucks. Our lockers are never decorated, our teachers never say “Happy Birthday!”, we never get a little celebration in class, no cake, no candles, nothing. We get to sit on our couches (or at our jobs once we’re old enough) all summer long and celebrate only with those close friends, and our family.

Every fall we get to school and our teachers go “oh, we’ll celebrate our summer birthdays now since we missed them!” and then they don’t. So they say “oops, we’ll celebrate in the spring!” but they forget, and we don’t. And then comes “well we’ll just do it next fall, ok?” but it doesn’t happen. Ever. Not ok.

And so, over this past summer as our staff this year got to talking I realized we have quite a few (aka 3 or 4) summer birthdays on staff. So I mentioned to another of these summer birthdays that we should have a little party! This idea was really enforced when the main office we work for had an August/September birthday party. It had to happen. And so, at our past staff meeting, it did.

And I made cupcakes, naturally.

Fall themed cupcakes for summer birthdays? Why not. It’s almost equinox anyway! Plus who doesn’t LOVE fall?! Absolute favorite season ever.

Now, as per usual in this kitchen and at this school, it’s a box mix for the cakes. Spice cake to be specific.

But the frosting, that I made up. In the kitchen. On the spot. So it was something like 2 8oz packages of cream cheese, two capfulls of lemon extract, some melted butter, and enough powdered sugar to get that consistency you want. So if it’s too thick, more butter, too thin, more sugar. Oh, and orange food coloring. Well, red and yellow to make orange, but you get the point.

It was great, everyone on staff loved them and raved about the frosting. So, hurrah for made up cream cheese frosting! I would suggest making it for any sort of work, or even family, function, it will be the hit of the night! Enjoy!

Also, the little sugar guys are Betty Crocker, I got them from Wal-Mart who is already hitting the fall/Halloween season!

The little Owl is soooooo cute!

Who? Me? Really?