Dwindling Days

Captured at Old Sturbridge Village.
Changing seasons and changing weather.  I enjoy this time of year when cups of tea and open windows exist happily together in the same day

Pumpkins Upon Pumpkins

All our gorgeous white and green pumpkins came from my favorite farmstand.  And they have simply pumpkins upon pumpkins!  This place is a fabulous place to visit, but never better than in the autumn...pumpkins, gourds, squash, mums, cornstalks, apples, corn, fresh-pressed cider, and on and on!






Some of their more unusual pumpkins were these deeply-ribbed ones...


...and these small, bright yellow ones.  I'd never seen either of those varieties before.


"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself,
than be crowded on a velvet cushion."

- Henry David Thoreau

Fall Foliage Glimpse

All signs point to a vibrant and gorgeous fall foliage season here in New Hampshire!  Even though we do live in one of the best places in the world for fall color, believe it or not, some years the foliage is not as beautiful as other years.  It all depends upon a complicated matrix of temperatures and rainfall and the timing of it all.

Mostly, the trees are still green, but here and there, teasing us at the splendor to come, is a bright tree or two.  The view looking up the street from in front of our house.


And all the pretty ferns that have carpeted our forest floors and edged our roadways are turning golden-brown.


The "swamp maples", maples that grow in swampy areas, are the very first trees to turn, and they are glorious shades of red right now.


And every once in a while, you happen upon one tree that just makes you stop the car and get out to admire it.  So pretty!  Every leaf red from top to bottom and not a one has fallen yet!



But, for a broader perspective, the countryside still looks pretty green.


I'll be back to photograph this view again this autumn, so we can watch it transform together!

Apple Pie Bars

Searching my Pinterest boards for a suitable recipe to celebrate the first day of autumn, I decided to try one for Apple Pie Bars.  In the end, I tweaked the recipe a bit, and so present my own version of them.  I'm pleased to say that they hold together beautifully!  And although I served them on a plate, I do believe they could be held in the hand, or the recipe even altered further to make individual hand-pies.



Apple Pie Bars

Crust:
3 c. flour
3/4 t. salt
2 T. granulated sugar
18 T. unsalted butter, very cold, and diced into cubes
1/4 c. + 1/8 c. milk
1 1/2 egg yolks (not easy to do, but you'll manage)

Filling:
5 c. apples, peeled, cored, and diced (use a mix of 2 or 3 varieties for the fullest flavor)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg

Topping:
1 egg white
1/4 c. Turbinado (coarse-grained) sugar

Caramel sauce for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For crust: Add flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor bowl and pulse three or four times to mix.  Add cold, cubed butter and pulse 15-20 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add milk and egg yolks and pulse until mixture comes together into a ball.  Don't over mix, or you will toughen the dough.  Divide dough in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap, forming it into small, even rectangle as you do.  Wrap until enclosed in plastic, and refrigerate while completing the next step.

Filling: Peel, core, and dice the apples.  Place apples in a mixing bowl and mix with vanilla; stir well.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, and spices.  Pour flour mixture over apples and stir well.

Assembling: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough parts into a 9 x 13 rectangle.  Roll dough up onto a rolling pin and transfer to the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.  Spread apples onto dough, leaving about 1/2" space all around the edges.



Roll remaining dough into slightly larger than a 9 x 13" rectangle.  Transfer, on pin, to the top of the apples, and trim off excess dough evenly.


Gently press down all along the edges to seal.


Whisk the egg white until frothy, and brush on top of pastry.  Sprinkle liberally with Turbinado sugar.


Bake for one hour, until crust is golden brown.  Cool completely and slice into squares.

Drizzle dessert plates with caramel.  Place apple pie square atop caramel.  Top with dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.  

Serves 12.

Welcome Autumn!


This may become known as the autumn in which no orange pumpkins entered our home.  So far...no one's complaining.  And I'm enjoying the serene and understated autumn touch this assortment is adding to our mantle and tables.



We ushered in this first day of autumn with a comforting dinner of chicken and dumplings with apple pie bars for dessert.  What did you do to celebrate the autumn equinox?

Heirlooms

Today I made a jaunt to my favorite farm stand for some seasonal essentials.  One my shopping list were heirloom tomatoes for a side dish for dinner tonight.  And what a selection they have!  This is only about one-third of what they have to choose from.


These were the ones that came home with me.  Upon tasting them, my favorite was the green one...a tomato that is green only when it is ripe.


A Day on the Grey Lady

After leaving our home-away-from-home on the Cape, we scurried to catch the morning ferry to Nantucket.  Through a series of mistakes on our part, and after encountering more than one full parking lot, we caught the 9:15 ferry at 9:16 and it departed at 9:17.  Whew!  Still can't believe we made it!  A little frazzled, we settled in for the 2 hr. 15 mins. crossing to the island of Nantucket, also known as The Grey Lady.

One of the first sights we saw after arriving was this.  I mean...come on!  You know you're in an utterly charming place when this greets you!



First order of business after arriving was lunch.  We headed straight to our favorite restaurant on the island, The Brotherhood of Thieves.


This, semi-basement level restaurant is a favorite with locals and tourists alike.  When Technohubby and I spent a week on the island for our 10th anniversary, we warmed ourselves with their tasty burgers, soups, and cozy atmosphere many times.


Lunch for me this time was a burger with caramelized onions and mushroom and boursin cheese, served with colesaw and steak fries.  Yum!


Sufficiently fortified for an afternoon of walking and fresh sea air, we began our island explorations.


I never tire of looking at beautiful houses, and Nantucket has the BEST!


We walked along the beach and the famous Brant Point lighthouse that greets you as you enter Nantucket Harbor.  The beach is a shell-searchers dream!




Meandering back towards town, we left the guys to tour the U.S. Coast Guard station, as Max is hoping to become a Coastie.


While they were busy there, Colette and I walked the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets of the town, admiring the pretty bed-and-breakfast inns, the windowboxes overflowing with blooms, and the general charm of the island.




This famous landmark is painted on the side of the Ralph Lauren store on Main Street.  Did a little browsing in that store.


And a little browsing in this Nantucket shop.  Love their luxurious handwoven throws!


Then we visited the Peter Bretton Hats Studio.  So fun!  Look at all the delicious ribbons with which you can customize your hat!



We met up with the guys at a local coffee house.  Purchased some pastries from a bakery to take home.  And then we headed over to the Whaling Museum to take a tour.  Nantucket was the nation's whaling capital for many years.  Many of the homes on the island belonged to captains of whaling ships.


Candles made from spermecetti, the last part of the whale oil processing.  Such a curious color.


Whale oil (this from a whale that washed up on the island in the 1990's) was used for many decades as a fuel for lanterns.  These bottles are actually quite large...close to 2-ft. high.


The rooftop terrace of the Whaling Museum provides a lovely spot for relaxing and has a commanding view of the harbor and surrounding neighborhood of classic Nantucket homes.  Can you see why it's called The Grey Lady?


Then it was time for ice cream at this charming shop.  The smell of their waffle cones had been hovering in the air for hours, and we could resist no longer.  Besides, they have flowers on their door!


I had a pumpkin spice ice cream, as a way of saying "goodbye" to summer and "hello" to autumn.  Always so sad to leave The Grey Lady.

Time at the Cape

This year, instead of giving everyone in the family birthday gifts, Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts, and Christmas gifts, Colette gifted us all with a two-night stay on Cape Cod!  She rented a roomy house on a quiet cul-de-sac.  Ahhh...fabulous!



Love, love, LOVE all the windows in this house!  A cool, refreshing breeze was whooshing through the house for most of the evening.  Like many beach homes, the main living area was on the second floor, to take advantage of the views.  The open windows in this picture belonged to the kitchen.  And that little overhanging box was a cozy window seat, just right for lounging!


The doorway to relaxation!


The first night we were there, we got settled in, grilled chicken for dinner, and celebrated Colette's birthday.


Awoke the next day to sunny skies and sundrenched rooms.


The view from the picture window in the upstairs living room.


The weather was quite chilly, but you can't go to the Cape without going to the beach.  Love the tall, waving grasses and interesting rocks and shells you can find on New England's beaches.





Theo spent all his time trying to remove the rocks from the beach and fill the bay with them.  Love that "typical boy" behavior!





It was wonderful to be all together for two days!  Next posting...our visit to Nantucket!
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