Monday, October 5, 2009

Change With The Seasons....

I find it pretty funny how we seem to naturally change our food selections with the changing seasons. I know myself, that when Spring pops up I begin to crave leafy greens, sweet melons and strawberries! Summer brings with it all the endless grilled food; hot dogs, hamburgs, then all those vegetables that are making their debut in our gardens and at our farmers markets, big lush salads and don't forget the ice cream! Now that the weather is feeling cooler and the leaves are turning, I start to look forward to baking the warm bread that has turned into a daily ritual for me lately, hardy soups filled to the brim with Bruce & Abbey Potatoes (so my children have named them)! Sunday nights are just begging for a yummy slow cooked meal; like a roast with all the fixings shared with the whole family. This is the time of year that a big cup of tea and a sconce before bed are a must to help insure a cozy nights sleep. Even my choice of scents changes, take for example the lighter scents of summer - cucumber melon, strawberry fields and even fresh cut grass. Fall brings along the warmer smell of spices - Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg then the scents of Pumpkin Spice, Apple Pie and Candy Corn. I love the fact that we are ever changing, in each aspect of our lives. We mentally, physically and emotionally change with each new day and what it brings us. I personally love this time of year and all the warm cozy feelings that come along with Autumn. I tend to want to draw my children and family in closer and spend quiet nights wrapped up in a warm blanket with a fire in the fireplace sipping on some warm spiced cider......what more could you ask for? Coming soon will be the cold crisp days and nights of winter that bring with it rich hot chocolate and candlelight, scents of Oven Fresh Cookies, Christmas Trees, Citrus Spiked with Cloves and Wood Stoves. We will long for warm heavy filling foods, roasted root vegetables and thick hearty stews. Oh all the wonderful changes that come along with each season. I look forward to these changes and hope that I take the time to enjoy every single one, they only come around once a year.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to welcome Fall into my home:

Easy Simmering Spices
2-3 Whole Cinnamon Sticks or Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Whole or Ground Cloves
1 Orange - cut into quarters
2-3 Cups of water

Put all these ingredients into a medium pot and simmer on your stove. (Make sure to check the water level and keep adding more when it gets low!)

Warm Spiced Cider
3 sticks of Cinnamon
2 tsp. Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/2 gallon Sweet Apple Cider
2 c. Orange Juice or 2 Oranges cut into quarters

Tie cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a small piece of cheesecloth. Combine with cider in a large saucepan. Simmer 15 - 30 minutes, the longer you simmer the stronger the spice flavor. Remove spice bag. Stir in orange juice & heat until hot. Pour into big mugs and use a Cinnamon Stick as your stirrer.

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