donuts and coffee, fall-style

Between our busy schedules and Andrew spending every free moment working on our patio (almost finished!), we haven’t really gotten out for a proper ‘date’ in awhile.  Sure, we go grab lunch or dinner pretty frequently, but there have been no leisurely walks around the neighborhood, no care-free drives to see the colors of fall.  We don’t park ourselves in front of the television on weekends to watch college football, nor do we have people over to enjoy the Bills games, or even rake leaves together on mild afternoons.  Nope, for the past two or three fall seasons, Andrew (with or without me) has been toiling away on whatever project we had going on, or injured (let’s not forget those Achilles’ injuries).

So, this Saturday, we took the day off.  (Or, I intended us to, but somehow Andrew managed to talk me into letting him work outside for a couple hours…so I busied myself inside with food prep for the week ahead.)

After my morning run and a quick pancake breakfast together, we did our usual ‘separate-but-home-at-the-same-time’ thing for a few hours, and then headed out to Mayer Brothers Cider Mill, a local apple cider producer.  They have a small store and the line on beautiful fall days starts at the door and weaves throughout the store, from donut pick-up in the beginning to apple cider slushies and check-out at the end.


Donuts.  Yes, I said donuts.  While you inevitably pick up a gallon of cider to bring home, you actually go to the cider mill for their fresh cinnamon donuts.  It was Andrew’s idea and I was 100% on board.  Not sure what’s gotten into me lately…I’m on a donut-kick of some sort.  (Promptly taking myself OFF the donut train as of this morning, thankyouverymuch.)


We grabbed a gallon of cider, a small jar of apple butter, a bag of cinnamon apple chips (a favorite of mine), an apple cider slushie (better than it sounds, I promise) and headed to a nearby Starbucks to enjoy our treats.  We got a mix of the traditional cinnamon-sugar-dusted and a couple for me to try (cream cheese frosted, caramel frosted), and I think a whopping SIX may have been consumed in total.  (I may not have felt guilty about enjoying those delicious donuts, but I certainly didn’t feel great afterward, either.)

While our fall date was no walk in the park (literally) or pumpkin patch, it was a few hours in which we forgot about the to-do lists, spent time together and enjoyed a fall tradition. Perhaps we’ll make it back to Pumpkinville next year.

Mrs. Nye’s Christmas Applesauce

Mrs. Nye’s “Christmas” Applesauce

Mrs. Nye gave me some applesauce once to try and I loved it.  It was pink and slightly sweet with a hint of cinnamon.  I asked her what kind of apples she used and for the recipe; she couldn’t remember what kind of apple she used so she brought one to me and told me to ask at the farmer’s market where she bought them!  Turns out they were Idareds and her secret ingredient was Red Hots candies.  I made this while my friend, Wendy, was visiting during the fall of 2012 and she remarked that it reminded her of Christmas—the slightly red color and hint of cinnamon sweetness from the Red Hots.

1 peck of Idared apples (about 15-20)

2 tbsp Red Hots candies

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Core the apples, cut into wedges, then half them.  Do not peel.  Divide apples into two large stockpots, add a little water and bring to a boil.  Once the apples start to soften, stir to begin mixing with a spoon.  Add 1 tbsp Red Hots to each pot.

Once apples are very soft, transfer in batches into a food mill and process.  Discard skins.  Combine both into one pot, add 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp sugar.

Makes about 8 wide-mouth pint jars (for canning).