I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. It is officially time to put away the white pants and linen and begin to enjoy football, apples, and pumpkins. It may not be fall per the calendar as yet, but in the South we have rules. I just love this that I found while perusing my social media last night. I guess I really am a southern girl as I do in fact live by most of these. I will admit to continuing to wear strappy sandals and sundresses for another week or so, but really how can you not when the thermometer is inching up to the mid 90’s. White however is a no and I completely agree with the author of this piece as I struggle with whether or not white jeans work. Regardless of what the fashion industry said, us southern girls remember what our mom’s taught us.
So to kick our fall off, we went apple picking this weekend. We had a great time, though I wish it had been a few degrees cooler. It is hard to enjoy yourself and get ready for fall when you are sweating your way through the apple orchard. Apple Cider YES please, just make it a cold one. There is no way to enjoy hot apple cider when it is a blazing 88 on top of a mountain. Regardless of the weather our family tradition still stands. We had a picnic lunch, picked a bushel of apples, bought and enjoyed some apple cider, and indulged on apple cider doughnuts. Not a bad way to enjoy the long weekend. Now back at home the apples have been sorted and stored. I prefer to refrigerate most of the apples as they keep for longer.
Tips for Storing Apples
1. Sort apples by variety, as different varieties ripen at different rates
2. Make sure to check apples for bruises and punctures as these apples need to be eaten first
3. Apples will keep best if stored in a cool environment cellar or the refrigerator fruit drawer are good choices. Most apples will keep 3-5 months when kept this way.
4. Be sure to keep apples away from onions and potatoes as they hasten the ripening.
We have made apple picking a tradition for the past five years or so. With about 30lbs of apples in the house we have learned to enjoy them in a variety of ways. Little Miss Mixtures lunch included fresh apple slices with peanut butter and honey for dipping. Sometimes we eat them with a slice of cheese. I baked them with cinnamon and raisins to enjoy with yogurt. I mix them into salads, make cakes, and applesauce. Aside from just biting into them, this is how we enjoyed our fresh Jonagold apples this weekend.
Spinach & Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
3 cups fresh spinach
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, sautéed in the bacon fat
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small apple (jonagold, gala, or other sweet variety work best)
1 oz Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Shallots, minced
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette and whisk together. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until 3/4 of the way done. Add the sliced red onion and continue sautéing together until bacon is crispy and onion is soft. In a large salad bowl mix spinach, apple slices, and mushrooms. Top with bacon and onion mixture. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss well. Serve and enjoy.
* adapted from Spinach Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette in Cooking Light Magazine
What we are Eating (August 24 – August 30)
Sunday – Italian Chicken Sausage Pepper & Onions, Made from Scratch Sweet Potato Fries, Heirloom Tomatoes
Monday – Better than Take Out Pizza
Tuesday – Nachos with Black Bean Corn Salsa
Wednesday – Taco Salad
Thursday – Cilantro Serrano Pasta with Chicken
Friday – Anytime Salad with Chicken
Saturday – Date Night Out