October 4, 2010

Apples and Spice......and "Our Little Pumpkin!"

Can you see them? The leaves of reds and golds, drifting....ever so softly...outside your window.....Can you hear them....the crows.....their sounds early in the morning, echoing throughout the air.....Can you feel it....the chill of the October breezes whispering at your doors.......

Oh, happy are the days at The Maine House. October has arrived and the air is crisp and cool. We decided to enjoy our morning coffee around the breakfast table and savor that most delicious smell of spicy apples baking in the oven. We had a relaxing Sunday morning with family as we discussed fall gardens, the changing foliage in New England and decided where we would spend the day taking in the sights.

 We packed a picnic lunch of various cheeses, our homemade trail mix, almond butter with buttery crackers and those irresistible caramel bites. We even packed  "our little pumpkin", along with the McIntosh apples to create our festive fall centerpiece. Once we arrived at our destination we sat and gazed at the Atlantic, each lost in our own thoughts. 

The chill from the ocean drifted over us, so we decided to gather around the wedding ring quilt and savor our small feast as we talked and laughed about family.
 It was a most marvelous October day!

Estelle's Apple and Spice French Toast
1 large loaf French or Italian bread
8 large eggs
3-1/2 cups milk or light cream
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
6 to 8 medium-sized cooking apples (Cortland, Macintosh, or Granny Smith) and 1/4 cup butter 

Slice bread into 1-1/2 inch slices. Spray 9 x 13-inch glass pan with corn oil or non-stick spray. Place bread in glass dish, placing tightly together. In separate bowl, beat together eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, and vanilla (by hand, with whisk, for about 30 seconds). Pour one half of egg-milk mixture over bread. Peel, core, and slice apples. Place sliced apples on top of bread to cover. Pour balance of egg-milk mixture evenly over apples. Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle evenly over top of apples. Dot with butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight.Next morning, preheat oven 350 degrees. Uncover dish and bake in oven for 1 hour. It will rise high and brown nicely. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and serve with warm maple syrup. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

          "The Little Pumpkin"

"The sweetest flower that blows, I give you as we part.
 For you it is a rose For me it is my heart."- Frederick Peterson

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