Fall picks

Image courtesy of poorandpretty.com

As Autumn begins, I look forward to all of its simple pleasures. One of my favorite activities is visiting our local apple orchard. Our family has gone apple picking every year since I was a child, and every year I feel the same jolt of exhilaration stepping out of the car. While engaged in the simple act of gathering apples, I experience a rich sense of harvest. I breathe in the sweet, crisp, leafy combination of the morning and the orchard, and all the years come back to me.

When I get home and put the kids to bed I find myself leafing through old photos and recipes, I search for that elusive nineteenth century novel I swore I was going to finish last Fall, and I make myself a hot mug of apple cider with allspice. Apples, pumpkin pie, old books; scent memory and emotional memory are inextricably linked together. We all have little reminders of this at different moments in our lives, but for me Autumn and Winter are two of the most powerful seasons for these kinds of associations.

This fall, we introduced a new scent called Hearth which combines cedar wood, with sweet amber and leather. It conjures up that first cold evening curling up by the fireplace. Another new scent is our Vanilla Noir, which combines a creamy Madagascar Vanilla with soft woods and musk; this one always reminds me of baking with Mom in the kitchen. And last but not least, our Pumpkin candle with its warm notes of harvest pumpkin, spice and herbs always cheers me up after a long day.

Favorite Fall recipes & inspired scents

Image courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Besides the colorful foliage, another thing I look forward to in Fall is breaking out my favorite recipes and sharing them with family and friends. It’s become such a tradition that some of my recipes have even found their way into an inspired food-themed candle like French Pear (inspired by an apple-pear crisp I’ll mention below) and Pumpkin! The pomander candle is one we’ve based on our Swedish family tradition of scoring oranges with fresh cloves to perfume the house for the holidays. They can be put in a beautiful bowl or tied with red ribbon and hung around the house, and the smell is captured perfectly in our wax rendering!

Right now, we’re making lots of soups with seasonal vegetables to keep warm on chilly days. We are also baking pumpkin bread (both regular and gluten/dairy free versions to accommodate my daughter’s gluten allergy) and enjoying hot apple cider. I also just made a delicious apple pear crisp created by one of our favorite cooks, Ina Garten!

I thought you might like to see some of my recipes and I’d love to see yours as well! Here are a few of our favorites:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter or vegetarian substitute for non-dairy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, blend
  • 1.5 cups white rice flour,1.5 cups sorghum flour, .5 cups tapioca starch, 4 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a bread pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well after each one. Add Vanilla and pumpkin and mix until well-blended. In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared bread pan and bake one hour to one hour and ten minutes. ENJOY!

And here’s the recipe from Ina Garten that I used to make the Apple Pear Crisp. I used the gluten-free flour mix above in place of the multipurpose flour for Gluten Free and substituted the vegan butter for real butter. It is delicious! I also reduced the amount of sugar in the apple/pear mix to half because the fruit should be nice and ripe.

I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to our country kitchen and bon appétit!