From My Carolina Home

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Apple Tablescape

September has arrived, and although it is technically still summer, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of autumn for me.  This is the weekend of the Apple Festival, our biggest event of the year.  I have posted about this festival in years past, click on Apple Festival 2014 and Apple Festival 2015 to see the apple vendors, entertainment, and all the apple products we can get during the Labor Day weekend event.  I did an Apple themed tablescape last year, and have some new-to-me vintage apple items to use this year.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

While cleaning out the fabric closet, I found this apple printed corduroy.  Originally I thought I’d use it for a clothing item, but it has languished in the closet now for at least a few years.  So, it became a table runner. I cut it to a good size, and serged the edge with a rolled-edge stitch. See my Perfect Serged Napkins to see the whole technique tutorial.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Using a large eye needle and a threader, I pull the tail back through the serged edge and cut it off.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I got two napkins from the piece too.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I put the runner diagonally on top of a square red table cloth. In the center, I placed an apple decorated biscotti jar, and some wooden apples around the center, both thrift store buys.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

On each side of the jar, I put half of a cute apple salt and pepper set, also a thrift store score.  The set looks like a whole apple when placed side by side, and you can see a cut apple on one side of each one.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

The little apple cage holding a votive was a thrift store score last year. I added some artificial leaves to the bottom.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

On the other side of the biscotti jar is a red pillar candle with an apple candle ring, part of my latest thrift store.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Four place settings have red chargers, white stoneware plates, red stoneware salad plates…

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

and small ramekins with an apple design.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Red napkins are held with apple napkin rings. These are part of the same design line as the ramekins.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Cut crystal wine glasses and individual salt and pepper shakers complete each setting.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

You may notice that all the reds are not the same.  Just like apples come in different shades of red and yellow and even green, I just mixed the red shades.

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Are you hungry for breakfast?  Serving my Apple Donuts, my Carmel Apple Coffee Cake, or pancakes with warm homemade Cinnamon Applesauce would make great breakfast fare!

Apple Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Are you ready for fall?

Fat Quarter Shop has some adorable apple fabrics if you want to set your own apple table, just put Apple in the search box.

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

(This is an affiliate link. By clicking on the link and making a purchase, I may earn a small commission to help support the costs of my blog. You can use your existing account with Fat Quarter Shop to shop. Thank you for using my link!)

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Honey Crisp Applesauce with Cinnamon

When went to the Apple Festival, we came home with far too many apples. It is easy to do when they all look so scrumptious! However, we cannot eat them all fast enough (I like apples with peanut butter), and even baking Caramel Apple Coffee Cakes didn’t use them all. The ones that were left were on the verge of spoiling, so it was time to figure out something else to do with them. DH loves applesauce and I haven’t made homemade applesauce for him. Of course it would have to be cinnamon flavored! This is a small batch, not like the other recipes you will find on the internet. I didn’t have six pounds of apples left, LOL!!  So, I gathered the last four apples and a lemon to prevent the apples from turning brown.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Squeezing half the lemon gave me plenty of juice.  This old fashioned glass juicer belonged to my grandmother and I think of her every time I use it.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

I peeled and sliced the Honey Crisp apples, and tossed them with the lemon juice and just one tablespoon of sugar.  These naturally sweet apples do not need much added, just a bit of sugar to help make the sauce thicken, along with the pectin from the apples.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Then, the apples were placed in a pot with some water, and cinnamon.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium, stirring often until the apples are soft and cooked through.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Cover about halfway through to prevent the apples from drying out.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

When they are soft, remove from heat, transfer to a heat proof bowl and let cool.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Mash with a potato masher until the chunks are the size you like. DH likes some bigger chunks of apple.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Cinnamon Apple Sauce made with naturally sweet Honey Crisp apples.

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

All ready to eat, it only lasted two meals. DH just cannot stay out of applesauce with cinnamon, even more so homemade!

Honey Crisp Applesauce at From My Carolina Home

Homemade Honey Crisp Applesauce with Cinnamon

4 Honey Crisp Apples (or you can use any sweeter apple, like Gala)
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon to taste

Peel, core and slice apples. Place in bowl, add lemon juice and sugar, toss well. Transfer to cooking pot, add water and cinnamon, stir well. Heat to boiling, then turn down heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. About halfway through cooking, cover to prevent too much moisture from escaping and drying out the apples. Place in a glass bowl, then mash with a hand masher while still warm. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!


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Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

I have been working on this apple coffee cake for a bit now, this is my third try and I finally got it right.  It is a good thing that I had a lot of apples from the Apple Festival, LOL!

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

The first recipe didn’t get cooked all the way through, even though I baked the sucker for over an hour and a half. I had to cut it apart to finish it off in the oven.  DH ate it anyway (it had cinnamon in it), and said it tasted OK, but this just wasn’t the right way to make it.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Back to the drawing board yet again, I cut the recipe down from the huge tube pan to a smaller square baking pan.  Actually, this worked out better as it is a smaller cake, better for breakfast for two, with a bit left over for the next day.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

That is, if you can stay out of it as it comes out of the oven!!  It would be wonderful served warm, with the crunchy crust as a dessert, maybe with a bit of ice cream or vanilla pudding, or with a warm caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

Start by peeling and coring some apples.  I used 4-5 smaller Honey Crisp apples.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Then coarsely chop, until you have about 2 cups, or a bit more.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Gather a few more ingredients.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350˚. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Beat eggs and oil until thick and smooth. Add brown sugar and beat well.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Add 1/2 of dry mixture and stir in, then add the remaining dry mixture and stir until combined.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Add apples and stir until well mixed.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

The batter will be thick, but the water in the apples will loosen it up.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Pour into an 8×8 baking pan and spread evenly in the pan.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Bake 55-60 minutes, until cake springs back in center. Don’t over-bake.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Set pan on a rack, cool 5 minutes.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Invert cake onto rack, then invert again right side up onto a plate.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Allow to cool. Wonderful served warm right off that plate. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve the next day.  The top and edges have a delicately crunchy texture, with a soft center and sweet apple chunks.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped apples, honey crisp or gala are best for this recipe

Preheat oven to 350˚. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Beat eggs and oil until thick and smooth. Add brown sugar and beat well. Add 1/2 of dry mixture and stir in, add remaining dry mixture and stir until combined. Add apples and stir until well mixed. Pour into an 8×8 baking pan and spread evenly in the pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, until cake springs back in center. Don’t over-bake. Set pan on a rack, cool 5 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, then invert again onto a plate. Allow to cool. Wonderful served warm right off that plate. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Yum!!  Try to leave some for breakfast!  I still have apples left, so look for another apple recipe soon.

 

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Apple Festival 2015

This weekend is the Apple Festival in my small town of Hendersonville, North Carolina. I have a great time here every year, looking at the wonderful craft vendors that line the streets, enjoying the various entertainments, but most of all visiting the apple grower’s booths. Last year I showed you lots of close up apple pictures, see them again HERE. This year, I thought I’d show you the booths and some of the show. The festival is about six city blocks of vendors. We started out at the NC Apple Growers Association booth, where they were offering taste tests of different varieties.

Apple Festival 2015

Local growers had booths sprinkled along the Festival area.

Apple Festival 2015

The orchards are all around Henderson county, some east of town and some south.

Apple Festival 2015

Of course we had to stop at several.

Apple Festival 2015

Apple Festival 2015

But I always get the honey crisp from Creasman Farms, and I’m not the only one, their booth is always busy.

Apple Festival 2015

That’s Dawn on the right, with a wonderfully friendly and happy group of ladies. I told them I was going to talk about them on the blog. Thanks gals!  I’ll be making more of my Apple Cake Donuts with some of those gorgeous apples.

Apple Festival 2015

Creasman Farms

We had to stop and get Apple Frozen Yogurt at Sweet Frog, a local spot on Main street.  One large, please, with two spoons.

Apple Festival 2015

Then we found a place to sit and enjoy the music of Super 60s, a live band playing hits from the 60s. I could hardly keep still, I wanted to get up and dance!

Apple Festival 2015

The music could be heard for blocks in both directions, really added a fun component to a fun day. The weather was perfect, in the 70s and overcast so not too hot.

Apple Festival 2015

Eventually we did move on to more apple vendors and looked at more craft booths.

Apple Festival 2015

Then we walked the two blocks off Main street to the Apple Festival Quilt Show sponsored by the FBC Memory Makers. I found mine hanging in the second row.  It wasn’t a winner of any prizes, but the organizer’s said the guys liked all the food in it.

Farmer's Market Picnic FBC show

After that, we went over to the Laurel Park Car Show that was in conjunction with the Apple Festival. Many of our British Car Club members were there.  It was a busy and exhausting Saturday, but so much fun!

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British Car Club at Laurel Park Car Show September 2015 – Photo by From My Carolina Home

The King Apple Parade is tomorrow afternoon, and I am working quilt take-in tomorrow morning for the State Fair quilting competition. Whew! Hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend!


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Apple Cake Donuts

Other than pumpkin, it is apples that have the taste of autumn.  So, here are apple donuts on a pumpkin plate.  These apple cake donuts are lightly spiced with cinnamon, and have a fresh apple flavor in a really moist donut, perfect for a weekend treat. I have been trying to get this recipe right ever since the Apple Festival. My first attempt was a disaster, the second was OK, but not great. Now, I think I finally have the perfect recipe.

AppleDonuts13

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

AppleDonuts1

Add eggs and oil, stir gently only until combined.

AppleDonuts2

Add apples, stir to distribute evenly.  A bit more than the 1-1/4 cup is OK.   Batter will be very thick and sticky.

AppleDonuts3

Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. Don’t use any tips as the apple chunks won’t go through. You will be tempted to skip this step but trust me, it is worth the 30 seconds it takes to put the batter in a bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag (I use disposables) use a zip top bag. Trying to get this sticky, thick batter into those little wells is next to impossible with spoons.

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Prepare two donut pans by spraying with no-stick spray.  Pipe batter into six donut wells.

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Repeat with remaining batter and second donut pan.

AppleDonuts5

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned.

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Allow to cool for a couple of minutes…

AppleDonuts8

then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.

AppleDonuts10

Yum! These are outstanding served right out of the oven. You can sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Or a combination of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Or drizzle with a little glaze made of powdered sugar and milk with a dash of vanilla. DH likes his plain and warmed up in the microwave.

AppleDonuts11

Apple Cake Donuts

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/4 cup diced fresh apples (about 3 gala size apples)

Spray two donut pans with non-stick spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first six dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs and oil, stir gently only until combined. Add apples, stir to distribute evenly. Batter will be very thick and sticky. Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. Pipe into six donut wells. Repeat with remaining batter and another donut pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or drizzle with glaze if you like.

AppleDonuts12

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Apple Festival 2014

One of the highlights of the year around here is the annual Apple Festival held every Labor Day Weekend.  It is four days of fun, three with vendors and shows on the stage in front of the courthouse, and then the King Apple Parade on Monday. Henderson county grows 85% of the apples in the state.

AppleFestival2014-12

The number of varieties grown here will boggle the mind. I even found a new one to me this weekend, a sheepnose (also called a crow egg) apple! It is because the bottom of the apple resembles a sheep’s nose. It has a medium balance of tart to sweet.

AppleFestival2014- sheepsnose

There were 14 growers at the fair this year, with all kinds of beautiful apples to buy, taste and just admire.

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Here’s my favorite variety, honey crisp!  Nicely sweet, goes really well with peanut butter.

AppleFestival2014-9

Ever have apple ice cream? It is wonderful! Tastes like an apple pie.

AppleFestival2014-3

The vendors had all sorts of things to sell to eat using apples, like apple pie..

AppleFestival2014-pie

and fried apple pies…

AppleFestival2014-fried pies

jams, chutneys and butters…

AppleFestival2014-butterjam

apple bread …

AppleFestival2014-bread

apple bread pudding…

AppleFestival2014-bread pudding

beignets…

AppleFestival2014-begnets

and whole caramel apples.

AppleFestival2014-8

It was hot, so we didn’t stay but a couple of hours.

AppleFestival2014-5

And I know I took way too many pictures, but don’t you think this one is pretty?

AppleFestival2014-1

Here’s what made it home with me.  The big green ones are Jonagolds.

AppleFestival2014-home

I hope I have enough cinnamon!

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Dog Days of August

It was a cool morning in August last Sunday, so I did a little garden cleanup.  I needed to do some weeding, and clean out the dead flower spikes from the day lilies.  I am pleased with the flowers this year, but the vegetables have been a complete bust.  In case you all think I only post successes, here are a couple of epic failures.   The spaghetti squash seeds I planted all got eaten by critters.  The garlic disappeared.  My onion only make one scrawny green onion.  Out of five tomato plants, I got a whopping four tomatoes.  Yes, there are only three here, I ate the other one, OK?.  It was tasty, but about the same size as these.

Veggies

No squash, no peppers, and the bear or a rabbit got my entire spinach crop.  The basil is doing well in a pot,

AugustFlowers-11;

but the parsley has barely grown at all,…

AugustFlowers-9

same for the sage. I just don’t understand it, they got the right amount of water and sunlight but no go.  I worked compost into the bed before planting so they’d have nutrients too.  Ungrateful little suckers.  The bloody grass grows there but refuses to grow on the bald patch in the yard.

AugustFlowers-10

The hydrangea never bloomed either, like most hydrangeas across the country, the winter was too cold for it.

AugustFlowers-7

And the damn bear ate all but two of my peaches.  Serves me right for picking just two to let the other dozen ripen another day.  Next day they were all gone, pits and all.

July1-peaches

On the other hand, my friend brought me two monster zucchini from her mother in law’s garden.  They don’t get out there often enough for picking.

Zucchinitwo

Lest you think I am exaggerating, I weighed them. Holy moly!

Zucchini2

2 pounds 2 ounces on that one, and one pound eight ounces on this one!

Zucchini1

I have experimented with these for several dishes, all have been epic failures.  I practiced my new knife skills, though.

KnifeSkillphotozucchini

Oh, they tasted well enough for us to eat the results, but the dishes looked awful.  There is so much water in zucchini that the casserole was just too watery.  Just close your eyes and pretend it doesn’t look like something the dog barfed up.   Mmmm, zucchini.

zucchinisaute

I tried zucchini chips several times, all failures.

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They remained soggy, no amount of baking would crisp them up. Not to be totally defeated, I stacked them up as a layered veggie side dish and ate them.  I thought I’d have a new dish for all of us, but back to the stove.  So I baked a loaf of fruit bread and forgot to put the butter in the batter.  Talk about a rubber mess!  Yet another epic fail for today!!  (Look, dear, homemade dog biscuits!)  What really bothers me is the waste of good ingredients.  But Sunday evening I got a very sweet note of support from someone who just found my blog, and she lifted my spirits immensely!  Thank you for your note, Johnnie.  I started again and made two loaves of my Banana Cinnamon Bread.

So, the flowers on the porch are still going well, the hanging baskets are starting to look a little ragged, but the torenias in the shade still look beautiful.  The pink geranium may yet give another bloom before autumn.

AugustFlowers-1

AugustFlowers-2

The butter yellow petunias continue to sing with the verbena, pink impatiens and blue lobelia,

AugustFlowers-3

and I still marvel at the other lobelia, how full and lush it looks with those dark intense blue flowers.

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These New Guinea impatiens still are blooming just as much as they were in May.  I love white flowers.

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Out in the forest, nothing is blooming, but the fruits are coming in.  Blueberries, peaches, and strawberries are fresh and fragrant at the farmer’s market.  Our Apple Festival is Labor Day Weekend and we will have loads of varieties to choose from.  There is nothing like a Honey Crisp!!  Never heard of that?  Well, it’s because we eat all we can here in NC.  Very few make it elsewhere.  More on that later, I have to go buy butter.

 

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