Monday, October 27, 2008

Apple Harvest Cake

The best thing about October, well, right next to viewing the fall foliage, is apple picking, and then getting together with my daughter Holly to make holiday pies. But, there are also cakes, cobblers, muffins, salads, or simply biting into a crisp, juicy apple straight from the fruit bowl. Yum!

This Apple Harvest Cake recipe is an old family favorite and also one of the recipes in Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket. Enjoy.

Apple Harvest Cake

5 apples
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Peel and pare apples. Cut into thin slices. Combine sugar and cinnamon and mix into apples. Put to one side.

4 eggs
2-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

* With electric mixer, blend eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to liquid ingredients and blend with mixer. Continue mixing at medium speed until thick and lemon colored.
* Grease and flour bundt pan. Batter and apples are added to pan in layers, 3 for batter and 2 for apples. Begin and end with batter.
* Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Place on rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn pan upside down on cooling rack, allowing cake to drop out of pan.

Bake in 350 degree preheated oven.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October Happenings

Well, depending on what part of Connecticut I visit, the foliage is either near peak, at peak, or just past peak. I hope that everyone has already taken a relaxing drive to enjoy this October phenomenon, and with the warmer-than-usual weather, perhaps stopped for a picnic as well.

If not, there are still two weekends left and lots of special activities going on. Here are a few suggestions:

Elm Knoll Farm, Somers, through October 31st ~ Their website boasts one of the largest pumpkin farms in Connecticut, plus a new corn maze, petting zoo and so much more. Be sure to check out the evening Haunted Hay Rides.

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic, October 24 & 25 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. ~ The Spooky Nature Trail for families is a self-guided tour through haunted woods, plus treats and cider, crafts and games.

Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor ~ Some of the unique activities at this location are: Pumpkin Patch Time through October 26, Rails to the Darkside on October 24 & 25 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm., and Night of the Haunted on October 19 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm with special guest researchers and authors.

Visit this creative and fun website to get the full effect of these Special Events.

Talcott Mountain State Park, Bloomfield/Simsbury ~ The Heublein Tower is well-known for exquisite views of the countryside, especially during October. On October 19 from 10:00 - 5:00 pm there is another reason to make the one and one-quarter mile climb to the top of the mountain. The "Tower Toot" is the Friends Annual Fund-Raiser. Food and drink will be available for sale, music provided, and face painting for the kids. In addition, the gift shop will be open all day. Click Outdoor Recreation, click State Parks & Forests, click Find a Park. (At the Talcott Mountain State Park there is a link to the Friends of Heublein.)

Have fun!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall into Connecticut Campaign

Exciting news for Connecticut residents like me who look forward to exploring the state during fall foliage. Yesterday, Governor Rell announced the extension of her "Staycation" program through November. Hundreds of businesses and attractions are taking part by offering discounts for lodging and restaurants and reduced admission fees to attractions throughout the state.

I am happy to join this campaign by offering a 25% discount on web orders for my book, Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket. This book will guide you to attractions that are also taking part in the "Fall into Connecticut" Campaign, such as Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Mystic Aquarium and Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, both in Mystic, Old New-Gate Prison in East Granby, Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, and Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston.

In addition to the above destinations, Cruising Connecticut has thirty-three other exciting day trips, all with picnicking facilities and a suggested menu, plus one or two recipes suitable for each destination. Even if you're not a cool-weather picnicker, you will find many of the recipes comforting when served at home during a blistering wind or snowstorm, such as White Bean Chicken Chili, Jambalaya, Carousel Chili, Sandwiched Meat Loaf, and Wild Mushroom and Oyster Chowder. And, all the bread and dessert recipes!

Check out the "Fall into Connecticut" participants at Cruising Connecticut is listed under the Town of Glastonbury, the location of my publishing company, or simply go straight to my website for my offer,

The most important thing is to get outside and enjoy the beauty of autumn in Connecticut. I love the quote chosen by the sponsors of the Campaign: I cannot endure to waste anything precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house." Who could have said it better than Nathaniel Hawthorne?