Fall in the Country

I’ve been a little too busy to post about all things I’ve been baking and the things we’re doing.  Last week I hosted a Ladies’ Night Out with a Christmas theme as we were preparing for Operation Christmas Child. To get us in the mood, I decorated half of my long table with Christmas things, leaving the other half open for us to work. For our treats, I baked Christmas cookies and set them out in the tins I typically use at Christmas time. I made Russian Teacakes, Almond Balls, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Mint Fudge, and a variation on this recipe — I made them with cranberries, lime zest, and vanilla extract rather than the raisins and lemon.

But the Big Deal of the week was a field trip we took with Tartlet 2’s history club. The girls read the Raggedy Ann stories for their group and we visited the Raggedy Ann Museum in Arcola, ate a picnic lunch in a park, and then visited The Great Pumpkin Patchin Arthur. The kids had a great time going through the straw bale maze several times, walking through the flattened corn maze (destroyed by wind), checking out all the animals and pumpkins, and finally picking out a pumpkin of our own.

One of the things I had to do while I was there was stop in the Homestead Bakery and pick up an angel food cake. My cake decorator friend had told me the story of a couple from St. Louis who had selected this angel food cake as their wedding cake and she shared some of the challenges in decorating and transporting such a cake. I was intrigued enough to buy one. What was interesting to me was that there were no ‘plain angel food cakes’ in the store — there were peach, pineapple, pumpkin, chocolate chip, black walnut, and blackberry. I took home a blackberry. It is very good. I’m not sure it would be worth driving 3 hrs for, but it was a good cake!

On the way home, I just had to stop and visit Shady Crest Orchard, for which there is no link because it is an Amish business. I was surprised to find the large metal building at the roadside with a large shopping area, rather than heading down the one lane gravel road to the house and barn that I had visited many times over the years. It’s been two years since I last did any canning and went to Arthur to buy my peaches and pears, so I was amazed at the new market — even with coolers for the apple cider and many treats, fudge being one of their newest. I couldn’t resist trying the Pumpkin Pie Fudge and, with their deal of buy 4 squares get 2 free, I decided to split the box with some Apple Pie Fudge. The apple pie fudge has little bits of dried apples and nice cinnamon flavor. The pumpkin pie fudge is definitely my favorite though. Perfect flavor and the walnuts are nice addition.  The girl was kind enough to include a little knife in the box so we could have a little taste in the car before we drove home. 😉

The kids’ favorite purchase of the day by far was the Cinnamon Swirl Bread from the Homestead Bakery. Tartlet 1 thought it was easily the best bread she has ever eaten. I was fortunate to be able to take a picture of the last two slices before they vaporized. It was very good and the best breakfast of the week.

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2 Responses

  1. The first two pictures – what are they? I read your entry twice – but I’m old and tired and could have missed them….but they look sooooo good whatever they are.

    Thank you. Jenny

  2. Never mind…the third time reading it is the charm….fudge! One of them kinda looked like the apple blondies I made this weekend.

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