The calendar officially says fall, and I swear the leaves start to change when September 22 rolled by. As great as summer has been and how I will miss my flips-flops, iced tea and pools, dare I say I’m ready for boots, pumpkin lattes, and crunchy leaf-strewn walks along the river.

Fall is a wonderful time, no doubt, with harvest seasons and cooler, fresher air. And autumn is all about the outdoors. My entire October is booked with fun fall happenings.

Have you added apple picking to your fall activity lineup? Apple picking with friends and family at local orchards are great fun. Go to and type in your area, and find orchards and farms near you that offer fun fall activities.

And there are so many great things to do with apples! Picking them and bobbing for them is amusing and helps you get some exercise, but once you bring those apples home- start up the oven, the crock pot and more! The many different varieties of apples lend themselves to different dishes. Tart apples such a green Granny Smith apples are great is slaws and salads due to the firm texture and sweet crunch, while varieties such as Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Keepsake, and my favorite, the Northern Spy apple variety all bake up and cook well. And all are great for grabbing (rising off) and taking a big chomp to appreciate nature.

Baked apples are a favorite of mine, and you’ll soon realize it too- the versatility of apples in breakfast, dinner and dessert is amazing!

pie apple

In addition to added chopped apples to slaws, salads, soups and stews, there’s apple pie, apple butter, apple juice, apple sauce, oh the list goes on!

Applesauce in the crockpot. One of my food heroes is Stephanie O’ Dea, and she crock-pots every day. I do about once a week, and some of the most amazing foods have come from her cookbook. Her site is fun and easy to read, and this recipe I have made with mucho success. I’ve adapted it a bit, so, go on try it!

You’ll need 8 large apples, half- peeled ( I like a bit of skin on, it adds some nutrients), cored and cut into pieces, 1 cup of lemon or orange juice, 1 cup of water, a teaspoon of cinnamon plus a cinnamon stick, a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 2  tablespoons of brown sugar. Place all in your crock pot for about 4 hours, until the apples and soft and bubbling. Then, I used my immersion blender to smooth any lumps. I used a 6.5 quart crock pot for this recipe.

Yummy baked apples

Yummy baked apples

Baked apples are another fall favorite, as a snack or as a dessert. Wash and core 4 apples, dot with butter and add raisins, walnuts, and a ½ teaspoon of brown sugar inside. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. The apple skin will become wrinkly, and the butter and sugar with caramelize. Top with ice cream or a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or a spoonful of cream.

Another way to use older apples is quarter then and place inside a chicken that you are roasting or baking, add chopped apples to oatmeal, and blend in fall harvest pumpkin or squash soup. Or dry apples in the oven with a smidge of lemon and cinnamon.

Pick some apples or buy some at your local farmer’s market and have some kitchen fun!

The weekend is here. Fall fun is awaiting you- create an adventure today!