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Fall Already? How to Deal

Beaches have emptied, football's on. Stores have put out the Halloween cards. But with the recent heat and our quiet regrets that summer is fading, who can say they have any interest in fall?

We're in that awkward in between stage. We see the school buses but we're still wearing sandals.

However--we're about to be entranced.

The fall is full of magic and its sweet magic is on its way, you know it is, so don't turn that calendar with a sigh, get ready for the earth's most creative season.


   Cook with fall spices.

Yup! That's it. Spices have a witchy way of infusing the air, especially when the air has a new chill. Spices and new chill, favorite boots on, hair looking beautiful (thank you, Patrick!). After that, we're in, baby.

Here's how to get your own fall magic:

Next time you rent a movie, pop some popcorn for a snack -- but don't make it the way you usually do. Make it this way:

Cinnamon Popcorn Crunch

Spices from the cabinet: Cinnamon, Maple Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Yield: 4 1/2 quarts Ingredients

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted

  • 1 can (6 1/2 ounce) salted mixed nuts (optional)

  • 1 pound light brown sugar

  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and a sprinkling of Maple Sugar


  1. Mix popcorn and nuts in large buttered bowl.

  2. Combine sugar, syrup, butter or margarine, water, salt and cinnamon in saucepan.

  3. Heat slowly to the boiling point, stirring until sugar melts.

  4. Cook to hard crack stage (290-295 degrees Fahrenheit).

  5. Pour syrup in a fine stream over popcorn and nuts.

  6. Stir until popcorn and nuts are evenly coated with syrup.

  7. Spread out on large buttered surface or waxed paper.

  8. Separate into bite-size portions with forks. Cool before eating.

Recipe courtesy of The Popcorn Board

Love a quesadilla now and then? Make them healthy and "fall-y" by using pumpkin for a quick weekend lunch. If you love your farmer's market, roast your own pumpkin. The rest of us will use canned.

Pumpkin Quesadillas

Spice from the cabinet: nutmeg

Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles). Spread on 2 flour tortillas. Add sautéed onions, to taste. Sprinkle with grated cheddar and a dash of nutmeg. Top each with another tortilla. Cook in a hot buttered skillet until golden. Cut into wedges.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Network

This Spiced Apple Crisp recipe is in the Hall of Fame for Apple Crisps. Nah, but it should be. At the first sign of a chilly day, make this and you'll be happy.

Spiced Apple Crisp

Spices from the Cabinet: Cloves, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg

Apple Mixture:

7 large apples (go with Macintosh for a soft crisp or Granny Smith for a firmer one), peeled, cored and sliced

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (buy 2 lemons in case one's a dud)

1/3 c sugar (want to go natural? Use coconut sugar; see our story below)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice Topping:

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

6 T butter

1/2 cup walnuts, if you feel like it

Preheat oven to 350. Placed apples in lightly oiled or sprayed rectangle dish (8x12). Stir in lemon juice. In a small bowl combine sugar with spices and sprinkle over apples.

To make topping: combine all ingredients except nuts in food processor. Using on-off pulses, process until crumbly, or, combine ingredients in a bowl and use a pastry blender to cut in butter till crumbly.

Bake until apple mixture is bubbly and topping is slightly browned, about 35-40 minutes, or even more. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cold with ice cream or whipped cream or just as is.


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