Well, it is officially fall here in the Dakotas. The leaves are in full splendor of changing from grass green to only the most beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges you have ever seen. The air is crisp and you can almost smell the soy beans and corn that are being harvested. The mornings are cool and the days are shorter. The days of cozy sweaters, boots, boot socks and leggings are back….
And thank goodness!!
Don’t get me wrong, I love every bit of summer and hot weather, probably more than the days of autumn, but there is just something about sweaters, changing leaves, boots and jackets, and of course pumpkin everything that just makes my soul sing. Just a few years ago, I used to absolutely hate fall and everything about it. You could say a part of me died whenever fall rolled around. Now, maybe because I am older, I appreciate the seasons more. I just couldn’t imagine living somewhere, where there was not four seasons. It’s so nice to be able to shop for summer, fall, winter, and spring outfits, and my personal favorite, seasonal décor!
I did a little seasonal diy sign. My dad made the sign for me from pallets (he runs a seed business, so he has a good supply of pallets to supply my craft addictions).. I painted it and hand lettered it. I also used a vintage cream can found here on Zenker Angus and used some corn and pumpkins from my garden to finish the look.
Our dining room table…
A mesh and burlap wreath I made for our front door… I will post a tutorial later!
Lately, fall has really inspired me to make pie! I used freshly picked apples and made two pies and froze some apple mixture to make more fresh pies this winter. One pie was traditional apple and the other was apple, peach, strawberry pie, which was wonderful!
I also made a batch of my Grandma’s homemade hot cocoa mix, which will last us all fall and winter. It is so yummy and so much better and cheaper than the brands you buy in the stores! I will post that family recipe soon! BUT, my biggest accomplishment of autumn was…
Making homemade jams! I made strawberry, peach, apple, and pumpkin butter! Today, I am sharing with you two recipes, which are our personal favorites, strawberry and pumpkin butter! They are both super easy and don’t take much time at all!
4 lbs of strawberries * 1 1/2 cups water * 5-7 cups of sugar (I used about 6 1/2) * pectin (I got the bottle size from Walmart) * Mason jars (I used pint sized)
Wash jars in dishwasher or by hand. Wash and slice strawberries. Then combine strawberries, water, and pulse just a couple of times in the blender, so mixture is still chunky, but in smaller pieces. Add sugar and combine in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add pectin (I used quite a bit, I feel, but add enough so you can see it starting to gel up). Stir constantly until everything looks dissolved. Immediately, spoon into jars and seal up. You will hear the lids pop. Store in a dark place (I store mine in those small kitchen cabinets above your fridge or stove = good place for jam!) Refrigerate after opening jar!
Pumpkin Butter (in Crock Pot)
2 big cans of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree * 3 cups sugar * 1 1/2 cups brown sugar * 1 tablespoon cinnamon * 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg * 3/4 teaspoon ginger * 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves * Washed mason jars and lids
Combine everything in slow cooker and let cook on high for 3 hours, stirring about every hour. Taste occasionally to make sure the spice combination and sugar is right for your taste. Immediately, put into jars and seal up. You’ll hear the lids pop. Refrigerate after opening.
Trust me, those jams and butters go fast! My hubby eats some on toast just about every morning and I gave some away, but that only means I get to make more!!! Next time I want to try pumpkin apple butter, to use up some fresh picked apples! Enjoy the jam, chilly air, pumpkin spice lattes, and cozy sweaters!