Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Favorite Season Has Arrived

I'm a lucky girl for a lot of reasons, but one on the top of my list today is that I've been able to experience the change from summer to fall twice this year. A week before we left Michigan, the air cooled down, the sunlight changed (my favorite characteristic of early fall), and football started. Woohoo! Chalk it up to my years as a cheerleader...I still get so excited when I hear a drumline or the crunch of pads or a cannon booming after a touchdown. I'll watch any football game, but college gridiron is my ultimate entertainment choice from August 28th until New Year's Day. Go Utes!

Now that we're in Utah, I've seen it again. I love the mild weather, especially in the evening when it's almost cool enough for a jacket (it makes for great running), and a campfire does wonders to enhance the ambiance of early-fall twilight. Add to this list the wonderful bounty of fall fruits and veggies, and I am truly a happy girl! I always know fall is on its way to Utah when the Black-Eyed Susans bloom in the yard in Alpine. They're one of my favorite flowers and I'm thrilled to be able to enjoy them all season long!

Bottoms Up

Amber and Karli preferred to sleep with their bums in the air for several months, and I think it's adorable that Rex does, too. They have such cute little bottoms and they look like snuggly peanuts in this modified fetal position. I just love it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Nostalgic Tribute to Mr. Victorio

Every once in a while, my inner Martha calls to me, begging to escape from captivity to take on a ridiculously involved, lengthy, and complex homemaking project. Today I let it out for a few hours when I noticed the box of tiny, homegrown apples on the counter were about to go bad, and ended up having a delightfully reflective moment on a childhood memory that is dear to me.

My Grandparents Rydalch had four apple trees in their yard in Rexburg, and every year, my mom and siblings and I picked and gathered and hauled all the apples into the kitchen for a marathon applesauce-making session. I loved the smell of the cooking apples, and thought the old Victorio Strainer was an ingenious machine. Just how did that hunk of metal know how to separate the fruit from the peel and extract the yummy, juicy pulp from whatever went into it? The entire experience, though painstaking and sometimes way too long for a bunch of rowdy kids, was a sure and charming indicator that fall had arrived and that by putting forth a little effort, we'd have delicious applesauce to eat all winter long.

So, while enjoying this great memory, I washed the little apples and decided to make some homemade applesauce, inspired by my ever-industrious mom and by Grandma Joan, a dear friend in Michigan who makes her own scrumptious variety as well. But since plain, old applesauce is just plain, old applesauce, I entertained a whim and decided to roast the apples instead of boiling them (Alton Brown has taught me well...water doesn't bring any flavor to the party). I was quite nervous to see the results, but went for it anyway. I set up the same, old Victorio Strainer that belongs to my Grandma Rydalch and went to town. A few minutes later, I had three jars of beautiful, pink applesauce with the wonderfully sweet, tart, and earthy flavor that can't be reproduced in a factory. The process was not as horrid as I imagined it could be and the results are grand!

Here are my roasted apples, complete with a drizzle of olive oil. The two may sound like a strange combination, but it actually is a quite harmonious flavor pairing.

If this thing isn't old school, I don't know what is. I believe it can officially be considered an antique.

The final product is a beautiful shade of pink and my girls are so excited to have "girl applesauce". I recommend roasting when making applesauce! It produces excellent results.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New 'Do, Volume II

I finally took a well-needed trip to the hairstylist and got a brand new hairdo, so here are Karli and I modeling together. Amber said, "Oh, mom, you look cute like Leslie Larson!" and I was utterly flattered (Leslie Larson is adorable). I feel like a million bucks and love, love, love to get my haircut because I always feel like I lose 50 pounds. The 4.5 hour session in the styling chair was well worth it (yes, I do have a TON of hair) and I couldn't be happier to be blonde again, because, like, blondes really do have totally so much more fun (I'm popping my gum and twirling my hair)!