Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Faux Caramel Apple Time Again!

For me, Halloween brings to mind chili dogs, bags of candy, and caramel apples. We always had chili dogs before heading out to a church fall festival or trick or treating in the neighborhood.   It was a quick meal and one of our favorites as kids. Of course later in the evening, we ended up with a bag full of candy and one special treat made by a sweet neighbor.  She always made caramel apples for the children she knew the best.  It was better than any candy in our bags!

My first real memory of caramel apples brings me back to an excursion with my parents and little sister to Apple Valley in California.  The tree branches were heavily laden with crisp, luscious apples.  Various vendors dotted the roadside selling their baked good ranging from apple pies, breads, dried apples, caramel apples, and my favorite candy apples!  As our day ended and we drove back home, my sister and I sat in the back seat happily eating our apple treats.

Caramel apples are perfect for your fall decor.  Don't these look delicious with the puddle of caramel at the bottom of each perfectly dipped apple?  What's even better is that they are faux caramel apples!  Let's get started on this fun project.
You will need a few items for this project:
Artificial Apples-  I purchased mine at Michaels Craft Store
Dowel Rods
Mod Podge-  Be sure to buy the glossy version
1-2 Containers of Acrylic Paint-  I used Folk Art Coffee Latte and only needed one container
Sand Paper-  I buy an extra pedicure file and use it only used for craft projects. 
Philips Screw Driver
Hot Glue Gun- Not Pictured
Hammer- Not Pictured
Raffia-  Not Pictured
First things first.  Pull the stem from each apple.  Use the Phillips screw driver to bore a hole in the apples.  I had to use a hammer to help with this process.  I think my apples were filled with concrete!  I purchased a long dowel rod at Lowes and cut it into approximately 5 and 1/2 inch pieces.  Sand the end which will show with a piece of sandpaper or do like I do.  I have a pedicure file that is used only for craft projects.  It comes in quite handy!  Hot glue the dowel rod to the apple and let dry.  Now for the fun part!

Pour the Mod Podge into a container.  Make sure your apple can fit in the container.
Begin pouring one of the acrylic paint containers into the Mod Podge and stir with an extra dowel stick.  I was not quite happy with the color I selected and ended up adding a squirt of brown and a squirt of yellow to get a more "caramely" color.  I also used only one of the 2 oz paints from the project list.  Take an apple and dip it into the container, swirling around to cover the apple.  Make sure you leave enough of the apple to show at the top!
Once they dry, tie a piece of raffia on top and show them off on a pretty cake plate.  I just love my non-edible caramel apples. Notice that the color darkened as they dried.  They even have the "pooled" look of caramel at the bottom of each apple.  This was a fun and fairly quick project.  More importantly, this project brings back wonderful memories of spending time with my family.  Now to figure out how to make a faux candy apple!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Still Woods Scarecrow Story!

It's the perfect time of year for a scarecrow story! Pour a cup of warm apple cider, sit back, and enjoy a Still Woods Scarecrow Story.  It's not scary, I promise!
The first Sunday morning after we moved into our home, we left for church only to return to find that our riding lawn mower has been stolen.  Naturally, we were upset and quite worried.  My husband called the county sheriff's office and reported the theft.  A deputy was dispatched and after visiting with us for awhile, the deputy said that they would do routine patrols of our property.  I must remind you that there is only one way in and one way out of our property.  A gravel road meanders happily through the woods to our home and loops back out again.  Beginning that very night, our family soon became familiar with the sounds of a sheriff's car patrolling our home and land.  We were thankful and appreciated their efforts to make us feel safe and secure.  I am a light sleeper and I do not say this lightly!  In the wee hours of the morning, I would  awaken to hear the tell tale sign of a car slowly traversing the windy, gravel road to our home.  My routine was to look at the clock, check the time, and be comforted in knowing this was our friendly law enforcement on their routine run.  I think my bladder became synchronized to the 2:00 am patrol and I would often get up, get a drink of water and well, you know.  I would also watch the lights of the car twinkling through the trees as the deputy for the night drove down our road. 

One night, I watched from our bedroom window as the sheriff's car slowed to a stop at the front of the house.  Then before I knew it, the car immediately sped away.  Curious as that was, I thought maybe the sheriff's deputy had been dispatched to an urgent call.  I got back into bed and before sleep overcame me, I heard the sound of several cars speeding down our lane.  I jumped up and went to the window, not even bothering to wake my husband, wondering what in the world was going on!  Three police cars were coming around the bend and slowed to a stop.  One of the police cars shined a huge beam of light onto our porch.  The beam floated along and then landed directly onto one of my scarecrows which I had laid on the front porch to dry out from a day of heavy rain.  The cars sat for a moment and then took off.  I got back into bed and at that point I realized that the first officer must have seen a "body like" form lying on the porch and had called for back up!!  The poor thing did not realize that it was indeed a scarecrow and not a human until a beam of light dispelled the mystery!  I wonder how much ribbing that deputy received that night from the scarecrow incident?

Each year when I see scarecrows smiling merrily from posts and fences, this scarecrow story comes to mind! Do you have a scarecrow story of your own? Please share it with us!

Blessings as Always from Still Woods Farmhouse
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mrs. Alice's Apple Muffins

Mrs. Alice stopped by our district office a few weeks ago and dropped off delicious apple muffins.  I admit that I didn't know Mrs. Alice prior to indulging in her famous muffins, but I am now a fan!  I discovered that  Mrs. Alice is not only a fabulous cook, but she is also the mother of one of our principals.  When I think of fall, I think of the many scrumptious recipes using apples, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins.  This recipe has become a new addition to my fall favorites. Visit this link for another fall muffin favorite: Mississippi Spice Muffins.
So let's put on a pretty apron and get started!  These are my favorite red aprons.  The striped one was made by my grandmother and my mom made the red with white lace apron.  I just love aprons!  If they could talk, what tales would they tell?

Here is what you will need . . .
The Starting Line-Up:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Four                                            1/4 Cup of Shortening
1 3/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder                                      1/2 Cup of Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar                                                                  1/2 Cup Grated Raw Apple                     
1 Egg, Beaten    
1/2 Stick of Butter                                                            1/2 Cup of Sugar
1-2 Teaspoons of Sugar                                                        

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Using a fork, cut in shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal. 
Mix beaten egg with milk.  Add milk/egg mixture and grated apple all at once to the four mixture.
Mix quickly and thoroughly.  Mixture will be thick.  Fill a greased muffin pan or muffin cups to half full.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Don't over bake.  When muffin tops are firm to the touch, they are done.  For the topping:  Make a mixture with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter.  Remove muffins from pan and dip top in butter.  Notice the cute muffin cups!
 Now lets dip the top into the yummy sugar and cinnamon mixture.
I can't wait to serve these sweet, little treats as our dessert tonight.  Better yet, I can't wait to eat one or maybe two for breakfast.  Add a cup of coffee and my day will start off in a happy way!
I did tweak Mrs. Alice's recipe a tad.  The original topping portion of the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar and 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Mrs. Alice melts 1 cup of butter and rolls the entire muffin in butter and then coats the entire muffin in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  If your family has a sweet tooth, you may want to dip the entire muffin.  Either way, they are delicious!  Let me know what you think!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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