Monday, November 10, 2014

Baked Apples - Catching the Last Days of Autumn

Jan here, saying farewell to autumn. We have mixed feelings about the coming weather....

First Snow of the season - September 11, 2014

We've had snow already, so that's an old story.

And when the snow melted, we had a beautiful autumn - warm and sunny, with crisp evenings and beautiful mornings.

But the weather news looks formidable. The current forecast (Sunday afternoon) for the next few days calls for rain, then snow, wind and c-c-c-cold! In fact, the entire north-western tier of the US is expecting this polar blast.

So what do you do when you know it's all ending - that these mellow days are coming to an end?

Catch as much as you can!!!

We went to our favorite place yesterday afternoon, hoping to see some wildlife and soak up the last of the sun.

Whitetail Does - an unusual sighting for us. We normally
only see Mule Deer.
And now you know why they're called Whitetails!

We weren't disappointed!

Custer State Park is the jewel of the Black Hills. Beautiful drives, stellar hiking trails, and lots of wildlife.

We saw close to 300 bison on our two-hour visit to the park. They were busy eating as much of the nutritious grass as possible. I think they know a weather change is coming.

And this little guy is going to have a lot to learn when the storm moves in. His mama and the other cows in the herd will teach him to face the wind, not fear it.

They'll take good care of him.

Our route took us past Baby Mann's grave.

A stark reminder of the fragility of life for those early settlers, and a reminder that this beautiful park we were driving through was once a flourishing ranch.

And then, once we returned to the main road, we saw this sign. They're scattered all through the park. Some people don't believe them though. Every year a few tourists end up in the hospital after they tried to pet a wild Bison. They're faster than you, they're stronger than you, and they really aren't afraid of anything.

Believe the sign.

But then, the Bison don't read, do they?

We came upon this Bison cow right around sunset. Yes, she just stood there and let us drive around her.

But the sun did set, and the beautiful autumn day was over.

Is anyone ready to let go of autumn yet, though? Let's catch a last taste....

Baked Apples

This dish is so simple, there's no recipe :) However, if you're looking for another version, you can try The Fresh Pioneer's recipe from last year. Fall Eats! Warm and Filling Baked Apples, Superman Style!

First, preheat your oven to 350°.

Gather your apples.

Cut them in half and core them, then set them in a baking dish.

Put a pat of butter in each half - about a teaspoon.

Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to each, and then sprinkle with cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg.

Bake at 350° for 45 to 60 minutes.

Enjoy! Bee Tee Dubs - these are particularly delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)


  1. yay almost time for snow pics! :-) while I sit down here baking (actually it's hot in the day and cold at night which really messes with my ears and throat) I love cold weather so long as I don't get stuck with ice - never good with ice and afraid to drive on it and people down here don't know how to drive on it (like me). sigh.


    1. We had a couple weeks of that hot/cold weather. And yes, it really messed with allergies, etc. I have a couple friends with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and they really suffered.

      Today, however, is cold-blowy-snowy. Winter is definitely here!

  2. Yum -- with hot custard poured over it. And you taught me something, Jan. When I've made baked apples before, I've cored the apple and left it whole and packed the brown sugar and cinnamon inside. But I like your idea of cutting them in half because you get more of that spicy goodness all the way through. Did you put water in the pan? I've always sat the apples in water...don't know why, just the way my mum did it. Maybe to steam it a bit? Or keep the bottoms for burning.

    I'm not quite ready to let go of autumn. I still have some gardening clean up to do. Leaves to rake. Crazy still blooming perennials that need to be cut back but they're so pretty I don't want to do it. Love your pictures. You live in an incredible part of the world.

    1. My daughter made these, but you're right. I had always poured a half-inch or so of water into the bottom of the baking dish. I think you might be right about the steaming.

      You had better get your autumn chores finished! Winter hit us this morning, and as I was looking out at the snow I noticed our garden hose. Sigh. We forgot to put it in the shed. That will be first thing on the list the next time the temps go above freezing - - which won't be any time this week!

    2. It looks like the butter would drip out to keep the bottoms from sticking. :) (I love lots of butter!)

  3. Now this is a dessert I can get behind!!!! And great photos too. They have a number of large bison ranches in Colorado as well.

    1. Thanks, Tina :)

      One thing we love about Custer State Park is that the Bison have free range throughout the park - 71,000 acres. You can come across one anywhere you go once you cross the cattle guards at the entrance.

  4. Beautiful scenery!!

    Thanks for sharing! I'm still laughing at that sign, though. Seems like that would be common sense!! I can't imagine trying to pet one. Survival instinct would kick in. LOL

    1. Missy, you would be surprised.

      One of the park rangers said she came across some young kids (okay, not so young - 18 or so) trying to get a bull to charge them. Teasing him, etc. They didn't like it when she made them get in her truck while she stood between them and the irritated bull, but she saved their lives.

      Some people think they're like cattle, and they aren't. Their much more intelligent and savvy. And those bulls can weigh close to a ton. And they're fast - up to 30 mph if they need to.

      You can't outrun them.

      Me? I tend to take the signs seriously. Even when we come across them while we're in our car, we drive slowly and keep moving. If you stop for too long, you become a potential enemy - especially to the cows with calves.

    2. Typo alert. Third paragraph. "Their much more intelligent..." should be "They're much more intelligent..."


  5. HAHA! I loved this! Especially the shots of the one you had to drive around... And I have a box of apples slowly going soft. This will take care of at least 12 as soon as people are back on their feet and we can have visitors.

    1. Virginia! You're here!

      Does that mean people are on the mend? I sure hope so!

    2. Yes, I think we're in the clear and it was only 3 kids sick. I was expecting the whole crew to go down but so far... I think it might actually be stopped. YAY!

      But I'm afraid to celebrate, lol.

  6. I wrote a great reply/comment and Google ate it. Stupid blogger.

    1. disappointing...

      Ruthy words hanging in cyber-space. Poor lonely little things. And poor us because we can't read them!