Well, I promised you that I'd share the pictures from our fun day at the orchard last Saturday. I do have to tell you that as I write this post, I have an Apple Cake baking in the oven - and it smells heavenly!
And it's gonna taste heavenly too!
It's the second one I've made since Saturday, along with two apple pies. The first Apple Cake didn't last the weekend, so I had to make another one - wouldn't you?
Since you are probably drooling right now and there's no way I can give you a piece of cake, I'm going to include the recipe for you at the bottom of my post! It's super easy and so yummy delicious!
Saturday was a truly glorious Fall day here in Virginia.
Absolutely clear blue skies with a nice breeze - perfect for heading to the orchard.
I took this photo of some of the trees along the drive as we get closer to the orchard. The leaves are just starting to turn as we made our trip a bit early this year, but they are simply breathtaking!
Here's the entrance to the orchard we go to every year. It's outside of Winchester, VA and is our favorite of the ones in the area, and there are MANY! See that BAKERY sign? Well, that's one of the reasons it's our favorite orchard! The Apple Cider Donuts are nothing short of amazing!!
I'll let you be the judge:
I know you can't taste or smell them, but let me assure you - they are so yummy delicious! They sell so quickly that they never have time to get cold in the case. Sometimes they don't even make it off the cart bringing them from the bakery area! They are the perfect combination of crispy, sugary outside and soft, warm, squishy inside.
You can tell that we really, really LOVE those donuts!
We brought a new adopted family member with us this year - Ellen, our friend from church. Brandon was going to come with us, but his flight was changed and he was sitting in Atlanta about the time we were chowing down on the donuts. Sorry Brandon! You did get some Apple Cake and homemade Chili, but it's not the same is it?
Emma as always HAD to climb up one of the trees. I think this is a no-no, but I refuse to read the sign.
She's growing so fast - I just want to hold back time a wee bit longer.
But, I'm counting my blessings. I can't think of many almost 14 year olds who still can't wait to go apple picking with their family each year. Maybe it's the donuts.
Had to share this picture of me with Mark. I love how the sun is kind of washing over us here. Pretty cool.
Here's my awesome hubby showing off a Crispin apple. We were stunned at the size of the apples this year. They were the size of softballs in some cases! And the trees were absolutely full! We filled up two 1/2 bushel bags in no time!
Well, it's hard to keep the kids off the playground and Ellen is no exception.
Farmer Ellen, folks.
And Farmer Emma.
Yep, I guess you're never too old.
On our way home, we had to make our stop at Merrimans Lane. We chose a different sign this year along that road for a little bit different photo op.
Of course Emma had to ham it up a bit.
Ellen was our hero, climbing up on the back of our car to get a good picture for us.
Ellen the Awesome!
And once again - the happy family!
Love this picture AND the people in it!
What do you think? Christmas Card worthy?
And of course, I had to show off our pies.
The one in the front is from a Food Network Recipe. It was on the lower rack and the crust turned out perfect!
The back one is a recipe that Mark and I made up, sadly, it was on the upper rack and the crust is a little dark. We haven't cut into that one yet, so I'll have to give an update on how it was. The first pie was excellent! Warm right out of the oven with a little Vanilla Bean ice cream. Oh yeah!!
If you look in the back right corner of that picture, you can just see the corner of the Apple Cake in the pan.
Here's the recipe for you. My friend Lissa shared it with me and it really is da' bomb!
1 c oil
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
3 c diced, unpeeled apples
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c white raisins or Craisins
Bake in 9 X 13 greased baking dish @ 300 for 1 hour
For our cakes, I left out the nuts, but used one snack sized box of regular raisins and one snack size pack of Craisins. I couldn't find white raisins at the store and to be honest, I don't think I missed having them in the cake. I also subbed out the cinnamon for Apple Pie Spice.
If you try the recipe, you have to let me know how you like it, ok?
So, if you haven't gone apple pickin' this year, there's still plenty of time! You'll make memories that really will last a lifetime.