Fall treats

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For some people, the first sign of fall is when pumpkin spice lattes hit the coffeehouses or when the bakery starts the day with a fresh batch of apple cider doughnuts. I’m not a latte person, but I do like doughnuts. I found this apple cider doughnut Bundt cake recipe online the other day. I thought it was worth a try. Sometimes those recipes online are a little off, so I did have to tweak it a bit. The results are a delicious call to fall treats. You can even make the cake into muffins for meals in the field.  


One of our family’s favorite dinners in the field comes from back home. It is a perfect meal in one pan. Even the cold leftovers taste great the next day. I generally start browning the meat while I’m peeling the potatoes. Instead of green beans from a can, I grab of quart of beans off my shelves. Don’t forget the garlic salt or powder. It really makes a difference.


We just finished chopping and baling fourth-crop hay this week. It seems early, but it looks like we’ll start chopping corn silage as soon as we can switch heads on the chopper. When the corn is ready to chop, the grapes are ready to harvest. The concords are right at peak while the bluebells are a few days behind. I’ll probably just make juice to drink or to use for jelly. I’m going to try using my apple press to squeeze the juice from the grapes. It has to be better than using my hands to squeeze every last drop from a jelly bag or stomping them with my feet. If you find seedless grapes on sale in the store, try making your own raisins. It is so easy.


Our Zestar apples have been a bright spot in our morning chore routine lately. The guys will grab a couple every morning when we start to switch cows for the final milking shift. The heat has really pushed the apples along. I’m curious to see how juicy they are when we start making apple cider later this fall. Fingers crossed there will be enough to put up for hot apple cider drinks this winter and more apple cider cake.

Apple cider doughnut Bundt cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup apple cider (or apple juice with a pinch of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon each and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Dipping glaze: Mix together
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup apple cider
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix, cider/juice, applesauce and eggs together. Add cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla to batter. Pour into a well greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan. Once cooled, brush whole cake with melted butter. Wait 1 minute. While waiting, mix together final cinnamon and sugar. Rub into cake.
Serve as is or with dipping glaze. For mini-muffins, fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 14 minutes and cool for 15 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter. Wait 1 minute. Dip muffin into bowl of cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Beef potato bake from the Phyllis Harrell Stronghurst Cookbook
3-4 medium raw potatoes, thinly sliced
1 can green beans, save juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup liquid from green beans
1 cup grated cheese
In a greased casserole dish, cover the bottom with sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with drained green beans and sprinkle beans with garlic salt. Brown meat and onion, adding a small amount of salt and pepper. Top beans with meat/onion mixture. Blend soup and reserved bean liquid. Pour over meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered. Remove and top with cheese and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. One of our family’s favorites.

Homemade raisins
1 pound seedless grapes, any color
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Water
Ice cubes
Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Remove grapes from stems. Combine vinegar with water and ice cubes to fill a large bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add grapes. Boil for 30 seconds. Drain well. Place grapes in ice bath for 2 minutes. Drain well. Place grapes in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow grapes to dry for 12-18 hours or until wrinkled and pliable. Stir a couple of times. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for later use.
As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.


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