Apple of My Eye

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Over the weekend, my friends and I made the 2.5 hour drive to Apple Hill, a large co-op of orchards, wineries, and markets that CA and NV locals frequently visit once fall makes its breezy return.  Although I had heard about it many a time in previous seasons, I had never actually made the trip until this year.  And yeah, I’ve been missing out!  It’s the pumpkin-patch-apple-picking-fall-crazed-plaid-scarf-wearing-hard-cider-loving-redhead-fringe-girl’s dream.  Although if we’re being honest, it takes no convincing to get me to go anywhere with beautiful greenery and fresh produce.

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Although there is a whole entire map of places to visit in Apple Hill, we visited a few favorites like Kid’s Inc, Rainbow Orchards, and Jack Russell Brewery (not listed on the map).  Kid’s Inc has the most beautiful, green field overlooking their orchard, and it’s the perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy a hard cider from Delfino Family Farm.  If you’re looking for a good place to buy unique pumpkins and a variety of fruits like apples, pears, and nectarines, Rainbow Farms has so many options at a great price!  They also have the best apple cider donuts and gallons of fresh pressed apple cider.  After our pumpkin-search, we visited a local orchard to grab a few apples – they were pretty picked over, but we still had fun hiking around the orchard with our little picker and buckets!  We ended our day at Jack Russell Brewery, which is not associated with Apple Hill but is right next to all the apple-fun.  There is both a brewery and a “cave” that serves wine, hard apple cider, and mead.  My friends enjoyed the mead-hard apple cider mixed option, but I was more interested in the hard blackberry apple cider.  Everything is made on-premises, and I love that their ciders are dry unlike many store-bought brands.  They have the most lovely patio for relaxing and enjoying your drink overlooking their farm and llamas!

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A happy, little geek with her apple picker.

My only recommendation would be to bring a picnic lunch or some snacks!  Although there are plenty of amazing apple dessert options, the food is pretty limited.  We went on a Friday, so it was a little less busy, but I’ve heard they have lots of food options on the weekends – however, it is pretty standard fair food, and there are so many beautiful places to bring a picnic basket!

For directions, click here.

If you’re looking for a way to use all of your apples, I’ve got you covered 😉

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore by Lucy Dacus

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Apple Pie with Sugared Crust

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I’ve waited a long time for this, guys.  Fall, that is.  And pie.  But mostly fall.

There’s something about the fall semester starting that makes me so impatient for the actual season to appear.  It’s probably that I just want to wear scarves and boots and tights all the time.  Mostly I think that I just get tired of walking 15 minutes to class every day in 85+ degrees and showing up sweaty as all hell.  But I do really love my tight collection.

Seeing as it was the middle of October last week and still in the 80s, I was starting to lose hope that it would ever be fall.

And then…Friday happened.  It rained all day, the leaves turned orange and fell off the tree in my front yard, and the air was brisk and breezy.  I wore my favorite Burton coat.  It was a rare sort of bliss.

And then I baked an apple pie.  To celebrate, of course.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t made apple pie in the summer before.  Actually, the pie in these pictures was one my mom made a few weeks ago while I was visiting my fam in Vegas*.  But I digress…

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I actually remember the first time I had apple pie.  I’m not sure what my deal was when I was a kid, but apple pie majorly grossed me out.  It seemed slimy and soggy from my 8 year old perspective (also, I grew up with chocolate pie, and nothing is better than that when you’re a young child.  Or an adult, but whatever…).

And then one day, my mom baked an apple pie while we were on vacation at our cabin with my best friend.  My mom cut me a slice and put a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Not wanting to seem too picky in front of my BFF, I put on my brave face and ate the whole thing (wow so deprived *eyeroll*).  And then I was forever changed.

Sometimes I wonder if I would not have the constant, incessant craving for apple pie if I had just turned my nose at my mom’s that day.  However, I like to think that I would be a much sadder person without it.  It helps me justify eating microwaved apple pie with ice cream for breakfast, anyway.

So when you inevitably go apple picking and come home with 48 lbs. of beautiful, orchard grown apples, just set aside a few pounds to make this pie.

It will hug you and make you feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings.

Plus, it’s fall as hell.  And that’s what I’m all about right now.

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*I am all for homemade pie crusts, but I’m not going to lie and tell you that’s what I did for this recipe.  I definitely used a refrigerated Pillsbury crust because, well, I’m lazy.  If you want to make it easy like I did, use the kind that you have to roll out, not the kind already in the tinfoil pie plate.  It’s pretty close to the real thing.*

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I really recommend preceding this pie with some kind of comfort meal such as garlic mashed potatoes, vegetable beef soup, or garlic herbed pork tenderloin.

But those are just a few ideas.  Or you can come over and I’ll make you a cozy fall meal complete with the perfect apple pie, some spiced cider, and Cards Against Humanity while Hocus Pocus plays in the background.

The choice is yours.

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*Song of the Day: Wake Me Up When September Ends–Green Day (throwing it waaayyy back, here).

*Thanks to my brother, Garrett for taking these pics!!