Our Bountiful Harvests

It seems for so many fall is the favorite season of the year. The change of season to autumn brings harvest time, and connected with harvest are so many activities. And all these remind us how God bestows these blessings.

Even the little one loves the fall views.

Some highlights:

Our vegetable garden is giving its last tomatoes, and will soon be pulled up to let the soil rest until next planting. I was surprised to see how many ripe tomatoes we still have (here in Northern Virginia we haven’t had our first frost). I’ve shared in the past some of our Favorite Tomato Recipes. Since the temperature is cooler it inspires me to want to cook more heavier foods — sauces, soups, stews, slow-cooked meals. So with the remaining tomato harvest we’re going to have Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce. I’m using this recipe and Elizabeth’s recipe as guides, but I’m a tweaker, so I know I won’t follow one way strictly.

My bounty of ripe tomatoes on my counter remind me of the warm summer days! I’m happy to be able to freeze some sauce for later. And while I’m smelling the aroma of the tomatoes baking, I’ll be sure to whisper a prayer for Elizabeth, who is on strict bedrest and can’t enjoy the fall outings.

Apple picking is something our family has not tried yet. Virginia is a wonderful apple region. We normally stop at Virginia Farm Markets to enjoy the bounty of local ripe apples. And I’m going to make this cake with our fresh apples. In all our married life, I haven’t made it for him, and it is to die for!

Apple Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup raisins, optional
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan.

Beat oil and sugar together while assembling remaining ingredients. Add the eggs and beat until mixture is creamy. Mix in vanilla extract.

Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and soda. Gradually stir into batter.

Add all the remaining ingredients (nuts and raisins); stir to blend.

Pour mixture into a greased and floured tube or Bundt pan. Bake 50-75 minutes, until toothpick comes clean.

And of course, pumpkins play a large role in this time. Apples, pumpkins, leaf changes all tie in together. Yesterday our family had an outing towards the Shenandoah Mountains to see the fall foliage and pick pumpkins. We always enjoy our visits to Sky Meadows State Park and we also visited nearby Hollins Farms. We prefer simple pumpkin patches without all the bells and whistles and high cost of admission.

The excitement doesn’t end, as we are doing Nature Study, trips to Pennsylvania (more beautiful foliage), football games, and more stops to get fresh apples.

The fall also brings about the new school year, a new focus on family prayer life and family together time. It is so beautiful that the outside can help us look on the inside and renew and refresh us.

Thanks be to God for all his blessings!


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