Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Learned on my Fall Vacation

Dr. C and I went on a road trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and back to San Diego this week. I think that travel teaches us a lot about the place we live, the place we are in our lives and the places we visit.  Here are my reflections on this trip.

We live in a country of wide open spaces; whether in the mountains or the desert, there are miles and miles where you will never see a house, farm, or another soul.

There really are purple mountains' majesty!  Majestic cliffs, and beautiful valleys and barren deserts, we have them all in this country, and on each coast, beautiful ocean vistas. 

Fall is a beautiful season.  I'd never seen an aspen tree, and they were glorious in their golden-green splendor. 

113 degrees is way too hot! The desert may appeal to some, but this California girl thinks anything over 80 is way too hot! 

GPS directions sound so much better when the directions are given by a British bloke; we call ours Nigel.

Colorado is a beautiful state!

Road food is expensive, and hasn't changed in 100 years.  Fried, frozen and scrambled everything, all tastes the same after a while.

Snacks are essential!  Don't leave home without at least some Tate's bakeshop chocolate chips, kettle corn, chips, and crackers. 

There is no place like home; although we saw some of the most beautiful country on earth during our trip, we were so glad to get back home. 

Apple Pie in any form, is a great fall dessert! Inhaling the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and sweet pie crust are some of the best smells on earth.  Without further adieu, my favorite apple pie recipe---an oldie from my mom, who didn't make many desserts, this one is so simple, and delicious with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Mixture

10 medium-size Granny Smith Apples, cored, peeled, and sliced

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. To make the apple mixture, toss together the apples, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl.

2. Do-Ahead: At this point, you can store in a zipper-top plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, melted

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the apples to the prepared pan.

2. To mix the batter, combine the melted butter, flour, sugar, eggs, and pecans, stirring until blended. Pour over the apples and bake until the top is crisp and golden and the apples are bubbling underneath, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cook's Note:  this is easily halved, and made in a 9-inch square pan, bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

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