Welcome to autumn, my favorite season! This time of year charms the senses and is filled with simple things. Two of my favorite fall snacks to enjoy in the afternoon or late evening are candied walnuts and spiced apple cider. I keep a sticky note of the walnut recipe on the inside of my spice cabinet so it’s easy to reference any time. It’s also a great little snack to whip up whenever unexpected guests drop by.

Candied Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°(F). In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar, a couple pinches of kosher salt and couple pinches of fresh ground black pepper.

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir until combined, about 1 minute.  Add 4 cups of coarsely chopped walnuts and toss to coat.

After walnuts are coated in liquid mix place them in the sugar mix and toss to coat. Spread walnuts into a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, stirring once halfway through. To cool, spread walnuts out on parchment paper in a single layer. Enjoy!

The candied walnuts are great on their own but taste especially of the autumn season when paired with spiced apple cider. I like to jazz up simple store bought cider by warming it in the microwave or on the stove and adding a cinnamon stick and 3 or 4 red hot candies. Pour your spiced apple cider in a pretty little teacup and enjoy your autumn snack.

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Ahhh, the simplicity of bread and jam. One of life’s little pleasures. Strawberry raspberry bread is a simple quick bread similar to banana bread or zucchini bread that only takes about an hour to bake. This particular recipe is a double portion – great for sharing with a friend or freezing that extra loaf.

This raspberry jam is as simple and minimalistic as you can get. Just two ingredients and a little time on the stove and you have yourself a yummy homemade treat.

Strawberry raspberry bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooking oil

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl except for the berries. Add the berries last. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes in small loaf pans, or around 60 minutes in two large loaf pans. Remember to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t become overdone. Enjoy!

Raspberry Jam (small batch)
6 half-pints fresh raspberries (exactly 4 cups crushed raspberries)
3 cups granulated sugar

Wash and dry the berries. Place the berries in a large stainless steal or enamel bowl. Crush the berries using a potato masher or back of a spoon.

Measure exactly 4 cups of berries and place in a six-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add sugar to the hot berries. Raise heat to high stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to stir at a full rolling boil until the foaming subsides, the puree becomes thick and shiny, and the jam reaches the “jelly” stage. This will take about 15 minutes. You know it’s ready when you drop a small spoonful onto a cold plate and jam forms as it cools, it’s no longer syrupy and runny. If the jam is not ready, return it to the heat and check it every couple of minutes until it is at the consistency you prefer.

To store this yummy concoction I simply divvied it up into small plastic containers. I put one container in the fridge and froze the rest.  It will last about a week in the refrigerator and it freezes well. Also, make sure to label and date your raspberry jam before you store it so you don’t forget what’s in there.

Make these two simple recipes this weekend as a last hurrah to the fading summer.

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