Back to Basics: Fall Edition

FallYou may still be enjoying the warm weather at the tail of summer, but fall is right around the corner!  Fiery leaves, pumpkin spice, apples, campfires and all!  Fall is my favorite time of year so I cannot wait to share with you some “Basics” for your home during the season.

First, if you’re like me, NOTHING starts off the fall season like pumpkin flavored drinks and food.  Here’s an easy way to make your own pumpkin spice for all of your needs.  Decide how much of a yield you need.  Cinnamon should be 50% of it, followed by 35% nutmeg, 10% clove and 5% cardamom.  You might be thinking what in the world is cardamom or maybe you are thrilled the have a use for that jar of it you bought for one recipe a few years ago (*Ahem, guilty as charged).  Now you have your own pumpkin spice!

Save yourself a few bucks on flavored coffee and just add a sprinkle of this in with your coffee grounds or add it to your freshly brewed cup of Joe.  If you are more of a tea drinker, you’re not left out of this fall frenzy.  Whip out that old tea leaf steeper gadget, cut down an unused coffee filter to size, spoon in some pumpkin spice to that too, close it up in the steeper, add hot water and your favorite chai and you’re set!  Broken pieces of cinnamon can also be added to this for an extra kick.  Steep for about 5-10 minutes to your taste and enjoy!

Apple butter is another fall favorite of mine and actually easier to make yourself than you might realize.  Pack up the kids and head out to your local orchard for an afternoon of picking.  You’ll need about 3 pounds of apples for this recipe, but be sure to pick more than that!  Swing through the store at the orchard for jug of apple cider too.  Once you’re back home and have washed the apples, slice them into 1 inch pieces.  Drop these into a large pot along with 1 cup of the apple cider (yes, you will still have all that other yummy cider left over) and a half cup of sugar.  Bring it up to a boil, stir and let it boil for about 20 minutes.  Leave the lid ajar so some of the water vapor and heat can escape.  Stir it every 5 minutes and turn off the heat after most of the liquid has left.  Run this through your blender for a minute or so until it is smooth.  Then pour it back into the pot and add 1 cup of sugar along with ¾ tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp ground cloves.  Bring this up to a boil again and then simmer for about 15 minutes.  After it has cooled for about an hour, spoon it into your mason jars and refrigerate.

Now that your kitchen is in the swing of the season, perk up the rest of the house too!  Grab your mason jars, Mod Podge, a sponge and some leaves.  If you don’t have gorgeous fall leaves readily available, you can use faux leaves or even cut outs from some festive paper napkins.  Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the exterior of the clean mason jar.  Then start applying leaves gently and with firm pressure to ensure they stick.  You can overlap leaves.  Just be sure to apply Mod Podge accordingly so they stick.  After the jars are dry, wrap the neck with some leftover garden twine.  These make adorable décor pieces for the mantel and even the bathroom vanity.

You’re filled up on pumpkin spice coffee, the house looks seasonable and now to make it smell that way too!  Save up you leftover beeswax from your used wax tarts.  Add these to a small pot on medium heat.  As the wax melts, add some pumpkin spice and/or cinnamon pieces.  You can also add a few drops of essential oils of your choosing keeping with the scents of Fall. Once you are satisfied with the ratio (a little goes a long way), turn off the heat and pour the molten wax into forms.  You can use small silicone ice cube trays or even old packaging from other wax melts.  Just be sure not to make them so large that they will overflow a warmer when used.  Once these have cooled (pop them into the fridge if you’re in a hurry), you have fresh new wax melts for your warmers.  If you’ve made extra, be sure to store them in an air tight container to avoid losing the scent.

How simple is that and it likely only took a trip to the orchard for supplies?!?!  From our campfire to yours, enjoy the season!

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