When it comes to naming recipes, how do you figure out which words come first? I must have stared at the title of this entry for 10 minutes straight, trying to piece together the words apple, cinnamon, almonds, and scones. Would it be better if almonds came first? Where does cinnamon fit in all of this? Apples were the highlight ingredients, so does it come first or second? Naming recipes shouldn’t be this complicated.
In my opinion, it’s not fall until you go to a pick-your-own apple orchid. This Thanksgiving, my Mom and Grandma flew down and took us visiting some family members, some of whom owns and operates an apple farm – Smiths’ Apples and Farm Market in Port Elgin.
This apple farm is open everyday from the beginning of September until the end of October. I don’t know how Micki and Steve do it. When we arrived early during Thanksgiving weekend (their busiest time), the place was already pretty busy. Steve always makes time to chat with everyone out front and Micki was also able to greet us, despite being super busy in the store and kitchen areas. We said a quick hello and grabbed a couple of wagons for apple picking.
Since we are big apple eaters, we brought along 2 large totes to fill up. My Mom and Grandma ended up taking them home on their flight, but Trevor and I ended up with 2 full cloth grocery bags.
The farm has lots of apple varieties, so we picked some Jonagold, Royal Gala (my person favourite) and some Aurora Golden Gala. We also picked up some delicious Honeycrisp, which are not for picking and are only available in their store.
What I love about the apples is how huge they are! I swear, one of their apples is like eating 2-3 grocery store apples and they taste so much better too!
After apple picking, there is plenty more to do on the farm. A couple of my younger cousins raced Trevor and I through the huge corn maze. Every year is a new theme and they make it challenging by placing clues throughout the maze based on the theme. This year was “Mythological Creatures.”
If you aren’t up for the larger corn maze, there is also a smaller toddler-sized hay maze and some pumpkins to sit and hang out by to catch your breath. If you bring little kids, I can guarantee that you will be trying to keep up with them throughout all the excitement.
Out of everything to do on the farm, my favourite place to visit is the bakery. Micki makes apple pies, pumpkin pies, muffins, apple cheddar scones, cookies, and anything else you can dream up.
This was my first year trying her pumpkin pie and it definitely does not disappoint!
Also if you want to make your own apple pie at home, you can purchase pre-made pie shells and roll-outs. How handy is that?
Besides apples and baked goods, there is lots more to purchase in the store. Pumpkins and squash, honey and jams, loose leaf tea (Mom bought some chocolate chai latte that smelled so,ooo good!), coffee beans, apple peelers, fudge, candy apples, you name it and it’s probably right there on the shelf!
There’s a few more weeks left in the season, so if you’re in the Southern Ontario area, take a day drive up to Port Elgin and visit the Smith Apple Farm.
Meanwhile, I’ll have to brainstorm what to do with all these apples in my fridge!
Last week, I was able to convince Trevor to accompany me to the first annual Canada’s Baking & Sweets Show in Mississauga. When I first heard about this conference, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. A show all about cupcakes, cookies, icing and fondant? A place where I could sample baked goodies from all over the Southern Ontario and beyond? I knew I had hit the jackpot!
The morning of the show, I made some green smoothies to counteract all the sugar we were about to consume and we hit the road. Upon entering the conference, we were greeted by the Halloween and Wedding themed cakes on display for the professional baking competition. It was surreal seeing these cakes up close and knowing that they were edible.
All the booths were selling baked goods and they were quite generous with their free samples as well. For my first purchase, I spent a good time checking out the adorable little boxes of macarons at the MoRoCo Chocolat booth before setting on a single passion-fruit macaron at the Vanille Cakes and Confections booth, as they were individually priced at $2 each.
Trevor was surprising game with trying one with me and now I can finally say that I’ve eaten one – we are macaron virgins no more! Now I just have to find time to try making them myself.
Since we opted for the (cheaper) Friday tickets to the show, we ended up missing Buddy from Cake Boss. I got my fix visiting the Pam Baking Spray booth and posing with the life-size cutout.
My second purchase was a red-velvet cupcake with delicious cream cheese icing. I was too smitten with it to take a picture.
Trevor’s favourite booth was the Sprucewood Hand Made Cookie Company, who was very generous with the serve yourself free samples. They made your usual shortbread cookies, but their standout product was their savoury cheddar shortbread cookies. We were big fans of the cheddar/rosemary flavour and must have stopped at that booth at least three different times. I’m sure Trevor and his lactose intolerance paid for it later.
There were plenty of cake booths, but my favourite had to be from La Casa Dolce. Their movie themed cake blew me away.
Also, a pancake/maple syrup cake anyone?
Beside baked goods, there were also candy booths, a bagel booth, and plenty of fondant and baking supply booths. I spent a good time wandering around Golda’s Kitchen booth before Trevor pointed out that this was the third time I had migrated myself there – lol.
The cake pop booths reminded me of Bakerella. Even though I met her last year, I’m crossing my fingers that she can be a guest speaker next year!
I managed to pick up a ton of business cards and pamphlets for baking classes around the GTA, so hopefully I can get back into the swing of taking classes and baking again. This conference really inspired me to start baking again, so hopefully there will be some new and exciting recipes on this site soon.
I’m already thinking about the deliciousness of next year’s conference – haha!
A couple weeks ago, Trevor had a confession for me – he had never eaten a s’more before. When I heard this, my childhood wept for him. I have fond memories of camping with my family across Canada in my youth. Besides the joy of eating outside with the mosquitoes and getting lost in the memorizing spell that is watching a log crinkle and burn over the spitting bonfire at night, roasting marshmallows on sticks and squishing them between stale graham crackers and a smidgen of pure milk chocolate was my favourite camping activity.
I have a confession to make – I have a weakness for food court soft pretzels. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, the Pretzelmaker, if I’m in a mall, I can always smell the cinnamon sugar a mile away. Before we moved, I had no way to fulfill this craving as our former city’s malls didn’t have a pretzel place in their food court. The closest one was when I used to meet my family in Winnipeg and head to Polo Park for last minute Christmas shopping every December. No matter how broke I was, I always got a cinnamon-sugar pretzel.
Now that we live in southern Ontario, it seems that every mall we go to has a pretzel kiosk. At first I didn’t know what to do and out of habit, I would always get my usual order. After a few months, the novelty wore off and now I only get a pretzel once in a while. I still love my cinnamon-sugar laced order, only now it doesn’t seem like a treat when the closest one is a mere 5 minute drive away and not an annual treat.