Sunday, October 23, 2011

White Chocolate Bones

My girls have been dying to do something in the "goodies" department for Halloween...I figured that making some "bones" just might be the solution. 
Is it a simple recipe?  Yes. 
Do kiddles love making them? Yes again.
Is it messy?  To a certain degree, oh yeah.  There will be some finger licking going on.

If I had my way we'd be using dark chocolate though. (Momma loves her some dark chocolate!)

Pretzel Sticks
Marshmallows (regular, not jumbo or mini)
White Chocolate Morsels

1.  Line a baking sheet with either wax paper or parchment paper.
2.  Press one end of a pretzel stick completely through the center of a marshmallow.  Position the marshmallow at the edge of the pretzel stick. Repeat this step for the opposite end of the pretzel stick.

3.  Place the assembled pretzels & marshmallows on the lined baking sheet.

4.  In a microwave safe bowl, pour 1/2 cup of white chocolate morsels and heat on high for 30 seconds.  Stir and heat at 10 second intervals until morsels are completely melted.  Be sure to stir between each heat session. Allow to cool enough to touch. (about 2-3 minutes)  Repeat step as necessary.

5.  Holding the center of a pretzel & marshmallow stick begin to coat the entire stick with the melted white chocolate.  A pastry brush or teaspoon can be used.  Dipping the sticks can cause the marshmallows to come off.

6.  Place chocoalte coated "bones" on lined baking sheet and allow chocolate to set. Cooling time varies by chocolate thickness. (10-15 minutes)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adventure To Apple Hill!

Halloween is typically not my favorite time of year...BUT we tend to focus on harvest time rather than the spooky.  So we started off the month with a trip up to APPLE HILL!  Apple Hill is an area between Placerville & Camino, California which transports you from the feel of the mountains & pines to beautiful orchards repetitively.

Since we traveled about 2.5 hours from Reno, we decided to utilize the Green Apple Shuttle and it's route on our first visit.  The apple grower's association has two routes, the Red Apple and Green Apple, and offers FREE shuttle service Saturdays & Sundays (10am - 5pm) during the month of October. Visit Apple Hill Growers for complete information on activities throughout the year!

There were more than just apples, there were pumpkins available and some of the orchards also have Christmas trees growing for the upcoming season.  My little kiddles LOVED checking everything out.  
Our first stop wasn't much to explore, but there were some very delicious apples to be had while we waited for the other half of our adventurous crew. (Charming's cousin & family were meeting us!)

The second stop, Grandpa's Cellar, offered a bit more to entertain us...first our eyes were greeted with craft booths, then our noses were tickled by a grill going with smoked tri-tip, THEN the bakery tempted us with the smell of fresh apple pies just waiting to be devoured.  We resisted the eatery, which was hard to do but we prevailed, and headed to the craft booths.

Both girls had their sights set on one booth in with FACE PAINTING!  Grace decided on a pretty pink flower with green vines and Rose selected a large butterfly...both completely covered in glitter.  It's pretty, but I'm not a fan of glitter on kiddle tends to get EVERYWHERE.
Grandpa's Cellar had something that you definitely don't see every emu.  Yeah, that's what I said, a domesticated emu.  I couldn't believe that this bird wasn't trying with all its might to get away...if it were me I would be using my strong legs & beak to make a break for it.  There wasn't a peep, or squawk from it...for some reason it was completely trusting of us all.  (that's one VERY trusting bird)
The kiddles thought that it was one of the coolest things ever.  They got to pet it while it's owner shared information about the large bird.  THEN my little Grace started asking questions...that poor man had no idea what he was in for *haha*

One of the wonderful things about Apple Hill is that there are nature trails that can be taken from one orchard to another.  It was so much fun to watch as the girls made their way along he path making comments about all the things they were seeing/imagining along the way.
It was so peaceful and calming, I could have wandered there all day.  Glancing up at the sky, there was such a beautiful mixture of leaves and needles.  That's a sight that I'm not accustomed to seeing.  And as we crossed a little bridge I noticed this small waterfall at the base of a rather large tree.  "Somebody go get me a piece of pie and bring it back to me", I do I just walk away from something so tranquil?  The promise of other apple baked goodies, that's how. :)  See, I had heard that one of the best orchards on our route was just around the bend and it promised something for everyone to enjoy...I had to move on.
Before I could call out for that pie, we came to what was decidedly our favorite stop along the Green Apple route, Apple Ridge Orchard.  There was SO much for the girls to experience.  Sure, you might think that I'm wrapping this up...I'm not.

If you ever make it up to Apple Hill then you have to visit Apple Ridge Farms. Especially if you have little kiddles with you.  They have built a little petting zoo complete with goats, sheep, cows, chickens and rabbits.

There's even a tractor for picture opportunities...and with my girls, there were opportunities.  Kiddles were coming out of the woodwork to try to climb and claim the coveted tractor seat.  Grace would have stayed up there all day if I hadn't insisted on her getting down to let another little guy make his way to "steer".
And if I missed the tractor, there were cutouts for me to take advantage of as well.  I love the cutouts...especially when Rose can't quite reach the hole.  I just realized that these pics would actually make some really great Harvest or Halloween cards.

We were so happy that we held out for lunch here...the tri-tip sandwiches were amazing AND we finished things off with fresh baked apple turnovers & caramel apple slices. 
(I apologize for not having those pics, but there was no way that I was going to hold off on that apple turnover)  The bakery was ridiculous...the window held turnovers, strudel, pies...OH those pies!  We are definitely going back for the pies!!! 
And then there's the pumpkin patch & hay maze...
Just when I thought we were done and ready to go, there's the fudge/gift shop and all of its sweet goodies (fudge, bonbons, nuts, etc.) with another picture opp in front...oh they pull out all the stops here.
I think you could conclude that we had a really wonderful time...and can't wait to make our way up the mountain again!