As many of you may know, my family and I recently moved. We had been living for three years in a house we were renting on a dead end street. This house had a postage stamp sized yard. I mean, really really small. On top of that, it was sloped too deeply to use for anything. Where we are now is a normal sized house… we love it but we also know it’s nothing Earth shaking in most peoples eyes; just a typical 3 bedroom 2 bath house. What really made both of us want it was the land. This house came with ten acres of land. About 3 of it is cleared but 7 of it is forested as it much of the surrounding area. Plainly put, we are out in the boondocks… and we love it. 😀
Some of you may also remember that I have mentioned that I grew up in Chicago. I’m a South Side girl from birth. 😛 Plainly put there, I grew up with polluted Lake Michigan (though I love(d) it anyway), cement as my playground and wildlife that consisted of neighborhood dogs that had a thing for humping everyone’s legs and squirrels that I loved to watch back then and still enjoy watching though they are surprisingly rare around here. THAT was my wildlife hehe.
I’ve lived in Kentucky now longer than many of my readers have been alive (since ’88) but I still haven’t gotten to the point of taking it for granted. Part of this I think stems from the fact that my mother was from Alabama so if it’s possibly for one to be genetically hardwired to love the country, I am a walking example of this. I am so at peace here now, out of the city (such as our town of 17k is), away from traffic and ornery teenage kids skateboarding at midnight as they cuss up a blue streak.
One of the things I love here is knowing that we are surrounded by wildlife. I haven’t seen any yet but oh my, I know it’s there. The other night, at about 3:30am, I was suddenly startled awake from a dead sleep. I had no idea what woke me; still don’t really. Maybe I heard something in my sleep. But nonetheless, I was up for a while as is the norm for me when that happens. So, as I tend to do now, I headed outside. Within a few minutes, I heard it. The coyotes were also awake (it was the night of the full moon funnily enough) and they were giving me a serenade. I stood there for maybe ten minutes listening to their song. Up and down the musical scale it went, giving me chills. I went and got my husband to verify what I was hearing (in theory anyway; in reality I just wanted to share this with someone but had to have a valid excuse for waking him at almost 4 in the morning hehe). He stood with me for a bit but since he was snoring standing up, I had mercy and sent him back to bed. When I went back outside, I realized that maybe it was time to take my listening back inside. Why? Because the one or two coyotes had increased by at least a few and they had moved quite a bit closer from the sound of it, MAYBE half a mile from the house if that.
I realize that coyotes can be a hazard to other animals and I wouldn’t want to walk in our woods at night. I like to think I have a LITTLE sense lol.. But I will never ever take for granted that I have been blessed to live somewhere now where, in the middle of the night, I am privy to the songs of the night. It was the most eerily awesome sound I have ever heard.
Moving on….. no coyote shaped cookies, no casserole made with coyote meat (ummm; eww?), no twilight themed treats. What I DO have for you is a cookie I created the other day. I wanted something Autumnish (yes, that is still a word because I said so darn it) and I was in the mood for maple… and apples… and white chocolate… and crunch. Lol. They turned out spectacularly if I do say so myself. My husband and my daughter (she was visiting which I love) said they didn’t like the Pepitas but neither of them like nuts and such in cookies either. Not to mention, for someone who didn’t like the seeds, my daughter sure ate enough of them :-P. So here you go… give my Fall Harvest Cookies, chock full of Autumny (yeah that’s a word now too) goodness., a try. I think you’ll enjoy them. Plus there is actually some semblance of nutrition in these :-p
Fall Harvest Cookies
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring
- 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (sold same area as vanilla extract)
- 2 cups peeled and chopped apples
- 1/2 cup Pepita’s (do NOT use the salted in the shell pumpkin seeds in these please)
- 1 1/2 cups Planters Brand Maple Pecans, coarsely chopped (found mine at Wal-Mart & had been dying to figure out a way to use them)
- 2 cups dried cherries
- 1 bag good quality white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s)
- Heat oven to 350. Mix the flour, baking powder& baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until well mixed and creamy.
- Add the eggs and the 3 extracts. Continue beating until it’s all well mixed.
- Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed (unless of course you WANT to be flour covered 😛 ). Beat well until mixture is thoroughly combined. If it’s too much for your poor mixers motor, use those arm muscles and mix it by hand.
- When well mixed, mix in (by hand) the white chocolate chips, pepitas, pecans, apples and dried cherries.
- Shape into balls (I am no good at saying “make them such and such diameter so just make them the size you generally make, say, a chocolate chip cookie. Lol. I’m sorry.) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Because of the apples, this is a fairly sticky dough so yes, you will get goop on your hands 😀
- Bake at 350 until top is firm and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. I cooked some a little longer and while I generally prefer chewier verging on underdone cookies, these were actually good crispy too.
- Let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
- Eat many of these. Feel righteous because it has nuts and seeds and fruit 😛 Go outside and say hello to the night. Smile and feel blessed no matter where you are. 🙂