It’s no secret that at Lansing Mom, we love all things fall! While we’ve shared plenty of ways to enjoy the flavors and festivities of the season in and around Lansing, today we’re going to talk about bringing your favorite fall flavors into your own home! While pumpkin spice or harvest apple candles are wonderful, I currently have a couple lit as I write, there’s nothing better than infusing your home with autumn aromas that come from your very own kitchen. Not only are these simple recipes going to outperform your best candles, they are absolutely delicious and simple to make as well! Read on for five recipes that feature your favorite fall flavors.
Believe it or not, this recipe is not from a cookbook. It’s actually from a book I live by right now called “When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads” because, as you might’ve guessed, I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant with twins. While this recipe is included in the book because it contains optimal vitamins and nutrients for passing to the little babies in my body, these muffins are a hit with EVERYONE! They’re perfect for a quick snack or to have as a guilt-free dessert and they’re so easy to pack into lunches when going into the office or school.
Makes 1 dozen muffins
Ingredients for Harvest Muffins
- 1 cup canned pumpkin-pie mix (or if you find just plain canned pumpkin, add some pumpkin pie spices to it)
- 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk (we used almond milk instead)
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin-pie mix, milk, butter, honey, vanilla, egg whites, and brown sugar; mix well. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, stirring gently until just blended. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup about half full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This recipe, also surprisingly from the “When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads,” book is a delicious way to bring warmth to these cool autumn mornings. You can’t go wrong dressing them up with some whipped cream, opting for the classic maple syrup, or eating them plain. Any way you have them, these little hotcakes pack a flavorful punch!
Makes 15 Pancakes, or 5 servings
Ingredients for Autumn Pancakes
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups low-fat (1%) milk (we used almond milk instead)
- ½ cup canned pumpkin-pie mix (or if you find just plain canned pumpkin, add some pumpkin pie spices to it)
- 2 large egg whites
Preheat a lightly oiled griddle to 375° F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin-pie mix, and egg whites; add to the dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Spread the batter into a 4-inch circle before it sets. Cook until the surface bubbles and appears dry; turn and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Homemade Spiced Cider or Wine
Growing up, if you stepped into my mom’s kitchen on a fall evening or weekend, you’d likely find a crock pot filled with hot, mulled cider. Sometimes she would throw the spices in from scratch, other times she’d use the convenience of pre-packaged mulling spices. Either way, having steamy spiced cider was a staple in our home, and as an adult, I was surprised to learn that many people don’t know how simple it is to bring this fresh fall favorite right into your own home. Whenever we have company over in the fall, they’re always welcomed by the scent of spiced cider wafting through our house because another bonus of this recipe is that the quantity can easily be adjusted from a single serving to entertaining a whole crowd.
Any way you make it, the recipe consists of two basic components: plain apple cider (or wine, which we’ll talk about later) and spices. When it comes to the spices, if you feel so inclined to make your own blend with cinnamon sticks, clove, orange, and whatnot – go for it! I’m not as ambitious, so I stick to the trusty pre-packaged mulling spices you can find at many cider mills, grocery stores, and even Amazon. Highly recommend opting for the spices in single-serving bags (like tea), rather than the box of loose spices you pour so you can get more mileage out of your spices and not have to worry about pesky spice residue floating in your drink.
In the crock pot
Depending on the size of your slow-cooker and the number of servings you plan on making, you can go anywhere from making a batch from ½ gallon of cider (for which I would recommend having 3 bags of spices), to an entire gallon (where I would include 5-6 bags of spices). It’s really as simple as:
- Pouring in the desired amount of cider
- Placing 3-4 bags per half-gallon of cider in the crock (I recommend having the tags hang out over the corner of the crock so you can easily remove them when you ladle our your drink and not have to worry about the paper tag dissolving in the crock)
- Setting your crock on low heat for 2-3 hours, after which, you can turn it down to the “keep warm” setting to have it accessible for an all-day brew
I would recommend only making a portion that you anticipate could be consumed in a day because having apple cider warmed for more than 8 hours takes you into a strange territory when it comes to texture, taste, and potentially food-safety.
On the stovetop
Follow the steps in the crock pot recipe above, but do so in a large pot over low-medium heat. The key is to get the cider hot, possibly even simmering, but not to a boil as it will quickly disintegrate the spice bag. Once it has heated, and the spices have infused the cider (indicated by a cloudier appearance), you can remove the pot from the heat and serve or turn the burner to low for up to a couple extra hours.
In the microwave
This approach is perfect when making smaller servings, like when my wife and I just want a cup of spiced cider with our breakfast. Again, the recipe is as simple as:
- Fill a mug with cider
- Placing only one bag of spices in the mug, just like you would with a cup of tea
- Warming it in the microwave to hot, but not boiling. In our little microwave and with most mugs, this is about 3 minutes, but it will vary according to your appliance’s wattage
What about wine?
If you’d like a more “adult” version of this delicious spiced drink, substitute the cider in the recipes listed above for red wine. This comes with a few words of warning:
How to Choose the right red wine
- An expensive wine, since the components that likely added to the increased value will be “lost” once you’ve heated the wine and added spices
- A wine with complex or fruit-forward flavors, like one with layers of tobacco and leather or a cherry wine, simply because these flavors will be overpowered, or worse, conflict with the spice flavors
Don’t heat too high or too long
- I made the mistake of “setting and forgetting” some wine and spices in a crock-pot for several hours. While the result was tasty, I had essentially burned off the alcohol content, so my guests and I did not get a fun buzz that night.
- For this reason, I would avoid planning on having the wine in the slow-cooker or stovetop pot for much longer than it takes to achieve the minimal heat to get the spices to disperse (again, you’ll know you’ve achieved this when you see the wine looks murkier). And if you’re going for the single-serving in the microwave route, consider reducing the time until the wine is just hot to the touch.
Hot Wine Shouldn’t go in a Glass
- This is one of those rare times you can drink wine from a coffee mug and still feel like you’ve got your life together
“Wow,” is literally what my wife and I said while eating this dish for the first time, as it tastes like something from a fancy restaurant menu. This surprisingly simple recipe comes from Build Your Bite, and we added some steamed, chopped asparagus to boost its nutritional value.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Pasta
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- salt, to taste
For the pasta
- 1 lb rigatoni or other pasta of choice
- Melt butter in a dutch oven (or large stovetop pot), then add the garlic and onion
- Cook over medium high heat for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring often, until onion is softened
- Add milk, pumpkin, heavy cream, and sage, and cook over medium low heat, stirring often, until it begins to thicken, around 10 – 15 minutes
- Pour in the parmesan cheese in and stir (this will thicken it more)
- Cook the rigatoni or other pasta to al dente, drain, and add to the pumpkin sauce
- Salt to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
- Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese
Crock Pot Apple Crisp
Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if I didn’t share at least one dessert recipe? Here’s another one that features my favorite kitchen device, the slow-cooker, from The Four Acre Farm. This fall favorite is simple, delicious, and pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- 8 small Apples
- 5 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 stick Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Quick Oats
- 1 cup Self Rising Flour
- 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
- 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
- Turn Crock Pot on Low
- Peel and Slice Apples
- Butter the bottom of Crock Pot
- Fill Crock Pot with Apples
- Sprinkle apples with 3 tsp cinnamon and 1 cup sugar
- Gently stir apples to coat with cinnamon and sugar
- Combine flour, butter, brown sugar, oats, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and pecans in a bowl
- Mix ingredients using a fork, or your hands, until the butter is in small beads
- Distribute the mixture evenly on top of the apples
- Drizzle maple syrup over top
- Cover crock pot with a dish towel
- Put the crock pot lid on top of the towel to soak up moisture
- Cook on low for 2 hours or until apples are softened
Looking for more flavors of fall? We’ve got you covered, just head here!