apple picking in indiana.

One of the best parts about moving to Chicago has been reuniting with my long-time friend, Kate.  Kate and I met in high school on a summer backpacking program and have been chasing each other around the country ever since.   Kate is my Midwest sister-from-another-mister.  We share the same love of planning elaborate dinner parties and excursions, so I was thrilled when upon arriving to the Windy City my inbox started filling up Google Calendar invites and Evites.  The first outing on our fall social calendar? A day trip to County Line Orchard in Indiana (an hour outside the city) with a group of her wonderful friends to get punch drunk on cider, fresh donuts, and decorative gourds.

The weather was magical: crisp and sunny, which is my favorite.  Donned in our best autumnal knits and flannels, we explored the orchard and picked as many apples as we could physically carry.  We ate bratwursts and amazing apple cider donuts straight out of the fryer, dusted with cinnamon sugar.  It was a perfect day.

I have been inspired by these recipes this week to fully maximize my bounty. I sautéed an apple with kale and pancetta in the cast iron skillet for dinner, and the galette and brussels sprouts stuffing are on the agenda for the weekend.  It’s official: fall has arrived.

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