Things in our garden are winding down.  The zinnias are gone.  Pepper plants are pulled out.  The basil, not tolerant of the cool nights, is slowly dwindling away. However, the tomato plants are still producing it’s gorgeous red fruit, although at a much slower pace.  Most days, I can get a handful of tomatoes for a salad, sandwich or wrap.  As much as I love fall the thought of going 9 months without the taste of a freshly sliced tomato makes me a little sad.  I’m going to savor them until frost makes its’ appearance, closing the curtain on this year’s plants.

black bean wraps

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It’s beginning to look a lot like October.

apple sundaes

In the last week the leaves have begun to turn, making the hills look like a beautiful watercolor painting.  Cornfields are being harvested and grain trucks have become a common sighting on country highways.

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This recipe started as an idea for a breakfast cookie.  As you can see, that’s not the direction it took.  I mean, you could eat them for breakfast.  There’s oats, apples, dried cranberries and walnuts.  A person might use this list of these ingredients to rationalize having one (okay, maybe two) for breakfast.

caramel apple cookies

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My son is collecting bugs.


It started as a fun past time, catching grasshoppers, digging for earthworms, searching the herbs in our garden for caterpillars.

He found a few fuzzy caterpillars grazing among the branches of our basil plants and put them in mason jars. He is fascinated by watching them crawl on his arms and in the grass. As the days have gone by he has found more caterpillars. They’ve now graduated from the small jars to a large, plastic bucket for their home. He’s filled it with a few sticks and basil leaves to keep them fed and entertained. They are well kept little creatures.


Yesterday morning, over breakfast, I casually mentioned that the basil in the garden probably wouldn’t be around much longer. With shorter days and colder overnight temperatures our garden is starting to fade.


My statement lead to this conversation…

Samuel: “So, what happens to the caterpillars when there isn’t any more basil?”

Me: “Well, they die. It’s getting too cold for them and the basil. It’s just what happens this time of year.”

Samuel: “Really?! Then I am picking basil after school. Lots of it!


And that is exactly what he did. We now have a large bag of basil in the produce bin of our fridge. He is determined his caterpillars are going to make it through the winter. Unfortunately, I think a lesson in the life cycle of a caterpillar is in our future. I’m pretty sure they aren’t meant to survive a Nebraska winter. Even if their owner has picked enough basil for 10 caterpillars to do just that.


This post was supposed to be written and posted yesterday, but life had other plans.  Months ago I was asked, by a friend, to photograph the birth of her third child.  A photographer herself she wanted raw, narrative birth images of her son being born.  Yesterday afternoon, he made his way into the world and I was privileged to be there, snapping away from behind the lens.  Life is pretty beautiful sometimes.  My camera has brought me some amazing experiences.  I have to say, that one definitely makes the top 5.

Moving on to our recipe for today.  This is the second of two budget friendly recipes I put together for the Michigan State students that emailed.  It’s a vegetarian chili, perfect for cool, fall days and football Saturdays.  It’s spicy. It can be very spicy depending on how many chipotle peppers are added.  That is up to you.

vegetarian chili

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