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To say that we enjoyed the Carolina Gamecock's first game would be putting it mildly. While it was chiefly a defense-against-defense battle from start to finish, the fact that our defense prevailed made the lack of significant offensive prowess bearable. Later Saturday afternoon, both Clemson and The Citadel quite literally ruled their gridiron contests. Then, the SCSU Bulldogs waited until second half to show Alabama who was "king of the pack." All of this football gets me in the mood for yummy fare, as it does thousands of other football fans in our great state!

Further stoking my longing for very flavorful food is the rapid approach of Indian Field Campmeeting -- an Upper Dorchester County area tradition of worship, fellowship and feasting. The little bit of cooler weather we enjoyed this past holiday weekend (compared to being 100 degrees plus) truly escalated my desire to enjoy some delicious fruits of fall -- apples, pears, pumpkins … "crisps," pies and cobblers … to be precise.

Now you can buy pumpkin-fragrance candles, or apple-cinnamon candles to infuse your home with those wonderful fragrances. And, while the candles are burning, you may be inspired to prepare one or more of these favorite Southern desserts. If you eat small portions, these are healthful, delicious recipes. I hope you will try them all and that they will become favorites in your recipe file.

Heart warming apple crisp

(You may use any fruit for this "crisp" recipe)

5 tablespoons cold butter, plus more for greasing the pan

6 cups pitted, sliced apples (2 to 3 pounds)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2/3 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional

1 cup vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 400. Cut the 5 tablespoons butter into 1/4-inch bits and put in the fridge or freezer. Lightly butter a square baking pan. Toss the peaches with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar in a large bowl, and spread them out in the prepared pan.

Combine the chilled pieces of butter with the remaining brown sugar, the oats, the flour, the salt and the nuts if you're using them in a food processor and pulse a few times, then process a few seconds more until everything is combined but not too finely ground. (To mix this by hand, mash the mixture together between your fingers.)

Crumble the topping over the peaches and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the topping is browned and the peaches are tender and bubbling. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with ice cream if you like. Makes six to eight servings.

Apple or pear cobbler without spices

1/4 cup soft shortening

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsifted flour

1/2 cup milk

Stir these ingredients together until they are well combined to form a batter.

1 cup fresh thin apple or pear slices

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh thin apple or pear slices

Arrange the fresh fruit slices in the bottom of a two-quart casserole dish. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit slices. Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan and boil it, stirring continually until the sugar is dissolved and transforms into a syrup consistency. Pour the syrup over the batter. Top this with a half a cup of thinly sliced apples or pears. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. (This same cobbler idea can be used with other fruits -- blueberries, peaches, etc. Too, you may add cinnamon, nutmeg, or other favorite spices that you enjoy.)

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Contact writer: tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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