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Getting Ready for Winter
Raking leaves is just one of the ways to get ready for winter.
Getting your home ready for the cold of winter isn't high on your list of things to do. But, it's not too late to start. There are many cost-efficient (and easy!) ways to keep your home cozy. You can check out our energy conservation blog for a short list we put together. However, if you want detailed how-to's, there is nobody better than the Clean Energy Resource Team. This is what they do best! And, if you needed any more motivation to change your furnace air filters, check out this video showing how clogged up they can get in no time.

Election day is November 6. Remember how important it is to vote!

Election day is November 6. Remember how important it is to vote!

November 6 is almost upon us. If you live in Minnesota, you can find your polling location here. Here is a chart of the presidential candidates and their recorded stances. There are two constitutional amendments up for ballot in MN. The MN Sec. of State website has a detailed (and non-partisan) description of each amendment proposal on their website. Be an informed voter and remember November 6th!

Honeycrisp Apples Can Make so Many Delicious Things!
Honeycrisp Apples are a fall treat.
Ever since the honeycrisp was cultivated in 1960, Minnesotans have been treated with a lightly sweet and pleasantly crunchy apple. Many people often ask why bother cooking with them since they are so tasty right off the tree (and months later!) If you want a detailed history of how the Honeycrisp came into existence, Minnesota Harvest has a great review. But, if you're more interested in eating them, we've got you covered, too.

Here are some recipes for easy Honey Crisp Apple Pancakes, a delicious Honey Crisp Apple Crisp (say that three times fast!), and even a Honey Crisp Stuffing. You never knew there were so many ways to enjoy a Honey Crisp, did you?

So, if you're lucky enough to have too many honeycrisp apples (yeah right!), we've found a great recipe that will help you eat them up in a snap.

Honey Crisp Apple Cake


  • For the apples:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored, and halved
  • For the cake batter:
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup grated Honey Crisp apple
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup canned crushed pineapple
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. 1

    Caramelize the Apples: Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.

    Place the apples in the pan, cut side up, and cook over very low heat until the apples are tender and nearly cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

    When the apples are cool enough to handle, slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, keeping the top 1/2-inch of the apple halves intact so that the apple halves stay intact but can be fanned.

  2. 2

    Make the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of six 3-inch ring molds (2 inches high) with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray the inside of the molds with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Place the ring molds on the lined baking sheet.

    Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the remaining ingredients in the mixer bowl at low speed until just combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter.

    Place the caramelized apple halves, core side up, in the molds, pressing the apples down to fan out the slices. Divide the batter evenly among the ring molds and bake until a knife inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

    Run a paring knife around the edge of each cake and gently remove the cakes from the molds. Invert the cakes so the apples are facing up.

Rental Units each have a private greenhouse!
Campus Announcement

The HUG-Resilient Living Campus now has
High Performance Housing available for rent.
Click here for the listings.


Healthy Green Communities Partnership

Dam Park Task Force

Meetings: 1st Thursday, 5pm at HUG Campus
Buy a Brick to support the installation of the swimming beach at the Dam Park.
GreenStep Task Force
Oct. 30th, 6pm at HUG Campus
Pine River Main Street Beautification -
See different examples of ways to create a more visually appealing and enticing downtown.

Local News

Nationally Renowned Author to Speak on Nov. 15
NY Times bestseller, Alison McGhee will speak at the Pine River Backus School
as part of the Community Read program.
For more information, you can read the Pine River Journal's article here.

Congratulations to Community Volunteer Koestner
The Pine River-Backus Community Garden celebrated its annual meeting and
awarded Lorna Koestner the "Golden Trowel" for her hard volunteer work.


Back to Basics 2013: Steps Toward Sustainability

Back to Basics

January 26th, 2013.

Do you have a skill or knowledge that you think would fit with Back to Basics?
We are now taking registrations for vendors, presenters, and exhibitors.
Sponsorship forms are also available. 
You can sign up online!

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