Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sustainable Change

Those of you who know me personally know how much I love to cook and bake.  Now that we're eating clean again, I've decided to extend the healthy cooking to health baking.  This is a big step for me, a woman who believes wholeheartedly in white sugar, real butter, and full-fat cream!  I do ok with the cooking transitions, taking recipes that I've used for years and making adjustments to make them taste as good but with healthier ingredients.  But the baking...well, that's entirely new territory into which I've heretofore never really had the inclination to venture!  

Til Today.  

We were headed out to our usual favorite breakfast place for our Saturday morning tradition of a late breakfast lingering over coffee (I've cheated the last two Saturdays' and had a single cup of coffee with breakfast...sssshhhhh...) and THIS is what was happening:  

And it's sticking this time.  A nice, slow, steady snow with those big fat dry flakes that tend to pile up fast.

But inside Casa de Chatwell, it smells like a winter day should.  Like spicy pumpkin muffins and apple pie.  And this time, without the lingering scent of guilt that usually accompanies it!!!  :)  Here's the recipe:

Guilt-Free Baked Apples

5 Granny Smith apples, washed
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. steel cut oats (the big ones)
Large dollop of honey to taste (you can also use Stevia)

Heat the oven to 350.  

Slice off the top of each apple.  Using a melon baller, remove the core.  There really isn't a lot to an apple core. It's essentially the very very center of the apple, so a couple of twists of the wrist and they're out.  Using the melon baller, remove the rest of the apple guts and place them in a pan with the the 1/2 cup water and Tbsp of coconut oil.  

You can cook the apple innards while you're preparing the remaining apples and just keep adding apple to the pan until all five are hollowed out. Remember to leave enough of the inside of the apple INSIDE THE APPLE so that the sides don't cave in while they're baking.  The entire thing is going to be edible.  

Coarse chop the fresh cranberries.  These little
suckers roll, so stand close to your cutting board and use a big knife as shown.  

Add them to the pot along with the spices and salt and cook on medium until the water cooks down and the apples are soft but not yet quite falling apart.  This takes about 10 minutes or so from the time you've added the last of the apples.  

Add the oats and the honey in at about the last 2 minute mark.

Once the apples are cooked well, take them off the stove and you're ready to stuff the now gutted apples.  You should have exactly enough filling to fill the apples as the guts have cooked down a bit, but you've replaced that loss with the cranberries and oats.

Set each filled apple in a glass baking dish.  Put about a 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the dish, and put the whole thing in the oven for about 15 minutes.  

When they come out, THIS is what they'll look like.  They'll keep in the fridge for about four days and heat nicely in the microwave.  They're perfect for that afternoon snack that usually finds you at the vending machine or scrambling through drawers trying to find that one piece of halloween candy you might have missed, or the few chocolate chips that fell out of the bag...yeah, that's personal experienced speaking right there.  :)

And that smell....Mmmmmmmm.  THIS is what winter should smell like.