Cereal!… Kind Of…

Alex and I can’t eat regular cereal. And honestly, who would want to? It was a staple of my youth, but I feel sick every time I think about it now. I can’t even walk down the cereal aisle in the store. God, that aisle stinks. As does the bread aisle. And the baking aisle. And really, just about every aisle. Our shopping is pretty much limited to the perimeter of the store. You know, where all the fresh options are. Anyhow, cereal. I missed cereal. Very, very badly. So much that I would convince Alex to get the gluten free non-GMO cereals, and they would still make me sick. Just because it’s gluten free or non-GMO doesn’t mean it’s healthy or good for you! Flaky cereals have pretty much no real nutritional value. Mine, however, mine does.

The only issue with this cereal is if you’re a migraine sufferer like me. If you are, be careful how much of this you eat! I ate it every day, sometimes twice a day, for about a week and a half, and got a terrible migraine that lasted about five days. Alex is the one who figured out it was the cereal. I hopped onto the internet and sure enough, nuts are on the common triggers list. So just be careful! I really don’t want to be the cause, however indirectly, of someone’s pain.

Ingredients:
whole natural almonds
shelled walnuts
unfiltered honey
virgin expeller pressed coconut oil
cinnamon and nutmeg OR pumpkin pie spice OR apple pie spice

Method:
1.Preheat the oven to 300. In a large glass mixing bowl (or whatever material, I’m just really partial to glass) place several tablespoons of coconut oil. Use your judgment here. If you want more clustery cereal, use a bit more oil. Less clusters means less oil. I have got to get a camera so I can start posting method pictures.
2. Add the honey on top of the coconut oil. Add however much you think you’ll need for sweetness. If it’s any help, my cereal usually comes out tasting like a much better version of Honey Bunches of Oats.
3. Add your choice of spices. If adding cinnamon and nutmeg, I’d do less nutmeg than cinnamon, as nutmeg has a strong flavor.
4. In a food processor, add the desired amount of almonds. Process until they are chopped very fine. Dump into the bowl. Do the same for the walnuts.
5. Mix the contents of the bowl together. Be patient. It’ll take a few minutes for all the nuts to be covered. At this time, judge by either smell or flavor and decide if you need more spices or honey. Sometimes I add another teaspoon or two of oil, depending on my mood.
6. Spread the nuts in a thin layer on foiled baking sheets. Bake for seven minutes.
7. Remove from the oven, mix together and make a thin layer again. Return to the oven for an additional seven minutes.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

To serve, have a regular bowl of cereal with some milk, mix it into some yogurt, or pour kefir on top. I have it with milk, Alex does kefir and yogurt. You can also add dried fruit to it. I’m on the lookout for a decently healthy and decently priced supply of dried blueberries to add. My favorite cereal was Blueberry Morning, and this would be pretty similar, minus the flakes.

Yay! We can eat cereal again!!!

Crock Pot Applesauce

I like to buy a bag of apples and a set of bananas every week. I love apples. Sometimes, though, apples are not all they appear to be. Usually they are nice, crisp, slightly cool, sweet, juicy, and delicious. Sometimes, they’re… not. I recently bought a bag of apples that turned out to be pretty much inedible, no matter how much peanut butter I put on them. Making raw applesauce was out of the question since it wouldn’t hide the nasty flavor, and I had recently made my baked apples, so I was at a loss on what to do. I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I haven’t been able to start container gardening yet so I couldn’t compost them either. Then, when I was doing the week’s meal plan, I came across a recipe for chunky applesauce made in the crock pot. I thought to myself, perfect! It will definitely help hide the flavor, and even if it’s not the best applesauce ever, it will at least be edible. Which is all I really wanted at this point.

Original Recipe: found here
6 medium apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Now, I like to stay away from sugar. It has no real nutritional value. It’s kind of a drug. Definitely habit forming. Plus, Alex won’t eat it. So I modified it a bit.

My Recipe:
as many apples as you have (I think I had about nine)
water to cover the bottom of the crock pot
as much apple pie spice as you like

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on measurements. So just put as much spice as you think you will like into the crock pot.

Method:
1. Core, slice, and peel the apples. I just cut the sides off and peeled those, rather than messing with the dreaded apple corer. It’s all getting mashed up anyway, so what do I care if they look pretty?
2. Throw the apples into the crock pot. Put the crock pot on LOW.
3. Add water to cover the bottom of the pot. Add apple pie spice. Stir to mix together and evenly coat the apples with spice.
4. Cook for 8 hours on LOW. Of course, you will want to stir this from time to time. Kind of smack them with the edge of the spoon when stirring to see if they’re soft enough to mash into sauce, or chop into smaller pieces. The eight hours is a guideline. If you want your sauce chunkier, then cook less time. Of course, the firmness of the flesh of the apples will help determine how long they cook as well.

Enjoy! And never throw nasty apples away again!

Baked Apples

I’m sure it’s obvious I love my apples. My absolute favorite way to eat them is sliced with peanut butter. The peanut butter I use is Smucker’s Natural Chunky. It is $2.98/lb at Walmart. The only two ingredients are peanuts and less than one percent salt. I like that.

I kind of have a thing about ingredient lists. If I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it. I am very good at pronouncing things. but when I see something that looks like this: “skdjfhdkjvnerkgsusajekgjbekfj serkidfkjfskjf 30 dkjhkjsf”, no thanks. And pretty much, even if I can pronounce it, I probably won’t eat it. Meat, eggs, butter, whole cream, coconut milk, nut milk, vegetables, fruits… that’s all we eat. No legumes. So no green beans. And really, I’m not supposed to eat peanut butter, because peanuts are a legume. But… but I love peanut butter 😦

Anyhow, Alex likes baked apples. We can’t eat regular pie, and I haven’t yet been brave enough to try making a walnut crust. I have made walnut meal brownies that were simple divine, though, so maybe I should try the crust. So I make pie filling, aka baked apples.

Most pie fillings/baked apples call for 20 kinds of sugar and ten million spices and all kinds of cornstarch and thickeners. Ew. Mine is simple.

Ingredients:
One whole stick salted sweet cream butter. Real butter.
apples
however much apple pie spice you like

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. Using an apple corer, cut your apples. This is the only time I use my corer, because it’s annoying and I have absolutely no upper body strength. But you want to use the corer for this one so you have pretty uniform wedges. Peel the wedges.
2. In a small skillet, melt half the stick of butter. Keep the heat on about 3-4. Any higher and your butter will burn.
3. Line a 2″ deep square baking dish with foil. Put the apples in the dish, and our the melted butter on top.
4. Add apple pie spice and mix it all up, evenly coating the apples. Be careful not to tear the foil. I always manage to tear mine in the square dishes. Never fails. No idea why.
5. If it looks like your spice is a little lacking, go ahead and add more. Just put however much you like. Spices are good for you.
6. Once you’re satisfied with how much spice is in there, make sure it’s all mixed and nice, then start thinly slicing the remaining half stick of butter and placing the slices on top of the apples.
7. Cover the dish with foil, doming it so that the foil is not touching the apples. Bake for 25 minutes.
8. Stir the apples up, and bake for another 25 minutes. After this second time, check for softness. If you like them a little crunchier, take them out. If you like them super soft, leave them in there until they are.
9. Eat them while they’re hot. And don’t you dare throw out that nice spiced butter sauce. Eat that too. It’s yum-delicious and good for you.

I do love my apples.

Raw Applesauce

Generally, I eat my apples with peanut butter. Sometimes, though, I get a little tired of that, so I make raw applesauce. It’s healthy, it has nutritional value, your kids will probably like it more than the nasty jarred stuff that’s full of preservatives, etc. You can have it as a side dish, breakfast on the go, a healthy snack, there’s really no limit to when you can eat this. Just store it either in a large jar or in individual sized containers to the kids can grab and go, and you’re set. And it’s not incredibly time consuming.

I usually make it for one apple only, sometimes two. You can make as much as you want.

Ingredients:
apples
Optional:
apple pie spice
nutmeg
cinnamon

Method:
1. Core, slice, and peel your apples. I have an apple corer, but they’re kind of annoying, so I really only use it when I make baked apples. I generally just slice the sides off the apple. Faster, and you don’t have to be Hercules to get the job done.
2. Chop the slices into chunks, and throw them into your food processor. Give it a whirl.
3. Once the apples are pretty well blended up, add your apple pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon, if you’re adding it. I really don’t recommend the addition of sugar. That takes the healthy right out of this healthy snack.
4. Give the processor another whirl to mix the spice(s) into the sauce. Store in the fridge. Or eat right away.

This won’t keep more than a day, so if you are making a large batch, I would add a bit of lemon juice to the sauce. You won’t really be able to taste it, just don’t add a lot. A little really goes a long way. Even so, with the lemon juice it won’t last more than a few days at the most. But it’s so good and raw and cold and sweet and juicy that I’m sure there won’t be any left to worry about. 🙂