My family doctor suggested I go home and consume a steak and a beer.
Before you all call to ask for my doctor’s name so you can book your appointment and receive similar advice, I should clarify. Maybe it wasn’t exactly a suggestion. He said it was the quickest way to gain weight, implying I should be careful not to lose any.
It takes diligent munching to keep your weight up while on a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan diet. And don’t be fooled, I compromise a little every day: a slice of “real” whole-wheat for a toasted tomato sandwich; a cookie at the staff meeting; a little chicken in my stir-fry. Overall, though, I’m still finding this a wonderful way to live, eat, and avoid that overloaded, comatose feeling after a typical meal. Gifts of fresh produce, such as the gorgeous acorn and spaghetti squashes from our friend Percy Phillips, help keep me steadfast.
Is it just me and my new garden plot, or has this been an exceptional year? I’ve somehow grown the biggest carrots and the healthiest tomatoes in the history of my horticulturally-challenged life. Even as I write, a bag of large carrots and a bowl of smaller ones, soaking in water, wait in our fridge. Another couple dozen await digging. Three large bowls of tomatoes sit on the kitchen counter: ripe, ripening, and slightly damaged. If only I enjoyed the digging, washing, picking, canning, and freezing as much as I enjoy the eating. I look forward to some great servings of chili and soup in the months ahead.
We don’t have an apple tree, but our friends Tim and Alison gave us a massive batch of applesauce and a bunch of apples from theirs. I tried a new apple crisp recipe and once I tasted it, I knew I must share the recipe. This may be the most delicious apple crisp I’ve ever eaten, although the inviting aroma alone would have been worth it. This comforting, cinnamony, juicy apple dessert with a crisp oaty topping is perfect for a fall evening. Best of all, if you can believe this, it contains no sugar, no gluten, and no fat. Yes, it’s a little more work than the unhealthy kind I used to throw together. But it’s worth it and we can pig out guilt-free. It’s from the Forks Over Knives cookbook, with a few modifications of my own. This recipe will make six to eight servings. Or possibly only two, once you start in.
No steak or beer was consumed in the writing of this column.
For the filling:
8-10 apples, peeled, cored, sliced thin. (Home grown tend to be smaller. I used ten.)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
½ cup 100% pure maple syrup
For the topping:
¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. almond butter (best if room temperature for spreadability)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups rolled oats (I prefer the smaller flakes for this)
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper or use a non-stick pan.
- 2. For filling, place the sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and toss to coat well. Pour the maple syrup over and stir. Place the mixture in your prepared pan.
- 3. For the topping, use a fork or small whisk to stir together the syrup, almond butter, applesauce, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add the oats and toss to coat.
- 4. Spread the topping over the apple mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 20 minutes or until topping is golden and filling bubbly.
- 5. Remove from oven and serve warm.