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Some people go wild for pumpkin spice, me I’m all about the apples. Have you ever been apple picking? Eating fresh apples right off the tree is such a pleasure and I love that I have an apple tree in my backyard. If I’m being honest, I still yearn for the New England orchard experience – starting the morning with a hot cup of coffee and a warm apple cider donut, then a productive day walking through the trees loading up a wagon with an insane amount of apples, then grabbing a quart of fresh cider to bring home.
Did you know there are over 100 different varieties of apples grown in the US? Crazier still is that 15 of those varieties make up approximately 90% of consumption, according to USApple. The most consumed include gala, braeburn, macoun, red delicious, granny smith and mcintosh among others.
You’ve heard the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ while that’s not 100% true, apples absolutely are a wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle and diet. Dozens of research studies have been conducted on the health benefits of apples and they have been linked to decreased risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart disease among others. These benefits are thought to be related to the combination of vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6 and C along with the prebiotic soluble fiber and manganese.
Obviously I am partial to my apple muffins, a riff on my mom’s version of ‘Cake to Remember’. Whole wheat flour, chunks of apples, nuts, butter and cinnamon – a definite staple recipe.
Most parents have a steady supply of applesauce pouches in their house for their convenience. While this recipe for homemade applesauce won’t magically store in your pantry for months to come in individual packs, it’s leaps and bounds better than anything you can squeeze from non-BPA plastic. Bonus points for being an easy slow cooker recipe that you can set and forget for a few hours.
If you’re having a brunch or company over one weekend, do yourself a favor and make this Applesauce snacking cake. Bonus points for using some of your homemade applesauce in the recipe, but don’t count on leftovers. Along with the apple muffins above, serve with some whole fat plain Greek yogurt and a drizzle of local honey, and of course a large hot beverage.
Maybe you’re looking for something savory to do with your apples – may I suggest this satisfying and gourmet-feeling apple & brie sandwich, or maybe this fresh kale and apple chicken salad. Two other stand up options for your apple bounty are skillet apple crisp and homemade apple chips. Which ever recipe (or combination thereof) you choose will leave you feeling perfectly autumnal and the least bit concerned with pumpkin spice.
If you’d like more guidance on eating well this holiday season and beyond, be sure to grab Blissful Meals Holiday Guide.