‘Tis the season…

For apples!

Is everyone where you live going crazy with apples? Maybe its just a Washington thing, but there are apples EVERYWHERE. John Mark and I shop at Costco mostly (its the most economical way to eat Primal- seriously, we go through a LOT of fresh food in a week), and what was once a diverse fruit aisle of peaches and pears and oranges and pineapples and clementines has been overtaken by apples of every color and variety you can imagine.

So you know what that means, right?

Its time to make Primal apple butter!

Apple butter is one of  those foods of my childhood that I cherish because we would only get it about once a year when the family would go to Beasley’s orchard to pick apples and pumpkins and listen to bluegrass bands. Apple butter is actually dead easy to make, and is also a convenient gift for those upcoming $15 or under Christmas gift exchanges you have for work and church and school and family (that is, if you don’t gobble it all before the holidays). Can the apple butter, tie a pretty bow around it, and voila! you have a gift that anyone can enjoy.

For us Primalers, we have to get a little creative with our use of apple butter considering that the traditional apple-butter-on-toast option is out. I wholly recommend the eat-it-straight-of-out-the-jar method, but if you are more refined than I am, try spreading it over your morning sausage or bacon (Seriously, try it. It’ll blow your mind.) or using it as a glaze for pork chops. I also want to try baking it with some nuts and flaked coconut or adding a dallop to some chai tea with almond milk. I’ll let you know how those go.

I’m certainly open to more suggestions.

Below is my own modified Primal apple butter recipe, but feel free to experiment with the measurements. Remember though, when the apple butter is whispering your name seductively from the fridge, and you are debating between eating it with the gigantor spoon or the normal dinner spoon, Primal apple butter still has a lot of sugar and would fit more in the “sensible indulgences” category. Devour responsibly.

Primal Apple Butter

Yields 3 full pint-sized mason jars

12 apples in a mixed variety (I used Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith. I prefer to cook with tart apples because I think the end product comes out brighter and sparklier on your tongue. If you like Red or Golden Delicious or Jonathan apples, think about using at least one tart apple variety to keep the butter from turning out dull.)

2/3 to 1 cup of honey, depending on the size of your apples and your desired sweetness

1 Tbs cinnamon

1/2 Tbs nutmeg (or a little more, if you’re feeling spicy)

a few cranks of sea salt from the grinder

Crock Pot

Peel and chop apples. Mix apples, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl until evenly coated. Cook mixture in crock pot on high for 1 hour, then let the mixture cook on low for another 8-9 hours, stirring occasionally. Puree apples with an immersion blender or in an upright blender.

Sometime in that 8-9 hours, check out this tutorial on how to can so you know what to do when the apple butter is ready. (Disclaimer: I read through this in a while, so if its silly or offensive… my apologies).

Enjoy! And don’t forget to share!

 

Fall Favorites

And, we’re back!

I have been planning on creating a whole series of posts on my favorite fall foods for a while now. But then life happened. Somehow we got busy. We took a trip to Oregon to speak for Rapha House, which took prep time, travel time, and recovery time. Eating primal and learning to be healthier is just kind of what we do now, to the point where I forgot to share the fun.

What you really need to know is that I love fall. I love the crisp air and sweaters and scarves and boots and mountains dotted with color. Seattle, despite the darkness that has now taken over our evenings and the morning mist that has taken over our commute to work, is beautiful in the fall. The Emerald City shows its true colors, and it turns out that they are deep red and flaming orange and sunshine yellow. The last few falls in Missouri had been a sad, drab brown, with leaves so dry and pruney it seemed they should shatter when they fell to the ground. Needless to say, fall in Washington has been a nice change of pace.

Oh, and did I mention all the fabulous seasonal fruits and veggies that come with the changing of the seasons? Squash and pumpkin and zucchini, and don’t forget apples… I mean, we live in Washington, and these people don’t mess around with their apples. Below are links to some of my favorite fall recipes. Most of them are Primal, or can easily tweaked to be so, but are delicious for even the non-Primallers amongst us.

[All photos taken from their respective websites!]

Butternut Squash Soup

I.LOVE.THIS.SOUP. I use the recipe from Joy the Baker, but substitute a small butternut squash (peeled and cut into small cubes) for the carrots, and then estimate by smell how much ginger and garlic to add. The creaminess of the butternut squash contrasts with the tartness of the apples (I use Granny Smith) for a little soup party in your mouth. Seriously, go make this soup.

If you want something a little less involved (not that this soup is all that involved, really),  try butternut squash all by itself! Cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast it in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Once the flesh is soft, spoon it out into a bowl and mash it with some butter and salt. Yuuummmmm! Plus, butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A without the glycemic load of citrus fruits, making it a great, natural way to fight off the fall cold and flu.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’ve already admitted my love for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Its like autumn in a cup, and on the often dreary Seattle mornings (okay, on any Seattle morning), autumn in a cup sounds like just the thing to lift my spirits. But the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks has about as much sugar as a candy bar, which means bad news for my focus for the rest of the day. For this recipe, I used almond milk, for no other reason than that’s what I like, and homemade pumpkin puree (which can be made so easily using the same method as roasting the butternut squash and then pureeing everything but the rind and seeds). This recipe isn’t quite as sweet as a drink from Starbucks, but still oh-so-tasty. I would highly recommend making a large batch of this stuff!

Ratatouille

Who doesn’t love the Disney flick Ratatouille right? Well, the actual dish is just as delightful as the movie. Julie and I made this last night as a side dish paired with steak and chicken, but it can be made as a stand-alone entree if you aren’t as carnivorous as we are. And isn’t it pretty? Its icing on the cake when your food can be delicious, nutritious, AND pretty!

Baked Apples

Another Joy the Baker recipe. I love her blog. I love her food. Really, I’d say that I just love her, but that might be creepy. Most of her recipes are baked delicacies that I can no longer have, but then there are the occasional treats that can easily be modified for a Primal diet….like these roasted apples. Try honey or pure maple syrup, and in a smaller quantity, instead of the brown sugar for a guilt-free treat. Maybe hold off on the ice cream, too.

Squash or Sweet Potato Latkes

Does anyone else love potato hashbrowns, or is it just me? One of the hardest things for me to give up was white potatoes, partially because, well, I make some mean oven fries and crispy hashbrowns. A more nutritious substitute would be to fry zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, or sweet potatoes in olive or coconut oil: the produce a similar crispy, friedness without all the starch. One tip: he’s not kidding when he says get ALL of the water you can out of your shredded vegetables. Trust me.

Happy Fall!