I haven’t been a food blogger long enough to know what goes down in the fall, so it’s safe to say this is my first year experiencing the pumpkin phenomenon. While I didn’t get the memo, I do read other blogs, and everything is pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret; you may be alarmed, so you probably want to sit down for this. Here it is: I’m not a fan of pumpkin, and with six little words, I have probably just ousted myself from the food blogging community. Obviously, this little tidbit of knowledge is way worse than swearing or dirty jokes; it’s downright sacrilegious, but there you have it: the truth. I don’t like pumpkin.
In the pumpkin’s defense, I’ve never been one to go with the flow, and when possible, I like to defy the societal norm in odd little non-violent ways (peace, love and unicorns over here). Plus, and most importantly, I don’t think I’ve ever really eaten pumpkin, except when it comes in the form of a pie, which means its previous home was a can. Now I’m not knocking food that comes from a can (alright, I kind of am) since I do use canned artichokes, beans and even tomatoes in a pinch, but pumpkin in a can freaks me out.
Also, I don’t understand what a pumpkin pie is all about. You see delicious, and I see a gelatinous blob of brownish flavored goop. Seriously, what is that? It’s not jello, it’s not pudding, it’s not cake: it’s pumpkin. Bleech. Maybe if I branched out and had pumpkin in a different form and from the actual plant, I might enjoy it, but until then, I’m pumpkin adverse.
While I might not be a pumpkin addict, I do love the Fall. I like seeing the change of seasons and watching the foliage turn red, brown, yellow and orange. I like raking up the leaves (or using my cool new leaf blower: move over ghost busters) and then jumping in the huge pile I’ve just accumulated. I love a good sweater dress with hip ankle boots and funky tights. I seriously enjoy a warm bowl of soup next to an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I love all these things, and when it comes to fall flavors, let’s just say, I’m all about the apple. Even though Ohio’s state fruit is actually the Paw Paw (say what?), we’re really big on apples. To me, Fall means apple cider, apple pie, and fresh crisp clean apples eaten raw (bet ya can’t do that with a pumpkin).
So move over pumpkin (my title finally makes sense) and make way for the bold, the brave, and the beautiful Apple. Ta-Da! Apples rock, and there are one million three hundred and seventy-six varieties; ok I just made that up but there’s a boatload, and I didn’t feel like researching this one (I do actually research some of my more shocking claims). What I can say with certainty is apples are fabulously healthy. Hello? Ever hear “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Just in case you need more proof, here’s a few more reasons to get down and eat some apples (fist pump for list form and calming sigh for alpha order):
- Alzheimer’s Prevention
- Asthma Help
- Bone Protection
- Diabetes Management
- Lower Cholesterol
- Lung Cancer Prevention, Breast Cancer Prevention, Colon Cancer Prevention, and Liver Cancer Prevention
Guess what else? They are pretty much the easiest thing to eat. Wash and bite. No cooking necessary. But, if you did want to cook them, well then by all means, go for it and try my latest and greatest concoction: Apple Pie Granola. Say hello to my little friend.
I started working on this bad boy two weekends ago, and I think I finally reached perfection (read publishable) this past weekend. It’s still granola and comes with all the things we know and love: yummy soft baked oats, chopped nuts galore, packed with our lovely omega threes, and the flavors of fall: cinnamon and apples. This bowl of granola will envelope you like a warm hug, embrace you like a long-lost lover or truly just taste über phenomenal. Go make this one, and then add a dollop of vanilla yogurt, and you’ll send your taste buds into overdrive.
Note, while the yogurt may visually appear to be a scoop of ice cream accompanying your pie, it’s not because there’s no comparison between the two. Now if you wanted to eat your granola on top of some ice cream, I wouldn’t judge. In fact, I’d probably recommend it. Just remember to wear a sweater and button up because you don’t want to catch a cold. It’s fall people!
- 2 cups Rolled Oats
- 2 Tbsps. Wheat Germ (or Flax Powder)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups nuts: chopped Walnuts, chopped Pecans and sliced Almonds.
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. All Spice
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
- 1/4 Maple Syrup
- 1 large Apple, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl: oats, wheat germ, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
- Mix in wet ingredients one a time fully incorporating each into the mix: vanilla, olive oil and maple syrup. Mix in apple pieces.
- Place granola on a baking sheet in a large pile. Do not spread out. Cook for 25 minutes stirring at the halfway mark (13 minutes). For crunchier granola, cook longer.
- Let cool for 30 minutes. Once cool, add dried cranberries.
- I usually make a double or triple batch so I can snack all week long. If you don’t trust yourself to snack in moderation (i.e. you eat the entire batch in one sitting), put the granola in serving size bags.