OK, I feel like a bit of a tool telling you that my now-daily walnut granola with plain yogurt and stewed apples is reminiscent of apple crisp with ice cream, but it totally is. I think you know me well enough by now that I’m not the health-crazed sort who happily replaces cream with yogurt and tofu and finds carrot and celery sticks a perfectly acceptable snack. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I envy anyone who digs munching on carrot and celery sticks and keeps them prepped in the fridge for snacking emergencies. I just can’t get into it.)
I’ve always been a fan of granola with yogurt. It’s usually my breakfast, and often my lunch. Sometimes snacks. In summer I top it with fresh berries or thickly sliced peaches or apricots or pluots, but in winter it sits half naked. Sure, I could do frozen berries, but it’s not the same.
And so I took a new look at apples, which I’ve been enjoying lately – although we think of them as a fall fruit, February is officially apple month because it used to be that’s all that was left in cold storage by February. It still applies – we’re now used to buying strawberries and mangoes all months of the year, but the BC apples you see in the store are from last fall’s harvest, and still surprisingly crisp and flavourful. Stewed apples are like halfway between apple pie innards and applesauce; they break down, yet hold their shape. It’s like homemade applesauce you can chew. To make them, slice apples in chunks (I like using a few different varieties – above is a Spartan, a Fuji and an Ambrosia) into a small pot. Shake over some cinnamon and add a splash of apple cider or water, just to get them going and keep them from burning. You don’t need to add sugar. Cook them until they start to break down and get soft, then put them in a jar in the fridge to dip your spoon into or lob over plain yogurt and granola. It seems to particularly like walnuts. I find stewed apples easier to eat first thing in the morning, when I don’t have the gumption yet to chomp through something big and crunchy.
We always have apples in the house – apple slices are W’s bedtime snack with stories, and although he’s never had a must-have blankie or teddy bear, if we’re ever out of apples it’s a tragedy of five year old proportions. There is no replacement. And yet although I’m almost constantly slicing apples for him, I never think to do the same for myself. And so I’ve started to slice one up for myself to eat at my desk when it comes close to mealtime, thinking that the 60 or so calories and 2 grams of fibre will take the edge off and keep me from devouring too much dinner. (Again, a glass of water apparently fills some people up? I wish.)
Yes, I’m starting to reevaluate my eating habits and take a serious stab at losing some weight. It’s time. Which, ironically, is why I haven’t been spending too much time here – I keep taking a run at the topic and going off on tangents, or not getting through it, or falling asleep or abandoning my post in order to meet a deadline. So I’ll tell you all about it soon, and how I’m going to go about it when I spend all my days writing about, talking about, cooking and photographing food. I’ll use this week as an example: Tuesday I was tasting at the ATCO test kitchen, Wednesday I went to a food event at Rouge, Thursday I went to Winefest and Friday I judged the Lawson Lundell Celebrity Hors d’Oeuvres Competition (which meant tasting every hors d’oeuvre – 10 restaurants serving 2-3 each). This week I’m going to Red Deer and Edmonton and next weekend I’ll be at the Pajama Party at the Jasper Park Lodge. Not complaining – I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to have a career in the food world – it just presents a unique obstacle when I can’t just lay out set menus for the week, put my head down and try to get on with it and not think about food so much. More on all that later.
Off to dinner club! Tonight’s theme: Extreme Mexican. My contribution: homemade churros.