Gratitude With a Side of Apple Pie

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This weekend was filled with food, family, and thoughts of gratitude. This weekend, was Canadian Thanksgiving. A celebration of harvest, of foods, and of the fall. Joining and breaking bread with family members, neighbors, and the like; truly appreciating the bounty of the summer.

Stopping to think about what Thanksgiving is, about what the day means now as opposed to what it meant traditionally is a thought I find very interesting.  I can appreciate that we still gather with loved ones, but I wonder if people really stop to give thanks. I wonder if half of the population even knows exactly what they would give thanks for, if asked to name a few.  I have a white board beside my bathroom mirror that reads “Today I am grateful for…”, I try to use my time in the shower to list all of the things I can think of. The typical things come to mind, my family and friends – all of those I love and hold dear. The opportunities that I have, for a great job and workplace, for a home.   One thing that I tend to forget, funnily enough, is food. I can’t say I remember lending thought into being thankful for having a fridge full of food. High quality, organic, healthy food at that.  I’m ashamed to say that it has not been something I think about. Isn’t that ironic? I regularly honor the planet, Mother Earth, thanking her for the gifts that she bestows upon me and my loved ones – however once those treasures have been plucked from her, my thoughts are focused primarily on what to do with them.  I think that that is the most important thing for us to do, to find where the disconnect is. Figuring out where I/we have lost sight of food as a life-sustaining gift, not just viewing it as a creative one. Reconnecting with local growers and producers, shortening the distance therefore nipping that disconnect.  I am so grateful to have the creative ability to use food as an art, as a medicine, but on a more primal level – I am so grateful to simply have enough. To be able to feed myself, and my visitors.  I will certainly remember to recite this gratitude more often. I don’t want to let these things depart from my mind, I am fortunate to have a table full of food when people all over the planet do not.  I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone, I just want it to be known that I am thankful.  Known to myself, and to those who care to listen. Maybe if all of those who are fortunate enough to have a table full of food tonight stop and think about that meal – about where it came from, what went into it.. both effort and ingredients….   I always loop myself back to mindfulness.  It’s all just so important.

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My dad enjoys spending time outside, he takes very good care of his green space and has a great assortment of trees and plants. One of his trees, an apple tree, produced a whole shwack-load of very handsome looking apples. A variety of green and red, tart and delicious. Given a good sized bag of them a few weeks ago, I have been eating them in the form of spicy apple jam.  Today however, after spending so much time thinking about being thankful, about closing the disconnect between plant and plate, and after hearing about a pie craving from my darling boyfriend – I really had no other choice but to put the remainder of my dad’s apples to good use. Unfortunately for le boyfriend, he is away in another city for work.. and a hardy, healthy apple pie makes a wonderful breakfast pour moi =)

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Rustic Chai Spiced Apple Pie

Crust

2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (spelt or whole wheat would work as well)
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil – room temperature
5-7 Tbsp Ice Cold Water

Heat oven to 325. In medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and coconut oil with a pastry blender. Add one tablespoon of water at a time while cutting the mixture, until the dough is crumbly. Empty the bowl into a glass pie plate, pressing the crust along the edges and evenly spreading it over the base. No rolling necessary. Prick with a fork across the base, bake for 15 minutes then set aside.

Filling

3 Tart Apples
3 Whole Cloves
2 Allspice Berries
5-6 Green Cardamom Pods
1 Tsp Grains of Paradise
1 Vanilla Bean
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1 Tsp Orange Blossom Water
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp of Water
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

Topping

2 Cups Slivered Almonds
3 Tbsp Honey

Peel, core and slice the apples, popping them in a medium sized bowl. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the clove, allspice, cardamom seeds, and grains of paradise. Scrape out the vanilla bean, and add it with the freshly ground spices to the apples. Stir to coat. Next add in the cinnamon and ginger, followed by the orange blossom water. Once again, stir to coat. Add in the lemon juice, water and coconut sugar, lifting with a spatula the spiced liquid in the bottom of the bowl over top of each apple slice.
Arrange spiced apple slices in prepared pie crust, overlapping as necessary. Spoon the liquid from the bottom of the apple bowl over apples, giving a final coat to the top layer. Bake, still at 325, for about 25-30 minutes. While the pie is cooking, in a small bowl combine the slivered almonds with the honey, ensure each almond is covered. Once the apples are soft, sprinkle the top evenly with almond mixture and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing – and enjoy!

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One thought on “Gratitude With a Side of Apple Pie

  1. I was raised to actually give thanks on Canadian Thanksgiving and I really appreciate that.🙂 I live in Australia now and turkey is scarce, but we’ll be celebrating a bit belatedly with a roast chicken.🙂

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