THE BRAIN OF IT ALL…

Inspiration is a weird thing. It can happen in the most unlikely and strange circumstances. And often, it is totally personal. What is inspiring to one, is not necessarily inspiring to another.

I have been away from this blog for months now, due to an injury and a surgery. Since surgery I have managed to bake a little, but each time I tried to write a post my mental clarity became as murky as a bog. This was due to a lot of reasons: pain, medications, lack of proper sleep, stress. I felt I just didn’t have the proper story or angle yet to discuss here. I couldn’t come up with a through-line for my writing to the recipe. And it was frustrating.

You see I am pretty proud of my brain. That’s not to say I am ever the smartest or most educated person in the room. I am proud of how my brain takes in the world, how it processes information, how it assists me in talking intelligently, and how it allows me to feel deeply.

And this brain seemed to be failing me. I would sit and stare at the computer trying to form words into cohesive sentences, to no avail. I tried to write my thoughts out on paper, and yet there were no thoughts to be had, just doodles. And I am not a great doodler.

And then today, inspiration. Write what you know. And this I know. My brain has been in overdrive. Trying to crunch data, make sense out of what my body has been going through, regulate my stress levels, and still allow me to function on some level like myself. This has not been a easy job. But my brain has done it valiantly.

Strangely enough, this recipe came after I willed a trip to the apple farm, just weeks before I had my ACL surgery. I wasn’t walking that great, I was in pain, and I tired super easy. But determination kicked in, joy filled my soul and my brain so OK, let’s do this. So I went apple picking. It was a deliriously delicious sort of day. The kind with no shadows, only light. Where laughter mingled with the smell of the great outdoors. I came home from that trip and set to making both the applesauce and the donuts. How? I don’t know. But my brain does.

So today I am inspired by that glorious, mysterious grey matter that makes me, me. And by the experience that it helped me to tattoo in my memory for years to come.

So here are two recipes for you to enjoy!

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Homemade Applesauce

20-30 Apples; peeled, cored and diced (I used a mix of Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious for this batch, slightly sweet and tart)

Juice of 2 Lemons

1 Tblsp. Cinnamon

2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

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In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, place all the diced apples.

Combine the remaining ingredients and stir.

Stir every 5 minutes, until the apple juices start to release.

Place lid on saucepan, reduce heat to low and cook for 30-45 minutes, until apples are fork tender.

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Using a potato masher, mash apples to the sauce consistency you desire.

Baked Applesauce Donuts

Makes 22 donuts

 2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour

½ Tsp. Xanthan Gum

2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 ½ Tsp. Cinnamon

½ Tsp. Salt

½ Tsp. Nutmeg

1 Cup Coconut Sugar

6 Tblsp. Earth Balance, melted

2 Large Eggs, beaten

1 Cup Applesauce

½ Cup Cashew Milk (or any you prefer) + Juice of 1 Lemon, combine

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease donut pan with Earth Balance or GF Shortening (or your alternative).

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Combine all of the dry ingredients through Coconut Sugar in large mixing bowl.

Add the melted Earth Balance, beaten Eggs and Milk mixture.

Stir to combine.

Add the Applesauce and the vanilla extract, fold in, until just combined.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until donuts are springy to touch.

Run the straight edge of a knife along the outer rim of the donuts, to loosen from pan.

Let cool to touch in pan, before removing.

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Topping Options

Cinnamon Sugar:

Melt ½ Cup of Earth Balance and set aside. Combine ½ Cup Coconut Sugar, 2 Tsp. Cinnamon, and 1 Tsp. Lemon Zest. Brush the tops of the donuts with the warm melted Earth Balance and then tip the top in the Cinnamon mixture.

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5 Spice Glaze:

Combine 1 ½ Cup Confectioners Sugar, ¾ Tsp. Vanilla Extract, 1 Tsp. Cinnamon,       1 Tsp. Chinese 5 Spice, and 4 Tblsp. Cashew Milk (or your choice). Dunk the top of the donuts in to the mixture and set on racks to set. Repeat dunking once the glaze has set.

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