Two things happened this week, and they were fortunate to occur together. The first is that I was, and still am, tapering for the Indian Creek Fifties taking place tomorrow, October 15th. The second is that Natural Grocers has a ton of apples in their $2 discount bags, and like a good like urban homesteader I felt like I had to buy all of them. All that time spent not running was spent cooking and preserving the excessive amount of apples I had lurking in my kitchen. This recipe is a super easy, healthy dessert that's safe to eat even if you are concerned about sticking to a super specific diet for an upcoming race.
Let's talk about tapering, and the many thoughts that come along with it. As always, I trained my butt off for this upcoming 50k. In spite of that, I'm sitting here, 24-hours to race start, convinced that I blew my training, I have a cold coming on, my hip really hurts, and I'm pretty sure I forgot how to run entirely. Is it the thing like walking, only you go faster? Your hands don't touch the ground, right? I don't even know anymore. Oh, tapering. What will follow this, at the end of the work day, will be putting my clothes and pack together, convinced I'm forgetting something crucial. I'll take breaks from stressing about my packing to pour over the map and the elevation profile, convincing myself that this was a terrible, no good, very bad idea. The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that every other person doing this race is doing some version of the same thing. Why? Because we're all terrible at tapering. If we were good at tapering, which is essentially being more stationary than usual for a week, then we wouldn't be runners in the first place.
Which brings me to the apples. They were really my saving grace for nervous energy this week. As I said, Natural Grocers had a sale on apples in their discount bin, of which I am a huge fan. So I bought a lot of apples on Sunday. Any other week this would have been a disaster, but this week, I had some time on my hands that I wasn't spending running. So what to do with a bunch of super ripe apples? Well, one easy thing was to hollow some of them out, stuff them with some sweet stuff, and bake them. Super easy, visually attractive, and safe for a number of dietary needs. I also found that they paired really nicely with my self-doubt, so there's that.
What You Need:
Four apples, any variety, with the insides hollowed out. I used a small knife and a Pumpkin carving strategy that worked well
Half a cup of walnuts
Half a cup of raisins
One teaspoon of cinnamon
One teaspoon of allspice
Two tablespoons of honey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Core out your apples (watch your fingers!)
Mix your walnuts and raisins together
Mix the walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, allspice and honey in a bowl, then spoon into your hollowed out apples
Mix the walnuts and raisins, then spoon this dry mixture into the hollowed out apples
Layer your honey on top of the dry mixture slowly, letting it seep down
Sprinkle your cinnamon and allspice on top of the finished apples
Either strategy will work. Strategy two has the potential to be messier, but also requires less clean-up (always my choice).
Bake the apples at 350 for 20-25 minutes. The longer you bake them, the mushier they will get, so when you take them out of the oven is a preference more than a set rule
Let them cool for five minutes or so before eating
There are all kinds of ways to get creative with these--use sugar if you eat sugar, throw in some vanilla extract, other fruit, etc. Let me know if you come up with any good variations--and of course let me know how you survive a taper!