It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the calm before the storm of the holiday season. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Maybe you have a growing to-do list before company arrives, or maybe you’re hosting the big event and secretly keep asking yourself how is everything going to fit in the oven? Or maybe you want to make sure the only dish you’re making turns out just like grandmas? There are infinite reasons why you could possibly feel overwhelmed at this moment, but let me reassure you that you are not alone.
I know for me, I easily get overwhelmed by the chaos of the holidays, especially when it comes to recipes and preparing meals for a group of people this time of year. As part of the holidays comes the traditional dishes, often passed down through the family and eaten year after year. You know, green green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes…the usual. These crowd-pleasing dishes are often heavy on the butter, cream, sugar or all of the above, and not particularly consistent with the lifestyle I chose to live or my nutrition philosophy. This tends to leave me torn between modifying these tried and true recipes and ditching them completely to make something completely untraditional. And to make things harder, recipes are easier to access than ever. It’s not just mom’s cookbook your flipping through for inspiration.
I absolutely love seeing all the recipes that are developed and shared around the holidays but this sometimes can be overwhelming. I tend to start bookmarking almost every recipe I see because, let’s face it, bloggers nowadays are wizards in the kitchen with an incredible eye for food styling that makes your jaw drop as soon as you see their creation. The flavor combinations, presentation, and creativity always has me stunned and craving more. Now, do I actually get around to making these recipes? Most of the time, no. As compelling as these recipes may be, I tend to revert back to my favorites, the simple recipes that are my comforts and put me at ease during this time of high-energy.
This recipe (though, hardly a recipe) is my comfort, especially once we get into the full swing of the holidays. No extras, no added complexity; just simple ingredients coming together to bring about a warm hug of comfort. These are the baked apple slices from my childhood, the ones my mom used to make. The spicy cinnamon and fruity smell of the apples that fills the air while baking in the oven is comfort in itself, but the sweet yet tart, tender apples are truly something special. This three ingredient baked apple slices are the kind of recipe that makes me feel at ease when life seems to be whirling around in full force – holiday spirit included or not. I hope you keep this recipe in your back pocket and pull it out when you start to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the season and that it brings you the same feeling of comfort as it does me.
These apples have no sugar added, just the natural sweetness that nature provided. Using a sweet baking apple such as, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Fuji, or Jonagold, that hold up in the oven works best, but honestly, you can use any apples you have on hand. The tart lemon juice provides a wonderful balance to the apples and any sweet toppings you may choose to add. I like eating these warm on top of vanilla yogurt as a mid-morning snack or on top of oatmeal with a spoonful of almond butter. If you want to take these baked apple slices more of a dessert route, try them with my cashew cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
Cinnamon Baked Apple Slices
- 2 1/2 lbs sweet 5 large or 10 small, firm apples
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Wash and dry the apples, then cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Place in a lidded baking dish or dutch oven, add the rest on of the ingredients and toss until apples are coated in the mixture.
Cover the dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender. Let stand for 10 minutes then gently mix the apples, covering them with the juice that has formed on the bottom. Serve warm.