“And when crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”—Khalil Gibran
“Mrs. Hill, do you think there are any bad kinds of apples?”
I look at the earnest sixth grader who spoke these words. He was not speaking metaphorically. He was crunching on an apple during the delegated “snack time” of the school day. In reality, it is part of my third Reading/Language Arts class of the day. During this class period, students have permission to bring a snack with them to class and eat it. Although work typically continues, I do give students about 3-5 minutes to talk while eating their snack.
Recently, the inquiring student had been bringing an apple to class nearly every day. They were beautiful, succulent looking orbs full of vibrant reds, yellows, and greens that he would thoughtfully bite, then chew as if tasting a rare delicacy. He clearly did not believe in the traditional practice of bringing an apple to his teacher as he made the noshing of each apple look scrumptiously special. Thus, I decided it was high time I partake of one of autumn’s favorite fruits!
Fuji, Gala, Crispin, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Jazz, Ambrosia, and Cripps Pink, to name several of my personal favorites, are full of nutritional benefits—even in the age of low-carb, Keto, and Paleo! Apples contain quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid—four beneficial antioxidants. These ingredients combat free radicals, help stave off oxidative stress as well as aid in the fight against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, regular consumption of apples can promote bone health, weight management, pulmonary function, and gastrointestinal protection. If that weren’t enough, apples, as part of a whole food diet, can combat both diabetes and asthma! That said, in order to get the maximum benefits of apples, it is important to eat the whole fruit, including the skin. No wonder there is the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Last weekend, my daughter, Madelyn, a student at Bethany College, and her friend, Gigs, came home to visit during a short, four-day fall break. When I asked her what sorts of foods to stock up, one of her first request was apples—enough to have some to take back with her to school!
“The kind they serve in the ‘caf’ are never good!” she added.
I understood. While her school does have a nice cafeteria, the apples they offer students are typically Red Delicious and Granny Smith. While there was once a time in my youth in which Red Delicious were quite yummy, over the past few years it has been my experience that Red Delicious are often now mushy and mealy. Furthermore, although I absolutely love the tart, crisp, tang of a Granny Smith, I understand, they are not for everyone. Therefore, I had no problem honoring this request to pick up Fuji, Cripps Pink, or Honeycrisp apples—her favorite variations. In fact, I must have bought more than the girls wanted because even though they took several back to school with them, they still left me with five! Hmm . . .
I recalled over winter break, coming up with a unique breakfast idea for Maddie—apple nachos. As I recalled, she greatly enjoyed them, and said I should definitely make the recipe for myself sometime; however, I never did get around to it. Therefore, when I came home from work on the day Maddie and Gigs returned to Bethany and spied the apples in fruit bin of our refrigerator, I knew what I wanted to do with at least one of those apples—make nachos!
When I made my original variation for Maddie, I slightly thinned out peanut butter with water in a bowl, added the mixture to a baggie, cut off one corner, and squeezed it over sliced Fuji apples—a variety usually available year-round. Then, I sprinkled both raisins and mini-chocolate chips on top. Whereas, when I made apple nachos for myself, I mixed powdered peanut butter with water, but I, sadly got it a bit too thin, although it still tasted good! Then, I topped my nachos with mini-chocolate chips, dried cranberries and hemp hearts.
Apple nachos are such a simple, and easy to individualize recipe. Any favorite apple variety can be sliced and arranged on a plate. The “sauce” can be made of cream cheese, yogurt, caramel, all types of nut butters, and even maple syrup. Additional toppings can include, but are not limited to all varieties of nuts and seeds; chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips; coconut flakes, dates, figs, raisins and other dried fruits; as well as any number of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Any way you slice up this recipe, it is sure to be a winning meal or snack! However, do keep in mind that apples are part of the “Dirty Dozen” produce items that are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Therefore, it is worth buying organic, or, even better, purchasing from a local farmer/market.
From my home to yours, I wish you healthy, happy, and homemade meals!
Makes one serving
1 apple, any variety, sliced thinly
1-2 tablespoons of favorite nut butter, powdered peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, caramel and so forth
1/2-2 tablespoons of water, depending upon how thin you prefer your sauce
Optional stir-ins to sauce: ½ -1 teaspoon vanilla or other favorite extract, maple syrup, honey
1-2 tablespoons of as many optional toppings as desired, such as: chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips; favorite candy pieces; favorite dried fruit; favorite chopped nuts/seeds
A sprinkling of favorite spice
Arrange thinly sliced apples on plate.
In small bowl, mix nut butter, powdered peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, or caramel with water (and/or extract, if desired), ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Pour mixture into Ziploc baggie and cut off one corner.
Squirt “sauce” mixture over sliced apples.
Sprinkle with desire toppings.