Friday, October 26, 2012


Emotionally, fall is hard for me.  But apples help.  And since making confection after confection of sugar-laden apple treats (like pie, crisp, bread, etc) would be even worse for my mental state and waistline than life already is, enter...applesauce (or awesomesauce).  Also, my crockpot?  Is winning.  So much love for the humble crockpot.

The players in this fine game: lemon juice (fresh is better, but hey), cinnamon, brown sugar.

And apples.  This isn't all of them, waiting to be chopped.  Only what was left by the time I thought to take a picture.

So.  I have a small crockpot, which means I can fit probably six or seven chopped big apples (the ones I had were the size of my head though, so I only used five).  For that much peeled, chopped apple, add the juice of half a lemon, a thinly peeled slice of the lemon rind (use a veggie peeler, and just oh so gently take off a 2-3 inch piece of the zest, without taking the pith with it), about 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon), and maybe 2 tsp brown sugar.  Cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 6 hours.  Stir occasionally.  Fish out the lemon peel at the end.  I stir it with a big spoon until it's the consistency I like (still kinda chunky) but you can blend it with an immersion blender if you like it super smooth.  Yum.  I've been putting this in my breakfast oatmeal lately, and it's positively swoon-worthy.

Tangential note to the above post: do you avoid cooking things that require lots of (albeit, mindless and not terribly difficult) prep work?  Like, for instance, peeling and chopping a pile of apples?  Because I did.  Like the plague.  I could kvetch about peeling and chopping a pile of root vegetables until you'd want to stuff sweet potato peels in your ears just to shut me up.  Since I don't cook a lot of meat, my prep work largely consists of just that: peeling and chopping.  And I lumped it into the same category as laundry and dishes and vacuuming and grocery shopping and all the other menial tasks that seemed to personally mock me with their necessity and their low rank on the ladder of difficulty.  In my head, it was like, "But whyyy do I have to do these things?  I have such other important, stressful, brain-busting things going on in my head that I need to be thinking about and mulling over and doing that it's just not fair that I would have to do something as silly as chopping apples."  Oh my gosh, right?  Get over it.  And then I read something about what we need to stop doing (in our twenties, but honestly, whenever) and this one hit me like a punch in the gut:

Stop treating errands as burdens.  Instead use them as time to focus on doing one thing, and doing it right.  Errands and chores are essentially rote tasks that allow you time to think.  They function to get you away from your phone, the internet, and other distractions.  Focus and attention span are difficult things to maintain when you're focused and attentive on X amount of things at any given moment. [source]

And then I got it.  Chopping the apples wasn't keeping me from thinking about and handling all of the other things in my head - it was exactly the time to be thinking about those things.  So tonight, I got out the pile of apples and my trusty peeler, and I told myself that I had until the dishes were done to think about being frustrated with how my last rotation went.  After that, closed topic.  The rotation is over, a new one is starting, it's time to move on.  So there I stood, methodically peeling and chopping, peeling and chopping.  And yes, at first, I fumed.  About my preceptor, and how much we didn't mesh, about how worried I am that I'm not prepared for my next rotation, and about how much I still feel like I need to learn.  I kept peeling.  I calmed down.  I chopped some more.  My thoughts shifted.  I smiled as I remembered the concert I went to last night, and how nice it was to visit my college town again.  And then, what do you know, half an hour had gone by and the crockpot was on and the kitchen was clean, and my mind was clearer than it's been in days.  Awesomesauce to the rescue.

1 comment:

Allison the Meep said...

a. Hell yes to crockpots. And hell yes to making applesauce in a crockpot, which I hadn't thought of doing until you mentioned it.

b. I saw that list a few days ago (even though I'm wicked old at 31) and thought that particular point was brilliant. I think maybe it's something that just comes with age because I actually really enjoy errands now. It's the tiny things that keep me going and let me clear my head.