We’ve enjoyed such an incredible Fall season here in Arizona. The fall colors here are unbelievably beautiful and the fall apples are crisp and sweetly tart. I’ve been burning through my untested apple recipes to varying success because I just can’t resist stopping and getting a new batch of apples on our drive home from whatever magical trail we just slogged our way through.
Escape is wonderful. As comfy and cozy as my house in Phoenix is the time we spend exploring outdoors often provides a much needed mental break. Focusing on figuring out the trail among a bombardment of beautiful sites forces me to set aside my anxieties and worries. I find that when I come back home I have a fresh perspective and even when my body is tired my mind feels refreshed.
The trails have been much harder this year. My husband is a Phoenix police officer and was shot in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve. While I am incredibly thankful that he is alive the journey has been and will continue to be a difficult one. He will never be able to regain all the physical capability and strength that he once had. He has to work incredibly hard to do things that he would never have thought twice about in the past.
One of the biggest challenges that he faces is the after affects of the extreme physical and mental trauma. PTSD in law enforcement has become a hot topic in our city lately due to the incredibly unfortunate suicide of a former officer. My husband did the bravest and most courageous act I’ve ever seen in his law enforcement career. He spoke out about his own struggles so that others didn’t have to feel so afraid and alone.
It’s funny how after such a monumental moment our life can go right back to a lazy weekend spent baking, listening to music and playing games. I’ve got apples and pumpkins to be pureed, grated, chopped and baked and time waits for no one. Besides an apple pie-because let’s get real here, that’s really the best thing you can do with apples-our favorite apple recipe has been a fantastic apple cake from Sharing the Table.
The best thing about this cake is the number one ingredient is apples. I can’t stand when something is called apple cake where the apple is really just a sad reference to a few dried and chewy chunks of apple garnish. This cake has twice as much apple as it does flour and it is so good. I switched the recipe up a bit and grated the apple rather than chopping it. With so many apples to process it was just easier and it still turned out fabulous.
The only thing I was wary about when I read the recipe was the topping. It was pretty tasty but not exactly necessary. It did make for quite the pretty presentation. The flavors and texture of this cake remind me of my grandmother. Simple yet rich and highlighting what is fresh and in season. It would be a perfect way to use of apples that were full of flavor but cosmetically imperfect or partially bruised.
It’s funny how certain moments seem to exist to remind me that everything is going to be ok. We were driving home from Sedona and were snacking on one of the recently acquired roadside apples when I noticed a bug had invaded a portion of the delicious flesh. I pointed it out to Scott so he could avoid it and instead he took a big bite right in the “danger zone” and with a huge grin told me he needed some extra protein. And there is it: a boyish smile that delights in making me squirm as long as I also giggle. LIfe is to be enjoyed. Imperfect apples and all.