Apple Cake, Escape and PTSD

Morning Sun West ForkNavigating Logs West ForkOrange Tree West Fork

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.

West Fork Fishing Crossing the Creek West ForkFalling Leaves West Fork

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.

Yellow Leaves West ForkCanyon West Fork TrailRushing Water West ForkYellow and Red West ForkOllie and I West Fork

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.

Apple Cake IngredientsApple Peeler Apple Cake

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.Apple Cake BatterFinished Apple Cake

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.

Apple Cake with ApplesApple Cake Final

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.

-ChristieTogether Pic


8 thoughts on “Apple Cake, Escape and PTSD

  1. What a great post!! I’m so happy that you two have been able to enjoy the season. I’d really love for you to plan to come by when you’re up in Sedona again. I would love to meet Scott. You are right, he is incredibly brave, but I also hear he has a pretty wicked sense of humor and a fine sweet tooth! (oh, and the apple cake looks great – I make a couple and have never grated the apple – good idea!)

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing about your life. We are going to Sedona for an escape over Christmas and taking the dog. I was looking at possibly hiking the West Fork Oak Creek Trail. It looks like you took your dog. Can dogs be taken on that trail?

      1. Yes, that’s the very beginning of the trail. It will look quite a bit different now as the oaks have shed their leaves. Be sure to check and make sure the trail is open. Some areas along Oak Creek close this time of year.

      2. Yes, double check on if it is open. I think it will be. Dogs can go on the trail, but it will be pretty cold, and you typically have to go through the creek which is definitely very cold at that time of year so bundle up!!!

  3. Awww, that was a good post! I too love walking in the bush. There’s always something new and different to stimulate. Curious to know whether Scott actually at a worm and what it tasted like. Brave man.

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