Simple Slow Cooker No-Sugar Apple Butter

Looking for a sweet treat to spread on your piece of toast? Consider homemade apple butter instead of jam or jelly. I love it combined with almond or peanut butter on fresh-from-the-oven bread… or topped on vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

apple butter

Simple No-Sugar Apple Butter

11 to 12 sweet-tart apples, such as Mutsu (my favourite!), cut into small chunks
2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Mix to combine. Cook on high for 4 hours. Reduce the temperature to low for 2 hours. Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring infrequently, for an additional 5 to 8 hours until very thick.

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Sweet Potato Dippers with Cinnamon Applesauce

Inspired by latkes, these patties are easy to make, pack, and eat–especially for kids (that I don’t have). It’s easy to up the flavor ante here; just add cumin, curry powder, Italian seasoning, or other spices to mix it up. Use an apple such as McIntosh or local Ginger Gold, which makes a super quick (IE microwavable) and tasty applesauce.

Sweet Potato Dippers with Applesauce

Sweet Potato Dippers with Cinnamon Applesauce

Sweet Potato Dippers:
1/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups grated sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)
1 small onion, grated
3 to 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
Coconut oil, for pan-frying

Cinnamon Applesauce
1 small apple, such as Ginger Gold (in season right now, folks!)
Shake of ground cinnamon

To make the dippers, put the warm water, flaxseed, and salt in a bowl. Let stand a few minutes, then whisk to thicken. Add the sweet potato and onion. Mix well. Stir in the tapioca flour, enough for the mixture to stick together when you squeeze it.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Put a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture on the pan. Press down with the back of a spatula. Cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Carefully flip and cook an additional 5 minutes. Let cool before packing in the lunch containers.

To make a quick applesauce, put the apple and a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Steam until, fork tender, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of cinnamon. Mix well, then mash well. Pack in separate containers for easy dipping.

Warm Quinoa with Apples, Raisins, and Pecans

Consider quinoa as a sweet way to start the day instead of a savory side dish. Similar to baked oatmeal, this easy recipe is warms you up in the morning, while offering a balance of brain food and deliciousness, too. For a dessert, add a little extra maple syrup and a scoop of nondairy coconut milk ice cream.

quinoa apple raisin bake

Warm Quinoa with Apples, Raisins, and Pecans

2 cups nondairy milk (I like unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
2 small apples, cut into small chunks (a good baking apple)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup pecan halves, chopped
1 tablespoon nondairy buttery spread (such as Earth Balance) or 2 teaspoons coconut oil (though the Earth Balance is my preference here)
1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch glass baking dish.

Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa. Return to boiling and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the apples, raisins, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed the milk.

Put the pecans, margarine, and sugar in small bowl. Mix to completely coat the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the quinoa. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes longer, until the pecans are fragrant and the top is browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.