Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

As I was thinking about what to write for this particular post it occurred to me that apples, for as much as we might take them for granted, are a very important part of our diet!  From the very beginning we feed applesauce to our children as they progress toward eating solids foods, we give them apple juice in their sippy cups, and once they have teeth, we feed them sliced apples.  As we get older we start to enjoy other delicious foods made with apples…pies, cakes, muffins, crisps, cobblers, breads, tarts, popovers, turnovers, cereals, butter, cider, vinegar, and of course – applesauce!  We also can’t forget about the savory dishes that pair apples with things like pork chops or pork loin, stuffing, and salads.

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

As for cultural influences of the apple…how about the first one we all learn…”A is for Apple”!  Or, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  We all relate to “As American as Apple Pie”.  Remember The Osmonds singing “One Bad Apple”?  How about the depiction from the Bible of Eve eating from the Tree Of The Knowledge of Good And Evil?  In those pictures she’s always pictured eating an apple!  And I can’t leave out Apple computers, iPads, iPods, and iPhones!  I’d be lost without my iPhone and my iPad Pro!

Anyway, my point is that apples are such an integral part of our lives that we sometimes don’t appreciate them for the nutritional powerhouses that they are!  They’re high in fiber and vitamin C, low in calories, contain only a trace of sodium, and have no fat or cholesterol.  

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Interesting Apple Facts:

  • They come in all shades of red, yellow, and green.
  • There are over 2500 varieties grown in the United States, with apples grown in all 50 states.
  • The world’s top apple producers are China, the United States,Turkey, Poland, and Italy.
  • In 2005 the average U.S. Consumer ate an estimated 16.9 pounds of fresh market apples.
  • A peck of apples weighs 10.5 lbs.
  • It takes 36 apples to create one gallon of cider.
  • The apple is the state fruit of Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Vermont,Washington, and West Virginia.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family.  
  • Apples have 5 seed pockets, or carpels. Each pocket contains seeds with the health and vigor of the plant determining the number of seeds per carpel.

Interesting….right?  I love learning new things about the foods that I eat and feed my family.  I find it especially interesting when I learn cool new things about a food like apples that I, for one, tend to take for granted sometimes!  Having said that – this recipe for Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce is so good!  Fall is probably my favorite time of year, and if you’ve read some of my recent posts you’ve learned I’m not a huge pumpkin fan…don’t judge…I just prefer other flavors more!  So to me fall is epitomized by butternut squash and apples!  I love visiting apple orchards, I love eating apples out of hand, and I love, lovE, loVE, lOVE, LOVE, cooking with apples! There’s something extremely comforting about the scent of warm spices mingling with the scent of the apples themselves.  Sweet, warm, spicy…the feeling it conjures for me is cozy…and who among us couldn’t do with a little more coziness in our lives?!? 

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

I’ve been making this Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce for as long as I can remember.  When my kids were young I used a little less spice, because they preferred it plainer – and certainly adjust the spices to your own personal preference!  Now that I’m cooking for just my husband and I, I prefer to add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to our applesauce!  It makes the house smell absolutely heavenly.  And I would certainly rather have my home scented naturally by the foods I prepare than by a candle any day!  But I haven’t outgrown all my childish ways…my favorite way to eat this applesauce is with a piece of toast slathered in nut butter…preferably homemade cashew butter!

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookestbehealthy.com

And thanks to the modern marvel that is the crockpot, this applesauce could not be easier!  I wash the apples, cut them up, toss them in the crockpot with the spices and a little water, turn it to high for a couple hours….and voila…applesauce!  Well – cooked apples anyway!  You’ll have to mash the apples a little to actually make the sauce.  How much you smoosh is up to you!  We like ours a little chunky, so I just use the back of a spoon to mash the cooked apples.  A potato masher works wonderfully as well, and if you want perfectly smooth applesauce, I’d opt for using an immersion blender.

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Stay tuned…coming up in a few weeks I’ll have another recipe that incorporates some of this applesauce…any reason to make another crockpot full works for me!

Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce
Serves 12
Incredibly easy and unbelievably delicious homemade applesauce that far surpasses anything you could buy at the store!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
72 calories
19 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
145 g
2 g
14 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
145g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 72
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 19g
6%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 14g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
16%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 6 to 8 large Gala apples (or any naturally sweet apple good for cooking)
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  6. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  7. 1/3 cup water
Instructions
  1. Core and slice apples, then place in crockpot.
  2. Add lemon juice, spices, and water.
  3. Stir well to evenly coat apples.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, stirring halfway through, until apples are soft.
  5. Mash cooked apples with spoon or potato masher until desired consistency is reached.
Notes
  1. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
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calories
72
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
19g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Apple Wheat Berry Salad

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

When I first married my husband I knew there’d be a learning curve…for both of us!  I think many young people are naive by thinking marrying the love of their life doesn’t come with hurdles!  Some of them are large, some are small, but all pose their own challenges and opportunities to learn about one another – and the family you’ve married into!  One challenge for me was figuring out how to blend the holiday traditions my husband grew up with, and the ones I was accustomed to, into a new set of traditions for our little growing family.  While we both grew up with similar values and faiths, there were definite differences we had to iron out.  And as crazy as it sounds, sometimes it was something as silly as an apple salad that bridged the gap!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

The first Thanksgiving we were together  – in fact it was the weekend he proposed to me – we went to his parents’ farm for the family gathering.  Of course there were all the traditional dishes – turkey, potatoes, green beans, rolls, etc. And even though they weren’t exactly like I’d have prepared it – all were delicious and it was fun to try new versions of classic holiday fare.  But it got a little awkward and tense when I volunteered to help, and my husband’s mom asked me to make the apple salad.  Ummmm…this was new to me!  Apparently they had this particular apple salad at every single holiday gathering, and I’d never made one before.  Thankfully his mom and sister-in-law taught me how to make it, and while it was good, I’m afraid it never made it into regular rotation at any of our subsequent holiday dinners – at least not in it’s original form!  I happily serve an apple salad at our holiday gatherings these days, but it’s not the recipe I was taught that particular Thanksgiving.  This Apple Wheat Berry Salad is a fresh take on the salad I made in that farm kitchen some 24 years ago!  I wonder if Mr.CEBH’S mom and dad would approve!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

I think one of the reasons we both like this salad so much is because it speaks to traditions – new and old!  By eliminating the jarred salad dressing, all of the sugar, and a few other ingredients, but keeping the apples, celery, and pecans – and then throwing in a myriad of other new ingredients I feel like I’ve successfully bridged the family tradition and generation gaps with this salad!  It’s definitely not my mother-in-law’s apple salad! 😉

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

Start by cooking the wheat berries.  Put the uncooked wheat berries in a large sauce pan or small stock pot with about 4-5 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the berries are tender – about 40-45 minutes.  Drain excess water and set the cooked wheat berries in the fridge to cool.  I used the time while the wheat berries were cooking to make homemade mayonnaise – click the link for the recipe – but feel free to use store bought if you prefer.  Just be sure to use mayo and not salad dressing.  Next up –  toast the pecans by placing them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes until aromatic and lightly browned.  But watch them closely…they can burn in an instant if left unattended. Once the pecans are done, set them aside to cool, and chop the celery, mince the shallot, and dice the apples.  Assemble the salad by combining the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt & pepper, and shallots in a large mixing bowl to make the dressing.  Toss in the cooled wheat berries, diced apples, chopped celery, and toasted pecans.  Stir to coat, transfer to a serving dish, and sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

Seriously – I love this salad so much that I eat the leftovers for breakfast. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And whenever the heck I think about it sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for me to sneak a little fork full!  Do you have recipes that you’ve learned from an in-law or friend and then adapted to make a new version?  Share them with me in the comments – I’d love to hear your “salad story”!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad
Serves 12
This salad is perfect as part of your holiday menu, or as a simple addition to a regular weeknight dinner!
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
236 calories
15 g
8 g
20 g
1 g
3 g
125 g
226 g
12 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
125g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236
Calories from Fat 173
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
31%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 226mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
25%
Calcium
2%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 or 4 large apples - any variety that you'd eat out of hand - diced
  2. 1 1/2 cups uncooked wheat berries
  3. 4 stalks celery, chopped
  4. 1 medium shallot, minced
  5. 1 cup pecans, toasted
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise ~ link to homemade in post
  7. 3 tbsp honey
  8. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place wheat berries in a medium stockpot and cover with 4-5 cups water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 40-45 minutes or until wheat berries are tender.
  3. Drain excess water and place cooked wheat berries in the refrigerator to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, toast pecans by placing them in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching closely so they don't burn.
  5. Remove pecans from heat when aromatic and lightly browned, then set aside to cool.
  6. In a large bowl combine mayo, vinegar, minced shallot, honey, and salt & pepper. Whisk to combine.
  7. Stir in cooled wheat berries, apples, celery, and pecans until well combined.
  8. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. This salad also makes a fantastic breakfast for on-the-run mornings!
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calories
236
fat
20g
protein
1g
carbs
15g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream

Apple Crisp Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

To me, nothing says autumn like a trip to the apple orchard!  When my son was a toddler and I was a single mom working at a tiny little hospital in northeast Iowa, we used to make a road trip to Gays Mills, Wisconsin at least twice every fall to get apples and fresh cider.  We loved walking through the different orchards’ stores and sampling the goodies they always had available to try.  We might have definitely always got a fresh, piping hot, apple cider donut coated with cinnamon sugar!  Those donuts alone were worth the 90 minute drive each way!  Of course, I always bought more apples than the two of us could possibly eat, but thankfully, I’ve always enjoyed spending time in my kitchen, so I made many desserts and other treats featuring apples.  And thankfully, health care workers are known for their love of homemade baked goods, so I could take my creations to work where I could be certain they’d be enjoyed and nothing would go to waste…or to waist…if I had kept all those baked goods at home!  😉 

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Of all the different apple recipes, one of my all time favorites is apple crisp.  I remember my mom teaching me me how to make one when I was about 10 years old.  I used to experiment with different combinations of topping ingredients and spices, and by gosh, my dad ate them all!  Whether he really liked them is a different thing, but he ate them, and at least pretended to like them all!  I’ve chosen to make an apple crisp today, not only because it’s always been a favorite of mine, but also because it’s a recipe that lends itself quite easily to be adapted to meet my CEBH lifestyle!

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Sometimes the old stand-by recipes are the best for a reason!  They’ve stood the test of time, being passed down from generation to generation.  But there’s nothing that says we can’t take those traditional old recipes and stand them on their ear!  And that’s kind of what I’ve done with this apple crisp!  It’s got all the traditional flavors and most the original ingredients in the crisp itself.  And then, I’ve topped it with a traditionally flavored sauce made from a very non-traditional ingredient!  It’s an apple crisp for the ages – with a new age twist!

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

As for ingredients – I chose to use Granny Smith apples – they are slightly tart and perfect for baking.  In addition to the apples, I used a few oats, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, maple syrup for sweetness, and a handful of craisins for another little bit of sweetness and burst of flavor.  The crisp topping is whole rolled oats, walnuts, coconut oil, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla – pretty straightforward!  For the cashew cream drizzle I used soaked raw cashews (just as we have for our other cashew cream recipes), maple syrup for sweetness and flavor, a splash of maple flavoring, a little vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon to tie all the components together!  

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

I diced the apples pretty small, then mixed them with a some of the oats I ground up a little in the blender – this helped act as thickener without having to add flour or cornstarch.  Then I tossed in the craisins, cinnamon, and salt, stirred in the maple syrup, and mixed it all together.  To make it a little more special I used individual ramekins to make this apple crisp – something about individual servings automatically makes any dish feel more special!

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream |cookeatbehealthy.com

 

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

After I had the apple filling in the dishes, I mixed up the crispy topping ingredients and sprinkled that over the apples.

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Then I popped them into the oven to bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  While they were baking I blended the maple cinnamon cashew cream ingredients in the blender and placed it the refrigerator until I was ready to serve the apple crisp!  I prefer it still slightly warm from the oven and generously drizzled with the maple cinnamon cashew cream.  Or I could definitely go for just a big ol’ gob of cashew cream on top too…either way it tastes scrumptious!

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

The end result…oh my gosh you guys!  It’s just as flavorful and delicious as a traditional apple crisp – only better!  The maple cinnamon cashew cream takes this recipe from really good to REALLY GREAT!  Forget ice cream – you won’t even miss it in this recipe….seriously we mmmmm’d and yummmmed and oooohhhhed the whole time we were eating it! 😉  

Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream
Serves 6
Nothing says fall like a warm cinnamon spiced apple crisp topped with maple cinnamon cashew cream!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
433 calories
66 g
0 g
18 g
7 g
4 g
164 g
37 g
42 g
0 g
13 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
164g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 433
Calories from Fat 154
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
28%
Saturated Fat 4g
19%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 37mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 66g
22%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 42g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
8%
Iron
13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 Granny Smith apples, diced but not peeled
  2. 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 to 12 hours, drained
  3. 1 cup whole rolled oats, divided
  4. 1/2 cup craisins
  5. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  6. 6 tbsp pure maple syrup, divided
  7. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
  9. 1 tsp plus a splash of vanilla
  10. 1/2 tsp maple flavoring
  11. 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil plus extra for greasing the ramekins
  12. A few dashes of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare 6 ramekin dishes by lightly brushing the inside of the dishes with coconut oil and set aside.
For the Apple Filling
  1. In the same blender you will be using to make the cashew cream, coarse grind 1/4 cup oats by pulsing a few times.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the diced apples, coarse ground oats, craisins, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 4 tbsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Stir well, then divide evenly among individual ramekins and set aside while making crisp topping.
For the Crisp Topping
  1. In a bowl combine 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil, chopped walnuts, 3/4 cup oats, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of salt.
  2. Mix well until all ingredients are well incorporated and the coconut oil is dispersed.
  3. Evenly divide the topping mixture, sprinkling over the apples in the ramekins.
  4. Place all 6 dishes on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside until serving. Refrigerator if not serving until the next day.
For the Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream
  1. In a blender combine the soaked and drained cashews, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, the maple flavoring, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  3. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until serving time.
To serve the Apple Crisp with Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream
  1. Top each apple crisp with a generous drizzle or dollop of Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream.
  2. Garnish as desired with chopped walnuts, craisins, and fresh apple slice.
  3. Enjoy!
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calories
433
fat
18g
protein
7g
carbs
66g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
Fall is here – make the most of the apples I know you’re bound to have on hand and treat yourself and your guests to a special fall dessert!  You don’t even have to tell them it’s healthy – they wouldn’t believe you anyway!!!