Just because I’m whole30’ing it for the month of January, doesn’t mean I’m going to pass up dessert on our 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years of marriage is worth celebrating so I dipped into my “tool box” of grain free, sweetener free, clean eating repertoire and came up with these luscious Baked Stuffed Apples. After almost a month of no sweeteners or snacks, these exploded in my mouth with yummy flavor. And the hubs…well, he loved them too! He took a few bites and declared deliciousness on the spot, and then….well, and then found some vanilla ice cream to put on top. Then he was in heaven. And as for me, well after no sweets for 25 days, I savored each bite as if it had ice cream on top.
We treated ourselves to a simple but extravagant surf and turf fireside dinner at home.
I quickly threw together this whole30 compliant dessert for the occasion.
The filling is made with almonds, dates, cinnamon, lemon zest and coconut oil. Place all of the filling ingredients in a food processor with an “s” blade.
Pulse away until a paste forms. When you pick up a handful and squeeze it, it should hold its shape.
Scoop out the core of the apples. I tried different apples, but the golden delicious were the best. Slice a little piece off the bottom of the apple and leave the bottom intact so that the apple will hold the filling. Stuff almond date mixture into the apple center.
Set in a pan with 1 cup of apple juice and a few cloves in it. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes, basting regularly with the juices from the pan.
These turned out best when made with golden delicious apples, for their thin skin, natural sweetness, and they baked up soft and pillowy, if that’s a word 🙂
This recipe took me back 40 years to our macrobiotic days. That’s how my hubs and I got together. He needed a “nurse” to cook clean and healthy macrobiotic meals for him while he healed a broken arm. He contacted some friends where I had been studying and they recommended me.
After the removal of steel plates in his arm, we started an intense month of compresses and a plant-based, mineral rich diet. We refrained from all sweeteners, dairy, meat, and most fruit. Our daily meals consisted of only whole, unprocessed foods. His arm was healed in 30 days! But 2 weeks in, and he proposed. Yes, you heard me right. After knowing each other for 2 weeks, he asked me to marry him. Was it love at first sight? Nope. We were two recovering hippies and a bit naive. We were married a month and a half later. Before I go any further, I have to interject I don’t recommend this! It has worked for us because God graciously changed our course 3 years into our marriage. My husband came to know Jesus, and I followed shortly thereafter. Because God is faithful, and He knows our needs, He put people in our lives who mentored us and modeled healthy relationships. Powerful. A miracle.
Has it always been easy? No. We had a busy household raising 4 very spirited children. We are very different. We can be selfish. Sometimes we’ve had to choose to love and hope the feeling would follow. We’ve had seasons of living on very little and we were forced to be resourceful.
Many seasons later I have to say, we are better together and I’m still glad I said yes to this man. We love doing all of life together. And we are in the best season yet, being grandparents. We love, love these sweet little people and their parents!
So, its a big deal being married for 40 years. And we had to have dessert. One that came with its own built in sweetener for it to be whole30 compliant. Baked Stuffed Apples made our anniversary dinner complete.
Until next time,
4 golden delicious apples
2/3 heaping cup raw almonds
4 pitted Medjool dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest, lightly packed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup apple juice
whole cloves, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place almonds, dates, cinnamon, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor with an “s” blade. Pulse until mixture is well combined and chopped very fine.
Core apples, leaving the bottom intact. Slice a piece off the bottom so the apple will hold the filling and stand upright. Rub the outside of each apple with coconut oil. Stuff apple with almond date mixture.
Place stuffed apples in a pan with 1 cup of apple juice (or orange juice) and a few whole cloves. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and pop in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Baste with pan juices throughout baking time. Serve in ramekins with cooking juices for whole30ers, or topped with whipped cream, (coconut or dairy), or with vanilla ice cream.