Neah’s Apple Spice Bread

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I stepped out the door, determined to not let the weather hamper plans. The forecast was for two to three inches of fluffy, wintery, white. I decided by looking at the multiple inches outside that we were the “lucky ones.” As I trudged around town in those early hours, it became obvious our hilly neighborhood was not alone. I alternately ran in the street, where there were decidedly fewer cars than normal, or jumped to the side and pushed the accumulating inches. When I finally looped back to our apartment, decidedly more worked-out than I had intended, the flurry mass of winter wonder came down in full force.

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We had record-breaking weather this December. Nine inches and something like five days below freezing all in one go left me feeling humbled. Since I live on that big ol’ hill and all the local accidents were at the bottom of it, I decided to spend those days hoofing it around town.

After an unexpected week of slowing down and spending time in manual transport, I am more at peace and connected to my community. I took time to enjoy the cheery Christmas trees peeking through the house windows. I could take in the season’s lights slowly and know exactly which intersections were the most icey. I now know there are a couple horses at the Horse Center that are bad neighbors. Robert Frost’s philosophy about fences doesn’t work with them.

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I walked to the grocery store. On ice and then again in the melting mess (which was worse!) the second time. I almost lost it. Twice. I was thankful for a co-worker who through an unrelated phone call, made me forget my bad temper and live on. I smiled at the kids that made our driveway a very slick, very steep, and pretty awesome sledding hill. I almost joined them. I wish I had.

In that week when Christmas shopping plans were postponed and the thought of tree-decorating came to a halt, when running became an act for extreme-adventure-seekers only, and I circled only within a two mile radius from the home hill for seven days, I came to know what the holiday season should be.

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Take time to slow down and reflect on the end of a year well-lived. Be grateful for all that we have. Accomplish good deeds towards others. Get out of the bubble. Expand the perception of what can be accomplished. This season is not about the hustle and bustle. It is not about finding the perfect gift. It is about cherishing each moment as it comes.

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Neah’s Apple Spice Bread, makes one large 9×5 loaf or four mini-loaves
 
This is my dear grandma Neah’s recipe. I remember making it multiple times with her growing up. Her name for it was Raw Apple Cake, which I always thought to be be misleading. There are a whole lot of raw apples in the batter, so I can see where it got its name. I have adapted the recipe to align with a gluten and dairy-free lifestyle, as well as cut down on the sugar. The apples shine through and I found extra sweetness was unnecessary. Feel free to experiment with different spices as well as add-ins, such as raisins, walnuts, or dates. We used to make several batches, each cake being slightly different.
 
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups apples (about 4 large), shredded with skins on
2 cups + 1 Tbs. gluten-free flour mix
2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
  • Whip together the oil and sugar until fluffy. Whisk in the eggs and thoroughly combine. Shred those apples (and not your fingers!) and stir em’ in.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining dry ingredients. Mix those into the apple bowl.
  • Spoon the batter into a large oiled and floured baking pan, or four mini-pans (I made mini-cakes for gifts). Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes for mini-cakes or one hour for a large cake.
 
 
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