Winter Weekend Baking Recipe: Apple Cranberry Fig Crisp

fruit crisp

We’re deep in the heart of winter — the end of January heading into February. As part of my practice of leaning into each season, I’m contemplating the feeling of winter. This past weekend brought bursts of big puffy snowflakes, rising and falling with the wind. It was very enjoyable watching from the inside, wrapped in a blanket on my couch, cozy sipping a hot drink with thoughts of a fruit crisp.

For me, wanting to bake is a natural result of this cozy winter feeling. Baking for just myself, instead of others, always feels a bit decadent. Over the years, the fruit crisp has started to grow on me. Before, I barely considered it a dessert, but things have changed. This recipe is adapted from the “Cran-Apple Crisps” in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Baking: From My home to Yours.”

The exact circumstances of my particular take on this recipe are mostly on purpose and partly a series of happy accidents. I only had two (way past their prime) apples, so I made half the amount called for in the original recipe. The measurements are estimates. I kept the skin on since it’s quicker and healthier.

I bought almond paste a while ago and had never used it. For some reason, something said just squeeze a whole bunch onto the filling. I didn’t have enough cranberries, so I needed to add another fruit. Raisins were suggested, but something said to use figlets, which are sweeter than raisins. They had been around for a while as well without being used. I added salt and vanilla extract to the filling, because why not? They make everything taste better. I served this crisp warm with whipped cream and it is over the top delicious!

I’m always shocked when people say that they have fruit for dessert – like an orange or strawberries. My mom is one of them. Fruit is not dessert! We will never agree on this. However, this fruit crisp is one mighty fine dessert and maybe breakfast too.

🍎🍎🍎

Apple Cranberry Fig Crisp

(3-4 servings)

INGREDIENTS

Topping:

1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 stick butter (cold, cut into pieces)

Filling:

2 apples (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/4 cup figlets
1/3 cup sugar
2 T almond paste
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T flour

INSTRUCTIONS

Butter a medium sized baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine all the filling ingredients. Put all the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse for about a minute until the texture is big formed pieces.

Spread the filling in the prepared baking dish. Place the the topping pieces onto the filling. Bake for about 45 minutes. After baking, let sit for about 15 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream and enjoy!

Into 2022 & Plant Medicine

Hoya Lisa my plant medicine

Three months ago was the last time that I wrote on this blog!

Between regular life, work, continuing to settle in my new place, the holidays and then getting COVID, I didn’t prioritize my writing. Which is wrong, because I always start feeling off when I don’t write. I’ve had this nagging feeling for a while that I should write something here. Anything, no matter how short.

Recently, a friend and my mom both separately mentioned to me that I should start writing again. So I’m here. Getting back to my practice. Like I do when I return to yoga or meditation when I’ve been away for awhile. Which had been the case for a few weeks when I stopped those as well.

I like to think that I’m good at taking care of myself. But we all slip up every once in a while. Things get overwhelming and we lose track of time and don’t center our wellness. When we don’t center our wellness, we get sick.

In 2020, I didn’t gather with anyone during the holidays. It was awful. So it was wonderful to spend time with loved ones this past Thanksgiving. It was a small gathering. We were all vaccinated and things felt mostly safe.

A COVID CHRISTMAS

In December, when I heard that Omicron was quickly spreading everywhere, I knew that gathering for Christmas was going to be a risk. My mom, brother and I spent three days together over Christmas.

My brother had sniffles by the time he went home. Pre-COVID, we would have thought nothing of it. Luckily he gets tested regularly and soon tested positive. Most of his housemate were sick as well.

My mom and I started to have similar symptoms. I tested positive soon after, but we were never able to get my mom tested. Thankfully we’re all fully vaccinated and boosted, so our symptoms never got worse than that of a bad cold. We assumed my mom had COVID as well, so we all isolated for ten days. The new five day CDC guidance seems questionable at best.

Anyway, now I don’t even know what to think. I took extreme measures not to get COVID. My activities have been extremely limited. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant in almost two years. I never stopped wearing a mask indoors when out in public. I’m barely out in public and work from home.

Even though my case was very mild, we don’t know the long-term effects of COVID. Until the past few years, I had never known that there were long-term effects from getting chickenpox until I learned about shingles. This summer I also got the two doses of the shingles vaccine. 2021 was about getting all the vaccinations! Got the flu shot too!

Although I might have a somewhat heightened immunity to COVID right now, I know that it won’t last. Especially with all the variants popping up. I don’t want to get it again. I’ve heard of people getting it two and three times! So I’m still being very careful. But I do want to find a way to be out in the world a bit more, because I’m missing out on a lot and it’s getting to me.

PLANT MEDICINE

Taking care of my plants, learning about plants and even talking about plants makes me happy. It’s bringing that peaceful feeling from being out in nature to the indoors. From being more immersed in the wellness community, I’ve learned the new (to me) way that many refer to things that help you feel better as medicine. If there’s a certain song that you play that makes you feel better, that song might be your medicine.

It makes sense when you think about the definition of medicine – a treatment for or prevention of disease. Usually we think of it as a pharmaceutical made by a company to fight disease. But what is disease? Dis-ease. When we are not feeling at ease – feeling unwell. Many things can make us feel at ease and they don’t have to be pharmaceuticals.

I’ve realized that plants are a medicine for me and plant therapy is good for my soul. The plant pictured above is called Hoya Australis Lisa. Yes, I have a namesake plant! She is the latest addition to my plant family and a Christmas gift to me from my mom. I usually get plant cuttings from friends and family, so I don’t buy many plants.

I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a plant online, but this was a plant that I really wanted. I’m not going to many stores nowadays and the stores that I do visit, I haven’t seen one. I don’t know anyone with this plant, so I couldn’t get a cutting. I ordered her from Horti and the delivery was very fast, so I was happy with the experience and finding this plant medicine. This is my first Hoya, so I’m looking forward to learning more about this plant as I move into 2022.

Home – Outside The Box

new home

No more boxes! I’m officially unpacked and settling into the new place. It’s been just over three weeks since I moved. Things are still being arranged and it will take a while to really be used to being here, but it’s feeling like home.

I’ve always wanted a balcony and finally have one! The unseasonably warm temperatures provided a bit of time to sit outside, enjoy the space and the view. The balcony faces lots of trees, so it’s like I’m looking at my own tiny forest!

Overall the place is bigger and the layout is better, but the kitchen is smaller. Can’t have it all! But I’m making do and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Then I switch up the way I’m using the space, so it’s more comfortable and efficient. I moved the coffee maker around a few times, but think I found a place that works. It was such a relief when I finally found it in the mess of boxes at the beginning!

Even though I’m still in Quincy, I’m in a new zip code! Goodbye 02170 and hello 02169! Before I was closer to Milton and now I’m closer to Braintree. It’s nice exploring new places, especially the food related ones!

As much as the world can be full of turmoil, it feels good to create a sanctuary at home. I’m very grateful.

Free Yoga On The Library Lawn

yoga on the libary lawn

Over the years, I’ve read about many free yoga classes at public libraries in Massachusetts and in other states as well. This morning, I was finally able to attend a free yoga class right here in Quincy, outside on the lawn at Thomas Crane Public Library. This class was the first in a series of community classes taking place each Wednesday morning in September on the library lawn.

It’s hard taking pictures and enjoy the relaxing vibe, but I managed to snap a few.

There was a nice breeze — and lots of bees. Four or five bees hovered over blades of grass in front of me. A few ants made their way onto my mat too, but no stings or bites!

I was beneath a large tree, so there was some shade and bright sun streaming through the branches. There was a mostly clear blue sky with a few wispy clouds floating by. Even though the class was in the morning, it was warm and a tiny bit humid. Perfect weather and a reminder that summer is still here.

There was a good turnout and new arrivals kept showing up through most of the class. We were mostly an older crowd, but there was young woman who arrived towards the end with the cutest little girl. They both got on their mats and dove right into their practice.

From conversation I heard, a few people said this was their first yoga class. Our teacher, Rhiannon Skolnick of Humble Roots Yoga, was enthusiastic and has a gentle soothing way about her.

This might have been my first yoga class since the pandemic started. Possibly the second, but the first this summer. Because I’m vaccinated now and there was a lot of space to spread out on the library lawn, I felt comfortable not wearing a mask. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next week for another wonderful class.

When It’s Your Season

squrirel and acorn season

It’s September! I love summer and never wish it away, but September is a favorite month. As my birthday month, it’s also my personal new year – a time to reset. When we were kids, September was always back to school season, so it was a time of new beginnings for everyone.

The change from summer to fall is also a big time of transition. Right now I’m in the midst of a big change and transition. After 19 years in the same apartment, I’m moving to a new one in a few weeks! I’m so excited!

As a Virgo sun and Taurus rising, I tend to dig in and stay put. I haven’t lived many places because I usually  stay somewhere at least five years. But 19 years is a record. It’s the longest that I’ve ever lived in one place. That was never even the plan. This was supposed to be a transitional place. Ya just never know!

This is the first time that I have no plans for how long I will be at the next place or where it will take me in my life. The longer I live, the more I see that while we do have some control over our lives, we also need to go with the flow of it. When we make a decision and have to fight for it at every turn, it might not be the right plan for us. Sometimes the Universe has decided otherwise.

We can feel the difference when we decide to make a change and everything easily falls into place and flows. This change feels right. As much as I thought about moving over the past few years, it didn’t feel right until now.

* * *

A new favorite podcast is Breathe Go Flow with Tracye Warfield. I started listening at the end of July or beginning of August. I’ve listened from the first episode, which was pre-pandemic, up to August 2020. She’s so uplifting and has been a wonderful motivating force for me to make this change. An episode from February 2019, called Are you a Clinger has some real gems.

“You get to keep what is yours in your season.”

~ Tracye Warfield

It’s important to know what’s for us in our current season and let go of what isn’t. This resonates so much with my word of the year. Another quote that I recently found is a new favorite as well.

“Ripe fruit falls quickly.”

~ Mari Andrew

I don’t think she said it first, but I found it on her Instagram. It goes back to feeling that when the time is right, what’s in season for us will be available without such a struggle. These last few weeks of summer will be full of change and I’m here for it. Let the packing begin!