As I write this post, it's 11am on Sunday morning and I'm feeling incredible because for the first time ever, Sebastian slept 8 hours last night without a peep. I haven't felt this good since Jan 31, 2015, the last time I slept through the night. This morning I heard him fussing a bit, so I got up and looked at my phone, and it read 715am!!!! I nearly fell over from pure excitement. I feel SO good, words can't even explain. He's currently sleeping again, in the coffee shop, and I am sitting here relaxing, drinking a soy latte, eating a bran muffin, and wondering if this is going to be the new normal. WAKELESS NIGHTS!!! Sleep never felt so good, something I completely took for granted when it was just Brent and myself.
In other not-so-serious but at the time seemed really serious news, last week, I found a large lump on my dog on his left side near his rib cage. I spent the better part of two days in total panic mode, thinking the worst things imaginable until I brought him to the vet to get it biopsied, and it came back negative for the big CA. It is just a fatty deposit - common in labs, or for Ody's sake, half labs. If the week wasn't filled with enough drama, the next day I took Sebastian to the doctors for his 2-month check-up and vaccinations, which ended in a full-blown meltdown. The both of us. What I have learned from these two experiences is that it is much easier to distract my dog when getting a needle with ear rubs and milk bones. Less effective with Sebastian. After the doctor's appointment, we stopped by Brent's work for lunch, because these days I'm all about someone else cooking my meals. They have this amazing new salad bar with every ingredient imaginable which is awesome and intimidating. I ordered this hella big salad with grapes walnuts and blackberries, which was so good it's all I can think about. As well as the salad, I also ate this amazing slice of wood oven pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, and a bechamel sauce, which got me thinking, why haven't I been putting bechamel sauce on my pizza? because seriously, like whoa.
Now that I have a baby, I have a new fondness for lunching. Gone are the days of slipping out the door at 830pm for late night tapas at the wine bar. Now I'm all about the lunch, and the thing about going out for lunch is there are no waits, no need for reservations, restaurants are less crowded, the lighting is bright and inviting, it's somewhat acceptable if your baby cries, and nobody ever complained about an early afternoon cocktail, am I right? This gives me plenty of time to be in bed by 830pm.
Did I mention that last week I was able to finally perfect my apple crisp while the baby was sleeping? Since the beginning of the summer I've been on a quest for the ultimate apple crisp, which to me means big juicy chunks of apples, a little tart a little sweet, slightly soft with a little crunch, bathed in a thick sweet syrupy liquid topped with a buttery, nutty crumble, but not too crumbly. I prefer my crumble with large chunkier pieces scattered throughout. I added a good serving of raisins to this crisp. Enough so that you get at least one or two with each bite. I also added maple syrup because all good things begin with maple syrup. I usually add sliced almonds to my crumble topping, but this time I decided to switch it up and add walnuts. They are nutty, earthy, and substantial, a perfect balance with the apples.
I wanted a crisp recipe that can be acceptable to eat for breakfast, but also sweet enough to indulge with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a slice of aged cheddar for dessert, and guys, this is it!!!! My ultimate apple crisp.
I'd like to take a quick moment to give a shout out to Polder's Old World Kitchen. They were kind enough to send me a few pieces from their dreamware collection - those two sweet little spoons pictured below. The craftsmanship in their products is impeccable. Their pieces are one of a kind, and they are by far one of my favorite shops for kitchen utensils. If you are looking for some Christmas gifts for that loved one in your life, I highly encourage you to check out their site for ideas.
MAPLE WALNUT APPLE CRISP
serves 8 - 10
prep time: 20 min
cooking time: 40 min
5 Gala apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Peel and chop the apples. Place them into an 8x8x3 inch (deep) casserole dish or dutch oven and toss with the lemon juice. Add the raisins, maple syrup, brown sugar and combine. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you prepare the topping.
To prepare the topping, place all of the dry ingredients into a medium size bowl and combine.
Chop the butter into small cubes and add it to the dry ingredients. Cut it in using a pastry cutter or your hands, until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
Toss the apple mixture with 3 tbsp of flour. Sprinkle it on top of the apples. Place the crisp into the oven and bake for 40 minutes (uncovered), until the topping is golden brown and the apples bubbling. Serve warm.
Can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a week.