Hi there, friends. I hope you are having a lovely week! This coming weekend is Thanksgiving for us here in Canada, and I’m so looking forward to spending time with my husband and family. Though, the weather would denote that it’s actually closer to Christmas than anything else with the insane amounts of snow we have been getting. It seems autumn didn’t want to stick around for us in the North this year.
It’s funny how much the seasons and weather can really get into my brain, as I now find myself eagerly anticipating the holidays, complete with planning my decorating for it! I won’t spend too long discussing that though, lest it frustrate anyone who would rather think that reality is still much further away than it is, haha.
Anyways, with Thanksgiving upon us, I always start thinking about all of the amazing foods we get to eat this time of year! It’s so fun, and truly a privilege, to be able to gather around a table with loved ones and to enjoy one another, as well as wonderful food that always brings memories of each holiday that passed before it.
Admittedly, when I first started out with my many food restrictions – no gluten, dairy, grains, refined sugars, unhealthy oils, etc. – it was sort of sad for me. I think for many people, meals are a big aspect of the celebration of a holiday with one another, and when you feel largely left out of that, it can easily cloud things a little if you allow it to. Not because, “I just want my dang stuffing”, or anything like that, haha, but there is a certain feel to sharing in a meal together, isn’t there? This is something I struggled with for quite awhile surrounding family gatherings, as I felt I could no longer just go and enjoy. I always had worry over what foods I would be able to eat, if any. My mind spiralled with thoughts of: What are they making? I need to know ahead of time, to know whether I can eat any of it or not, or so that I know if I need to eat before I go… Would the couple of things I generally could eat, like vegetables and meat, be prepared with an oil I could eat? Or would they have used canola/vegetable oil? Or margarine, or sugar… I simply can’t ask these things, as I don’t want to be a pest or rude at all… Should I just bring my own dinner entirely, heat it up separately from everyone, and be segregated to my own, non-shared, meal? I wish maybe, just maybe without me asking, someone would think to include me by making something for me for once…
I did this for awhile, and honestly, it just wasn’t good. Especially if I ever let it get to that final, self-pitying stage. However, because this was entirely self-inflicted since the food changes were my choice, I have learned how to control for this much better as the years have went on. For one, I have spent a lot of time developing my skill at cooking and baking in order to suit this food lifestyle. Because I’m now confident about what I make, I bring a dish or two, and at holidays usually sides like gravy and a dessert, to contribute to dinner for everyone at these gatherings that I can enjoy along with them.
Secondly, I have let up on myself a lot. Over time, I realized that being overly anxious about what I was ingesting all of the time was not actually leading me towards health in the ways I wanted it to. Now, I figure that because I am consistent with my health and nutrition the vast majority of the time, and I do this in a way that doesn’t stress me out or make life overly difficult, there is no reason I shouldn’t allow myself a bit of grace during family gatherings and holidays. If we are being real here, it’s not going to do me any harm if 3 times a year I let myself eat my mother-in-law’s absolutely amazing mashed potatoes, that I know are loaded with dairy and things I’m not “supposed” to eat, and to not stress about it. These shifts in my own development and mindset, along with planning ahead and contributing more, allows me to freely immerse myself in the experience of time with family.
Usually leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, I would be baking a (paleo) pumpkin pie, but I decided to go a different direction this week with this Spiced Apple Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze. Well… let’s be honest, I will still bake a pie before the weekend, haha, but this is so lovely, and a perfect treat for autumn. I am looking forward to eating what I have saved of this with my husband the morning after Thanksgiving!
I love fall-themed treats, and I feel like autumn is the best time for baking. As I have mentioned before, when the weather is crisp and gloomy, and I can light some candles indoors and play some low-key music while baking, my heart is content.
To clarify from all of the discussion above surrounding food restrictions, this cake IS paleo (gluten, dairy, refined sugar & grain free!). It’s nice and moist, and has the perfect amount of “spice” to it. The apple brings a natural sweetness that balances it wonderfully. I love enjoying this for breakfast with my coffee, or after dinner for a hint of a sweeter finish to the evening.
And of course, if you want some extra sweetness and autumn flavour, drizzling this maple cinnamon glaze over top does just the trick.
I hope you enjoy making this recipe! If you do, please feel free to let me know what you think.
2 large apples (plus lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca flour)
3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder (corn free)
1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum free)
1 tbsp cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon is best)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (I use celtic sea salt)
5-6 eggs (I know it seems like a lot, but trust me)
1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup coconut sugar (you can use maple sugar as well for a more maple flavour! I wanted to keep this a bit lower glycemic with the amount I was using, so used coconut sugar)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp melted grass fed butter, or coconut oil for dairy free
1/3 cup powdered maple sugar, or 1/2 cup organic icing sugar and 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond milk or coconut milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Now would also be a good time to melt your coconut oil if you haven’t already. You can put it in the fridge after melting to help the cooling process if need be.
- Oil your bundt cake pan. For my patterned pans, I usually also dust with some arrowroot starch or tapioca flour to prevent any sticking.
- Wash your apples, core, and chop them. Use a food processor/blender, or grate, to mince them. You can peel the apples if you like, but I didn’t spend time doing so. Squeeze most of the juice out of the apples – you should have about 1 & 1/ cups – then toss in lemon juice, the 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca flour. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine eggs, applesauce, almond milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a bit at a time, until throughly combined.
- Stir in the apple mixture
- Pour the cake batter into your bundt pan. The bundt pan should be about 2/3-3/4 full.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for about half an hour, then gently turn it over onto a cooling rack to let cool the rest of the way through before slicing.
- Once cool, drizzle with maple glaze, and chopped pecans or walnuts if desired, serve, and enjoy!
- Whisk together the oil/butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
- Add the almond milk 1 tsp at a time. If you would like the glaze thinner, you can add another tsp.
- Drizzle over a slice of cake before eating!
Ah, and now, onto the wonderful weekend ahead. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of year because of what it feels like. Being the holiday that is central to autumn where I live, it evokes reminders of fresh, crisp air, and sunlight in the golden, fluttering leaves. The nostalgic feeling of sipping on hot apple cider while walking through the pumpkin patch, seeking the perfect one to carve in just a couple week’s time. It brings with it a warmth that ignites the heart with contentedness, and perhaps a bit of romanticism.
It has been so fun for me to get back into the groove of connecting with you more regularly through blog posts and instagram, friends. Feel free to follow me over there for more regular photos and updates. I sincerely hope you enjoy this coming weekend, and all it entails for you and your family.
Thanks for stopping by!