Every fall, when I was kid, my mom took me, my sister and brother to Idylwilde Farm to pick out pumpkins and caramel apples. I loved this outing with her because she seemed to love celebrating fall more than any other season. She didn’t rush us when deciding on pumpkins or which caramel apples would taste better: one with nuts or one without nuts. She wasn’t hurried or pre-occupied with other things. She was happy exactly where she was at that moment in time, with us. I realize now that I am a mother just how special that time was with her.
It is hard to be present when so many other things demand attention. I have a running list of things to do, most of which never fully get done. At times I am preoccupied with things I need or want to do, instead of enjoying my sweet boy and girl. This past weekend G turned 3. To celebrate his third birthday we went on a haunted hayride and we picked out pumpkins. I felt present during our outing. I enjoyed my time with Bubba and the kids. I pushed my mental check list away and focused on my family. It felt good. Maybe C and G will look back on our fall outings the same way I remember my outings with my mother. “Mom was happy and not rushed and it was nice.”
I found a recipe for a healthy caramel apple dip last year on the blog My New Roots. (This is a great website full of super healthy recipes. Check it out!) As much as I would love to take the kids to a local farm to pick out caramel apples, I can’t because of G’s peanut allergy. I made this recipe for him and he loved it! C is on the fence. Bubba likes anything sweet and so do I! I feel good letting him eat it too because it is not all processed sugar. I will make the kids traditional caramel apples before the month is over. Every kids needs to experience the delicious joy of an apple covered in caramel!
This apple dip is mainly made of Medjool dates and Sunbutter. The recipe is very easy to make but you do need to soak the dates for a least 4 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
Medjool dates are super sweet and taste great on their own. Be sure to pit the dates before continuing with the recipe! Simply slice the date in half and remove the pit.
Reserve the soaking liquid! You will want to add some at the end to thin out the dip.
Using a food processor, mix dates, Sunbutter, sea salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the soaking liquid until you get desired consistency. After I shot this picture, I immediately ate this spoonful. Yum!
This dip is excellent with most apples. I had Fuji apples on hand for this photo. Go apple picking, whip up a batch of this dip and enjoy with friends and family.
Healthy Caramel Apple Dip
recipe slightly adapted from My New Roots
makes about 2 1/2 cups
2 cups pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup Sunbutter
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt (may want more)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
soaking liquid from dates
Soak dates in water for 4 hours. Drain the dates, reserving the soaking water. Set aside.
Using a food processor, add dates, 1/4 cup of Sunbutter, lemon juice, sea salt and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Add soaking water, one spoonful at a time, until you reach desired consistency. I kept my dip a little thick so we could scoop it easily with an apple slice. If you think you might use it as a topping for ice cream, which sounds incredible, make it thinner.
Dip can be kept refrigerated for up to one week. Enjoy!
A Fall Birthday Cake to Try
To celebrate G’s birthday I made a roasted apple sheet cake with maple buttercream frosting. He loved it and so did everyone else. This is a dense and super moist cake with bits of roasted apple throughout. It is not a typical birthday cake but certainly one that will be warmly received at any fall birthday or special occasion. You can find the recipe here. The recipe will make 2 9×13 cakes but I cut it in half and it fed 15 people with several slices left over.The maple buttercream frosting worked well with the roasted apples. It is not overly sweet which the kids liked. I know, crazy, my kids don’t like super sweet frosting. Head here for the recipe.
G is obsessed with fire trucks. I found the cake topper on this Etsy site.