This past fall, my husband, my daughter, and I journeyed up to Muddy Pond Mennonite Community and purchased twelve boxes of golden delicious apples from an older gentleman with a long white beard who was missing three fingers on his right hand.
It’s always a magical experience for me to journey up to Muddy Pond: a secluded community nestled in the mountains of Tennessee, which I used as a model for the setting in my novel, The Midwife. But, as much as I love Muddy Pond, I love “applesauce day” even more.
My husband’s family—who has both Mennonite and Amish background compared to my Mennonite and Brethren background—always sets one day aside every fall to make applesauce to last through the year (or not quite that long, since we put applesauce on everything from pizza to soup!).
Some people can applesauce, but we like to freeze it because it keeps its flavor better. This past year, my husband thought up the idea of placing the applesauce in food grade plastic bags so they could store flat and take up less space than the plastic containers. We thaw a bag of applesauce throughout the week. My toddler-age daughter especially loves when it is slightly slushy with ice, which is a refreshing treat over the summer.
One of my favorite breakfast recipes, Healthy Baked Oatmeal, uses applesauce as an oil replacement; it stores in the refrigerator for up to a week (if it lasts that long!) and is absolutely delicious warmed up and then puddled with some milk and a spoonful of peanut butter.
Healthy Baked Oatmeal
1 cup applesauce
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs – beaten well
½ cup peanut butter (optional)
½ to 1 cup raisins (optional)
6 cups quick oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
Preheat the pan while oven is preheating to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine oats, baking powder, salt and mix well. In separate bowl, combine the first six ingredients and mix well. Mix in beaten eggs into applesauce mixture. Stir in peanut butter and raisins. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Immediately pour into the lightly greased pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Outcast, which Library Journal gave a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. Jolina’s sophomore novel, The Midwife, taps into her and her husband’s unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Whenever she’s not busy chasing this adorable toddler, Jolina is hard at work on her next novel.