Apple Pumpkin Crisp (vegan)

I was a really poor student when I was in university. I struggled most months paying rent and making sure I had food to eat because no matter how many job applications I sent out no one ever bit. That year was a year of amazing miracles, and I never went hungry or homeless but I'll never forget one lightbulb moment I had one day. I seriously had no produce in my tiny city apartment but some apples that were already on the edge of becoming dehydrated snacks, and not much in my fridge but almond milk (that was actually half water because I had to make it stretch) and ketchup. I managed to scrounge up the ingredients for an apple crisp and let me tell you: that evening, I felt rich. Since then, I've especially appreciated a good apple crisp - especially when the weather is cool!

Apple Pumpkin Crisp (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

After making some pumpkin treats the other day, I found that not only did I have a basket full of apples to consume, I also had some leftover pumpkin puree. What?! Dream-come-true much. I decided to try something new, and what came out was this delicious apple pumpkin crisp. Why not?

Apple Pumpkin Crisp (vegan) | www.maplealps.com
Apple Pumpkin Crisp (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

It turned out to taste a lot better than I thought it was going to, so I decided to share it with you today - in honour of all things pumpkin anyway. I added some walnuts to the topping, and it just added a level of deliciousness that is out of this world! I also topped it with some coconut cream, and oh boy!

Apple Pumpkin Crisp (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Apple Pumpkin Crisp

Filling

6 medium-large apples (I used granny smith), peeled and chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 TBSP arrowroot starch
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Topping

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup olive oil 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Add all the ingredients for the filling to a large bowl and mix well until combined

3) Put mixture into a small baking dish and set aside

4) Rinse and dry out the bowl you used for the apples and mix together the oats, flour, sugar, walnuts, salt and cinnamon. 

5) Add the olive oil to your dry ingredients and mix well, until completely coated.

6) Pour the topping onto the apples in the baking dish, coating completely.

7) Bake for 30 minutes until the top is a nice golden brown.

8) Best fresh, but refrigerate up to 3 days.


An Aspiring Minimalist’s Guide to Gifts

There are plenty of gift-giving guides for when you want to give something to a minimalist, but what if a minimalist (or aspiring minimalist, like me) wants to give a gift? I had to really think about this!

Take Christmas, for example. It's around the corner and it seems that most people expect to receive a gift and give one in return. I’ve been caught in situations where I’ve had to give a gift, so I just grabbed something off the department store shelves with little thought as to why I was giving it. On the other hand, I’ve also received those same kinds of gifts. Full disclosure: those don’t often last long in my house at all. So why do we even bother?

When I give a gift now, I like to be intentional about it. I like to ask myself a few questions:

Why did I choose this particular gift?
Will my recipient value this gift?

How can I make this a meaningful experience?

With the gift-giving season right around the corning (and just coming out of one - can someone say weddings?), I thought I might share some of my thoughts and ideas on giving gifts.

An Aspiring Minimalist’s Guide to Gifts | www.maplealps.com

 

Give the gift of an experience or time together

This is probably a great place to start. One of the coolest gifts we got as a wedding gift was a night out to see a Broadway musical. It was seriously cool, and it is a memory we still talk about to this day. Gifting experiences is a great idea and focuses more on your friendship than any material thing I can think of at this moment. Gift dinner reservations or unique local experiences or special events and make memories, not dust collectors.

 

Cash

I know it sounds impersonal and unromantic, but cash is way better to get than a gift card. It’s still tangible and doesn’t risk the use to being resold online or forgotten in a wallet. Plus, cash can still be used pretty much everywhere. There are creative ways to gift it too!

 

Something personalized and practical

If you still want to give something, you might want to consider giving something from the heart. Personalized items can still be practical. Put the “fun” in “functional” and explore options like personalized cutting boards or socks - okay, maybe not socks, but you get the idea. Thinking of needs and adding a personalized twist is, in my humble opinion, thoughtful!

 
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Give a charitable donation

There are many opportunities to give a charitable donation in your recipient's name. All it takes is one Google search.

 

Give a consumable

Ummm, who doesn’t love food? I haven’t met that person yet. I love this, because you can get really creative with it! Visit a foreign country? Bring a packaged specialty! Have you heard of gourmet olive oil? Because it's amazing. Love chocolate chip cookies? Put together a kit so they can make their own (you can even pair this with an experience and do it together)! The possibilities are endless and are so fun!

 

If there is a registry, stick to the registry

If you are going to a shower or a wedding, chances are the hosts have created a gift registry. Stick to it. They know what they need, and if you want to stay true to helping others own only what they need, value, and what brings them joy, I highly suggest going that route.

 

So what about receiving gifts?

Receiving gifts is a little tougher for me - especially now that we have downsized greatly and don’t wish to acquire more [useless] stuff. But I also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!

Explaining your “new way of life” to family and friends who normally shower you with gifts can be difficult, but not impossible. I see gift-giving as a way of sharing love, but gift-giving is not restricted to material things.

Your loved ones are called your loved ones because they love you. Trust that and make your expectations and intentions clear. They will be happy to support you. Isn’t that just what gift-giving is about anyway? Showing our love? They’ll be glad to do that however you decide!

Instead of saying, “I will not be collecting gifts this year,” and leaving it at that, why not give specific ideas to your loved ones about what they can give you. If you would like a charitable gift, set up a charity fund they can donate directly to, or pick a soup kitchen and request they accompany you too. If you want consumables, hand over your grocery list (I mean, why not?). If you think it will help, why not send them the link to this blog post? Whatever you choose, I’m sure they’ll think it’s a fabulous idea and they might start picking it up too!

 


What kinds of gifts do you like giving and receiving? Let me know in the comments!


 
 

Meet Astra

You may have gathered as much on Instagram, but two weeks ago, our family grew by one: my husband and I adopted a sweet kitten!

Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com
Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com

Meet Astra! We chose the name Astra because it means "star," and she is all black and has one small white spot on her belly and one on her throat. 

It became very clear very soon that this little kitten loves to be near her humans. We are constantly having her tangled in our legs as we walk and we wake up to her in our arms in our sleep. When we escape to the bathroom, she's scratching at the door. If she's fast (which she is) she makes it in there before the door can be closed and hangs out on the bath mat. If anyone is in the shower, she'll run between the shower curtain liner and curtain along the edge of the tub in a flash.

Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com
Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com

If I'm working at my desk, she jumps up on my rolling cart and snuggles down for a nap. She is definitely never far from where I am. I had to add a fleece so she would be more comfortable since she insists on being right near me.

Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com

She likes chilling with my husband too and is content just sitting under his chair. It's amazing how laid back she is!

Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com
Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com

She's a seriously curious critter and loves to check out every corner and watches everything we do very intently. We've come to find out that she looooooves knits, and perches herself on every homemade blanket she can find. She even loves my mood blanket, so I naturally had to update the post with some more pictures.

So now you've been introduced to our new sweet kitten. My grandma is still waiting for us to have a child, but she'll have to settle for a great-grandcat for now. We've been told that people with pets live longer, so we have some time now I suppose :P 

Is she not the sweetest?

Meet Astra | www.maplealps.com
 

Do you have a pet? What do you love about it?


 

15 Bible Verses for Thanksgiving

Lately, I've been adding a gratitude spread to my bullet journal, and even though some days I really have to think hard about what I might be grateful for in a day, it has really helped me be more thankful. There are so many blessings, even when things seem like they're going every which way but well. 

I love how during the last two months of the year, there is quite a bit of emphasis on being thankful and doing good for others, but how awesome if every day of the year were like that? This year, I thought I might just share fifteen of my personal favourite verses on thanksgiving. Number ten is right up there, so stay till at least then ;-) 

15 Bible Verses for Thanksgiving | www.maplealps.com

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God!
   It is He who made us, and we are His;
   we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
   and His courts with praise!
   Give thanks to Him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
   His steadfast love endures forever,
   and His faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100, ESV)

 

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17, ESV)

 

I will praise the name of God with a song;
   I will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30, ESV)

 

Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints,
   and give thanks to His holy name (Psalm 30:4, ESV)

 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV)

 

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:18-20, ESV)

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
   for His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26, ESV)

 

Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
   and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
   I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. (Jeremiah 30:19, ESV)

 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.(Colossians 3:16, ESV)

 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57,ESV)

 

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:10-15,ESV)

 

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13, ESV)

 

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:2, ESV)

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
   make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
   tell of all His wondrous works! (Psalm 105:1-2, ESV)

 

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. (2 Corinthians 2:14, ESV)


 


What are some of your favourite verses about gratitude and giving thanks?


 

Pumpkin Donuts (vegan)

I don't know about you, but I love donuts. Something about that cute little hole in the middle (and when there's no hole in the middle, there's tasty stuff like jelly or cream!). Well, in the fall, with pumpkin everything coming out and little donuts everywhere, I thought it would only be appropriate to try and make my own! I mean, why not?

Pumpkin Donuts (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

They were a little denser than your traditional donuts from Mr. Horton but still delicious. I love pumpkin pie, so this was right up my alley - with the right spices and pumpkin taste.  In true fall fashion, they are dipped in a sugar and cinnamon mixture. Yum!

Pumpkin Donuts (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

These are even husband-approved, which is a pretty big deal when he doesn't usually prefer donuts. These babies are best fresh, but you can store them overnight if you need to.

Pumpkin Donuts (vegan) | www.maplealps.com
Pumpkin Donuts (vegan) | www.maplealps.com
Pumpkin Donuts (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
Makes 6 Donuts

For the donuts:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 TBSP melted vegan butter or coconut oil

For the (optional) topping:
1/4 cup fine cane sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP vegan butter or coconut oil

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.
3) Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick, not pourable.
4) Put the batter in a plastic bag, cut the corner, and squeeze evenly into all donut pan cavities.
5) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the donuts pass the toothpick test (come out clean).
6) Cool on a wire rack. While the donuts are cooling, mix the cane sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, and the vegan butter or coconut oil in the other.
7) Once cool, dip the donuts into the butter and then into the sugar mixture. You can flip the donut and repeat the process on the other side, but one side is sufficient.


What's your favourite Autumn donut? Are you on the pumpkin bandwagon?