Peanut Butter Cinnamon Baked Apples

When we were little my mom used to tell me and my sister Jenny “treat your sister like a china teacup.”

I rememeber thinking, “Mom, a) I’m 5 and have clearly never owned anything more fragile than plastic safety scissors and b) that sure as shootin ain’t gonna stop me from biting Jenny until she bleeds.” For the record, I didn’t say it quite like that, though I rarely refrained from biting my sister until I broke the skin [good vegan in training…not].

This past spring Jenny landed a job in Madison. When I first heard she would be moving to Mad City I knew I was supposed to be thrilled. I was supposed to yell and congratulate and begin to plan all of the wonderful things we’d do living in the same city for the first time in five years.

And that’s what I did.

But it’s not how I felt.

In fact, what I felt was a strange mix of emotions I’d never encountered before and haven’t felt since. I was genuinely happy that she’d found a great job and would be jumping into an exciting new chapter of her life. But for some reason I couldn’t shake this protective feeling that she was invading my city, like somehow she was going to swoop in, move into my apartment, steal all of my friends [and take all of my kitchenware. If something were to end our sisterhood, that’d be it.]

Feeling overwhelmed with emotion and anticipation I spoke with my sister. I tried to explain that it wasn’t her, it was me; that having her come to the first place that was truly mine wasn’t as easy to swallow as, say, pumpkin chocolate chip coconut cookies. [Okay, I’m paraphrasing here, bear with me]. The point is that I said some pretty harsh things I didn’t mean because my underpaid, over-worked, quick-to-analyze-the-crap-out-of-things mind didn’t feel quite ready for the leap our relationship was about to take.

Fast forward to November. Jenny has been working in Madison for four months and now lives exactly five houses away from me. We see each other about two times a week, one of which tends to involve my laundry, her washing machine, and stories of drunken shenanigans. The one overlapping constant in schedules is our weekly Tuesday Night Dinner. I cook, if I’m lucky she brings beer. Our conversations meander from anecdotes about camp, our parents, boys, or growing up to present day distractions in school, work, and men. More and more we talk about the future. The tone sometimes turns serious but neither of us is too great with that so it’s usually broken by a remark bundled in sarcasm or a quintessential “did you hear the ridiculous thing Dad did recently” story.

To avoid making this post cheesy to the max (it’s a vegan blog after all womp womp womp) I’ll keep this moderately brief. My relationship with my sister isn’t perfect. Clearly. But we’re both working to make it better, and that’s the best we can do. The fact that she keeps showing up at my door week after week is a vote of confidence that we can make this relationship work. And so I urge you, dear blog reader, to try and make it work with someone in your life with whom your relationship isn’t the greatest. People come and go in our lives and it’s important to be patient and kind to the people who matter.

Treat them like china teacups, each and every one.

Oh, and in my experience it never hurts to show them you care with dessert.

Peanut Butter Cinnaon Baked Apples

  • 6 apples, tops cut off and saved
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 250º

1. Cut the tops and buttoms out of the apples and set to the side. Remove the “guts” of the apple with a spoon or knife, then replace the bottom.

2. In a small bowl, add the oats and just enough water to cover. Microwave 1-2 minutes to soften them a bit. Once heated, add the raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Stir to combine.

3. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the mixture into each apple, or enough to fill. Replace the tops of the apples then wrap each one into a little bundle with aluminum foil. Pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 250º. Remove and allow to cool 5-10 minutes, they’ll be TOASTY.

Devour with your best bud. Or your sister.

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