An Apple for Dessert

Whether it’s because I’m the biggest procrastinator in Central Texas, or it’s because I’m currently lacking the sufficient funds (hello, broke college student); I have not been to the grocery store in over a week and a half. In fact, to put things into

Cut apple into thin slices. (Ignore my scratched up baking pan.)

perspective, I have exactly three apples, a Cliff Bar, a quarter-full bottle of Frank’s Red Hot, cinnamon and half a jar of PB2.  After eating dinner at Chuy’s today, I came home to the biggest sweet craving. Nothing new of course, since my Achilles’ heel is my undying love for sweets. While I can say no to most unhealthy savory dishes, desserts have my self-control by the neck. I’m all for a slice of cake every once in a while, ( and I’ll never say no to a cookie), but for the most part, I like to look for healthy alternatives to satisfy my sugar cravings.  Since there is not a day that goes by that I don’t yearn for a sweet treat after dinner, and because I am somewhat of a health freak, I’ve had to get pretty creative.  Today, with my extremely minimal availability of resources, I’ve had to get especially creative.

Naturally, I turned to the three Honeycrisp Apples left in my fridge.

Danielle’s expensive and surprisingly attractive bottle of syrup.

Very sweet in flavor with an irresistible, undeniably-satisfying crunch, Honeycrisps are not only my favorite apple, but my favorite fruit. Yes, it is a big statement to make in a world where pineapples and mangos exist, but it is one I can make with confidence. There was just nothing that contented me quite like a Honeycrisp. I knew I was on to something. After getting the apple from the fridge, I proceeded to reach for my little container of ground cinnamon hidden in the shadow of my cayenne pepper. What better companion to the apple than ground cinnamon? It’s a timeless pairing. I then asked my vegan roommate, Danielle, for her super fancy

Coat the slices evenly with syrup and cinnamon.

bottle of organic, pure maple syrup (yes, it’s a mouthful). I preheated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and began cutting half the apple into thin slices. After coating the baking pan with a light layer of coconut oil non-stick spray, I distributed the slices evenly on the pan. I then drizzled about two tablespoons of  maple syrup over the apples and grabbed a spatula to make sure that they were entirely coated with the syrupy goodness. I ended by generously sprinkling both sides with cinnamon. After a pinch of salt, they were ready for the oven.

I let the apples bake for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them and stirring about halfway through. After 15 minutes, the apples were soft in texture and golden brown in color. I plated the apples and garnished with a little more cinnamon and, (because I was feeling daring), a pinch of cayenne.

Garnish and enjoy. Or, use slices as a garnish on other things. Coconut milk ice cream, anyone?

My thoughts? The apples tasted exactly like apple pie filling with a subtle kick at the end. They were perfectly sweet  and packed with the most incredible cinnamon flavor. Oh, and did I mention the entire house smelled like an apple-cinnamon candle around Christmas? Vegan, all organic, with no processed sugar is definitely something both healthy and delicious. At the end of it, my sweet craving was fulfilled and it smelled like I was living inside a fresh-baked apple Danish. So yes, it was a good night.


Everything in Moderation

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, unrefined, raw. What does it all mean? What are preservatives, anyway? And most importantly, what does being healthy and eating clean really entail? Hi, I’m Alessandra Wezeman and I can tell you from experience that the road to a healthy lifestyle that works for you can be a confusing one. With a plethora of fad diets to choose from and a glut of misconceptions about food, being healthy may seem like a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of time. The truth is, eating healthy doesn’t require expensive grocery trips and a list of torturous restrictions, (spoiler alert, you don’t have to be a raw vegan to enjoy the countless benefits associated with being a healthful consumer). Food is the way we experience life and eating healthy can be a simple, great tasting way to improve both our physical and mental health. It’s time to forget everything you think you know about healthy living and take a more moderate approach towards the nutrition we put in our body.

Believe it or not, there is a way to fit a clean diet into any lifestyle, including a college lifestyle. Last year, I began my first semester as a college student at Texas State. I was officially being thrown out of the house and away from my household’s overabundance of food. Adjusting to life in a dorm meant more than just getting used to sharing a small space with another human I had never lived with before; it also meant getting accustom to a brand new diet. My mom’s chicken roasts felt so far away, while my dad’s famous pork chops seemed like a distant memory. With only a microwave and mini fridge to work with, the typical ramen noodle, easy-mac, peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches-for-every-meal college diet was a tempting route to take. Luckily, I had been raised in a household where my parents had made sure to provide my siblings and I with a good understanding about what nutritious food was. Determined to make the best of my small, set allowance and the lack of kitchen appliances, I began researching ways to be healthy on a budget. It was through this experience living in my dorm that I realized that maintaining a healthful lifestyle was achievable in almost every circumstance. Healthy dietary habits definitely didn’t require any extreme lifestyle changes either.

Being healthy didn’t mean I had to spend a million dollars on “health foods” I didn’t want to eat. Instead, eating healthy meant it could be a creative way to make sure my mind, body and soul were working to the best of their abilities. It meant trying new flavors and taking the extra time to read ingredient labels. It meant understanding the difference between “diet foods” and “clean foods”. I’m here to break down the myths surrounding the food we as consumers buy every day and teach you that being healthy on a budget can totally be done. All it takes is a little effort and a moderate approach towards becoming  somewhat of a health freak.