it smells like Fall in here

So I was asking my friend Son for some meditation advice the other day. He and I share the same kind of overactive, anxious mind that’s always hurrying, trying to get somewhere without stopping. He mentioned something interesting that I hadn’t stopped to really think about. He said some of the best mind relaxation for him came from the very methodical, rote act of prepping vegetables. I paid more attention than usual to what I was doing as I baked today, focusing on the task at hand and nothing else, and he’s so right. The act of cooking or baking, despite the work involved in it, is so very cathartic. Measuring out my ingredients, mixing, kneading, putting everything together: making meals or treats is not always the mundane, bothersome task long days at work sometimes make it out to be. I’ve paid attention to what happens in my mind while I’ve cooked this week and the only way I can explain it is like everything goes quiet and I’m just concentrating on my knife. That’s a far better form of relaxation than any anti anxiety pill could give you.

It’s foggy outside and cold and the snow that came down on us a few days ago is (thankfully) melting. I felt like something warm and have been dying to bake with some apples. I found this cake via Tastespotting and had to make it of course. I’m glad because it relaxed me and made my house smell like cinnamon and baked apples. That’s Sunday perfection, people.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple CakeĀ 
Recipe from Pinch of Yum

You Need:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup oil (I used canola)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chopped apple (I used 2 large honeycrisp apples, peeled then chopped)

for the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter

Heat the oven to 325. Grease a 9×13 pan. In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients except the apples. Mix together well until everything comes together and there are no traces of flour left. Stir in the apples. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter. Now, the original recipe did not state what to do with the butter except “mix the last three ingredients together.” It didn’t tell me whether to cut it in to make a crumble, melt it, or whatever so I just dotted the top of the entire cake with that tablespoon of butter. Bake until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.

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