by Barbara Adach, R.Ac
Perhaps you have heard of the Danish word ‘hygge’ (hoo-ga or hue-ga) which translates loosely as ‘coziness’. Hygge is achieved by enjoying the simple things in life with friends and family.
The people of Denmark have made an art of surviving the cold dark months of winter with heartfelt style. February seems like the ideal time to build some hygge into our lives here in Canada. Cooking for loved ones is a time honoured expression of care. Cooking with a person’s health in mind builds on this caring sentiment. Why not expand the sentiment of Valentine’s Day to all your favourite people by sharing a candle-lit dinner with them? A simple hearty stew followed by a dessert of baked apples could be the start of a wonderful evening.
Apparently the ancient Greeks considered apples to be symbols of love so this makes baked apples at Valentine’s Day even more appropriate! What’s more, this recipe is healthful from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition point of view. Let’s examine the ingredients and their properties.
Apples are said to be a bit cooling (we feel refreshed after eating them) and to support healthy function of the heart and digestive organs. The flavour is a combination of sweet and sour.
The spices are warming, a perfect foil for the cooler energy of the apple. It is still winter and we need to eat the right foods to maintain warmth!
Currants, raisins and dried apricots are said to support the health of the blood.
In general, nuts are said to promote a healthy brain. The walnut also helps the respiratory system.
Both maple syrup and butter are said to have a warming energy and to fortify the body. However, both are rich foods and should be used sparingly.
Spicy Baked Apples
- 4 large organic apples (use a firmer fleshed apple such as Granny Smith, Mutsu, Rome Beauty)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ – ½ cup chopped dried fruit (currants, raisins, unsulphured apricots, etc.)
- ¼ cup of chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or even chestnuts)
- 4 tsp of maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tbsp of organic butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Wash and core apples, leaving about ½” remaining at the bottom. Place them in a glass baking dish.
- Mix spices, chopped dried fruits and nuts together and pack the apples with this mixture.
- Drizzle 1 tsp of maple syrup into each cored apple, if desired.
- Top each apple with ¼ of the butter.
- Pour about ½ cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and bake the apples for about 45 minutes. Apple peel should split and fruit should be softened.
- Remove from oven and pour a bit of accumulated juice from the baking dish onto each apple. Serve warm.
Barbara Adach, R.AC is a registered acupuncturist at Pacific Wellness. To arrange your Winter Tune Up acupuncture treatment with Barbara, please contact the Pacific Wellness Institute at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request form: