Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake, Apple Butter, and Raw Cakes

Autumn is the only time of year I crave apples. Sure, I enjoy them any time but this time of year I actually crave apples and pears, cinnamon and nutmeg. I remember the first time I went apple picking in college with a dear friend and we had such a blast. We picked bags and bags for super cheap and then chowed down on the drive home as we decided what delicious apple things to bake - two chefs for ya. A few years later I got a work visa in New Zealand and easily found a job as an apple picker. Let me tell you, it was NOT as fun as the apple adventure a few years prior. It was a tedious job climbing up and down ladders with a huge barrel strapped to my chest, not to mention the fact that we were directed to pick from the worst tree section ever, as the "good" trees were left for the regular workers. Guess how long I lasted? 7 days doing that! lol. Lived on site in a gross camper during that week and just couldn't do it anymore. Thank god I moved on and got a job in a restaurant kitchen after that. Ok, enough about that...

First, I'm so excited to share some fabulous pictures of cakes that some of my readers have made and enjoyed recently and posted on my facebook page. So many people have left a comment or email about making my raw caramel apple cheesecake and avocado lime cheesecake and I'm thrilled that they enjoyed! If you've made one of my recipes, send me your pic and I'll post it with a link back to you. Well done ladies, these look so great.

Heather made my avocado lime cheesecake. Doubled it for an 8" pan.

Melissa made my caramel apple cheesecake.

Another Melissa made my avocado lime AND caramel apple cheesecake in bigger pans.

Simone made my mandarin cheesecake. I had the pleasure of meeting Simone at the raw dessert class I taught in Adelaide. We made this cake in the class and she's made it several times since then!

Now onto apple butter. Smooth, silky, and sweet. A dessert when stirred with granola or chopped cookies, a spread on fruit, muffins, or bread, and the perfect Autumn addition to a smoothie. I've made it before on the stove top and in the oven but slow cooker apple butter was a great idea from Oh She Glows. I'd never even considered the idea even though I've been a big fan of the slow cooker for the past few years. The best part is how easy it is. It's one ingredient and you don't even have to peel the apples. How much better does it get? You can certainly add sweetener and cinnamon but I like it plain, or naked as Angela called it. Straight up apple.

Easy slow cooker apple butter:

Core and slice 10 royal gala apples, toss into the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours (no water added). At this point they'll be super soft.

Once cooled slightly, puree in a blender until smooth.

Pour the liquid back into the slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour on high.

Now you have the optional choice of adding cinnamon, sweetener of your choice to taste, and a bit of lemon juice. Cool and refrigerate. I froze half the batch and kept half in the fridge to use up first.

Looking for more recipes? Check out my sweet stovetop apple butter and pumpkin butter, or apple squash butter in years past.

I thought it would be nice to feature apple butter in a smoothie. Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake was born! So creamy, thick, and deeelish.

Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake

I added lots of cinnamon and a generous sprinkle on top but you can add it to your liking. My protein powder is already sweetened with stevia, plus the natural sweetness of the apples so I didn't need to add any extra sweetness.

1/4 cup apple butter
3/4 cup water or almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
4 large ice cubes
Sprinkle of nutmeg, optional

Blend all ingredients until smooth and frosty.

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Wellness Weekend

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