I feel that in today’s world, we’re all trying to improve ourselves. With fad diets everywhere, fixes for beauty “problems”, and a gazillion apps to be more productive, it’s easy to feel inadequate. At least for me. After thinking about this and how much negative thinking we have about ourselves the other week, I challenged myself to try a new approach to “improving” myself. So instead of trying to change who I am by picking up new “habits”, kicking old ones, or being too hard on myself when it comes to being productive, keeping a perfectly clean house, exercising daily, and eating healthy, I’m trying to just embrace who I am. Let me give you a few examples.
For one, I’m not really much of a reader. As much as I love reading, I just haven’t found a way to incorporate it into my daily life and to be completely honest, choosing a book stresses me out. So instead of feeling bad that I’m not always reading a book and (seriously) going to be every night thinking “Man, I really should’ve started a book tonight!” I’m just going to keep my eyes out for book recommendations, and if it sounds appealing I’ll read it. Why force myself into something I am not real into?
Another thing is my eyebrows. Thanks to the combination of my Grandpa Potter who really just had one long eyebrow across his forehead and my Czech heritage (i.e. thick dark hair) I have some crazy eyebrows, and keeping them trim is a daily struggle…that I’m losing. I’m pretty self conscious about them but one morning, while going through my daily painful plucking I kind of just had enough of it. I’m not going to go all wild woman and completely stop plucking and waxing my eyebrows but it’s really one of my least favorite parts of the day and I’m thinking that anyone who gets close enough to my face to see my bushy eyebrows should like me enough not to care how my eyebrows look. So there.
An obvious thing I’m hard on myself about is being productive on my days off my ‘real’ job. Between getting recipes tested and photographed, and posts written for the blog, I feel like my days are over before I know it and I’ve only done half of what I needed to do. One thing I’m always disappointed in is that I never seem to be able to sit down and write posts during the day. I could probably count on my hands the number of times I’ve written a post before 6:00, if I could even remember the last time it happened. So I’ve decided that instead of being disappointed in myself that, once again, I didn’t get all of my blog work done when I wanted to, I’m going to just schedule my time to write my blog posts at night and try to get something else like laundry done during the day instead.
Lastly, diet. I’m not a huge fan of dieting, but I have to admit that I admire people who are able to follow so-called healthy diets like Paleo or sugar-free diets. I’ve done a handful of sugar-free stints, going up to three weeks without eating refined sugars. On one hand: yeah, I felt pretty good not filling my body with junk on a daily basis, but on the other hand, I like cookies. And ice cream. And chocolate. So instead of feeling bad for indulging on a regular basis, I’m just going to accept that hey, I love sugar. So after I eat all of my daily vegetables and fruits, I’m gonna have a brownie. I just love baking and cooking way too much to put limits on myself.
Which brings us to this incredible apple crisp. Oh excuse me, SALTED CARAMEL apple crisp with PRETZEL topping. Yep, you read that right – there are salty, crunchy pretzels on top of this glorious apple dessert.
Apple crisp is one of my favorite fall desserts so when we invited Marc’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law over for dinner this weekend, I knew an apple crisp was in order. I had the idea for adding some salted caramel to the apple crisp, and at the last minute decided to up the salty even more and make the crisp topping out of pretzels. I was worried that the pretzels in the topping would get soggy while baking, but they definitely did not. Combined with some butter, sugar, oats and flour, they transformed into a crunchy topping. I don’t think I’ll ever making apple crisp without a pretzel topping now!
The combination of salted caramel with the apples, was delicious as well. The addition of the salted caramel to the apple filling made it a bit richer than a typical apple crisp, which was balanced out well with the vanilla ice cream. If you’re looking for an apple dessert to impress – this is it!
for the salted caramel:
- 1 14 oz package soft caramel candy
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
for the apples:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 cups chopped apples about 6 apples, I used a combination of Fuji, Braeburn, and Granny Smith
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
for the topping:
- 2 cups pretzels
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Start by making the caramel.
- In large microwave safe bowl, add caramels, cream, and sea salt.
- Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each interval, until caramels are melted and sauce is creamy. Set aside.
- Next, mix the apples with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice.
- Heat butter in large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.*
- Add apples and sautee for 10 minutes, until softened.
- Pour in all but 1/2 cup of the salted caramel sauce, stirring to combine.
To make the topping:
- Place pretzels in small food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pulverized.
- Combine all topping ingredients and stirring well to combine.
- Sprinkle topping over salted caramel apple mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and topping is golden.
- Drizzle remaining caramel over top and serve with ice cream.