Last week I suffered from a serious bout of insomnia, and when coupled with the typical 37-week pregnant nesting phase, the result was a whole lot of cooking being done by the time breakfast landed on the dining room table.
I started around 6am and made a double batch of curried split pea soup with veggies and ham, a classic banana bread, homemade hot chocolate mix for the cold week to come, oatmeal and carrot muffins, and a crunchy apple and pear crisp. Not shown was the large pot of rice I made to store in the fridge for quick breakfasts and easy lunches (my boys’ favourite morning food is a stir-fry of rice and eggs topped with a few splashes of soy and hot sauces) or the kale slaw that I made for that day’s meals. Admittedly, it might have been a little over the top, but I had the energy and the ingredients, and the house was quiet so I made the most of the morning.
The nice thing is that the kids had snacks for most of the week, and the soup served us one full meal plus a few lunches for Rob and I. The hot chocolate mix is still going strong, but the rice disappeared by the third day – it never lasts long around here. The crisp was saved for me. I’m not ashamed to admit that with the exception of one serving, I devoured the entire pan over the course of the week. The wheels come off a little in the last week or so of pregnancy, and I figure there was enough fruit, oats and nuts in the baking dish to qualify the dish as a decent breakfast, snack, and even dinner, because goodness knows, what I’ve been cooking for everyone else hasn’t really been appealing to me lately.
The benefits of batch cooking are well documented, and I certainly don’t think you need to be pregnant to benefit from them. If you have the time this weekend, make a little extra food for the week to come. Your weeknight-dinner-and-lunch-making-self will thank you. So will your family, because if they’re anything like mine they eat the fridge down in a day or two, and this will keep you from making extra trips to the store during the week. It’s way too cold to be doing that.
Crunchy Apple and Pear Crisp
Crisps and cobblers seem to be very popular in the fall, but I actually think they're perfect for late winter, when you're craving something fruity and good quality grocery store options are few and far between. This no-fuss recipe comes together quickly and is made with everyday fridge and pantry ingredients you likely have hanging around your house already.
For the filling:
- 4-5 apples and/or pears (assorted varieties), peel, cored and cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
For the topping:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup cane or brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place the sliced fruit in a medium mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt and gently toss with a large spoon to combine.
3. Tip the filling into an ungreased 2-quart (or similar size) baking dish and set aside.
4. To make the topping, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, nuts, cinnamon, salt and butter in a separate mixing bowl. Spoon the topping evenly over the filling.
5. Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown, 25-35 minutes.
6. Serve warm with ice cream if desired (but it’s highly recommended)