There are those mornings where everything is awesome, then continues to be awesome throughout the day. Example: I woke up early! I went for a long run! I sat down and studied! I made/wrote/published my awesome Breakfast Tuesday post! Yeah! Ready for the day! (Cue variation of the ready-for-the-day dance.)

Then there are those mornings where everything seems awesome, then something goes horribly wrong, points out all the other failings of the morning, and then you have to stifle tears of frustration all throughout the day. Example: I woke up early! I went for a run! I took out my books to study! I made my breakfast and… burnt it to crisp! I didn’t even wake up that early! I whined inside my head the entire time I was running! The thought of studying made me so nervous I almost had a minor panic attack! I can’t do this! (Cue laying on the carpet and staring at the ceiling.)

Wanh wanh.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this morning was more the second than the first. I thought everything was good, and if not good than pretty standard, and then I destroyed my breakfast and couldn’t help but look back on the morning and begrudge myself for everything. Seems dramatic because it totally is. I realized how very dramatic it all was just before I resorted to spending my day off curled up, most likely in the fetal position, on my carpet. I took a breath and sat down, looked out the window and watched the sun bounce on and off the leaves. Enter perspective. I’m only human, and if burning my breakfast is the worst thing to happen all day then it’s a darn good one. Still hungry, I got up and went to work on a second pancake. The only thing I had to do differently was lower the heat. That’s it. Problem solved and breakfast on the table. Can I apply this reasoning to everything else today? Who knows. For now, enjoy a skillet apple pancake and say “Hello” to fall!

Skillet Apple Pancake

(Recipe adapted from delish.com, originally “Puffy Apple Pancake”)

Yields one 8 to 9 inch pancake, perfect either for yourself, if you’re also a breakfast monster, or two people

Notes: I substituted oat flour for all-purpose and brown sugar for granulated, so I imagine this recipe is ripe for any number of flour-sugar combinations. My only concern is that I didn’t add any baking soda to balance the acidity of the brown sugar, though I’m not sure it’s important when the quantities are this low. I could be wrong! I used a Cortland apple instead of Granny Smith, so it seems like you could use any apple that you would use in an apple pie or crisp – one that will retain its shape and texture when baked. As for the slicing, you can dice the apple as well. I made some slices thicker for varied texture, but none of the slices were over half an inch thick.

Ingredients:

1 medium to large apple (see note), cored, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup oat flour (see note)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (see note)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

Optional (but delicious): Powdered sugar for serving

Method:

1. In medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk in egg, vanilla, and milk until just combined. The batter will probably be lumpy, which is totally fine.

2. In an 8 or 9-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add apple slices. You don’t have to do any meticulous apple slice arranging, just make sure the apples are distributed as evenly as possible over the bottom of the skillet. Pour batter evenly over apple slices. Cover skillet with lid or aluminum foil.

3. Bake pancake, covered, over medium-low heat 10 to 12 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 8 minutes though, as it seems like this pancake wants desperately to burn.

4. When top of pancake is dry and puffy, and edges are golden brown, take off the heat. Put a plate, large enough to cover the skillet with room to spare, upside down over top of skillet. Using potholders, flip skillet upside down over plate, so the apple side of the pancake is now the top.

Serve immediately!

Girl has got to make some money, so I work in a toy store. In general, I love my job. My co-workers and I play around, dance, and talk to people all day long. But as you can imagine, December is a tough month for toy stores, tough in the sense that the employees are physically and mentally drained, putting in more time and effort than any other month of the year. I’m really fortunate to work with fantastic people, which makes for a wonderful, supportive, and fun environment even when the going gets rough. Most of my co-workers are now my close friends, and those that aren’t close, I still consider my friends. Before I wax poetic enough to make you gag, here’s the point: I’m baking up a storm before Christmas to make sure everyone around me knows how much I appreciate their hard work, and their showing up to begin with, because even that’s hard on some days.

Last week, I posted a note in our office, asking everyone to write down something about baked goods they enjoy, be it an ingredient, a type of treat, or even something in particular if they were craving a certain dessert. There are eight of us, total, and I have until December 20th to bake for each and every one of them. Yay!

So, first up! This is what I had to go on,

“vegan things! pie > cake”

What I came up with was vegan gingerbread apple pie, from Vegan with a Vengeance. Isa is my go-to girl, what can I tell you. I got up super early on Saturday to peel, core, and slice apples, so that the pie would be fresh out of the oven when I brought it to work. It was worth every minute of sleep that I didn’t get. Honest to goodness.

Another great part about waking up early to bring a fresh pie to work was that I could hold the warm pie tin on my walk. Take that, freezing Boston wind!

Gingerbread Apple Pie

(Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)

I baked this in a 9 inch pie tin.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the crust:

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown)

1 –  1 ½  teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup margarine, softened

1 tablespoon molasses (or two, if you’re me)

2 tablespoons cold water

Method:

1. Sift together the flour, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder, into a bowl large enough for all the dry ingredients.

2. Add the margarine one tablespoon at a time, cutting it into the dry mixture. You can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers.

3. Drizzle both the molasses and water over the dough, now mixing with your fingers until the dough begins to come together.

4. Knead the dough into a ball, then press it evenly into the bottom and sides of a prepared pie tin. (My dough was a little sticky, and it was difficult to work with because I mixed it too thoroughly with my fingers, which made the dough too warm. Keep mixing to the barest minimum possible, as with most pie crust recipes.)

5. Bake crust, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:

Ingredients:

2 lbs, or about 8 peeled, cored, and thinly sliced granny smith apples,

½ cup brown sugar (Again, I used light brown.)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground ginger

a pinch of ground cloves

¼ cup maple syrup (I used agave syrup, not being a huge fan of maple syrup)

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons arrowroot (or tapioca starch)

Method:

1. While the crust is baking, combine all ingredients, except the arrowroot, and stir to combine.

2. Sprinkle the arrowroot powder over mixture.

3. Mix the apples until all the arrowroot is absorbed into the other ingredients.

To assemble and bake the pie:

1. Fill the pie crust with the apple mixture and cover with tin foil.

2. Bake for 20 minutes, covered.

3. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more.

You’ll know the pie is done when it is bubbling. Or when you notice your entire apartment smells like gingerbread and apple pie. If only you could attach that smell to your person, and carry with you all day, without being kind of a creeper and always carrying a piece of warm pie in your coat pocket.

My unusually clean kitchen, accented with a stained cat potholder and FANTASTIC PIE.