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Before Gluten Free…And Homemade Cinnamon-Vanilla Applesauce

Dairy-Free Applesauce


So many things were different before gluten free.

A cake made from scratch?

No, not ever from me.

Homemade pasta, fresh scones, a pie crust not frozen?

Not then. But now? Yes. I gladly make them by the dozens.

A gluten free bread loaf made with these two hands?

No.. Oh yes! And it has earned me some of my greatest fans.

A smoothie, bright green? Not in my blender, oh no.

But now, it is a Vitamix – whirring kale – that I happily own.

Farmer’s markets, Co-op’s, hauls from CSA’s

The bounties of these leave me fully amazed.

All of them full of foods safe for us to eat,

But no labels needed: just naturally “G – Free

So if you are new to gluten-free and just starting out.

Go through those emotions, then get out those pouts.

But once you have said so long to that wheat.

Just know what is waiting can be forever sweet.

Embrace it and greet it with arms open wide.

The gift to your health will be your greatest surprise.

For us, gluten-free has changed for good who we will be.

But the gluten free “label” will not define who is “we”.

It is the lifestyle, the love, the fresh foods that are grown.

And it has shaped forever what our meals mean in our home.

By Me

With that, I will leave you with my recipe for homemade Cinnamon Vanilla Applesauce.  It is the easiest thing to make and you will never want to eat the store-bought stuff again.  I got into making it when I started making my boy’s baby food.  Who knew that making applesauce from scratch could be so simple, yet so rewarding?

I make this a lot of this during the fall and winter months, especially.  It goes so nicely with a good savory pork roast, or even as a topping for my cinnamon vanilla ice cream (recipe coming soon).  Either way, give it a try and you just might be surprised by how easy this is.  And, of course, it is naturally gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, soy free, corn free, … (somebody stop me).  And, staying true to my pumpkin obsession, I have also included a little optional pumpkin twist to this recipe…

Gluten-Free Applesauce

(with an optional Pumpkin Twist)


5 Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch cubes (my favorite apples to use are Fuji’s or Pink Ladies – naturally sweet, they need very little additional sugar)

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Juice from 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

1/2 cup water (or Apple Cider)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 –  cinnamon stick, about 3 inches long (this will be removed at the end before mashing/pureeing)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or more cinnamon)

2 Tablespoons Maple Sugar (or Organic Palm, or Coconut, Sugar)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (or Organic Palm, or Coconut, or Maple Sugar)

1 Tablespoon good Vanilla

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (or 1 Tablespoon Organic butter, if not Dairy-Free)

2 Tablespoons Organic Pumpkin puree (totally optional)


1.  Place lemon zest, juice from lemon, water (or Apple Cider) cinnamon, cinnamon stick, pumpkin pie spice, sugars, vanilla, coconut oil (or butter), and pumpkin puree (optional) in your heavy bottomed saucepan and stir until combined.

2.  Add apples and toss to coat evenly.

3.  Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat, cover, and then simmer for about 18 minutes, until very tender.

4.  Remove cinnamon stick.  Either using a potato masher or an immersion stick blender (once cooled), mash or puree to desired consistency (do not over-do it if you like a little chunk to your applesauce).  **Note: if adding the coconut oil instead of the butter, using the immersion blender will emulsify the oil better, in my opionion (but is not necessary).

Now..who were you before gluten free?

This post is linked to:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Real Food Wednesday

  1. On September 28, 2010 Celiacs in the House said

    Absolutely love it! I’ve been down that road and know what you mean. I, however, have never put it into poetry. You just earned the title ‘Poet Laureate of the Gluten-Free Community.’

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ooh! Maybe I should start writing all of my blog posts in poem form, LOL! Maybe then I would be worthy of the title “Poet Laureate of the GF Community” 😉
      Thanks for the kind words, Wendy! So excited about next week (which, by the way, I just realized is just that: NEXT WEEK)!

  2. On September 28, 2010 carrie GLG said

    love this kim!! Last year I made an applesauce that was scented with oranges… we’re still eating it!! It’s time to make applesauce again!!

    I love your poem. It’s so true… you could be talking about our family as well. I baked a lot pre-gf.. but other than that it was hamburger helper to the rescue!!

    now we’re a member of a CSA, we buy meat locally, we eat green smoothies, and eat foods without packages! and life is good! 🙂

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carrie, I have made this with orange zest and the juice of the orange too. Had forgotten about that! 😉 Yum!!
      I think this poem is true of many of us. You end up getting a lot more creative and experimental once you realize that the processed stuff tastes like cardboard.
      We get local grass-fed meat too!! Don’t you think it just tastes better? 😉

  3. On September 28, 2010 carrie GLG said

    YES!! It really does. It’s kinda funny, I went into our little local grocery store last week because I just needed something for dinner that was quick, so I was going to buy chicken… but after looking over their sorry packages of chicken and feeling like any of those chickens were probably mistreated I just couldn’t buy it. (We buy most of our meat/chicken/eggs through the local farm now so amazing!!) I can’t remember what we had, I think it ended up being eggs and pancakes. lol… It’s expensive, we spend way more on food than we used too… but I also absolutely love knowing where my money is going, knowing the people who raised the food we’re eating, etc… it’s worth it to me!

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carrie, I should have added that into the poem. Our monthly food costs have definitely gone up, but we just cut back in other areas because I am not willing to back off on our health! 😉
      I have done the exact same thing as you at the grocery store. I just cannot make myself buy those. In fact, I did get some steaks recently from the store, and my husband and both of my sons all claimed that they were totally disgusting and tough!
      Oh, and the farm-fresh eggs hold NO comparison to the store-bought.
      Do we sound like we are food snobs? LOL!

  4. On September 28, 2010 Tracy said

    Can this applesauce be canned? A friend has a bunch of apples that she doesn’t know what to do with. I would like to make this applesauce and can it….I’ve never canned applesauce before, but in this last year there’s a bunch of things I have never done before.

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Tracy, this applesauce can be canned for sure. But I am not a big canner. i usually just fill up my quilted freezer-safe mason jars and store them in the freezer. If you do it, let me know! I would love to hear how it went! And good for you on doing a lot of things that you have never done before!! 😉 Kudos!

  5. On September 28, 2010 April Harris said

    I like the flavours you have used in this – especially the vanilla and the maple syrup – it sounds delicious!

  6. On September 28, 2010 glutenfreeforgood said

    I’ve always made my own applesauce and now that I’m getting bags of fresh organic apples each week in my CSA box, I’ve been making a lot of it. I never peel the apples though. =) Since they’re organic, they’re free of icky chemicals and I figure the peelings have lots of good plant goodies in them, so I don’t bother. I often add some cranberries for a nice flair. Maple syrup is a must, but I’ve never added pumpkin puree. Must do that when I start getting pumpkins in my fruit share. Great idea, Kim. That sounds wonderful! As always, your photos are gorgeous.
    P.S. I’m a total Fuji girl as well. They are my favorites, although our local Honey Crisps are a close runner-up!

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Melissa, it is funny how some people are shocked that I make applesauce when they say it is so easy to get at the store. But nothing beats a nice warm bowl of fresh applesauce, in my opinion. I like putting it over my ice cream when it is still a little warm so that it melts the ice cream a bit.
      I have left the peels on many times as well (only with organic apples, though). And cranberries sound like a great addition. Will have to try that out.
      And I forgot about the Honey Crisps. I love those too!

  7. On September 28, 2010 Jenn said

    This poem is awesome! I think it speaks to so many who have made the gluten free transformation…. learning how to cook gluten free for my husband taught me so much more than just how to make food GF, so many great life lessons about food as well – beautiful applesauce!

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ah, thanks Jenn! I love how everyone does such a great job at embracing their dietary restrictions. GF cooking teaches you so so much about food! 😉 You have done such an amazing thing for your husband.

  8. On September 28, 2010 gluten free easily said

    Oh, Kim, I can’t put into words how much I loved your poem! The really funny thing is I wrote one in a post last year that shared such similar sentiments. (You can check it out here, if interested.)

    Now I have to admit I’ve never been a big straight applesauce lover, but this looks fabulous and I aim to change. 😉 I adore Pink Ladies! So those would be my choice when making your recipe. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about making apple butter in my crockpot, too.

    Awesome post, Kim! xoxo,

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Shirley, I just read your poem! It is amazing!! I LOVE LOVE it!! Your sentiments were so true and so well said! Like I said to Melissa, maybe we should all just start writing our blog posts in poem form! 😉
      Ooh! Apple butter in the crockpot? I do hope that you post your recipe. I love home-made apple butter. But I love, even more, if you can do it in the crock pot!
      Thanks so much for your support and super kind words, my dear friend!

  9. On September 28, 2010 carrie GLG said

    lolol!! You know before all this I would have said anybody who went to the trouble to buy their food this way would definitely have been food snobs! lolol… now I know it’s because people care about what they put in their bodies… so yeah according to my pre-gf beliefs we are food snobs!! lol.. I’m with shirley, I LOVE making apple butter in the crockpot! And it makes the house smell SO good!!

  10. On September 28, 2010 Maggie said

    Another great post and pictures Kim. And I love your cute poem. I too am so thankful for the changes that living gluten-free has brought us. And the changes that blogging has brought us. All of you are such a good influence on me!
    Your apple sauce sounds wonderful. I sometimes roast my apples before making apple sauce. Also a yummy way to do it. I think I’ll make some apple sauce this weekend and see what the kids think! They haven’t had it since they were babes. P.S. I like your pumpkin obsession!

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Yay! Thanks Maggie! I love how everyone is always so supportive of eachother!
      What a great idea to roast the apples first! I bet it gives it such an awesome flavor. i will so try that the next time! 😉

  11. On September 28, 2010 Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea said

    What a lovely poem, Kim! I, too, write poetry but nothing that I’ve posted (as of now, anyway) as my poems aren’t really about food or related to food.

    The applesauce also looks great – besides that applesauce with meringue idea I posted around IFBC, I also like to sometimes just eat it cold, with a little cinnamon, no sweeteners.

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Oh, Zoe! I would love to read your poetry sometime. I bet yours is beautiful! Mine is more for fun since it comes from always making up little ditty’s for my kids. 😉

      I must have missed your applesauce with meringue. I am totally going to check that out right now as it sounds really really intriguing!

      • On September 29, 2010 Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea said

        Fun poems are good, too! Remember Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. 😉 Maybe I’ll post my poems someday, even if they’re not related to food – I’ll work them in somehow! Thank you, Kim.

  12. On September 28, 2010 InTolerantChef said

    My favourite apple is the Pink Lady, then the green Granny Smith.
    Before I was gluten free, I was sick, tired, cranky and just plain miserable. Isn’t it amazing how life becomes good again? Lovely poem.

    • On September 28, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Intolerant Chef!! Thank you so much! My husband can so relate to being sick, tired, cranky, and miserable. He now feels so so good (except for when he gets an occasional contamination)!

  13. On September 29, 2010 Kim said

    Oh, Kim!! This looks divine! I love the idea of adding vanilla!


  14. On September 29, 2010 Linda said

    You have lots of great comments on this post and for good reason. I love the poem and share the feelings. I’m a very different cook than before I went GF. I love the photo. For some reason I particularly like red these days. And I love the applesauce. It sounds delicious.

  15. On September 29, 2010 girlichef said

    Beautiful words 🙂 And beautiful apple sauce…YUM! Lovin’ the pumpkin, too. Thank you for sharing this with the hearth and soul hop this week.

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ah, thanks so much, girlichef!! Thanks for letting me hook-up with Hearth And Soul this week!

  16. On September 29, 2010 alex@amoderatelife said

    Hey Kay Kay! I have to tell you this so reminds me of my granny! The Smell alone would make me drool! Very cool recipe and another reminder that there are tons of awesome recipes out there for folks that work even if you have Gluten issues! Lovely! Thanks so much for sharing on the hearth and soul hop! Alex@amoderatelife

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alex, too funny, about reminding you of your granny. It reminds me of mine too! And yes, the smell is so wonderful!!
      Thanks for letting me link to Hearth and Soul this week!

  17. On September 29, 2010 Butterpoweredbike said

    People always think that I’ve misspoken when I say that I’m glad that I was diagnosed as a celiac. But it’s really quite true because it changed the way that I eat for the better, and I’ll always be thankful for that. Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Butter Poweredbike, I do not think you misspeak at all when you say you are glad you are a celiac. I say all of the time that it is the best thing that ever happened to our fam. Changed the way we look at food for good! I am so glad that it is the same for you! 😉

  18. On September 30, 2010 Carol, Simply...Glut said

    I second Wendy’s notion that you are the Poet Laureate of the Gluten-Free Community! Lovely poem and so true! Now I think nothing of just whipping up cupcakes and such from scratch when before it was a production, seemed harder even though I was using a box!

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carol, you are too funny!! 😉 I envision you being Mother of the year – always making your kids amazing things!

  19. On September 30, 2010 Christy said

    For 3 years I ate g/f – and then for a number of reasons I quit but it certainly changed how I cooked and how I looked at food in general. It was my real first step down the healthy road we are on now! I love applesauce in all forms – this looks amazingly delicious!
    Thanks for linking this to the hearth and soul hop!

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Christy!! Isn’t it amazing how great it is to be on the “healthy road” now, whether we are gluten free or not? Thanks for the kind words and for letting me link up to Hearth and Soul hop this week!

  20. On September 30, 2010 Diane-The WHOLE Gang said

    So it took being gluten free for you to start cooking. Somehow I’m not sure about that. Either you’re a quick study or there was some cooking and baking going on there at some point. Glad you’re all in now. Love the applesauce.

    • On September 30, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Diane, LOVE you!! You are right, I did do some baking and cooking before being gluten free. But, It was nothing like today. Now I am daring enough to try things from scratch and not be afraid if they do not turn out right (I can usually find another way to use them up if they flop). Plus, it has almost been six years now since we have been gf, so I have had some time to gain some confidence!! 😉

  21. On October 1, 2010 gluten free easily said

    Another belated follow-up comment … Stephanie O’Dea has the slow cooker apple butter recipe here. Be sure to read her notes. I’m thinking coconut sugar would be awesome in this recipe. You’ll get to meet Stephanie at Blog Her Food next week (wow … next week!) … she’s awesome!


  22. On October 1, 2010 Aileen said

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m wondering though…what role does the butter or coconut oil play and can it be omitted completely? I usually just make applesauce by cooking them and then putting them through the foley mill with no additions whatsoever, so the idea of making flavored applesauce is new territory!

    • On October 2, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Aileen! The butter or coconut oil just add richness to the recipe, nothing else. I often omit these and it still tastes just as delicious so no worries at all about not adding it. I would imagine that your pure applesauce is just fabulous as is! 😉

  23. On October 1, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

    Shirley, that recipe looks so good and easy! I will totally try it. Now imagine it with your homemade vanilla!!! Yum! I think that this apple butter would be a great gift along with your home-made vailla. I have a list going for all of the ideas I want to give away as gifts. But I had better get my butt in gear or I am going to be out of time!
    And I am so looking forward to meeting Stephanie! I have had her book for a while and LOVE It!! Have not yet gotten to know her too well, but am excited to soon. Is she on Twiter?

    • On October 3, 2010 gluten free easily said

      Yes, Stephanie is on Twitter (although not nearly as much as the rest of us! LOL). She’s @stephanieodea. 🙂


  24. On October 2, 2010 Josanne said

    I have so many questions about gluten free living, and would love to know where the best place is to find info-do you mind me asking?
    One thing I would like to know is if a person will gain or lose weight eating this way(this is NOT why I am considering trying the gluten free way), and if it what it has changed in the way of your health. Was it hard to change?
    Thanks so much!

    • On October 15, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Oh my, Josanne. I cannot believe that I totally missed this comment somehow. I will say that often many people that go gluten free and change their ways of eating to include many more fresh whole ingredient foods will find that they do lose some weight. For my husband, he did lose almost 20 pounds once he was strictly gluten free. However, he has Celiac Disease and his body was reacting to gluten with an entire auto-immune reaction. For him, he noticed drastic improvements in his mental health, energy levels, and focusing abilities. He lost that brain fog feeling that he had had so much of his life.
      If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me anytime through the contact page of my site… 😉

      • On October 15, 2010 Josanne said

        Thank you-I knew it was possible my question was accidentally overlooked-I noticed how interactive you are with your posters! I will be emailing you! Thanks again for your response!

        • On October 15, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

          Thank you, Josanne, for being SO understanding. I so apologize for missing this. I saw it because someone else just posted on this today and I went back to check through the comments.
          Please feel free to email me as often as you want with questions. That is why i am doing this. To help give people the confidence to know how wonderful and exciting it can be to live a healthy gluten free lifestyle!! 😉

  25. On October 15, 2010 nicola stockmann-tannerfors said

    OMG. Where was that poem at BlogHer Food? It should have been on a huge poster board next to the g-free food. SO perfect. I’m still very much on this journey, some way behind you, but so encouraged by the fact that I’m not the only one. I hear you on the amazement at the things that now come out of your kitchen. My kids are constantly asking “You made this? Really?”. Yes – really. ;-).
    Nicola xo

    • On October 15, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ah, thanks Nicola!! You are so sweet! You are doing an amazing job on this journey! And I know… isn’t it wonderful it is to hear the family exclaim that they cannot believe how good things are that are coming out of our kitchens?? Thanks for the sweet words.

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