Ask Alexandra – November 2009

Question #1:

Years ago you gave (Readers Digest I think) a recipe for Apple crisp with a topping that included sour cream. I believe it was your Grandmother’s recipe. I had it for years and can’t find it now. Can you possibly share it with me? Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Pamela Dalgliesh

Dear Pamela,

It was actually my mother’s recipe for apple crumble in Readers’ Digest. Good memory – that was over 15 years ago! I love this dessert and request it on special occasions (with triple crumble!) Check out this photo, taken at our birthday a couple years ago.

Here is my mother’s yummy apple crumble recipe. Thanks Mom!

Apple Crumble

4 or 5 large apples, Granny Smith or other tart apple
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
Pinch of salt

Peel and core apples and cut into wedges (about 8 to each apple). Arrange them in baking dish (approx. 8″ square) close together. Mix 2 tbs. sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of apples.

In medium bowl mix together with your fingers or a spoon the butter, brown sugar and flour until it is like coarse crumbs. Put this on top of apples, covering them all, and smooth it out. Bake in 425 oven for about 30 minutes till bubbling and browned. Serve warm with creme fraiche, ice cream or whipped cream.

You can play around a lot with this basic recipe. You can add other fruit to the apples, such as blackberries or blueberries. Dark or light brown sugar can be used. Doubling the crumble recipe works very well, and is Alexandra’s favorite! You can also slide it under the broiler for a minute or two to brown but be careful – I have burned it more times than I can count.

Question #2:

Hi alexandra,
I think you are AWESOME – especially in your caring for the animals. Keep up the wonderful work. Since you are so fit, any advice how how a person can go from lethargic couch potato to getting into shape. And i know your a vegan (cant remember if vegans eat any meat). Thanks again for being on this planet.

Lori Tkach

Hi Lori,

Vegetarians do not eat any meat or fish – no beef, chicken, lamb, tuna etc. Vegans do not eat anything that comes from an animal at all(including honey, gelatin, eggs, milk). They do not they wear anything that comes from animals (leather, wool, silk). Exploiting animals in any way is anathema to vegans.

I am a vegetarian. Unfortunately, I am not a vegan, as I still eat some dairy. I dont wear leather, wool or silk. I will not go to zoos or aquariums, and I am of mixed mind about riding horses. I dont use products tested on animals. I regret that I agreed to work with wolves on Christmas Crash, as I wasnt happy with how they were treated, even though I spoke with the trainers before I agreed to do the movie. I dont think I did enough research though, and I will not work with wild animals again unless I go to where they live to decide for myself if they have good lives. I made a mistake there.

To your question: How can a person go from lethargic couch potato to getting into shape? Getting and staying in shape means doing at least 45 minutes of invigorating exercise a day, 5 days a week. You might start off with less frequency at the beginning, but by the end of 6 weeks you need to be up to 5 days a week, 45 minutes each time.

I recommend joining a gym with a friend, or brisk walking with a friend – it will keep you motivated. Then graduate to running! Or, purchase a used stationary bike for home. Put it in front of the tv and kill two birds with one stone.

Joining an online support group is also a motivator – I like, but I know there are many others online. Marilu Henner’s site, is also very informative on how to be healthy and fit.

I excercise every day. I do at least one hour of cardio a day, and I stretch 2-3 times a week for 45 minutes each, and I lift weights. It takes tiime and sometimes means I get up before 5am to work out, but it is worth it to me. I read books and articles about good health habits too, for information and inspiration.

As for diet. I have a nutritionist who helps me eat healthily – Cathy Sassin from Intrafitt. Marilu Henner and Jillian Michaels have smart eating advice on their sites. What helps me the most is writing down the food I eat every day. I email it to my nutritionist at regular intervals and we discuss how I can improve my diet. Having a food diary that I show someone keeps me accountable!

I have realized that being the best I can be means having support. For me, that means having a nutritionist and spending the extra money for a gym that is convenient and to which I like to go. For you, that might mean an exercise buddy, or an online website with other members getting healthy.

Best of luck!


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