Apple Bread and Martinmas

November 11th is Martinmas. This celebration each year marks the start of the Holiday Season for me. We spend time together making lanterns, glass with tissue paper glued on, or on other more energetic years, we have done this. Celebrating this since Eli was too little for glue, it reminds me of lantern walks with friends who have since moved away, but will walking in the same evening's darkness with their lanterns, singing to their neighbors. We will walk and deliver little treats to some houses, the kids will sing songs and I will breathe in the rhythm and the marking of time to the lantern's glow. Times recently have left me feeling stretched as a parent, I think I even handed in resignation papers one morning recently. The fighting and the noises...and yet to balance that with the joy of celebration. Of making lanterns out of glass jars. To create a recipe and make it with the kids all taking turns putting in ingredients and grating apples without any finger ouches! Why ritual is so important to family, to mothers who sometimes feel. so. tired.

Even if you are just reading about Martinmas for the first time here, grab some little glass jars, tie a string around them and go lantern walking in the night. Bake a little treat for a neighbor. Call and sing a song to someone far away. Find rhythm in the light that we each hold inside of us. And be sure to tell this story first.

The Story of Martin and the Poor Man

By Cerdiwen Anya Coit

Long ago their lived a good young man named Martin. Even as a boy, he knew that one day he would be expected to serve in the military. His father was an important military officer. And, although he desired a peaceful life outside of the military, he knew that it would be his duty to follow the life of this father. So, Martin joined the military, became an officer and eventually was assigned to garrison duty in the town of Amiens.

One bitterly cold winter evening, the young Martin rode through the gates of Amiens on his fine, proud horse. He was dressed in the regalia of his military unit: gleaming armor, a bright helmet and a beautiful white cloak, lined with lambs wool. It was nearly freezing outside, but his thick cloak kept him warm. He was hardly aware of the cold. But then, as he approached the gates of the town, he saw a poor man, a beggar, dressed with clothes so ragged that he was practically bare. The man was shaking and blue with cold, but no one reached out to help him. People would pass through the gates, looking straight ahead, so their eyes would not meet with those of the poor, desperate man.

Martin, seeing this, was overcome with compassion. He rode straight to poor man and took off his white cloak. And with one stroke of his sword he tore the lovely mantle in two. He wrapped half of the cloak around the freezing man and the other half around his own shoulders.

The people nearby watched in amazement. To see a fine military officer do such a lowly thing was a ridiculous site to many, but others were touched by the goodness that Martin showed.

That night, as Martin slept, he had a dream. A man appear to him who looked so familiar, and he was wearing the half of the cloak Martin had given to the poor beggar. And then, Martin saw in the eyes of this man, the light of the Divine which we each carry within us.

From this day on, Martin's life was changed forever. He knew that he could no longer be part of the military, for his true desire was to live a life of goodness.

Apple Bread

This recipe is inspired by Elana who was inspired by this Apple Bread! And in our house if you put something in the oven without chocolate chips, the kids stop you! So chocolate chips met the top of our bread.

1 1/2 cups almond butter 2 eggs 1/3 cup agave 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 1 cup grated apple (this was two medium size apples for us)

In a bowl beat eggs with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the nut butter and agave and continue to blend. Add baking soda and cinnamon and blend until combined. Gently stir in the apple. Put in a greased (we use coconut oil) 13x9 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until center is done. If the top is browning before the inside is fully cooked, cover the top with a piece of parchment or foil. If your house is like mine, sprinkle chocolate chips on the top before baking!

Slice and serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream. What a lovely breakfast this would make with some hard boiled eggs and a cup of tea. Ahhhh.