As a child, I loved it when my mother baked apples. She'd core them, add a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar, and top it with a pat of butter. Then into the oven they'd go, where their fragrance filled the room. Out they came, so tender and sweet they melted in your mouth.

Here's my version, made in the microwave. If we didn't have a microwave, we would starve or eat nothing but peanut butter, or cheese and crackers.



Micro-baked Apples

Use a small, flat-bottomed bowl or dish, and lightly spray the bottom with cooking spray, or add a dollop of vegetable oil and thinly spread it around the pan.

Wash 4-6 apples (any type) and core them.

Place in the pan, close together.

Spoon 2 Tbs brown sugar into each apple core.

Top with a single pat of butter (about 1/4 tsp).

Cover (I use an inverted paper plate).

Microwave for 4 minutes.

Check for readiness. They should be soft, but not mushy.

If needed, add one minute at a time and re-check.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. The drippings from the apples make a great sauce.

After making the first recipe, you'll know how long it takes in your microwave, and won't have to keep checking. Depending on the size of the apples, it might take 5 or 6 minutes altogether.



Origin of Pietas: an Excerpt

My mother's apples inspired a scene in Origin of Pietas (Bringer of Chaos #1), except in this case, the apple inspiration came not from a mother, but a grandmother.

The human Six (a Ghost Corps soldier) and the immortal Pietas (an Ultra, and the mortal enemy of a Ghost), are marooned in the wilderness on an alien world. They have little in the way of survival equipment and no food. While foraging earlier in the day, they had found apple trees and picked as much as they could carry. At this point in the scene, they're fishing with crude equipment.




Six stood and brushed off his pants. "Pi, you want help with your hook and line?"

"Don't be insulting."

"Fine." Lifting his hands in surrender, Six nodded toward the water. Beneath the creek's surface, a trout twisted and flopped, caught on the hook Pietas had dangled.

"Six! Look! I caught a fish!" Pietas clapped his hands in delight. "I think this one's even bigger than yours."

"Of course it is."

At his companion's dry tone, Pietas turned to him, questioning.

Six nudged his chin toward the fish. "Haul that sucker in and let's eat."

The next morning, Pietas woke to the smell of grilling fish, and pushed himself up, sniffing toward it. "That's heavenly." He sniffed again. "Is that— Those are the apples we picked."

Six had skewered several apples on thin metal stakes from his survival pack. They roasted over the fire. "Woke up wishing I had buñuelos de manzana for breakfast."

"What is that?" Pietas joined him.

"Are you serious? The best rosquillas known to mankind. My abuela used to make them fresh on Sunday mornings before church. I'd peel apples, cut 'em up and she'd drop 'em into a sweet batter so smooth..." Six kissed his fingertips. "Con azúcar en polvo tapa con miel. Perfecto."

"So apple fritters with powdered sugar and honey."

"Sí. Un desayuno bueno."

Pietas scoffed. "That is not a good breakfast. That's obesity coming at you like a bullet. You can't eat like that and stay healthy."

"Why do you care? Can Ultras even get fat?"

"Again, don't be insulting."

"So? I repeat. Why do you care?"

"I—" Pietas stopped himself. Why did he care? Because he liked this human. Because he didn't want to lose him. Before meeting him, even the suggestion of friendship with a human would have been revolting. Now? Here he was, worried over one. "Because it's better for you if you eat well."

"Aguafiestas, Ultra."

"I am not a killjoy. Face the truth. You are a sugar addict. And from the way you've said so much in Spanish this morning, you miss your family."

Six stared at him for two heartbeats and then shrugged. "." He handed Pietas a metal plate and slid two of the hot apples onto it. "What do you miss, mi amigo?"

The Uurahkal and its good food, soft beds, smooth sheets and warm blankets. Hot water. Showers. Plenty of soap. His uniform. His shoes. Pietas would admit no such weakness to a human. Nor would he lie. He settled for part of the truth.

"I miss my family."

"Not food? Not cookies or pancakes?" Six added grilled fish to Pietas's plate.

"No. I eat to live, not live to eat." He took a bite of the grilled apple and groaned with pleasure. "But this... Pardon." How rude to speak with his mouth full. Marooned he might be, but that did not mean he had to be crude. Pietas swallowed. "I know this is only an apple, but it is as good as a fritter."

"Gracias. Glad you enjoy it." Six bit into the apple and lapsed into a flurry of Spanish superlatives.

How like the ghost to take joy in small details. It was one of his most appealing attributes as a friend. If one must be marooned on an alien world, at least it was with a cheerful companion and not a naysaying obstructionist like his father. Why thoughts of that revolting man evoked such longing Pietas could not imagine. His father was like a hole in the shoe, ever present, ever making one aware of what was lacking, but doing nothing about it. Whereas Six...

Perhaps it wouldn't hurt for Pietas to let down a bit of his guard.

"Now that I consider it, I do miss bacon and eggs. Steak. Baked potatoes with butter and chives and sour cream. Salt and pepper."

Six grinned. "Now you're talkin' my language, Ultra."




Origin of Pietas - Bringer of Chaos

What if the enemy you hate is your only salvation?

Marooned on a planet with no one but Six, a human who guarded him in exile, the immortal king Pietas must face the ordeal of survival. Imprisonment transformed him from superman to a man who cannot even feed himself. But healing, and the eventual rescue his people, depends upon the one thing Pietas swore did not exist—the honor of a human.

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Meet Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen writes stories with immortal gamers and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories, a US Navy veteran, and has been married so long she's tenured. Become a Tarthian Empire citizen (or an immortal) and help rule the Empire at:


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