Favorite Fall Foods

It looks like these gorgeous days with 70 degree weather are about to leave us, just as we Fall back an hour this weekend. So I’m prepared with warm (mostly healthy) foods that are full of fall flavor.

IMG_6376
For my bridal shower, guests were asked to fill out a recipe card for our adorable monogramed recipe box that my Aunt Joann got us. I love being able to try new recipes and customize them to my tastebuds – and it’s so nice to know that a dear friend or family member gave me one of their favorite recipes. Oh, and I say “my tastebuds” because my husband travels so there are lots of times he doesn’t get to enjoy the delicious meals I make (but I usually send him pictures!).

IMG_5856

My Pumpkin Pancakes that I blogged about earlier this month are definitely one of my favorite flavors this month. They are the right amount of sweet and super savory. I have considered adding in some nuts or chocolate chips but they’re so good as-is that I’m not really sure add-ins are needed. I definitely recommend whipping up a batch of these if you haven’t already!

IMG_6375

My grandfather used to make apple butter with his church every fall and give jars to everyone in the family. I always got two. I love spreading apple butter on biscuits or toast in the fall. This year, I want to try these apple butter cookies and see if they’re as good as they sound. I’m down to my last two jars of apple butter which makes me sad. We’re definitely using it sparingly. There’s something special about it being the apple butter that my Paw Paw made with his own two hands. I hate the thought of not having any more of it.

salmon

Soy lime Salmon and lime cilantro quinoa are another favorite meal. This is a 6 oz. piece of salmon pictured. 4 oz is actually a more appropriate proportion but I didn’t feel like having the guy cut 2 oz. off of it. I usually put a little oil or non-stick spray in the baking dish and preheat the oven to 375. I usually just dash light soy sauce (lower in sodium) on the fish, squeeze lime juice, and sprinkle garlic powder, Himalayan pink salt, and pepper. Bake for somewhere between 15-18 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Quinoa is a protein packed food. Usually you mix one cup quinoa to two cups water (depending on how many servings you are making). Bring the combination to a boil, lower heat and cover for 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed. Once you’ve lowered the heat, squeeze in some lime juice. I like to use fresh cilantro and mix it in right at the end. The flavors all work so well together!

IMG_5870

Chili is another amazing fall/winter dinner – and so easy! I love that I can make a big pot on Sunday and it lasts the week, making taking lunch to work or dinner when I don’t feel like cooking, super quick! I like to use light sodium beans, and as many kinds as I can find. This particular pot had white beans, light red and dark red kidney beans, and black beans. Be sure to drain all of the beans before tossing in the pot. Since I also L-O-V-E spicy food, I toss in a can of (drained) rotel. A large can of tomato sauce is also needed. I chop up a red onion and green pepper and toss those in. I use lean ground turkey or bison for the meat. You should brown the meat in a skillet before combining it with the other ingredients. I use pepper, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder for spices – use to taste. Once you’ve got everything combined, cook on medium for 10 minutes or so and then simmer for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to top mine with jalapenos and a spoonful of sour cream!

Zuppa Toscana is one of my FAVORITE soups (heavy and not healthy!) but I think I’ll hold off a few more weeks before making my first pot. I’d love to hear some of your favorite recipes and add them to my box! Please share in the comments. I promise to post pictures and reviews once I try them!
PS – there are only TWO days left to get in on the Tieks gift card giveaway! Enter NOW!

Weekend Wrap Up

I feel like we did nothing and everything this weekend. JJ Grey and Mofro came to a local theatre that is within walking distance of our house, so we had date night there – with dinner at one of our favorite pizza places beforehand.

IMG_5717

On Friday we felt like we had partied like we were back in college the night before. Funny how much differently three beers impacts you at 28 versus 21. So we hung low and decided to see “Gone Girl” and recreate our first date with a movie and dinner at Fox & Hound. The movie was amazing but sadly ends just the way the book did (which I HATED). However, I loved my dinner and movie date night with him. Saturday, I got up early (feeling better) to run the Rocktoberfest 5-miler with some girlfriends.

IMG_5858

Official results aren’t up yet, but I’m glad I got across the finish line in less than 50 minutes (according to my watch and clock time). On Saturday evening, we got to see one of our dearest friends marry the love of her life. We both met Brandy at work (we started on the same day) and immediately bonded. She is such an amazing person, I can’t possibly tell you how wonderful she is all in one post. So when she called to tell me she and Bill were getting married, I literally squealed (loudly) in the store I was standing in. This weddnig was a long time coming and such an amazing production.

IMG_5836

I say “production” because there was a comedian, pianist, singer, gymnastics performance, and two one-act plays. By far the most interesting wedding reception I have been to in my life. Brandy and Bill were just as wonderful on stage together as they are off. I am so glad we were able so share in their beautiful day! On Sunday, we woke up to rain and sniffles. I made pumpkin pancakes in an attempt to make us feel better. They didn’t do much for the colds we had caught but they sure were tasty!

IMG_5856

 

Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 3/4 c. white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 teas. baking powder
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. ginger
  • 1/8 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin spice
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix butter, milk, egg and pumpkin puree in another bowl. Slowly blend in the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until well blended. Heat griddle to 300 degrees and pour out 1/4 cup batter onto griddle (or skillet). Cook for about 2 minutes or until little bubbles appear and then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. I imagine these would be delicious with some powdered sugar or whipped cream, but we settled for just maple syrup. I made enough for leftovers for breakfast this morning – still good!

IMG_5851
I tried to ward off my cold symptoms some more with hot yoga but instead just made myself sweaty and dizzy. It did help to stretch out my sore leg muscles after Saturday’s race but I have to admit it was a very unfocused practice. Hoping to kick this cold soon so I can get back to the gym and yoga this week. Hoping we can make it to the pumpkin patch next weekend and finish getting ready for Halloween. How was your weekend?

 

 

Pumpkin Everything

With the arrival of Fall this month, I immediately starting craving all things pumpkin (except for Starbucks’ PSL, I know, go ahead and hate me). It’s easy to crave comfort foods in the Fall, especially as the weather gets cooler and we want to be full and warm. So trying to be conscious of that, I’ll share my favorite pumpkin recipes and then some healthy recipes to offset some of the unhealthiness of those.

First, (since I love dessert so much), 3-ingredient pumpkin cookies. They claim these are “low fat” but I wouldn’t overindulge. They are quick and easy and great if you need to take something to a holiday party or work function.

DSC_0965

Next, pumpkin chocolate chip bars. These are heaven in your mouth. I won’t make any low-fat claims, but I will tell you how amazing they are. They will be devoured wherever you take them. That is, if you can get them out of the house; my husband wants to eat them all the second I make them.

Pumpkin Stew is another favorite. You make it and serve it right in the pumpkin, which will surely wow your guests (or kids). This one takes a little longer to make but will be well worth it. It’s a hearty meal, too. Make sure to scoop out some pumpkin with each serving to give everyone a little more of the pumpkin flavor.

For breakfast, I’d serve pumpkin pancakes, maybe with chocolate chips or caramel drizzle on the weekends but plain maple syrup will do the trick, too. You can’t go wrong with maple syrup. Oh and bonus? These are gluten-free (enjoy, Christina!).

Lastly, pumpkin chili, because everyone loves chili in the colder months. You add in black beans and garbanzo beans to make this recipe delicious, but we’ve always been fans of having 4-5 kinds of beans in our chili, so I say the more the merrier. This is a vegetarian recipe, but you could certainly add meat if you wanted. I would probably recommend ground turkey.

Now, looking for a few healthier fall meals and side dishes? These will be loved by your friends and family, so start cooking!

DSC_0967

Potato & Green Lentil Salad, a vegan side that’s actually pretty easy to throw together. I used baby red potatoes, but as the recipe says, you can really use whatever you prefer. Since it’s vegan, there’s no mayo which is a plus in my book! I loved the mustard-y flavor of this dish and that it was served warm, and not as gooey as traditional potato salads.

Vegetarian stuffed Greek peppers are not just colorful, but also flavorful. You can put so much goodness in one of these babies and even customize it for each person. Another favorite is this quinoa stuffed portabellos. I made these for dinner one night and was surprised at how full I got! I even had extras for lunch the next day.

15247_10100998721121973_1725917825394690934_nSince being a (mostly) vegetarian this month, I’ve eaten a lot of fish. Couldn’t cut seafood out of my diet, too! This roasted salmon and brussels sprouts recipe is perfect for fall. Brussels sprouts are definitely one of my favorite veggies to have for dinner – especially in the fall!

Lastly, I love this easy recipe for rolled oats turkey meatballs. I would suggest mixing in 1 TBSP of an organic (low sodium) tomato sauce to give them a little more flavor, especially if you’re not planning to use for spaghetti and meatballs. I ate mine as the meat for my meal, with a side of veggies. Usually 3-4 meatballs fills me up. You’ll want to play around with the recipe the first few times you try it.  *You’re supposed to stay under 2300 mg of sodium/day. Be aware of how much is in the packaged or canned food you’re eating. When possible, go with unprocessed foods!

I’d love to hear your favorite fall or pumpkin flavored foods – please leave a comment with a link to the recipe. Always looking for new ones to try! Speaking of, I’m dying to try this white bean, kale and sausage recipe I found on Pinterest! It will have to wait until October though, I’m finishing out September strong with vegetarian meals.