Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice!

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Walnuts

This autumn-y oatmeal has been my go-to this month for a quick breakfast before running out the door. I use instant oatmeal (although I am sure it would be tasty using overnight oats, as well) and pumpkin butter for this quick morning meal. Also, just a fun fact: pumpkin butter is not actually butter at all – it is pureed pumpkin, oftentimes mixed with honey and some lemon juice and typically has less than 35 calories per 1 Tbsp serving. That is a lot of flavor for minimal calories! Plus, pumpkin supplies beta carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A.  This pumpkin-y bowl full of cinnamon spice and heart-healthy walnuts is a seasonal way to start your day off right with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a tasty spoonful of beta carotene-rich pumpkin!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

1 packet instant oatmeal (*I like Trader Joe’s Oats and Flax or Bob’s Red Mill brand)

*Note: If you are interested in a heartier breakfast and looking for a way to increase calcium intake, you can prepare the oatmeal with milk in place of water! 

1/2 oz unsalted walnut halves (about 7 walnut halves)

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin butter (*Try to look for a brand that isn’t loaded with sugar – I like Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Cook oatmeal according to directions on package.

2. Add pumpkin butter and cinnamon and stir into oatmeal. Top with walnuts and enjoy!

(This may be the easiest recipe I have ever posted!)

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 231 calories, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol o mg, Carbohydrates 27 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 100 mg, Calcium 159 mg

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No-Muffin-Top Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

I know I haven’t written in awhile, but I will make it up to you with these amazing pumpkin muffins that only taste decadent. These muffins are under 150 calories each and are just sweet enough to satisfy that craving, while not being too sweet to have with breakfast. These muffins taste and smell every bit like fall and offer a comfort-food feel with an extra-comforting fact: they are unlikely to give you a muffin top of your own! Whole wheat flour, honey, 0% fat plain Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree slim down these muffins so you can fuel up and feel good about it!

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Ingredients: (yields 24 muffins)

2 C whole wheat flour

1 C all purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

2/3 C 0% fat plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage, it gives the pumpkin batter a fluffy texture)

2 large eggs

1 large egg white (*note: the 3 eggs total can come from 3 eggs using 2 eggs and 1 egg white or from 2 eggs and the equivalent of one egg white from a carton of egg whites)

2 C canned pumpkin puree  (or bake your own!)

1 2/3 C honey (*note: this amount is used to make the batter lightly sweet. If you prefer your muffins to be sweeter, you may want to use 1 3/4 C honey. Just note that this will increase the calorie and sugar content of these muffins)

Wet Batter, Beaten

Wet Batter, Beaten

mousse-like batter, ready to be baked!

mousse-like batter, ready to be baked!

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Add all dry ingredients ( cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda) to a large bowl. Stir with spoon until well combined.

3. Combine pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt and honey in separate, large bowl.

4. Crack 2 eggs into separate, small bowl. Use remaining egg to separate egg white (or, if you’re using a carton of egg whites, pour the equivalent of 1 large egg). Scramble with fork until yolk and white are well combined.

5. Add eggs to wet ingredient mixture (large bowl). Beat approximately 30-45 seconds, until well combined and fluffy.

6. Add half of the dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until batter is well combined. The batter should appear mousse-like.

oven-ready!

oven-ready!

7. Line muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners and fill each liner with batter, using a spoon. In order to get a big muffin top, the batter should come close to completely filling the liner.

8. Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes. (*note: oven cooking temperatures and times may vary. Make sure that your muffins are cooked by placing a toothpick in each muffin once baked and making sure that the toothpick comes out clean.)

9. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside? (nutritional analysis is for one muffin)

Calories 147, Fat 1 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 195 mg, Carbohydrates 33 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein  3 g, Calcium 27 mg

Fresh, out-of-the-oven pumpkin muffins!

Fresh, out-of-the-oven pumpkin muffins!

Fall Into Some Healthy Habits!

Me, apple picking in Maryland! Find an orchard near you!

Take A Bite Out of Fall!

My favorite season is the fall – I love to be outdoors when the weather is crisp and perfect and the leaves are starting to turn. One of my favorite outdoor fall activities is going apple picking! Apple picking is a great way to enjoy the weather and pick out one of fall’s best fruits for yourself! Also, if you get the opportunity to go to an orchard and pick your own apples, you can speak with the farmers themselves and find out about how the apples were grown and which ones are the sweetest, the most sour, etc. Also, many orchards have a quaint store that features homemade jams, apple cider and other delicious fall treats!


An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

Well, maybe not all of the time – but apples are packed with a ton of great nutrition to fuel up your body! The skin contains some of the best benefits, including polyphenols (compounds found in plants) that function in a variety of ways to keep your body working and feeling great! Many of these polyphenols serve as antioxidants, which help to prevent damage caused by oxidative stress within the body. Apples are nutrient-dense, meaning that they offer a mouthful of nutrition for relatively few calories. Also, apples are a good source of fiber, which may help to keep you feeling full long after you eat your refreshing snack! Lastly, apples are a juicy, delicious, easily portable snack that is whole, natural and REAL!

*photograph courtesy of http://www.everythingpies.com/

What Can I Do With All These Apples?

Easy Dessert – Baked Apple Slices with Cinnamon! Your kitchen will smell like fall for the rest of the day!

Although I love apple picking, it isn’t the type of thing you usually do everyday. That being said, I like to load up on apples when I go. Although the best (and most real) way to enjoy apples is straight out of the fridge (or bowl, or wherever you store your apples), you can enjoy the health benefits of apples in a ton of other ways, too! One of my favorite desserts is a baked apple with cinnamon on top. Just preheat your oven to 350 (F), cut your apple into slices and place on a baking sheet. sprinkle cinnamon on top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the apple is browned and tender. Then, eat! Simple as that!

Other great ways to enjoy apples are baked into some surprising recipes. For example, pork goes very well with apples – incorporate apples as a topping for pork chops, or use with other pork recipes to get a surprising fruit serving into your meal. Apples are also tasty in tuna salad, chicken salad, or topped on any salad, really!  Also, apples are a great addition to green juices, since their sweetness counteracts the bitterness of many greens, such as kale and spinach. Check my recipes in this blog periodically and you’ll see that I love to cook with apples in the most surprising places!

Apple cider (which contains many healthful and aromatic spices, unlike apple juice) is another great item to enjoy in the fall, either straight out of the fridge, or warmed on the stove. Sipping on apple cider just tastes like fall, to me!

Let me know your favorite ways to eat apples!