How To: Snack Healthy – Pumpkin Banana Bread

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I fear that by the end of fall, I may have an orange tint to my skin.

I think this is a legitimate fear given all the winter squash I have been devouring. They are just so delicious this season I can’t help myself. I think it is an unwritten rule that they absolutely must be worked into every dish you cook this fall season.

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So then, making a banana bread? Why not throw in some squash. In this case I took a short cut and used already pureed canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling). If you are feeling adventurous, by all means roast and puree your own. But this quickie banana bread will be delicious either route you choose.

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It also freezes fantastically – I sliced mine up and then packaged them individually in the freezer so they are easy to pop in the toaster or microwave for a quick snack or breakfast. A shmear of cream cheese after warming turns it into a decadent treat. And if you just happen to need to finish off a bag of chocolate chips….this bread wouldn’t object.

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So who cares if you need to use some extra cover up this fall season? I say embrace the orange glow!

Dara

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Pumpkin Banana Bread

Serves 1 loaf
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Website Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

Note

This is one of the easiest quick breads I've ever made and it practically screams fall! It tastes great plain, crumbled into yogurt, or topped with cream cheese. It also keeps well wrapped tightly in the freezer.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together mashed bananas, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient and mix until combined. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour, until top is brown and loaf is cooked through.

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How to: Seasonal Cooking – Parsnip and Apple Soup

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I trust you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving gluttony as much I as I have?

Number one holiday in my books.

I love the crisp fall weather, the variety of fresh local produce still available, the fact that there are no presents (gift holidays – I’m looking at you birthdays and Christmas – stress me out), and last but far from least, it’s a pie holiday.

For me, it’s pie over cake any day of the week.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’d choose almost any single flavour of pie over almost every single variety of cake.

Unless we’re talkin’ Baskin Robbin’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake – my achilles heel. Which I would chose over my husband.

Joking, joking. (ish).

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K, I digress.

Let’s talk getting back in to the post-Thanksgiving swing of things with a super awesome soup.

You may even have most of these ingredients hanging around as holiday leftovers.

I love the almost spicy bite parsnip lends to this soup.  It pairs perfectly with the sweet acidity of the apples.

Using evaporated milk will keep this soup on the lighter side, but cream would be freaking awesome too. Fat = flavour.

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Once peeled and prepped, these ingredients are just pretty as a picture don’tcha think?

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Once simmered and soft, a quick zip with an immersion blender is all it takes to bring ‘er home.

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This year, I’m going to add this soup to my (very long) list of things to be thankful for.

Enjoy,

Erin

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Parsnip and Apple Soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 small apples (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 medium white or yellow potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • salt (to taste)

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large sauce over medium heat. Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add parsnip, apples and potato and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, until all the potatoes and parsnips are soft.
3. Blend with an immersion blender or countertop blender until smooth.
4. Add evaporated milk and season with salt to taste.

How To: Make Your Own – Chicken Burgers

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This recipe just screams “winner winner, chicken dinner!”

Okay, maybe I just wanted to use that line somewhere and couldn’t think of how. So I thought, perfect post opener, right?

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Can we also talk about how it’s pretty impossible to make raw chicken look good? But I tell you, these burgers are GOOD! So good, they will have you bypass the frozen prepared patty section of your supermarket forever. And I know, a grilling recipe just when fall weather is upon us? I have professed my love of the indoor grill pan before and I’m telling you about it all over again. But fear not, if your kitchen is lacking in this area then you should first of all, run out right now and by one. Or, you could simply use a non stick skillet and pan sear these juicy babies.

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And speaking of babies…

These burgers are also child friendly. My little one literally gobbled (gobbled, get it?) up this burger at dinner. And on that note, turkey is a mighty fine substitute for ground chicken.

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I served my burgers with the classic side of sweet potato fries – a recipe I think we owe you in the near future.

So go get your grill on! These burgers will definitely have you singing “I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight!” (you know I had to get that on in too!)

Dara

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Chicken Burgers

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Annie's Eats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Note

Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the chicken in this perfect homemade burger. You can wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for a quick weeknight meal.

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, or until onions and garlic are softened. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
2. Once the onion mixture has cooled, add the ground chicken and remaining ingredients and mix well until combined. Shape mixture into four patties.
3. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook burgers about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve on buns or on a salad with the toppings of your choice.

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Apple Muffins

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Remember the game where you twist the stem of an apple, and each twist corresponds with a letter of the alphabet, and whichever letter the stem twists off at is the first letter of your true love’s name?

Good game.

Though, not quite fair to anyone who’s name begins with anything after about G.

Today I got E. Twice.

Of course now I’m panicking that I may have married the wrong man.

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So anyway.  It’s apple season!!!

This muffin recipe’s got apples two ways.  Fresh and saucy.

Hehe.

Right…so adding apples and/or applesauce is a great way to add moisture to baked goods without adding a lot of fat.

Buttermilk is too, in fact.  Oh by the way, if you don’t have buttermilk at home you can make your own.

Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk.  Wait 5-10 minutes.

Voila – buttermilk.  I kid you not.

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These muffins come out both moist and light.  They’re a great treat that’s not over the top indulgent.

With a dab of nut butter they’d even work for a nice quick breakfast.

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If you’re pouring the batter directly into muffin tins, it makes a perfect dozen.  If you use parchment muffin tin liners, you’ll get a few extra.

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Oh, and the pecan streusel type topping is a non-negotiable addition.  Hear me?

Go on then.  Make some muffins!

Erin

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Apple Muffins

Serves 12 muffins
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Website Slighty adapted from Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbspbrown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup pastry flour (all purpose flour will work too)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 small firm apples, peeled and chopped (Try gala, granny smith or honey crisp)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small bowl, combine pecans, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. In a medium bowl combine flours, baking soda and salt
4. In a large bowl, mix canola oil and remaining brown sugar until well combined. While mixing, add one egg at a time. Stir in applesauce and vanilla.
5. Add flour in two batches, alternating with buttermilk. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in apple pieces.
6. Pour batter into greased/lined muffin sheet. Sprinkle pecan and brown sugar mixture evenly over 12 muffins.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

How To: Healthy Lunch – Asian Tofu and Vegetable Chopped Salad

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I always know that summer is over when I have to don a long sleeve shirt before heading out on my early morning run. Fall is nearly here and that means winter is also just around the corner. Sorry to burst your warm weather bubble.

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Growing up my family would escape Canada’s very cold winter with a trip down south to sunny Miami, Florida. Miami is chock full of five star restaurants so as you can imagine, this  was heaven for a foodie like me (the hot sun, beaches, and shopping didn’t hurt either). I bet it would surprise you to know that my family’s favourite meal wasn’t found in a high end restaurant, but in the food court at a small sandwich and salad stand.

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They made THE BEST salad you ever had. Not only was it chock full of any vegetable, fruit, and protein you could think of, but after it was assembled, the friendly staff attacked it with a hammer, chopping your salad into bite size pieces that just made it taste so much better.

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So this is my attempt to recreate that meal – and maybe also my attempt to bring some of sunny Miami to cold Toronto. All of these vegetables and tofu are interchangeable – swap in roasted asparagus or green beans for the zucchini or eggplant. Add chicken instead of the tofu. When all the chopped up vegetables and tofu are mixed with the crunchy romaine and cashews and soft avocado, it’s a flavour and texture explosion

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I can almost feel the heat of the Miami sun beating down on me as I dive into this bowl of chopped vegetable goodness – almost!

Dara

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Asian Tofu and Vegetable Chopped Salad

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad
From book Adapted from Bonnie Stern's Best of Heartsmart

Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu (cubed)
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 3 zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 eggplant (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 2 ears of corn (husked and stripped of kernels)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce (chopped)
  • 1 cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 2 avocados (peeled and chopped)

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Asian chili garlic paste

Note

This salad is jam packed with different flavours and textures. Roasted chicken or steak would be a great substitute for the tofu. You could also use any vegetables you have on hand in place of the ones used here. Leftovers keep well for one day in the fridge undressed.

Directions

1. Place tofu in a shallow dish and pour hoisin sauce on top. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread the vegetables on two parchment lined baking sheets. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until soft.
3. Once vegetables are finished, transfer tofu to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until brown.
4. In a large bowl, add romaine lettuce, cucumber, parsley, roasted vegetables, and tofu and toss to combine. Add cashews and avocado and toss one more time. When ready to serve toss with dressing until the vegetables, lettuce, and tofu are coated.
Dressing
5. In a small bowl or container, whisk all ingredients together.

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