Autumn is sexy: Baked Apples

I swear, I’m not that vain. But the actual season is sexy! I love fall because, in my opinion, the food is the tastiest of all the seasons (yeah, I said it Summer). And because food is sexy, and fall has the best food, that means that Fall is sexy… or you could say Autumn is sexy. Either way, I don’t mind.

It has been a ridiculously busy past two weeks for me. I’ve had to fly home, go to a wedding, study for what feels like 7,000 tests, write/present a speech along with all of my other daily duties. And of course watch Scandal. Have to save time to binge watch Scandal. And Blacklist. And American Horror Story. But I digress.

Last weekend when I was back home, I actually had the time to get a little creative (A luxury that I haven’t really had the past two weeks) and make a DESSERT! I really needed this dessert. I’m in the process of training for another half marathon (there will soon be a post on how to train for a 1/2 or full marathon so stay posted!!), so I’m in desperate need of extra calories. Granted, this little bad boy really wasn’t too naughty considering it’s under 300 calories per apple. It is a great dessert, however, even if you aren’t expending the extra 500-1000 calories per day from working out and running. Plus it just SCREAMS fall, doesn’t it? Pair it up with some hot chocolate or mulled apple cider, cozy on up next to the fireplace and watch a horror movie or two while munching on these Baked Apples!!

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Baked Apples with a Nutty Filling

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 apples good for baking (I used honeycrisp. They’re in season and they don’t fall apart when baked)

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (if possible, get organic), or you can swap out the heavy whipping cream for greek yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core of each apple forming a 1.5 inch hole wide, and going down about 2-3 inches, depending on how big your apple is.

3. Combine the nuts, honey, oatmeal, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Once well, mixed, stuff each apple with the mixture and put into the oven for 20 minutes.

4. When the apples are slightly golden on the top, take them out and put them onto individual bowls or plates. Drizzle the heavy whipping cream over each apple and then enjoy! Make sure to eat while warm but let it cool for a few minutes!

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Falling in love with fall… quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

Fall is by far my favorite season. A little biased? Maybe. But some of the tastiest and most complex food comes from this season. The squashes, root veggies and cruciferous plants!! All some of my faves. The common theme between all of these is that they taste absolutely incredible when roasted. Each different veggie has such a unique flavor that develops during the roasting process. Yams become sweeter, cauliflower becomes earthy-er and spaghetti squash becomes.. spaghetti (another post on that later this month)!

Roasting these veggies on their own is good… but stuffing them with some other awesome ingredients… even better!!

Acorn squash has a super ridiculously low glycemic load (4 on a scale that goes up to 250) which is good because it won’t give you high insulin spikes that cause a crash later on. It’s also known to be packed with magnesium, vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium and vitamin C. Plus, only 56 calories for a cup of the stuff.

Quinoa, as we know, is a complete protein which will help make you fuller faster.

This is a great side dish to meat, or a main meal if you pair it with some cooked veggies. Try it out!

 

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Baked quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

ingredients

1 small acorn squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut the acorn squash in half. Once you’ve cut it in half, take each part and cut about 1/2 inch off of the end so that it can stand up.

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3. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and drizzle the inside of both halves with olive oil. Then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt into both halves as well. Put this into the oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on how big your squash is. Mine was really small so it only took 25 minutes.

4. While the squash cooks, put your quinoa into a pot with 1 cup water. Cover and turn the heat to medium high until it starts to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.

5. When the quinoa is done cooking, sprinkle the garlic powder, remaining salt and butter into the pot with the heat off. Stir to combine.

6. Next, toast the pine nuts. Take a small, dry sauce pan and put it over medium high heat. Pour the pine nuts into the pan and constantly stir the nuts by shaking the pan. These burn VERY quickly so you can’t walk away from them. It should only take about 45 seconds to get properly toasted (if the pan is hot enough when you put them in).

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This is how the pine nuts will look when they are done.

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A shot of how the pine nuts and the acorn squash look when they are both done cooking.

7. Stir the toasted pine nuts into the quinoa.

8. Flip the acorn squash over so that the cut side is now facing up and put it onto your serving plate. Scoop the quinoa out of the pan and equally fill each half of the squash with the quinoa and you are ready to eat!

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**This also tastes great with some finely chopped and sauteed veggies mixed in with the quinoa, like broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower.

**Feel free to add a meat into the quinoa mixture as well. Just make sure it’s already cooked when you add it in and that it is chopped into small pieces!

 

 

Trying something new: Celery Root Fries

Every seen Harry Potter? Do you remember the Mandrake Root? The little plant that when you pulled out of the ground it would scream its head off? Well, celery root almost looks like that. Just in the fact that they both look so gnarly and inedible. It doesn’t scream when pulled out of the ground though, so no need to worry.
Celery root is actually very edible and rather tasty. Plus, with fall approaching, it’ll be in season so you’ll be seeing a lot of it at your grocery store. The first time I cooked with celery root was three years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara with a house full of five other girls. I don’t remember how I came across it or even how I knew what to do with it, but I do remember my roommates acting very intrigued.

“You’re going to EAT that thing?!”

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They all sat around and watched while I removed the outer layer and started slicing the root into fry sizes. Once I had finished cooking them, the little fries were unrecognizable from the original form it took. I offered my roommates to try some. Needless to say, they were a little wary to try it after seeing the original gnarly, root-y shape, but once they got up the courage to try it, they ended up taking seconds, thirds, and fourths!

Try something new this fall and buy a celery root! I swear, it’s waaaay tastier than it looks!

Celery Root Fries

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 celery root (you lose a lot while trimming off the outer edges, so try and get a larger one)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional–for those who like a little spice in their life)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the top of the celery root off. This will be used as your starting point for cutting off the outer edges.

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3. Using a sharp knife, slice off the fibrous-y outer layer until it resembles a peeled potato.

4. Cut the root into thin, french fry shaped strips and put onto a cookie sheet. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until each fry is coated.

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5. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its reached your desired crispiness. Serve with a chicken burger or maybe even a steak! I paired mine with a nice big steak and some green beans 🙂

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Fall time treats: cinnamon apple crisps

Apple pie and fall go hand in hand. Unfortunately, apple pie also goes hand in hand with love handles. Just the thought of the cinnamon-y, apple-y, crispy flavor of apple pie just makes you want to cuddle into a warm blanket by the fire with you’re very own slice while you watch the red and brown leaves fall from the trees outside. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also how you start to gain that winter weight. Now, I’m not trying to take away that sweet, delicious pleasure, but I am going to make it a little more friendly to your figure!

I bring to you, chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps! It only has 4 ingredients and it completely satisfies that apple dessert craving. Plus, it only has 78 calories per serving!!! So crunch away and enjoy your sweater wearing, leave changing, and apple picking season that is fall!

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Chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps
serves 4

ingredients
2 apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cut the top part off of the apple and carefully cut thin slices of the apple. When you’re done slicing, cut out the middle core of each apple.
3. Combine the remaining three ingredients by stirring together until it is all combined into a semi liquid form.
4. Put the apple slices on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Gently rub the cinnamon mixture onto each slice using either a knife or a cooking brush.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the apples sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. The longer they sit after cooking, the crispier they’ll get.

Enjoy your fall treats!!