Candied Butternut Squash

Candy? Did you say candy? Oh wait no, it’s just Butternut Squash.
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Butternut Squash is a delicious winter squash that I love to use as often as possible. It is naturally sweet but I love to enhance that flavor with some other sweet flavors. Today, I am featuring the low calorie and delicious Butternut Squash! You have probably seen this vegetable in the supermarket or farmers market as a large oddly shaped vegetable.

It can seem daunting to cut up a Butternut Squash, and if that’s not for you the supermarket sells the precut cubes for not too much more than buying it per pound. If are buying this per pound it’s pretty simple to cut up. Begin by peeling the vegetable until all the skin is removed and slice in half. Scoop out the inside if there are any seeds. Cut the squash smaller pieces and then into cubes. Careful running your knife through the vegetable it can be tough to cut!

You can use butternut squash in so many delicious recipes and also substitute it for yams, sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes! I decided to use a little bit of honey, light brown sugar, and cinnamon to candy these.

What you need:

  • 3 pound butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare butternut squash into cubes and place into a large bowl. Toss with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt pepper, and olive oil.
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  3. Pour into a dish to bake. I prefer the butternut squash to be close together instead of a roasting effect so they can cook in their juices and create a yummy sauce.
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  4. Cook for about 40 minutes or until soft, let sit for a few minutes so it can come together and serve.
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Roasted Sweet Potato Side Dish

Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onions 

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There are so many reasons why sweet potatoes should be apart of your diet… but here are a few of my favorite reasons. Sweet potatoes are available all year, are inexpensive, and of course delicious. A simple ingredient that can be transformed so many different ways.

Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin B6, a good source of vitamin C which is important to ward off cold and flu viruses, especially in the winter. Vitamin C also helps produce collagen in the skin and helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity. Sweet potatoes also contain many other vitamins such as Vitamin, iron, and magnesium. So many health benefits!

Long story short, I need to include more sweet potatoes in my diet. Do you? If you are a fan of having a starch at your dinner table this may be the way to go. They are also naturally sweet so you do not need to add a lot of sugar to your potatoes if you like the sweet flavor.

The other day I ran out of olive oil and i wanted to roast a few things. I did have grape seed oil though so that is what I used. Grape seed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes. It has a high smoke point and can be used safely to cook at high temperatures. I have seen many articles online that grape seed oil is deceiving and although it is packed with nutrients too much of it is not good for you due to the way the oil is extracted using an industrial process.

What to do for Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onion: 

Peel and Cube 2-3 large sweet potatoes and slice half a red onion. Coat with 2 tablespoon of grape seed oil or olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Roast for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees depending on the size of your potatoes, or until tender. A great side dish with little prep and packed with nutrition.

 

Apple Spiced Muffins

Apple Spiced Muffins!
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I am still trying to use up all my apples from apple picking the other day. I am finding new ways to use apples and loving it. I love to grab a muffin but sometimes when you get from a coffee shop you just don’t know what’s in them.

Today, I decided to make my own apple spiced muffins. These apple spiced muffins are sprinkled with extra cinnamon (of course that doesn’t hurt) and you can actually taste the chunks of apples as you eat them- yum!

The apple spiced muffins have ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • a little less then 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of chopped apples (I left majority skin on)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper.

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and spices

Combine butter and sugar, then add egg and mix well. Add milk and vanilla to wet mixture. Slowly addd the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture until blended.

Spoon batter into muffin pan with tablespoon until almost full bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Recipe from http://www.cooks.com/recipe/mh9uo3c8/apple-spice-muffins.html

Mini Apple Pies

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Mini Apple Pies...a delicious treat after picking 20 pounds of apples in the Hudson Valley! I love apples and cinnamon, it is a classic combination. Now sometimes we get carried away with the extra sugars that get added into a pie.

This recipe keeps it simple and highlights the flavor of the apples without being too sweet. These are perfect to bring on the go, give to your friends, or keep for yourself! I love anything that is personal size, who doesn’t?

These apples were picked off the trees in North Salem at Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. A great day to spend a fall day. This place is filled with apple cider, apples, donuts, pies, pumpkins and tons of other foods! A must visit when apple picking. Beware though this place can get so crowded on weekends.

Here’s What you Need for these Mini Apple Pies:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 2 cups of apples chopped small ( I peeled one and left the skin on the other)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tin with non stick spray
  3. Roll out room temperature pie crust and cut out 3 inch circles to place in the bottom of the muffin tins. If you have extra dough I made mini muffin versions by just cutting the dough smaller.
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  4. Make apple mixture by combining apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  5. In a small bowl make the topping by combining flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  6. Begin building mini apple pies: put 1 heaping tablespoon of apples into the muffin tray with an even amount in each mini pie.
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  7. Then sprinkle even amount of oatmeal topping on each pie covering the apples.
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  8. Bake 18-20 minutes until crust is browned. Let cool and remove from muffin tin. You can serve warm or room temperature!

Beware these are addicting!

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Apple and Cinnamon Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds is a hearty and healthy breakfast that will leave you full all day long. Now that I am back in school I am always looking for the easiest and most convenient meals during the week.

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I have seen many overnight oat recipes online but never thought I would like them. But, I was wrong. They are delicious and this literally kept me full for so long, not to mention I was able to grab this out of the refrigerator (already made) in the morning and quickly eat it!

Another good thing about over night oats is that you constantly keep changing the ingredients that you put in so you never get bored! But if you find a recipe you like then it’s great to just keep using it. This is my first time making overnight oats so I decided to go with a classic combination of apples and cinnamon. But next time I think I will try pumpkin for fall.

Incase you’re not sure what overnight oats are all it is an oatmeal, milk of your choice (almond milk) and other ingredients that sit overnight in the fridge so you don’t even need to cook them!

Here’s What You Will Need:

  • half an apple cubed
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon or to taste of light agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

What to do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or a container. Put the lid on and shake it so all the ingredients are mixed.
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  2. Put in refrigerator over night for the next morning and enjoy!
  3. In the morning you can top with extra chopped apple or chia seeds and this will last 2 days in the refrigerator.

Russet & Sweet Potato Mash

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Mash potatoes made with one russet and one sweet potato that won’t leave you feeling guilty! They are easy to make and are great on a weeknight.

This recipe is unusual because you do not use one type of potato. Instead, I use a combination of potatoes which gives you the texture of traditional mash potatoes with the taste and healthy benefits of sweet potatoes.

I absolutely love these potatoes and I do not miss typical mash potatoes when I was eating this recipe. To add creaminess without adding cream or dairy I use almond milk. You won’t be able to tell the difference don’t worry!

You will need: 

  • 1 large russet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk * you could use skim milk or milk of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon if desired

What to do:
1. Prepare potatoes as noted above and put potatoes in a large pot with cold water.
2. Bring to a boil and let cook until tender about 20-25 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes and move them back to pot. Mash potatoes with potato masher or fork.
4. Combine mashed potatoes with butter, almond milk, salt, pepper, and cinnamon if you wish.
4. Serve warm and enjoy!

This recipe serves 4 people.

Healthier Blueberry Muffins

I really love breakfast, however, I rarely have time in the morning to make myself the type of breakfast I would love to eat- eggs, bacon, toast, fresh squeezed orange juice. Whenever I am in a rush and pick up breakfast while I am out, I love to get muffins! I figured why not do my own take on a healthier muffin that I can quickly grab when I am in a rush. This bluebery muffin was delicious and moist!

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I love baking and forcing my family members to eat what I make, usually no force necessary lol. And because I try to live a healthier lifestyle I am always looking for substitutes to make the the recipe healthy and simple. Although sometimes I probably could substitute more, usually when I decide to make something I go off what I have in my pantry and just make that work!

Here are my Healthier BlueBerry Muffins:

Blueberries seem to be in season now and my local food store was having major sales. It’s great to bake with blueberries because you do not have to worry about if they are a little soft.

Streusel Ingredient:

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon light agave nectar (optional)

Muffin Ingredient:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (you can use frozen but no need to defrost)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (maybe a little more if batter is dry)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin cups with paper liners. This recipe makes about 12 muffins. I had a little extra so I made a few mini muffins.
  2. Make Streusel topping by combining oats, butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and agave in a small bowl. Mix well and put to the side.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. (dry ingredients)
  4. In a smaller separate bowl beat the egg then add milk, vanilla, and oil.
  5. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ones a little at a time and stir for 10 seconds. The batter will have lumps, do not over mix – muffins will be tough.
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  6. Once batter is mixed add blueberries until evenly mixed through. Carefully spoon batter into muffin tins. I used a tablespoon and put about three heaping spoonfuls in each muffin.
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  7. Once muffin batter is in tin, take the streusel topping and carefully distribute on top of muffins. I put streusel topping on half of my muffins.
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  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until muffins are cooked through. Stick a toothpick in to see if the center is clean.
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  9. Enjoy!
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    Recipe was adapted from http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/bakingdesserts/r/blueberrymuf.htm

No Hassle: Agave and Cinnamon Banana Bread Topped with Chia Seeds and Oatmeal!

Try this No Hassle Delicious Healthy Banana Bread & I’d Love to Hear Your Favorite Banana Bread Recipe! 

Banana Bread is one of the first recipes I learned to make on my own. Since then I have kept a special place in my heart for homemade banana bread. It all began when one day my cousin and I suddenly had the urge to bake and all we had were some old ripe bananas. We were sick of traditional boxed cakes, and after a little Googling, we came across Banana Bread and thought that seemed easy enough. We made the bread, and ate it all in the same night! (Lol- I do not recommend) From then on I have continued to bake banana bread and even continue to add a few new ingredients every time I make it!

There is no doubt that we all love Banana Bread and have our own way of making it, however, since it marked the beginning of my love for cooking I thought it would only be fitting to have as my first blog entry.

So here we go….

Agave and Cinnamon Banana Bread Topped with Chia Seeds and Oatmeal!

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Right now this is my favorite combination! YUM!

I also love this Banana Bread Recipe because there is no need for a mixer. You can use one bowl and add all your ingredients to it! This recipe is also fairly healthy- everything in moderation! We don’t have any sugars added besides the light agave nectar, and I add chia seeds for a boost of Fiber and Omega 3’s.

Steps

Step 1) Get all your ingredients together. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

This is something I never did until a recent trip to the Culinary Institute in St. Helena, California. Here, the chef who was demonstrating stressed the importance of a Mis en Place – which is a French phrase for “putting in place”. He said that this was one of the first things he learned as a student at the CIA. Watching him cook with all his ingredients together just made sense.

You will need: 1 ½ cups of Flour, 1 teaspoon Baking Soda, ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon, sprinkle of Chia Seeds, pinch of Salt, 3 tablespoons of Butter, 1 Egg, 3 ripe Banana (I only had 2 ripe and one semi ripe) , ½ cup or less Light Agave Nectar, and 1 teaspoon Vanilla. *Not included in this picture but should be: Quick Cooking Oatmeal for topping.

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Step 2) Put 3 bananas in a mixing bowl while 3 tablespoons of cold butter is melting in microwave. Combine. Then mash butter and banana until slightly clumpy and mixture is combined.

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Step 3) Add your ½ a cup of agave nectar, 1 egg, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Step 4) Next add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and finally 1 teaspoon of baking soda over the mixture.

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Step 5) Add in the 1 ½ cups of flour last. And mix well until all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.

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Step 6) Pour the mixture into a greased baking loaf pan. Finally sprinkle with Chia Seeds, and then a bit of quick cooking oatmeal!

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Step 7) Now place mixture into the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour. Remove from pan and serve!

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*For an extra special treat: Slice a warm piece and add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and enjoy!

get-attachment-2.aspx Let me know what you think in the comments! And if you added your own special ingredients I’d love to hear!