Want a simple, no-fuss dessert that doesn't require a lot sweat in the kitchen? Then you will want to add this recipe to your holiday menu! Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mom would make this Apple Crisp recipe growing up, so whenever I make this concoction it reminds me of my childhood (yes, it's that good). It even provides some nutritional value for a dessert - much more than fruitcake! 😉 Also, it can be tailored to meet a variety of food preferences (gluten-free and vegan) and it can be customized if you are on a food elimination diet for food sensitivities. Substitution ideas (for those on a LEAP elimination diet): peaches in lieu of apples, blueberries instead of raisins, and quinoa flakes in place of oats.
Move over butternut and spaghetti squash! It's time to give the "new kid on the block" a try - delicata squash. I first discovered this unique gourd when I was in college and have been a big fan ever since. I guess you could say it was love at first bite!
Delicata squash combines the best features of both summer squash and winter squash in that its skin has a tender, appealing texture (when cooked) with a firm flesh that tastes like sweet potatoes! This heirloom squash variety is packed with fiber (especially if you eat the tender skin), and is chock full of beta-carotene (an antioxidant that supports eye health) and vitamin C, but is relatively low in calories. When selecting a delicata squash, opt for one that is heavy for its size, is firm, and has dark green stripes (I should've selected a squash with greener stripes).
I prefer roasting my delicata squash whole in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees, but when I'm short on time, I simply add ~4" water to a glass dish and microwave the squash for 4 minutes and then rotate the squash and microwave for an additional 4 minutes, it can't get any easier!
After the squash is finished cooking, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (you can roast the seeds for a snack, just like pumpkin seeds!). My favorite toppings include coconut oil with apple pie spice. If you get a really good one, it doesn't need any seasoning! Who knew simple eating could be so delicious?
You can find recipes online for squash bisque/soup, squash hummus, and more various recipes! This versatile squash provides a nice break from the more common winter squash varieties without sacrificing any key nutritional features.
If watermelon means summer, then pumpkin means fall! There’s no denying that when it comes to autumn recipes, pumpkin often stars as a key ingredient. In addition to its versatility, this gourd is loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that supports eye health and can help prevent cancer. Don’t be hesitant to use canned pumpkin in your recipes since canned pumpkin contains triple the amount of vitamin A compared to fresh pumpkin!
This water-rich fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit!) is also an excellent source of soluble fiber. In fact, 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin packs almost 4 grams fiber! Soluble fiber elicits many vital health benefits: it lowers LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type), helps prevent spikes in blood sugar, can assist with maintaining a healthy weight (since it helps increase satiety), and also aids with regularity in the bathroom.
Versatile Pumpkin Ideas:
1. Stir a couple tablespoons pumpkin into vanilla yogurt. This works better with regular yogurt than Greek yogurt since Greek yogurt is already thick, in my opinion. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on top for enhanced flavor.
2. Add some pumpkin to hearty stew or chili for a thicker consistency, or make pumpkin soup.
3. Use pumpkin as a partial fat substitute in baked goods instead of oil, mayo, or sour cream. In 2009, I won the "Healthy Holiday Recipe Makeover", sponsored by The Health Journal. You can check out the recipe below. Disclaimer: It is delicious! (Tip: to enlarge the documents below, click on the icon in the lower right-hand corner).
4. Mix some pumpkin into your hot cereal. Check out the recipe I created below. It's easy to make and each serving provides 12 grams of fiber, so it keeps you feeling satisfied for a long time!
Combine above ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and stir. Microwave or cook on stovetop until well cooked (about 3-4 minutes). If microwaving, I recommend placing bowl on top of a plate in case you accidentally cook it too long and it overflows. Allow hot cereal to cool for a few minutes before eating. Yum!
About buckwheat: Don't let the name fool you - buckwheat is not a grain, it's actually a seed. It's also gluten-free, so it's a viable option for those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity. Buckwheat is a complete protein, which means it provides all of the essential amino acids the body cannot manufacture itself. I like the Bob's Red Mill brand because it has a pleasant texture. The fiber, volume, and complete protein combination of this recipe makes it very sustaining and it provides a whopping dose of antioxidants from the pumpkin and apple, plus ALA omega-3 fatty acids from the flax. And it's delicious!
As a “thank you” for reading my blog, I’m sponsoring a drawing for a free bag of Bob's Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Hot Cereal! To qualify for the drawing:
I am a credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Wellness Coach, and I am passionate about helping people achieve a healthy/balanced body, mind, and spirit! In my spare time, I enjoy running, playing with my two hound dogs, experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with God, and doing fun activities with my husband and friends!