Living a healthy life is supposed to be fun and filled with good food!

Author: Katie

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

The fall season is finally here! Why not cozy up with a warm cup of this naturally gluten-free and vegetarian Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup?   With hints of lemon and topped with parmesan cheese, this healthy version of a broccoli soup classic is sure to […]

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Dinner in under 30 minutes with little to no cleanup? Try this tasty and simple Pesto Baked Tilapia Sheetpan Dinner for your next weeknight meal!

Lavender Honey Glazed Healthy Apple Muffins

Lavender Honey Glazed Healthy Apple Muffins

Apple season is here! Try these healthy and fulfilling Lavender Honey Glazed

Apple Muffins for a new breakfast routine this fall!

 

An apple a day…

As apple season arrives, it’s time to get out those cozy sweaters! If it isn’t obvious enough, my favorite season is fall, and yes, I am a fan of anything pumpkin-flavored! With the colder weather approaching, hot cereals are the go-to breakfast routine, so why not change it up with muffins? Using a seasonal favorite combined with the uniqueness of lavender, these apple muffins will not dissapoint!

We are all familiar with apple pie, caramelized apples, and baked apples during the autumn season, and boy are they tasty! These apple muffins will deliver the same sweet and crisp apple taste with less sugar and added fat thanks to the natural sugars and texture of this amazing fruit!  Besides being an excellent source of vitamin C, just one medium apple packs in four grams of fiber totalling almost 20% of our 25-30 grams recommended daily intake of this satiating nutrient! For more about the health benefits of apples, read more from this delicious article by Eating Well here.

Apple Muffins 101

The best types of apples for baking should be tart and have a strong texture that won’t get mushy when cooking . I used Granny Smith and Fuji apples (on separate occassions) which lended a tartness to balance out the earthy lavender flavor in the glaze. For more on the types of apples for baking, read more from this article by The Kitchn here.

I decided to use fresh orange zest and its juice for a flavorful addition to the apples and lavender. Fresh juices from citrus (including lemons) go a long way in recipes. This makes it easier to skimp on the sweetener or salt called for in a recipe, such as baked goods, salad dressing, and marinades! To create a lavender infused glaze, it is key to have the right strainer. A mini sieve works perfectly! To see the version I use by Cuisinart, click here;  I swear I use these mesh strainers everyday in the kitchen!

 

 

 

apple muffins
Nothing better than freshly squeezed! Natural juices of fruits make excellent flavor additions in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades!

 

 

apple muffins
Muffin batter filled to the brim prior to baking.

 

If you prefer a vegan recipe, replace the eggs with flax eggs and substitute maple syrup for the honey glaze. Gluten-free flours can be used in place of the whole wheat flour, however I would recommend adding xantham gum or the addition of chia seeds to replace the texture that gluten provides.

Also, if you like the healthy alternative of these apple muffins, try my Banana pumpkin muffins recipe. Both recipes use a similar ratio of less sugar and oil by using more natural sweetness and moisture from the fruit’s pulp.

 

Food video coming soon!

I would also like to give a very special thanks to two of my colleagues for helping me create such a fun food video for this recipe (coming soon to the blog). Carolina Builes, creator of Keep it Caro, a successful Youtube channel (worth checking out!) and Diane Smith, food blogger for the deliciously vegan Plantbased Cooking.com.

Whether it is with a crisp hot cider or morning coffee, I hope you enjoy these muffins this gorgeous fall season!

 

Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of one orange (set aside juice for glaze)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • Lavender Honey Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup pure honey (maple syrup for vegan)
  • Juice of the orange set aside
  • 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Set aside a greased (or non-stick) 10-12 count muffin tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and sugar until well combined. Whisk the vanilla extract, zest, and milk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs also until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add in the flour, flaxseed meal, and baking soda and stir to combine. Do not overmix.
  4. Stir in the apples and walnuts.
  5. Pour the muffin batter into the muffin tins and fill to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test the center with a clean knife. Once done, turn off the oven and let the muffins cool on the counter.
  6. While the muffins are baking, in a small pot, combine the honey, lavender, and orange juice. Heat the glaze mixture on medium heat and turn down the heat to low once simmering. Continue for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and let cool for 15 minutes to let the lavender steep.
  7. Pour the glaze mixture into a sieve atop a small container to strain the lavender buds. Once the muffins are ready, gently drizzle with the lavender honey glaze.
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Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean to skimp on your H2O! Hydrate yourself with this new recipe for a refreshing Blackberry Watermelon Caprese!       Drink Up! No matter the season, adequate hydration is crucial all year round! Who hasn’t […]

Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Tired of oatmeal every morning? Try breakfast polenta as your next sweet or savory brunch alternative!   A-maize-ing Polenta Are you more of a sweet or savory breakfast eater?  Most days I crave eggs during the week, but on weekends I am ready for a […]

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Lay off the mayo with some heart healthy avocado! Try my

new recipe for this Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad at your

next cookout!

 

Hold the Mayo…

When it comes to our favorite side dishes at summer cookouts, we mostly think of creamy coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta salads. These rich and tasty sides are usually sneakily loaded with mayonnaise. Instead of filling up on healthy fats or protein, we are piling on too much of this decadent condiment. Don’t get me wrong–they are quite delicious paired with a juicy grilled burger (or in my case a veggie or salmon burger).

I am also not against mayonnaise as I use it in homemade tuna salad or my favorite sushi rolls. Excessive amounts, however, lead to much more fat and calories than in the recommended one tablespoon serving. Just one serving provides about 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. Not the end of the world, but most cole slaw and pasta salads are using way more than this.  Some recipes call for at least a half cup to one cup of mayonnaise in their recipes! To modify this pasta side favorite, I figured I would try the creamy and rich flavors of avocados!

 

avocado macaroni salad
Want to put those leftover vegetables to use? Stir them in a macaroni salad and add more texture and taste!

 

 

avocado macaroni salad
A delicious twist on the cookout staple using heart healthy avocado!

Recipe for Avocado Macaroni Salad

This pasta salad makes an excellent side dish to your favorite burger, but it is also just as tasty for a weekday lunch or dinner. Pair it with a side salad or your favorite vegetable for a well-balanced summer meal. If pasta salad is not your favorite, try substituting mayonnaise for the avocado dressing in a potato salad or cole slaw. And if avocados are not your favorite for this pasta salad, anoter great mayo substitute is plain yogurt.

Have any leftovers? Keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This pasta salad is likely not the best for freezing due to the avocados ripeness. For a debate on freezing avocados read this article from Food 52 here. Compared to my favorite avocado brownies recipe I created this year, these treats can be frozen. Since the avocados were cooked in the batter, the taste and texture was not affected.

 

avocado macaroni salad
A generous gift from a generous friend! How cute are these plates from Italy?

 

Lastly, I’d like to thank two special people for this recipe. First thank you is to my dear friend, Juliette, for her generous gift of these gorgeous plates from Italy. These adorable plates have been very useful for my cooking adventures!  Also, my wonderful mother-in-law, Elise, for being my “sous chef” and taste tester in the kitchen while we developed this avocado macaroni salad!

Hoping everyone is enjoying their summer cookouts this season with lots of fun and delicious seasonal produce!

 

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces macaroni pasta, uncooked
  • 2 celery stalks (about 1 cup), finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and largely chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (or according to package instructions). Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  2. In a large food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, avocado, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pasta, avocado mixture, vegetables, and dill.
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Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Add some spice in your life this summer season with these delicious and healthy Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers! Move over beef patties!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Want a dish that hydrates, restores energy, and satisfies hunger? Try my new recipe for this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl!   I received free samples of NuGo Nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post. The opinions and comments of […]

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

A fulfilling and nutritious meal in under 30 minutes! Try this summer classic, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho for a light and healthy dish this season!

 

 

Gazpacho Basics

Ice cream is not the only summer refresher! Stay cool with vegetables! Gazpacho, a cold soup summer favorite, is packed with tons (and I mean tons) of vegetables! What makes this dish so amazing? It takes very little time to make, and can include a variety of vegetables! Leftover vegetables in your refrigerator? Say so long to food waste!

Traditional gazpacho includes red tomatoes as the base using a 3:1 ratio of tomatoes to other vegetables. However, there are different types of this soup ranging from vibrant red to delicious green and white.  Thanks to the addition of other vegetables, gazpacho can be unique in flavor and texture.

 

heirloom tomato gazpacho
Try fresh avocado for a fun topping boosting with healthy fats!

 

In this heirloom tomato gazpacho recipe, I used cucumbers and red pepper for extra vegetables adding more taste and texture.  The traditional version of gazpacho also includes fresh bread. For this version, I used only what I had available in my kitchen. Feel free to add either bread or breadcrumbs for a heartier texture. Want some fun toppings to your gazpacho?  Try fresh avocado (as I did in this recipe), an additional olive oil drizzle, or even fresh basil. If you want to add more protein to make this a complete meal, add white beans, cheese, or even seafood on top! To learn more about the creative varieties of gazpacho, check out this article by Food & Wine.

 

heirloom tomato gazpacho
Colorful heirloom tomatoes gives gazpacho a unique twist!

 

Eat Your Vegetables!

You’ve been told to eat your vegetables numerous times when you were a child, and there’s a reason why! Eating more fruits and vegetables has been linked to potentially reduce the risks of chronic illnesses. Thanks to the abundance of nutrition, they fight inflammation, help maintain a healthier weight, and even lower blood pressure.

Tomatoes, the main ingredient in gazpacho, are filled with many nutrients! Vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium just to name a few. Lycopene, a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their rich red color is part of the carotenoid family. This antioxidant, a free radical fighter, has been linked to reducing risks for heart disease and cancer. Lycopene is naturally fat soluble. Pairing a small amount of olive oil in this gazpacho makes it even more easily absorbed. Need another example? A creamy tomato soup for the winter season such as my Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk!

For more on the types of nutrients in fruits and vegetables, and their roles in our health visit the USDA’s Choose my Plate.

 

 

 

 

Easy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Easy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped (makes about 2 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup heirloom tomatoes, largely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and largely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, largely chopped with seeds removed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, peeled and largely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional topping: chopped avocado, basil leaves, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large food processor or high powered blender, pulse tomatoes until pureed consistency.
  2. Add the remaining vegetables, shallot, garlic, and paprika. Pulse until blended thoroughly.
  3. Slowly pour in the vinegar and olive oil from the small opening of the processor or blender while blending to evenly distribute the oil. Turn off the food processor.
  4. Transfer to a soup bowl and top with optional toppings or serve as is.
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Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Pizza

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Pizza

A quick and healthy pizza in under 30 minutes! Try these tasty BBQ jackfruit Naan pizzas for your next Meatless Monday! Jackfruit, a magical, mysterious, and mouth-watering fruit that fools even meat lovers! The delicious fruit is taking over the role of chicken and pork […]


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