This fall I joined the Hub City Farmers Market CSA – Fall Farm bag, and am really loving it! I have heard about CSA’s before, and have had friends who have joined them, but 4 servings of produce every week was just too much food and it would have gone to waste. This farm bag is perfect as it supports local farmers with produce that has been picked within the last 24-48 hours and is only $15 per week for 8 weeks. Every Saturday, I select which items I would like in my farm bag, and the bag is actually delivered to my office on Tuesday! It is a very exciting part of my day. This season is almost over, but if you live or work in the the Spartanburg area, I would highly recommend the Hub City Farmer’s Market CSA program for Spring.
Since it is a fall farm bag, we have been getting a lot of fall squashes such as butternut, acorn and of course spaghetti squash! This has caused me to get quite creative with my fresh recipes (exactly the result I wanted out of this program). This week I got a little creative with my spaghetti squash.
If you have never had spaghetti squash, I highly recommend you try it. It is a gluten free option to spaghetti, is a whole food (no added chemicals, preservatives, fat or salt) and actually has way less calories than real spaghetti. One cup of spaghetti has 221 calories, compared to spaghetti squash which has about 40 calories per cup – that is over 5x the calories! And I promise you, the texture and the flavor is way better than bland out of the box spaghetti. Try using spaghetti squash in any dish you would typically use spaghetti noodles (with pesto, marinara sauce etc).
Recently, I have really been obsessed with these “spaghetti squash boat” recipes you see on Pinterest . It’s super easy, just roast the squash, add in your toppings, roast a little more and serve. Check out my BLT Spaghetti Squash Bowl below and don’t be expecting leftovers .. you will want to eat it all!
BLT Spaghetti Squash Boats
- 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 pieces nitrate free bacon (I used Applegate)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 6oz bag baby spinach
- 2oz goat cheese, divided
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the both ends off of the spaghetti squash, then cut it in half. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
- Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and grate fresh black pepper over each half of the spaghetti squash.
- Place the spaghetti squash face side down on a cookie sheet. Bake on 425 for 35-40 minutes.
- While the spaghetti squash is cooking, cook the bacon in a large frying pan on medium-low heat trying not to char it.
- Once the bacon is cooked, place on a plate with a paper towel and pat off the extra grease.
- Add the spinach and halved tomatoes to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
- Once the spaghetti squash is roasted, remove from oven and turn over face side up. Fill the middle of the spaghetti squash with the spinach and tomatoes and top with crumbled bacon and 1oz of crumbled goat cheese.
- Roast for another 5 minutes on 425, and serve!
Until recently, I would not have considered myself a “breakfast person.” In fact, I didn’t even like eggs until I met Meaghan in 2011 …. and I was 22. Back in our MUSC days, I used to eat a 1/2 cup of dry breakfast cereal every morning. There is even a picture of our pantry with all of our 12 cereals lined up in our Mt. Pleasant apartment. I would eat my dry cereal in the car, while driving to work (you can imagine what my car looked like).
Then I got a job, moved to Greenville, and started trying to eat a big girl breakfast: oatmeal. I tried the instant oatmeal, then the organic instant oatmeal, and even tried making baked oatmeal. I never quite felt right after eating oatmeal, and was absolutely ravenous after 30 minutes.
In April we completed about 6 weeks with whole foods only: no processed out of the box type stuff, we made everything. During this time, I got hooked on this simple, yet healthy and very satisfying breakfast. Every Sunday night I make a big batch of quinoa with cinnamon apples and walnuts or pecans, and eat off of it throughout the week. This provides everything you need in a healthy breakfast: carbs from the apples and quinoa, protein from the quinoa and nuts and healthy fat from the nuts. This recipe has 5.2g of protein – almost as much as an egg!
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa with Nuts
Servings: 6 (3/4 cup each)
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 2 small apples, chopped (I use organic pink lady)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice(I typically use pecans or walnuts)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Cinnamon to taste
- Place the quinoa, water and milk in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer, stirring frequently to ensure the quinoa and milk do not brown to the bottom ~ 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, melt the butter in a medium sized frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped apples and season with cinnamon to taste. Stir frequently and cook for ~5 minutes.
- In a large serving dish with a lid, combine the quinoa, cinnamon apples and nuts and place in the refrigerator. (It will last up to 7 days.)
- Reheat 3/4 cup of the quinoa breakfast mix in the morning by placing in the microwave for 30 seconds – and you’re good to go!
Nutrition facts: 214 calories, 11.9g total fat, 3.2g saturated fat, 23g total carbs, 5.2g protein, 45mg sodium
What’s your go-to work day breakfast?
Mug: Fiestaware Poppy Jumbo Cup
Beets are the type of food that when consumed, I can almost feel my body saying, “thanks, I needed that”! Nutrient dense with powerful antioxidants and a unique flavor that is easily enhanced, beets are the ultimate vegetable. I roasted mine with an easy lemon herbal pesto-like mix and finished it off with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado – delish! Goes well as a side with fish, chicken, meat etc!
Roasted Beets with Fresh Herbs & Goat Cheese
Serves: 2 (with leftovers)
- 1lb yellow or red beets, diced (save the leaves!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped beet leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese
- 1/4 avocado, diced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash beets, cut off the leaves and put to the side for later. Carefully peel the beets using a peeler. Dice into bite size pieces.
3. Place the diced beets on a baking sheet, toss in olive oil and fresh pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until beets are fork tender.
4. While the beets cook, combine beet leaves, parsley, dill, garlic, green onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and lemon juice.
5. When beets are cooked, add into herb mixture and toss lightly. Lastly, add in sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and avocado. Enjoy!
It’s Chili time baby. Why not add some color and flavor to make your experience a slightly healthier one?! I added sweet potatoes and lots of fresh herbs with a good combination of delicious chili spices. When cooking chili, its important to let it simmer for a while in order to let the spices bloom properly, always taste and adjust spices after you have let it cook for quite a while. I did not add beans to mine, but it is always a great option! Enjoy!
Serves: 4 (2 + 2 leftovers)
- 2 tbps olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 to 1.5 lbs ground turkey breast
- fresh black pepper
- 1 sweet potato cubed
- 1 can 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want an extra kick!)
- Please note you can also use a “chili spice packet” in lieu of the previous three ingredients – just follow packet directions!
- pinch of salt
- 1.5 cups of water
- 3 green onions sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- sliced avocado for garnish
Directions: 1. Heat olive oil on medium and sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add diced red onion. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add ground turkey breast and season with black pepper. Stir frequently until ground turkey is cooked through. 2. Add sweet potato, diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, seasonings, and water. Allow pot to simmer for at least 25 minutes. This will allow the seasonings to bloom and the sweet potato to cook thoroughly. Consider adding an additional cup of water if too much liquid evaporates during the cooking process. 3. Once flavor has infused to your liking, add green onion, cilantro, and parsley. Serve with fresh sliced avocado and extra fresh herbs.
Happy National Pomegranate month! It is that time of year when you can start to find pomegranates in the grocery store, and why not take advantage?
Fun fact about me: I have never actually cut open and de-seeded a pomegranate before. It was actually surprisingly easy. I used a tutorial from Simply Recipes. Basically, you cut off the bottom and the “flower” on the top, before cutting 7 shallow cuts around the pomegranate. I peeled apart the pieces of pomegranate and let the seeds fall into a bowl of water. Many tell me separating the membrane from the seed can be a pain, but with this method the membrane just floated to the top! Highly recommended.
I am excited to bring some festive pomegranate recipes to you this month. My first is an antioxidant rich pomegranate and quinoa dish. It works perfect as a side to grilled chicken or fish, or put it on top of a bed of lettuce! Quinoa is the only grain that has protein in it, so you are sure to feel full with a smaller amount. Bonus: it takes 20 minutes to make. Hello new go to quick and healthy meal!
Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad with Feta
Servings: 2 + 1 leftover serving
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 3 stalks celery, small dice
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- Pepper to taste
- Cook the 1 cup of quinoa according to the package directions.
- While the quinoa is cooking, dice the celery, and chop the scallions.
- Once the quinoa is cooked and still warm, add the olive oil, feta cheese and pepper and mix until cheese is evenly distributed.
- In a large bowl, combine the quinoa mix, pomegranate seeds, celery and scallions.
- Mix well and serve along side your favorite lean meat or on top of a bed of lettuce for a complete meal!
What other kind of pomegranate recipes would you like to see here? Leave your comments below!
I’ll admit it: I’m not much of a baker.
Some say baking is like chemistry experiment, and the amount of each ingredient is very important. Well..this C+ chemistry 101 student gets very frustrated with how precise and accurate everything has to be. So, when Meaghan and I divided up our pumpkin spice series blogs, I knew that this one would be a challenge for me.
You wouldn’t be too far off by calling these superfood cookies. Not only are they low fat because we use pumpkin instead of loads of butter, but they also contain many healthy antioxidants in the cranberries and walnuts. Walnuts contain healthy fats that will keep you full, and provide protein too. Lastly, we use whole wheat flour and oats for healthy fiber to keep you full. Told ya – it’s a superfood cookie!
I hope you enjoy this perfected fall festive cookie! The cranberry and walnut flavors together also make it great for the holidays. #HBTip: Use 1 cup fresh cranberries instead of 1/2 cup dried when they are in season this winter.
Pumpkin Oat Cookies with Walnuts
Yield: 20-24 cookies
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate larger bowl, add the melted butter, olive oil, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix well.
- Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla to the sugar mix in the large bowl. Mix well until ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in the large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until ingredients are combined and evenly distributed.
- Fold the cranberries and walnuts into the mixture (do not over mix).
- Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Combine about 2 tablespoons of dough with your hands, and form them into balls. Place about 8 cookies on each sheet and bake for about 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned on top. Remove cookies off of the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack. Repeat until all of the dough has been baked (about 20-24 cookies).
- #HBTip: Re-use the parchment paper for the second or third batch of cookies and save $ and recycle!
Nutrition Facts for 1 cookie: 113 calories, 1.4g saturated fat, 117mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate, 1.2g fiber, 2.1g protein.
Fun fact: I learned during my trial and error that this recipe makes really great muffins. (Yes I was trying to make cookies, and I made muffin cookies) Simply use alter the following ingredients from above: 2 tablespoons of butter, 6oz plain low fat yogurt instead of oil, use 1 whole can of pumpkin, 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour. Thanks to my friends who helped me out in eating my first batch of “muffin cookies.” It’s all in the experience!
What other kinds of cookies are you looking to try this holiday season?