November 21, 2014

Simple Farm Apple Crisp



Each fall, we go to a farm to pick out pumpkins and apples. I might even indulge in an apple-cider doughnut or two. Fall baking is my all-time favorite so I needed an apple crisp recipe that would help keep apples as the main flavor without a bunch of added sugar and complicated ingredients.  This is a quick, simple crisp recipe best with apples you pick yourself during a fall adventure.  Enjoy!

 










Ingredients 
4-5 medium baking apples (try Honey Crisp or Pink Lady) apples peeled, cored, and sliced thin.
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Coconut oil for coating pan
 
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Combine apple slices, honey, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and stir gently to coat. Place mixture directly in the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, blend salt, brown sugar, oats, flour, and coconut flakes until evenly combined. With your fingertips or an electric mixer, roughly blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Spread the topping evenly over the apples and bake until topping is crispy and apples are tender, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool ~ 30 minutes before serving.                                                                                                                                                                       *Original recipe by Ginger Hultin Nov. 2015

November 6, 2014

Powdered Creamer: the bad, the worse and the ugly

Recently on a plane, I requested coffee as the attendant came around. Being from Seattle and Chicago, I’m somewhat of a coffee fiend and when I’m traveling I’ll take what I can get. Recent studies keep touting the health benefits of coffee so I’m drinking it (in moderation) guilt-free these days. But use caution when adding sugar or cream…this is where you can get into trouble. 

She handed me a creamer packet and I glanced at the ingredients.  To my horror, this tiny powder packet contains a bunch of chemicals and products some states are banning due to their known detrimental health effects.  Beware! Let’s break this packet down:








Corn Syrup Solids: dehydrated, concentrated corn syrup

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil: TRANS FAT!!

Soy Lecithin   something to make it taste creamy and not separate; an emulsifier


Artificial flavor: Artificial flavors can be a variety of generally petroleum-based chemicals that flavor foods.



Sodium Caseinate: a milk protein (caution with dairy allergies)

Dipotassium Phosphate: a protein stabilizer so the product won’t clot up when hot water is added.  This product is also commonly used in fertilizer and can act as a skin, lung and eye irritant. 

Sodium Silicoaluminate:  anti-caking agent and controversial source of dietary aluminum     

Artificial color:  A combination of the seven approved artificial food dyes including Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Red 40 and 3, Yellow 5 and/or 6.  Food dyes are petroleum based.   

Mono and Diglycerides: Made from soy, cottonseed, sunflower or palm oils, these compounds helps fat blend into water, another emulsifier. Mono and di-glycerides do not qualify as trans-fats since trans-fats are considered “tri-glycerides”. However, these can be a source of hydrogenated fatty acids without the label - tricky! Vegetarians and vegans use caution since mono and diglycerides can be either animal or plant-derived.  It’s very hard to know if not labeled. 


            All that being said, I drank my coffee black. Read your labels carefully, everyone!  

October 23, 2014

Spicy Vegan Lentil Soup



I wanted a savory autumn classic but I wanted it spicy!  This soup is so simple and makes perfect leftovers. Use up the last of your Farmers Market produce and enjoy this high-iron, high-fiber, antioxidant-rich twist on a basic lentil soup. Feel free to sub in other veggies you have for the ones listed in the ingredients. This is the ultimate multitasking recipe; prep the veggies and spices, then you can complete the steps in quick succession towards dinner.

                                    



Makes ~8-12 cups

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup French dry green lentils, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomato
  • 4 cups vegetable stoc
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper 
  • Hot sauce as needed

Instructions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips and cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent. Add bay leaf, oregano, cumin, chili flakes and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add rinsed lentils to the pot along with potato, tomatoes and stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Add water, as necessary, ½ cup at a time if needed but a thicker consistency is best.
  3. Near the end of the cooking time, add spinach to the pot and stir in. Cover soup for the remaining 1-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add in salt and cracked black pepper, to taste. Garnish with hot sauce of your choice if desired.


**Soup will keep in the fridge for a few days and will only get better with time as the flavors develop. For long-term storage, freeze individual portions for up to 1 month.

Original recipe by Ginger Hultin MS RD LDN