If you are like me and still have lots of apples in your fridge from your early fall apple picking days out in various farms and don’t quite know what to do with them anymore, then this recipe is for you. This Fall Cobb salad is a delicious healthy lunch and crowd pleaser to be shared with friends and loved ones and serves as a lighter meal in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. It makes a really impressive centerpiece and you don’t need to add anything more (except perhaps, some fresh bread and crisp white wine). You can play around and add different seasonal ingredients such as pear, apple, roast butternut squash, crunchy romaine lettuce or different nuts or seeds – whatever you might have in your pantry. The poppy seed dressing is tangy and creamy and adds a little pop to the taste of the salad. And any salad with bacon is a winner in my book!
Fall Cobb Salad
1 romaine lettuce, chopped
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
4 rashers bacon, cooked and sliced
1 chicken breast, sautéed until brown then cut into strips
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 apple (of your choice), diced
1 pear, diced
1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves
1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
Optional extras: roasted cubed butternut squash, cubed avocado, , slices of roast portabello mushrooms, roasted sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds
Poppy Seed Dressing
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk (almond or dairy)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste)
1 pinch sea salt
- Place chopped romaine in a large salad bowl.
- Arrange other ingredients in rows: bacon, tomatoes, pear, apple, chicken, eggs.
- Make poppy seed dressing in a glass jar and give it a good shake
- Pour the dressing lightly over the whole salad.
- Serve right away.
We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.
The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.
I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!
- 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
- 1 pack lean ground turkey
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
- Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
- Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
- Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
- In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
- Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°.
- Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
- To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.
It’s that time of the year and pumpkins are everywhere. I have really grown to love pumpkins since I’ve been living in the USA and now proudly make pumpkin soups, smoothies and my famous pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving every year.
For a healthy snack, these pumpkin protein powerballs are a big hit in my house. They have been with me everywhere recently from the playground to coffee dates with my friends. They aren’t too sweet and have just the right amount of pumpkin flavor in them. Plus they have added protein making them a great snack after a run or workout when you need an energy boost. These powerballs are dairy free and gluten free and are perfect if you are trying to eat clean or detox. My kids love them for an after school snack when they get a bit grumpy and “hangry.”
The ingredients are simple: pumpkin puree, protein powder, chia seeds, oats and spices. They are simple to make and you can have a batch stored in your fridge all week for impromptu nibbling.
Tip: you can even make these into a tasty breakfast too by mashing everything into a small container. Try half for a delicious filling breakfast which is a super start to your day!
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 cup organic rolled oats
4 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I love Shaklee’s protein powder)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Mix everything together in a large bowl.
- Form into small balls and place onto a plate.
- Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Ah, fall and winter, a time to snuggle up in your cozy socks, watch movies, enjoy endless cups of tea and…be miserable with a slightly new variety of the cold or flu virus. No thanks!
Getting a cold is not an inevitable consequence of the fall or winter and the start of flu season. If you follow a few simple precautionary measures you can reduce the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu. And if you’re in the unfortunate position of already having a cold, these suggestions will help you get over it quickly!
Tis the season for holiday parties, feasts and gatherings! We have a lovely tradition with our Brooklyn friends every year of gathering during the holiday season and making some different seasonal dishes to share. We’re all foodies and love to eat, so this year the menu is already looking pretty impressive. I like to think we’re a little competitive too and want to make the best dishes we can to impress everyone. This year, I wanted to bring a hearty winter salad which featured kale (but of course) but also some seasonal ingredients which included the humble Brussels Sprout.
This fall, I’m officially in love with squash of all kinds. I love roasted rainbow slices of delicata squash, butternut squash soup and of course my old favorite acorn squash. Squash is such a versatile and easy fall vegetable and there is no reason to be intimated. In fact, you don’t need to peel squash at all when roasting. Just cut it in half, drizzle over some olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until soft. Roasting squash is kind of a miraculous event – you can’t even imagine that something so hard could turn into something so sweet and caramelized in the oven.
Even though I’m not vegetarian and look forward to my Thanksgiving turkey every year, I have many vegetarian friends and clients and they are always looking for an extra special dish for the holidays rather than being left with all the vegetable side dishes. Personally, I’m moving away from eating meat with every meal to having meat once in a while for a little extra flavor so this roasted acorn squash would be perfect for anyone – vegetarian or carnivore come Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. You can experiment your own spice mixture and add some holiday pizzazz with some cranberries or pomegranates too. Of course, you could add in a little ground pork or turkey into the stuffing mix but I think this is perfect just as it is.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Pomegranates (serves 2 or 1 hungry vegetarian)
1 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mix of cooked wild rice and brown rice – preferably cooked in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just a little soft for about 30 minutes.
- Saute the onion, scallions, mushrooms and celery in the butter. Stir occasionally and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice, chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Remove the squash from the oven and add the rice filling to each half.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place squash back in the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes until the squash is completely tender.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve warm.
Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!
It’s Thanksgiving this week in the United States. It’s a wonderful long weekend where we get to enjoy delicious feasts with our loved ones. You may be wondering how you can avoid gaining an extra 10 lbs over the holiday season. How do you stay healthy while traveling, attending countless holiday parties or having your Great Aunt Mildred’s marshmallow-laden-sweet-potato casserole staring you in the face?
Here are my top tips for staying healthy this week and through the end of the year:
- Pack healthy food for your trip. Pack some healthy snacks (carrot or red pepper sticks, hummus, fruit with a small container of almond butter, roasted nuts, seeds or a salad) for your car or plane trip to avoid the temptation of over processed snacks and fast food.
- Never arrive hungry. Don’t save your calories for the big meal. Always have a healthy breakfast and lunch and get in some exercise before your holiday dinner. Have a little snack of fruit or nuts before the main meal too.
- Load up on the veggies and salads and add a little meat and sauce on the side. Why not try my Autumn Kale, Butternut Squash & Pomegranate salad too?
- Go easy on the alcohol. Alcohol has tons of extra hidden calories and sugar that we often don’t even account for.
- If you go off track for one day, don’t worry. We should all be able to enjoy the holidays without feeling anxious or guilty about food. Let it go. Start again the next day with a super healthy green smoothie or vegetable frittata for breakfast, get some exercise and set off with new healthy intentions.
Have a wonderful week, Happy Thanksgiving to my American followers and cheers to your health!