Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apple Cake

Okay guys, I'm taking a break from my usual uber-healthy recipes to give you a full fat, full flavor, nitty-gritty, calorie-laden AMAZINGLY-tasty apple cake recipe.  It is good, very, very good - and I just had to share (and I have also heard some complaints recently from friends who are tired of all my healthy posts - so this one is for you!).  **And please note, I will have my healthy apple cake alternative posted in a few days for those of you who still enjoy all my crazy, healthy baked good recipes!!

This recipe comes from my friend and neighbor, Emily's, blog The Sister's Palette. She brought me a slice of it the other day to try and it was so delicious I had to make it for myself. It is a great recipe for incorporating all those glorious fall apples you've been picking lately! That's what I did....I think we picked a bushel and a peck! ;)

Here is the recipe straight from The Sister's Palette:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups diced apples (peeled and cored, about 3 apples) <I actually didn't peel the apples>

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Grease either a 13x9 inch baking pan, or 2 round cake pans, whichever you prefer.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients and then add the apples.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir to combine <the batter is so thick I used my hands to incorporate everything together>.  Batter will be rather thick.  

Pour into baking pan or cake pans <again, I used my hands>, whichever you are using, and cook for 50-55 minutes. 

<Let cool in the pan before flipping out on a clean cutting board and slicing>

To serve, I like to top with powdered sugar (sprinkled over top through a sifter) and whip cream.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Butternut Bisque with Brown-Butter Sage Pine Nuts

Another winner from one of my favorite blogs ever, The Cafe Sucre Farine. Whenever I'm looking for a great soup, I check this gal's blog. She has never disappointed me - ever!!!! This butternut bisque is just plain delicious and perfect for autumn! The flavors come together beautifully - roasting the squash gives another layer of yummy.  The brown-butter sage pine nuts are magnificent!! Enjoy with a good crusty bread and a side salad.

**The only thing I changed was I substituted 1/4 cup heavy cream for the yogurt simply because I didn't have the yogurt on hand. 

Here is The Cafe Sucre Farine's Butternut Bisque verbatim:

For the soup:
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
  • 2 medium bay leaf
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fine chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • For the pine nuts:
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fresh sage
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • tiny sage sprigs and/or finely chopped rosemary and sage, for garnish, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Cut butternut squash* in half and scoop out seeds. Rub each half all over with olive oil and place, cut side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with a small sharp knife. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the squash is cooling, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-large pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add onion and salute for 4-5 minutes or until onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add chicken broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
  5. Carefully scoop out roasted squash and add to the pot along with the Greek yogurt, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Using and immersion blender or a regular blender, blend until silky smooth.
  6. For the pine nuts, melt butter in a small saute pan. Continue cooking until butter starts to foam and turn golden. Swirl pan occasionally to prevent burning. When butter starts to turn pale golden brown, add sage, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, add pine nuts and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until pine nuts turn golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels to cool.
  7. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls. Top with a small dollop of Greek yogurt. Swirl yogurt slightly with a toothpick or the pointed end of a skewer and scatter with a small spoonful of the pine nuts. Garnish with small sage sprigs and more finely chopped herbs, if desired.
* Butternut squash are really hard to cut. To simplify cutting process, place squash in microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes before cutting. Squash will not cook but will soften slightly and will be much easier to cut.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pumpkin Bars with Maple Pecan Glaze

Oh boy am I loving the blog Detoxinista! She has wonderful, whole food recipes that are full of health and deliciousness all at the same time. My friend, Shanna, told me I had to make these stat, and by gum, I did! The bars themselves are moist, with a hint of sweetness from the honey and pumpkin. But the Maple Pecan Glaze really takes them to the next, if you have the time, please make the glaze!!!

And btw, these are gluten free!! Bonus!!

***And I did add 1/2 cup of gluten free oats just to give it a little texture!

Here is Detoxinista's recipe verbatim:
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
***See above for my one add-in!

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8" x 8" pan generously with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Transfer the batter to the greased pan, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm.
  4. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then cut and serve!
  5. These bars are delicious on their own, but if you're aiming to impress, glaze these bars with my Maple Pecan Glaze. (recipe posted separately)

Maple Pecan Glaze:
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. The glaze may be used immediately, but will thicken up when chilled. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Onion & Green Chili Enchiladas

Just whipped this Taste of Home Magazine recipe up for dinner tonight!! It was quite good!! Had to share because it was just so fast to throw it all together.  I served this with a big side of guacamole, chips and salsa. Enjoy!

*I am gluten free, so I used corn tortillas for myself, but used regular tortillas for my husband and kids.  So, if you'd like to make it GF, that's easy!

**Also, if you would like to add meat from a rotisserie chicken to the inside of the enchiladas, I think that'd be the perfect addition.

***I also added shredded romaine and chopped tomatoes to the enchiladas. I love the crunch the romaine gives the soft enchiladas.

Here is the recipe from Taste of Home:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inches)* <use corn tortillas to make these gluten free>
  • 2 cans (10 ounces each) green enchilada sauce
  • Minced fresh cilantro, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 8-10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Cool slightly. 
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 cup cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir in cooled onions. 
3. Place 2 tablespoons mixture off-center on each tortilla. Roll up and place in a well-greased 13x9-in. baking dish, seam side down. Top with sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese. 
4. Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Yield: 6 servings. 

*I served with chopped romaine, chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives with sides of black beans and guacamole, chips and salsa. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Butternut Squash & Apple Puree with Rice & Sage

I love the creaminess of risotto, but I just don't always have the time to pull one together. This recipe was so delicious AND so easy!! I used frozen, pre-cooked rice and cubed frozen butternut squash. It couldn't have been simpler. Don't skimp on the fresh really adds to the meal. Serve with a nice crusty bread and side salad. Enjoy!!!

**This makes two dinner sized servings or four side servings

10 oz bag frozen butternut squash
1 large sweet apple, cored, unpeeled and sliced (I used a gala)
2 Tbl butter, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 sage leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 oz goat cheese, plus more for garnish
2 cups cooked rice (I used pre-cooked frozen brown rice that I nuked in the microwave)
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the water. Add butternut squash and apple to the water and boil until they are fork tender, around 10 to 14 minutes.  Drain the water and add 1 Tbl of butter to the squash and apples and let it melt. Give it a good stir. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbl butter in a large pan over medium. Saute onion, garlic and sage for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Puree squash, apples, broth, heavy cream and nutmeg in a blender until smooth.

Pour squash puree over the onion mixture sitting in the large pan. Add the apple cider and goat cheese.  Turn the stove on again to a low heat. Stir until the goat cheese is just melted. Add the two cups of cooked rice. Stir until combined. Taste and add salt & pepper to your liking.

Spoon rice into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and a little chopped sage. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Banana Carrot & Apple Bread

When I see two ripe bananas sitting on my counter on a Sunday morning I know they are telling me it's time to make banana bread. But I made banana bread last week and the week, I wanted to shake it up a bit. I added a shredded carrot and grated apple. The results were super yummy and I had to share. I think I may have a record for number of banana bread posts on my blog. But I can't and I won't stop....all varieties are just so good!! Enjoy!

***PLEASE note I made this bread gluten free by substituting the exact amount of Cup 4 Cup flour for the all-purpose flour. The results were delicious!!
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 carrots, grated
  • 1 medium apple, grated with skin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (brown sugar if you don't have coconut)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
For the vanilla yogurt glaze, optional
  • 1/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • a little water for thinning
Oven to 350F

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the white flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
In a larger mixing bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, sugar, egg, 1/2 cup yogurt and vanilla. Add grated carrots, grated apple, and melted coconut oil until well combined. Slowly add in dry mixture. Mix until just combined.
Fold in the shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, if using.
Bake for 45 - 48 minutes. Remove from oven and allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for an hour.  

Once the bread has cooled, remove from pan and slice. 
To make the yogurt glaze, whisk together the 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt and powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Add a little water if needed to thin.  Drizzle over top of the banana bread. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spanakopita Loaded Potatoes

Oh My GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!! I literally INHALED these tonight!!! INHALED, I tell you!! These potatoes are so incredibly decadent, scrumptious, delicious!! Make these for dinner STAT! Your family will be so glad you did! Oh, and if you love pine nuts and kalmata olives- add them!! Total icing on the cake! Enjoy!!

Recipe from Eating Well magazine:

*I only used two potatoes, yet I did not cut the rest of the ingredients in half.  It made the perfect amount for two adults for dinner.
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, finely chopped <I used fresh> OR 4 cups frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese <I used full fat>
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • <I added a few tablespoons of pine nuts - SOO good!!> 
  • <I also added chopped kalmata olives to my potatoes - SOOO good!!!!>


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce potatoes in several places with a fork. Bake directly on the center rack until tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spinach, garlic and oregano; cook, stirring, until hot, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
  5. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Place the skins in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Add cream cheese, pepper and salt to the bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in the spinach mixture and 1/2 cup feta. Stuff each potato skin with about 3/4 cup of the filling. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining feta <and pine nuts and/or kalmata olives, if using>.
  6. Bake until the filling is steaming and the feta is browned, 25 to 35 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Walnut Date Cookies (The Healthiest Cookies EVER)

This recipe from Detoxinista just blew my mind!!!! My friend, Shanna, told me I had to make these and boy was she right!! They are beyond delicious, healthy, easy, moist....shall I go on!?!?!? I will make these again and again.....I had to blog them immediately because you need to make them right now too!

Detoxinista is a wonderful blog full of healthy, scrumptious meals and goodies. Check her out! Here is her recipe:
  • 1½ cups raw walnut halves <I used 1 cup walnuts + 1/2 cup almond bc it's all I had>
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 12)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water) <I was feeling lazy on this Labor Day morning and just used one regular chicken egg>
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional) <I used 1/2 cup raw cacoa nibs- YUM!>
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the dates and walnuts together until a crumbly texture is formed. Add in the salt, baking soda, vanilla and flax egg and process again until the batter is relatively smooth. Add in the chocolate chips and briefly pulse, just to combine.
  2. Spoon the batter onto a lined baking sheet, and use your hands to gently flatten the cookie dough. (Tip: Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking!) Bake at 350F for 12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Serve immediately, and store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer for best shelf life. These cookies should last a week in the fridge, and a month or more in the freezer.