Happy Fall! Today, September 23rd marks the first official day of Fall and I am here for it! As much as I love Summer, there’s just something about the Fall. The leaves, the clothes, the food! I could almost smell it coming this weekend as I walked through Central Park. And then, I found myself at my usual Saturday morning “happy place” (the farmers market) and bam….there it was, Fall in all its glory. There were gourds and pumpkins instead of peony’s and hydrangeas. The strawberries have been replaced with bountiful, beautiful apples and pears. I saw butternut squash, zucchini and brussel sprouts galore. Around every corner, Fall was staring me in the face with its gorgeous “Superfoods” and I was inspired to cook!
That’s the thing I love so much about the Farmers Market. It’s almost like the market itself tells you what season it is and what you should be cooking. Whenever I’m in a rut, I take a stroll through our local farmers market and I end up walking away with the ingredients for a healthy, delicious and incredibly “in season” meal. Because you all love so much when I share recipes, I am going to leave you today with a very “Fall” recipe that I made over the weekend. You will love it. But before that, I’m going to share the Fall “superfoods” that I came home from the Farmers Market with on Saturday and what makes them so wonderfully healthy for you:
1. Honeycrisp Apples: The perfect combination of sweet and tart, apples are totally satisfying eaten raw or used for baking in the perfect Fall dish. I even love adding them to the huge salads that I make for lunch at home. Be sure to eat them with the skin on them for lots of heart healthy flavonoids, antioxidants and lots of dietary fiber. Apples also are rich in:
• Vitamin C which helps support your immune system and helps to make collagen for healthy skin and faster wound healing.
• Pectin. Pectin is fiber found in fruit that’s great for high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and has shown to help prevent colon cancer and prostate cancer. Pectin is also beneficial to those with diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
2. Brussel Sprouts: Brussel sprouts are a great source of folate and iron and taste amazing roasted with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brussel sprouts are also very high in:
• Potassium which is needed for fluid balance, nerve function and muscle control.
• Fiber and Vitamin C which can help decrease ones risk of cancer, inflammation and has shown to improve blood sugar.
3. Squash: It’s hard to beat roasted butternut squash with a sprinkling of cinnamon as a side dish in the Fall. Squash is also full of:
• Potassium. 1 cup has more potassium than a whole banana. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, prevents fatigue, and is crucial for bone and muscle health.
• Fiber which keeps us fuller longer and helps keep us “regular” and squash is a great source of protein!
4. Pumpkin: Adorable carved or the perfect décor accent to a front stoop for sure. But, did you know that pumpkin is actually a type of winter squash \and can be used for much more than decorating? Ideal for soups, pies and even pudding, pumpkin is rich in fiber providing more than 20% of your DRI! Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse! It also:
• Boosts your immune system as it’s so high in antioxidants and nutrients.
• Contains lutein and zeaxanthin which helps prevent cataracts and promotes heart and skin health.
5. Sweet Potatoes: This superfood is so much more than a staple ingredient of a Thanksgiving casserole. Its more nutritionally dense than a white potato, has anti-inflammatory benefits, and is a great source of iron and vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also high in:
• Fiber, iron, calcium, selenium, Vitamin B and C.
• Beta carotene which is excellent for eye health.
6. Zucchini: Whether you’re making something sweet or savory, zucchini is a great choice for adding significant amounts of vitamins and minerals to your dish/meal (B6, riboflavin, C, K, folate, potassium and manganese). Zucchini also:
• Is a potent antioxidant and contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
• Contains zero fat, and is extremely high in water and fiber helping you to flush your system and stay fuller, longer.
I encourage you to welcome Fall into your home by cooking with some of the seasons incredible Superfoods. Use the list above as a guide, take a stroll through your local farmers market and get inspired.
Happy cooking and Happy Fall! Xx Janine
Janine’s Decadent Zucchini Bread
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini: about 2 medium, pat down with paper towel to get rid of excess water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar or light brown sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup spelt flour – or white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip or dark chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan – set aside
Mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl – along with the chocolate chips.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until all ingredients are combined.
Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Check the bread with a toothpick – it should come out dry with no batter on it.
Wait until it cools and enjoy!