Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Parmesan Soup

A great soup to fuel up on before trick-or-treating!  Happy Halloween :)

3 cups fresh roasted pumpkin, about the average amount obtained from one pie pumpkin  (directions on roasting listed below)
3.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½  teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (the shredded kind, NOT powdered!)
salt and pepper to taste

Roasting pumpkin-

I like to roast my pumpkin whole, on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 40-60 minutes. The actual time will vary based on the oven's actual temperature, the moistness of the pumpkin, the variety of pumpkin and it’s size. You will know it's done when a knife slips into the flesh very easily. Let it cool a bit before slicing open - and even then, be careful when slicing open for the steam will rush out and could definitely burn. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then scrape the pumpkin off the skins. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The soup-

Add the broth to a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat.  Add the pumpkin and garlic powder and reduce heat to low -medium and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and carefully transfer the soup into a blender. If you have a smaller blender only add one fourth to half of the mixture at a time (you can put the other half in the dish until ready to blend).

A note about blending hot liquids: in order to be safe, it is recommended when you blend hot liquids that you never fill the jar more than half full, that you put the lid on and then cover it with a dry towel and hold it down by hand. Or instead, cover with the top, but leave out the center plastic covering, place a kitchen towel on top which will allow air to escape more gently Also, use as slow a speed as possible. NEVER blend hot liquids fully covered and at high-initial speed...you're just inviting burns as the hot liquid quickly blends, heats up the air above it, and causes an explosion through the blender top

Blend on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until a smooth consistency is reached. Put the blended mixture back in the saucepan and warm on low heat stirring frequently (to prevent the thick soup from spattering) for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 cups, 4 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 80 Protein 4 g Carb 12 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium  620 mg


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Spaghetti Squash "Mac N’Cheese"

Try this instead of the traditional type with noodles for less calories and more antioxidants. A great way to get your kiddies to eat this healthy starchy veggie!


1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (click HERE for cooking info)
1 teaspoon butter or margarine (I used Earth Balance margarine)
¼ cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of mozarella and cheddar from Trader Joes)


Put the spaghetti squash in a small dish, add the margarine/butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir well evenly coat. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix well. Return to microwave and heat for another 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted

Makes 1 serving Serving size: the whole dish!

Calories 180 Protein 7g Carb 11 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 12 g Saturated fat 7 g Sodium 20 mg


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Almond Oat Cookies or Bars- Recipe ReDux Post # 6

I was very excited when I saw that the Recipe ReDux challenge for October called for recipes incorporating orange antioxidant foods in season this Fall.  My cupboard had just been stocked with cans of organic pumpkin that I was waiting to use and here was the perfect opportunity! I have created pumpkin cookies  in the past which I enjoyed. This time I decided to do a pumpkin cookie with a twist- vegan, gluten free and using almond butter as a healthy source of unsaturated fat. This is a very easy dessert recipe with the flavors of fall but no eggs or dairy needed! Using almond butter a part of the base adds subtle flavor and provides a moist but also dense and hearty result. You can make these as drop cookies or bars, either way they will not be around for long! So get baking and make these awesome cookies/bars plus check out some of these other great “Fall Orange” recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan!


½ cup creamy or crunchy unsalted natural almond butter (I used Trader Joes Raw Unsalted Crunchy)
½ cup pure maple syrup  
3/4 cup canned or fresh cooked pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie type)
1 ¼  cup oats (old fashioned, not quick)(*use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
1 teaspoon vanilla 
¼  teaspoon cinnamon
½  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoon raisins 
Cooking spray


For Cookies :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Drop the dough in rounded spoonfuls onto a baking pan coated with cooking spray. The dough will spread out a bit, like the size of a finished cookie, don’t worry because they keep their shape and will not spread mush more when baked. Bake for 15-18 minutes until set and lightly browned on the edges. 

For Bars:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan lined the pan generously coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned on top. Cut into squares and serve. 

Note : These cookies/bars are very moist, almost cake like. So you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep longer and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so to warm them up for a nice treat!

Makes 16 cookies or bar squares

Serving size: 1 bar/cookie  Calories 100  Protein 3 g Carb 13 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 7 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium  0 mg


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vegetarian Antipasto Salad

A vegetarian version of a classic Italian starter dish.


1 cup marinated mushrooms, sliced in half (I used Trader Joes Brand)
1 cup marinated artichokes, chopped (I used Trader Joes Brand)
1 cup grilled red peppers (I did mine on the barbeque or you can buy some in the jar, like Trader Joes brand)
½ cup sliced black olives
1 cup cubed light mozzarella cheese (I cut up 4 light string cheese sticks)
½ cup chopped fresh basil 4 cups chopped lettuce (I used a romaine, butter, spinach mix)
light vinaigrette dressing of your choice ( I used Trader Joes fat free)


Toss all of the above in a large bowl, add dressing to taste and serve. Chill in the fridge with the dressing on the side if not serving immediately.

NOTE: to cut calories, try to find the veggies marinated in vinegar (Trader Joes has them all) or if you get the ones packed in oil, simply rinse them before using .

Makes 8 servings    

Serving size 1/8th of recipe (about a cup) NOT including dressing Calories 80 Protein 5 g Carb 9 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 2 g Fat 3.5 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 480



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Simple Banana Cake

Banana bread meets cake! Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor) 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute ½ cup packed brown sugar ¼ cup margarine, softened (I used Earth Balance) ¼ cup light maple syrup ½ cup 0% Greek yogurt 1 cup smashed ripe banana ½ teaspoon vanilla extract Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, egg, margarine, Greek yogurt, vanilla and banana. Slowly start adding the flour mixture to the larger bowl with the egg/sugar mixture until soft thick batter is formed. Add batter to a 9 X 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings Serving size: 1/12th of recipe Calories 140 Protein 2 g Carb 21 g Fiber 1g Sugars 14 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 280 mg


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