Mar 132016

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but there was a good excuse. Cramming for the RD exam unfortunately trumped cooking and blogging for the past month, but I am happy to say I am now officially a Registered Dietitian! There will be many RD approved (ahhh I can actually say that now!) recipes coming soon, and here’s the first–Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili.
Odds are you have a neglected can of pureed pumpkin in your pantry from your unachieved fall pumpkin pie goals. Well here’s the perfect way to use it up before pumpkin and chili season are no more (which the groundhog says will be soon, thank goodness). I actually made this chili months ago and completely forgot about it until I gleefully discovered a container of it while scavenging my freezer for dinner one night. Although I love the added nutrients the pumpkin provides, I have to say the flavor is pretty subtle in this dish. Still, this recipe met all my chili requirements–just enough heat, lots of veggies and beans, and of course, enough to provide me with a weeks worth of meals (and then some).
Nutritional Highlights: I love making chili because it is incredibly versatile and can incorporate just about any vegetable, any bean, any grain, and any meat. This one is about 75% veggies and beans and 25% lean ground turkey, but you can easily make it vegetarian by subbing cooked lentils or quinoa for the turkey. You get a little extra fiber and beta carotene from the pumpkin puree in this recipe, plus a slight sweetness to balance out the heat. A serving of this chili is the perfect well rounded meal, packed with protein, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
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Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili
Makes about 6 servings
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What’s in it:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (or leave some of the seeds in for more heat)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can pumpkin purée
1 cup of pumpkin beer (water or broth work fine as well)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans of beans (I used 1 kidney and 1 pinto), drained and rinsed
Optional toppings: Crumbled cheese (feta, goat, or cotija work well), cilantro leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime wedges

How to make it:
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeños and garlic and stir frequently, until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up into small pieces with your spoon. Season with the chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper and stir for another minute.
3. Add diced tomatoes, pumpkin, and beer/water/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed
4. Serve and top with crumbled cheese (cotija, goat, or feta), cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

– I find that chili is even tastier the next day, so feel free to make a head and reheat the next day.
– Feel free to add any additional veggies to make this even healthier–like zucchini, squash, corn, etc.
– For a vegetarian version, swap ground turkey for cooked lentils, quinoa, or any other high protein grain!
Here’s to this being the LAST cold weather recipe I post for a while. Maybe? Pretty Please?

Jan 102016

Resolution season is upon us–the gym is more crowded and the produce section is more picked over. While I’m not usually a New Years resolution fan (why are we waiting for January 1st, people?), I can get on board with cleaning up our diets a little, especially after the eating spree that tends to occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas (guilty). If you’re going to make one resolution this year, make it to eat more food that looks like this: mostly plant-based and exploding with color (and not the kind you find in sour patch kids, sorry).
The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about an hour to make and leaves you with 15 falafel, enough for 5 meals, so you lunches (or dinners) for the whole week are set. They may be cute and little but they have a HUGE amount of flavor and nutrition.
Nutrition Highlights: This recipe is vegan and gluten free but still packed with protein and fiber and is seriously filling. Here are a few of the key players:
-Chickpeas: high in fiber and protein so they keep you full and keep things moving along (if you know what I mean).
– Butternut Squash: get it’s bright orange color from carotenoids which turns into vitamin A in the body and helps support vision, immunity, and controlling inflammation. It’s also very high in fiber which helps keep blood sugar in check.
– Oats: Instead of flour, this recipe uses whole grain rolled oats to bind everything together, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and may help with heart health and blood sugar control.
– Turmeric: SO hot right now. I’m not ready to jump on the crazy turmeric supplement train, but it does appear to have some pretty powerful anti-inflammatory effects (and thus may help with arthritis, IBD, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions), so I’m not against sprinkling a little bit more in our food.
– Hemp seeds: OK, it’s another trendy one, but for a reason! It’s super high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and several minerals. Plus they’re nutty and tasty and crunchy…all good things.
And although I could go on for days about the benefits of each nutrient in these foods, the best part is they’re all real foods with nothing processed. Go plants!
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Butternut Squash, Turmeric & Hemp Seed Falafel
makes about 15 falafel (5, 3 ball servings)
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What’s in it:
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried well (*you can also soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight)
– 2 cups cubed butternut squash
– 1/2 onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 cup fresh herbs, looseley packed and roughly chopped (I used half cilantro and half parsley)
– 3/4 cups rolled oats, divided
– 3 tablespoons hemp seed, plus extra for sprinkling
– 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (adjusted to you preference)

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put the butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl and cover (allowing a slight opening of steam to escape) with a microwave safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften the squash. **Alternately you could use leftover roasted/mashed squash or frozen pureed butternut squash.
3. While the squash is cooking, put half the rolled oats into the food processor or blender and blend into flour. Pour back in with the rest of the non blended oats and set aside for now.
4. Put the onion and garlic into the blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, butternut squash, and spices (turmeric, cumin, salt, red pepper) and blend until well combined. Add the herbs and pulse so they get chopped up but not totally blended so the falafel stays yellow rather than green (for aesthetic purposes only).
5. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and mix in the oats and hemp seeds. If the mixture is warm (from the squash), put in the freezer for a bit so it gets cold and is easier to form into balls.
6. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Form the falafel mixture into golf ball sized balls (about 15). Spray the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with a few hemp seeds, flip and repeat with the other side.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the falafel and bake for another 10 minutes or until they falafel are slightly browned.
8. Enjoy falafel in a big salad bowl with lots of veggies like this one (mine has beets, carrots, broccoli, cilantro, pita chips and a drizzle of tahini) or in whole wheat pita or just straight up. Really you can’t go wrong.
I think this is what they meant by taste the rainbow, right?

Dec 132015

Growing up in a half-Jewish home, Hannukah meant a lot of things to me. It meant lighting the menorah (which sat on our mantle above our hanging stockings) every night and placing bets on which candle would last the longest. It also meant underwear night, which was the night that instead of cool gifts, we got new underwear (don’t ask). And of course, it meant good food with a great family–including latkes. With one night of Hannukah left, it’s not too late to get in your latke fill. This version has some extra veggies, extra color, and some upgraded toppings.
This grown up version version is made with butternut squash and beets in addition to the standard potatoes and onions which make them healthier, tastier, and prettier all at once. The topping are just as important as the base, and I served mine with some homemade chunky apple sauce or with a yogurt-chive sauce and smoked salmon. I liked them, a lat…ke.
The one issue I have had with latkes in the past is the pain of grating all the veggies. This year I enlisted my new spiralizer and spiralized all the veggies using the thinnest blade. Not only was this much easier, but it also made gorgeous spirals that added a cool shape to the latkes.
Nutrition highlights: These latkes are way healthier than your average latkes with added phytochemicals, antioxdiants, and fiber from the beets and butternut squash. They also get a little protein from the eggs that bind them together. By making my own apple sauce, I could make sure it didn’t have too much added sugar, and instead of sour cream, I made a creamy sauce with fat free greek yogurt. Although I still pan friend mine, you could also bake these instead for a lower fat version.
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Beet, Butternut Squash & Potato Latkes
makes 15-20 small latkes
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What’s in them:
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
Approximately 1/3 butternut squash, peeled*
1 small or medium onion
2 large eggs, egg
1/3 cup whole wheat or regular flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the cooked latkes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil) for pan frying
Optional toppings:
– homemade or store bought apple sauce
– chive-yogurt sauce or low fat sour-cream with or without smoked salmon

For the chive-yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make it: combine all the ingredients, stir, taste, and season to taste.

For the apple sauce:
2-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
To make it: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until apples are very soft. Taste and add additional sugar/spices to your tastes. For chunky sauce, just smush the apples a bit with your spoon as they cook. For a smooth sauce, run through the blender or food processor.

How to make them:
1. Shred all the vegetables using a box grater or thinnest spiralizer blade. If using a spiralizer, run a knife through the spiralized veggies a few times so the strands are not too long.
2. Wrap veggies in paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Careful with the beets…those guys stain like woah.
3. Combine the veggies, egg, flour, salt/pepper and stir until well combined. Note, everything will look pretty red at this point, that’s ok.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high, once hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the pan per latke, making sure you leave enough room for flipping. Flatten mounds slightly while they cook. After 2-3 minutes or when golden brown, flip the latkes and cook the reverse side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel lined wire rack or plate to cool.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil per batch and continue until all your latkes are cooked.
7. Serve with your choice of toppings (I did half apple sauce, half chive-yogurt with smoked salmon). Enjoy!

*Note: you want to have approximately equal amounts of potato, beets, and butternut squash so you can adjust the amount you use of each based on the size of your veggies

Nov 272015

Thursday November 26th, 8:27 pm: “I will never ever eat again.”
Friday November 27th, 9:02 am: “I’m starving, where is the pie?”

It happens to all of us: After feeling more stuffed Thanksgiving night than the bird in the middle of the table, somehow we wake up the next morning even more ravenous than usual. May it’s the sugar hangover. Maybe it’s the regular hangover. Or maybe it’s the fact that we know there’s a fridge full of leftovers that have somehow become even more delicious overnight. To combat those pie craving and get back on track, I made this hearty Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with stone ground oats, quinoa, and tons of healthy toppings. Let the leftovers wait until lunch time.
Homemade oatmeal is nothing like that stuff in the packets. By cooking it on the stove or in the crockpot with lots of spices (and in this case, a whole can of pumpkin), the flavor and texture are so much better than that instant stuff. And even though it’s not “instant”, it’s still pretty darn quick and can be done in 30 minutes on the stove (or overnight in the crockpot if you’re more a set it and forget it kind of person). The other secret to oatmeal nirvana is an amazing array of toppings–nuts, seeds, fruit, you name it. The world is your…bowl of oatmeal?
Nutrition highlights: In this recipe, I mixed two different grains (well one is technically a seed) to maximize nutrition. The steel cut oats provide complex carbohydrates and tons of fiber while the quinoa provide a complete source of protein, even more fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and folate among others. The can of pureed pumpkin (the unsweetened stuff!) adds more than just amazing flavor, it also is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and beta carotene. This recipe has virtually no added sugar but can be adjusted to your taste. The toppings can be incredibly healthy as well, with protein, healthy fats, and fiber from things like chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, or coconut. The best part about this is it’s will keep you seriously full until lunch time (but not in a unbutton your pants kind of way).
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Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Oatmeal Bowls
Makes 4-6 servings
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What’s in it:
1 cup steal cut oats
1/2 cup quinoa (any color is fine), rinsed
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (admit for no sugar added, add more if you like a sweeter oatmeal)
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like)
Topping options (any combination of your favorites): pomegranate seeds, chopped apples or pears, chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, toasted or candied pecans, slivered almonds, roasted coconut chips, (brown sugar or maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth).

Step -1. I skipped this part due to laziness, but many recipes recommend toasting oats/quinoa in a skillet with a little bit of coconut oil for 1-2 minutes prior to making the oatmeal.
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan on the stovetop.
2. Once boiling, add the quinoa and steel cut oats, turn heat down to low/medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in pureed pumpkin and spices and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
3. Add the almond milk and maple syrup and turn off the heat.
4. Serve with a little additional almond milk if you like a looser oatmeal. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

*If you prefer to use the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients and cook on low for ~6 hours.

Nov 222015

When you’re assigned the task of making stuffing for friendsgiving, it is no joke. It is arguably the most important component of any thanksgiving feast, and the amount of recipes out there can be daunting. Corn bread or regular bread? Sausage or pancetta? Sweet or savory add-ins? But I’ve finally uncovered the secret to perfect stuffing–and it’s that there isn’t just one. The truth is that if you mix delicious bread, vegetables, herbs (and maybe some meat) and bake it all together, it’s going to be amazing. This version is a combo of all my favorite sweet and savory ingredients (corn bread + multigrain bread+ butternut squash + kale + cranberries + turkey sausage or mushrooms), and it might just be my favorite yet.
Since there were a few vegetarians attending my friendsgiving, I made half of these babies with turkey italian sausage and half with roasted mushrooms as the “meaty” component. This stuffing is slightly more labor intensive than other recipes, since it has the added component of roasting vegetables, but they add the best flavor and texture to these muffins. I prefer stuffin muffins rather than baking a whole pan for both cuteness and crustiness factor, but you can make it either way. The only difference in the muffin form is that you add a few eggs in so they bind together (added bonus of extra protein woo!).
Nutrition highlights: These stuffin muffins are definitely healthier than your average stuffing, but it’s still probably best to stick to just one muff. Although I used some cornbread (because, cornbread), the other half of the bread was a hearty and healthy multigrain loaf packed with fiber to fill you up. I also added more veggies than you normally see, including chopped kale, roasted butternut squash, and mushrooms (if you make the vegetarian version). If you are cooking for omnivores, that’s ok too–this recipe uses lean turkey italian sausage rather than it’s fattier pork friend.
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Butternut Squash-Kale Stuffin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (double recipe for a big crowd!)
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What’s in it:
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2-3 cups)
Prepared cornbread*, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
Multigrain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 fresh sage leaeves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
For vegetarian version: 2 cups roughly chopped portobello mushrooms
For non-vegetarian version: 3 lean turkey italian sausages

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Spread cubed bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-10 min until just beginning to toast (careful not to burn it!). Pour toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Increase oven to 425. Spread butternut squash cubes (and portobello mushrooms if making the vegetarian version) on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until the veggies are beginning to brown. Add to the bowl with the bread cubes.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the sage and thyme, kale, and salt and pepper and saute for another 2 minutes until kale begins to soften. Pour the veggie mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes.
4. If making the turkey sausage version, remove sausage from casings and brown in the saute pan, breaking up into small pieces, until cooked through. Add sausage to the bread/veggie mixture.
5. Add dried cranberries to the bread mixture. Taste mixture and add additional salt/pepper as needed.
6. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with broth and pour over your stuffing mixture. Toss to combine everything, adding additional broth if it seems too dry. If able, let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or even over night.
7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tray with oil and fill each with a heaping spoonful of the stuffing mixture. Press each down into the tin so it holds together, then add a little more to the top so it has a nice rounded “non perfect” looking top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins hold together and are browning on the top.
8. Enjoy!!

*Instead of buying a whole loaf of cornbread, I bought a few individual pieces from whole foods that the sell with the soups to avoid the danger of having leftover cornbread around!
Individual portioned stuffin with lots of veggies = you are less stuffed = more room for pie. It’s just basic math, people.

Oct 252015

I am definitely a creature of habit. Every morning I get up at the exact same time, get on the same subway car, go to the same gym class after work, and sit in the same spot on the couch to watch the same TV shows. Food is no exception, especially when it comes to snacks—I eat an apple with peanut butter almost every single day. While there’s nothing wrong with my apple and PB (in fact I think it’s one of the most perfect snacks in the universe), I decided to give it a little twist. The apples were upgraded to cinnamon-apple chips, and the pb promoted to a maple-yogurt-pb dip.
Now here’s the disclaimer about this recipe. While these chips were definitely incredibly delicious, with tons of apple-cinnamon flavor, they were pretty labor intensive. First, you have to slice the apples super thin using a mandolin, which resulted in a pretty nasty cut to my thumb (those things are dangerous, be warned). Then you have to cook them very slowly at a low temperature to dry them out until they’re crispy, which takes about 2-3 hours. Although it’s pretty hands off, it’s still a lot of time, and you can’t fit that many chips on each baking sheet. I loved every bite of these chips, but not necessarily THAT much more than if I had bought some apple chips at the store, just saying.
But, if you have the apple chips, why not go a step further and make some apple nachos. Yep, I said it, and I did it. Just cover a layer of apple chips with a drizzle of the pb-yogurt sauce, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts, and chia seeds (or any other toppings you can think of) and enjoy your new favorite sweet nachos.
Nutrition highlights: The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not that ridiculous given the apple’s nutrition stats. They’re packed with fiber and vitamin C, and recent research has focused on polyphenols found in apples, which may serve as antioxidants, blood sugar regulators, and cholesterol reducers. And keep the peeler in the drawer–the skin has most of nutrients! This snack made even more well rounded by adding the greek yogurt-pb dip, which has plenty of protein and a little healthy fat to keep you fuller longer.
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Cinnamon-Apple Chips with Maple-PB-Yogurt Dip
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What’s in it:
3 apples (a firm apple like honey crisp or granny smith are easiest to slice with the mandolin)
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Pinch of salt, to taste (optional)
For the dip:
1/3 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular are fine)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Optional garnishes for dip: fresh apple slices, chopped peanuts, drizzle of maple syrup
If you’re making nachos, some topping ideas include: chopped nuts/seeds, pomegranate seeds, dried fruit, shaved coconut, chia seed

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 200F degrees.
2. Wash and thinly slice the apples using a mandolin (being very careful not to cut yourself like I did!). Spread the apple slices in a single layer onto two baking pans, being sure they don’t overlap. Sprinkle with lots of cinnamon and a pinch of salt (optional).
3. Bake for 1 hour, flip the apples over, sprinkle the other side with cinnamon and a tiny bit of salt (optional) and bake for another hour. Turn the oven off and keep the apples inside as the oven cools down (for another hour or so), which helps maximize crunchiness.
4. While they’re baking, make the sauce. Combine the yogurt, maple syrup, and peanut butter. If you prefer it to be thinner, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin it out to your desired texture. Transfer the dip to a small bowl/ramekin. If you want to make it look fancy, you can stick a few fresh apple slices in there, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and drizzle with a tiny bit more maple syrup!
5. Serve the apple chips with the maple-pb-yogurt dip and enjoy! To make apple nachos, lay the chips out on a dish, transfer the dip to a ziplock baggie and cut off a tiny corner. Drizzle the sauce all over the chips, and then top with your toppings of choice!
– Notes: You can also skip steps 1-3, go to the store, and buy some apple chips, and gain back 3 hours of your life…
That’s it for apple recipes for now, but don’t worry, I’m sure there will be more to come (especially since I’m still not even halfway through my apple picking proceeds!). Let me know if you have any favorite recipes!

Oct 182015

It’s apple week on cook tush! After a big day of apple picking last Saturday, followed by lugging approximately 20 pounds of apples back from Westchester to Manhattan, I had to make good use of our loot. That means I have not one, but TWO apple recipes for you this week. Here’s the first (and don’t tell the other recipe, but my favorite of the two)– Apple Pie French Toast Bake with Almond Crumble. Yes, you can eat this for breakfast. You’re welcome.
4 things will happen if you make this recipe: 1) you will be shocked by how easy it is, 2) your house will smell like heaven, 3) your family will love you, like a lot, and 4) I forget, I’m too busy eating french toast.
Something about french toast seems decadent and naughty…the kind of breakfast that leaves you needing a sugar-induced nap about an hour later. But, if you think about it, the staples of french toast are just eggs, bread, and milk. Sure, some people choose white bread, half and half, and add a whole lot of sugar, but in this version I used a multigrain loaf, unsweetened almond milk, and virtually no sugar. Oh, and apples. Lots of apples.
I used 3 different types of apples just because I had a good variety from my apple picking adventures, and wanted a mix of sweet and tart apple flavor, but you can really use any you have on hand. While the apples are sauteing, you let the bread cubes soak up a mixture of almond milk, egg, cinnamon, vanilla mixture. Then you toss in those tasty apples, top with a little almond-sunflower seed-brown sugar mixture for a crunchy topping, and you wait for the magic to happen.
Nutrition highlights: There’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about when it comes to this recipe, and I actually can’t think of a much more balanced breakfast option out there. The combo of hearty multigrain bread, nuts/seeds, eggs, almond milk, and apples provides the perfect mix of complex carbs, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and vitamins to get your day started right and keep you satisfied until lunch. If you can keep your family from devouring the whole thing (good luck), you can also pack it up into tupperware to eat for breakfast throughout the work-week. The only way this recipe can go wrong (or right?) is by covering it in maple syrup, or dare I say, vanilla ice cream. But let the record show I’m not suggesting that. I’m not doing it right now either. Definitely not.
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Apple Pie French Toast Bake with Almond Crumble
Makes about 6-8 servings*
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What’s in it:
For the french toast-
– 1/2 large loaf of multigrain bread, ideally a few days old, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5 cups cubes)
– 4 large eggs
– 1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk**
– 1 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the apples-
– 3-4 apples, thinly sliced
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon coconut oil
For the topping-
– 1/3 cup roughly chopped raw nuts and seeds (I used almonds and sunflower seeds)
– 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Fill your casserole dish with the cubed bread.
2. Mix the eggs, almond milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, and 1/4 tspn salt in a bowl. Pour over the bread cubes and toss and press down on the bread cubes with a fork so they soak up all that goodness.
3. While it soaks, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan and add your sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/2 tspn cinnamon and saute for about 5-7 minutes until slightly softened and beginning to caramelize.
4. Add the apples to the casserole dish and toss so they are well distributed throughout the bread cubes. Make sure a few slices end up on top because it looks pretty. If you want, you can also set aside a few of the sauteed apple slices to use as a garnish for serving.
5. Prepare the topping by combining the chopped nuts/seeds of your choosing with the brown sugar and salt. Set aside.
6. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the nut-brown sugar topping, and bake for an additional 15 minutes (40 minutes total).
7. Serve with a little maple syrup (or vanilla ice cream as a dessert!) and enjoy!

*I used a medium sized “gratin” casserole, but you can also double the ingredients and bake it in a 9×13 casserole dish to serve a bigger crowd.
**I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk to keep this dish very low sugar, but if you want it to be slightly sweet, use regular vanilla almond milk or add a few tablespoons of maple syrup to the egg/milk mixture.
This is the perfect fall breakfast for any day of the week, or to impress guests with. I have a feeling it will be making a day-after-thanksgiving appearance in my house this year!
Stay tuned later this week for apple picking recipe adventure #2. It’s another healthy one, to make up for all those apple cider donuts we may or may not have had at the orchard.