This past weekend, the weather was in the 90s! It may be mid-September, but apparently Southern California hasn’t quite gotten the memo. Well that’s just too bad because I’m ready for cozy sweaters, cuddling up to loved ones to stay warm on long walks, and savoring my first pumpkin spice latte of the season.
While changing the weather is beyond my control, I still managed to evoke some feelings of fall with this delicious salad. It’s the perfect transition food because it has both the lightness of summer salads and the comfort of winter squash.
The colors of this salad really make it a party in your mouth with hot pink pomegranate arils, orange cubes of butternut squash, bright green kale, and taupe colored pumpkin seeds.
This salad was so good that I ate the leftovers for lunch and then again for dinner the very next day!
Fall Cleansing Salad
Adapted From Free People BLDG Blog
- 1 Butternut squash
- 1 Pomegranate, seeded
- ½ Cup of sunflower seeds
- 2 Bunches of dinosaur kale
- ½ Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 Teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon pepper
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil (1 tablespoon for squash and 2 tablespoons for dressing)
- Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Peel and cube the butternut squash, then toss it in a bowl with oil, and spread it out on the baking sheet. Roast the butternut squash for about 25 minutes, or until tender.
- While the squash is cooking, seed the pomegranate, and chop the kale. Place the kale into a large bowl, squeeze the lemon over it, and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, then mix it all up. This helps the kale to start softening a bit.
- Allow the squash to cool for about ten minutes after it comes out of the oven, and then mix it with the pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, and kale.
- In a small bowl beat together the mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar, and remaining oil. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and serve!
In June and even in July, summer seems like an endless stretch of time to cross items off your to do list, see people whom you don’t see often enough, and simply to relax. But as August starts to rear its ugly head, reality hits and you suddenly realize that the lofty plans you made for the summer will just have to wait some more. School and cold weather are just around the corner and no matter how tempting it may be to bury your books under your bed and forget about them, there’s no way to ignore rapidly approaching fall.
Rather than wallow in remorse over unaccomplished summer hopes and goals, focus on the exciting aspects of fall. This means that it’s almost close enough to Halloween that you can start planning your elaborate costume without sounding like a crazy person. This means it’s time to go shopping for new coats, boots, sweaters, or school supplies. This means that it’s gradually becoming time to resume your normal schedule of cozy nights indoors that your mind and body will appreciate even if you do not. And most importantly (for me at least) this means it’s starting to cool back down enough to turn back on the oven and stove to cook tasty, heart-warming meals and goodies.
Instead of resenting or resisting the passing of summer, set an example for those in your life who may not quite be ready for the change of the seasons by baking them tasty goodies to celebrate the best of summer produce in a form that is perfect for hectic fall mornings. By that I mean, bake them these Chocolate Strawberry & Zucchini Muffins, of course!
While these muffins are not exactly for picky eaters, they are delicious and nutritious, the perfect way to quell any chocolate cravings first thing in the morning while still getting in some veggies too. These muffins rely on shredded zucchini and applesauce to keep them nice and moist without the addition of any butter or oil.
Back to School Chocolate Strawberry & Zucchini Muffins
Yield: 18-20 muffins
Adapted from From the Little Yellow Kitchen
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, shredded
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/3 cup sugar, rounded (or add 2/3 cup for sweeter, more traditional muffins)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 15 large strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups), chopped, plus 5 more, sliced for garnish
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or you can chop up 1 bar of dark chocolate into tiny pieces-I had some left over from s’mores, so that’s what i did)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffins tins with silicone baking cups. Muffin batter sticks to paper liners too much, so invest in a few sets of silicone liners to avoid eating paper and cut down on waste.
- Coarsely grate the zucchini, then place in a colander and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt. Let it sit for about 10 minutes while combing the other ingredients to leach out the excess water from the zucchini.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the applesauce and yogurt, and stir well.
- Use paper towels to gently press the zucchini in the colander so that it releases any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the wet mixture and stir.
- Use your hands to form a well in the center of the dry mixture, then pour the wet mixture into the well. Stir until just combined. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.
- Fill each baking cup about 3/4 full, then gently press a strawberry slice into the top of each muffin.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to cool on cooling racks, then keep them refrigerated for up to 4 days or freeze them for a quick and easy breakfast or afternoon snack.
Coming back from a relaxing two weeks of break has had some of ym loved ones down, so I decided to bake a batch of these Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins to brighten up the morning.
These super moist and delicious muffins are as healthy as they are yummy, with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate chips, fiber-licious oats, and protein-full greek yogurt, and vitamin C-packed pumpkin.
The muffins take just a few minutes to whip up with this easy, one-bowl recipe.
I know that Valentine’s day is over a month away, but when I saw these cute heart-covered cupcake liners at the store, I just had to buy them. Besides, hearts are a good way to show people you love them year round…right?
So if you have a little free time on your hands, whip up these muffins for an easy weekday breakfast, an afternoon snack, or a healthy dessert. If they aren’t gobbled up immediately, they are great to freeze too!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (regular or nonfat)
- 1 egg + 1 egg white
- 1 tbs milk
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Line a muffin tin with paper liners
- Combine all dry ingredients (flour, oats, brown sugar baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) in a bowl and stir
- Add in all wet ingredients (pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, and milk), and stir until just combined
- Add in chocolate chips and stir gently
- Spoon in muffin batter until the liner is about 3/4 full
- Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes, then allow them to cool
This is a very versatile recipe, so feel free to play around with it! Here are some possible alterations:
- Add nuts, cranberries, dried cherries, cocoa nibs, or pumpkin seeds in place of or in addition to the chocolate chips
- Swap out the brown sugar for 1/2 cup cucanat or 1/4 cup honey + 1-2 tbs molasses
- Use 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
- Add almond milk instead of milk and flax eggs in place of the regular eggs to make it vegan
Namaste my lovely readers!