Pumpkin-Packed Snack: Harvest Muffins with Craisins & Sunflower Seeds

Harvest muffins with pumpkin and sunflower seeds

With the end of Daylight Saving Time in my part of the world, solid afternoon snacks are more essential than ever. How else am I supposed to stay awake in my office when it gets dark at like 4:00pm? I need sustenance, people.

These pumpkin muffins are everything I need in an afternoon pick-me-up. They satisfy all the right cravings — carb-y, salty, and sweet — and they’re small enough to stow away just about anywhere.

The “harvest” of these harvest muffins comes mainly from the pumpkin, but sunflower seeds and craisins feel wonderfully autumnal to me too. I love these muffins plain, along with some coffee or tea. They’re also really nice with a pat of butter or cream cheese (as most things are, let’s be real).

The baking instructions call for an oven preheated to 500°F. That’s not a misprint. I really do want you to get your oven that hot! This is a pro-tip I picked up from King Arthur Flour. The high starting temperature helps the muffins really pop. Keep reading for the rest of the recipe! Read more…

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Carnivores, Rejoice! Creamy Tandoori-Spiced Chicken with Spinach and Squash

Creamy tandoori masala spiced chicken

I forget how delicious meat is sometimes. All you carnivores out there are horrified, I know. But as I’ve said many, many times before, vegetables are so easy to deal with! I get in the habit of making huge vats of vegetable soups at home, and having monster veggie burgers when I go to brunch (hey Jason!), and my memories of meaty delights start to fade.

On a recent pre-commute whim, I moved some chicken thighs (my favorite chicken bit) from the freezer to the fridge. Post-work, I was craving something spicy and hot, but didn’t want to fall back on my usual pan-Asian toss-everything-in-the-skillet stir-fry. What did I make instead? INDIAN. I rummaged in my cabinets for my favorite spice blends, rustled up some butternut squash, and got down to business.

I won’t pretend that this creamy tandoori-spiced chicken is authentic. I freely admit that I know next to nothing about Indian cuisine. However, I promise that this dish won’t disappoint where taste is concerned. Chunks of butternut squash and bites of tender chicken make the dish feel substantial. Greek yogurt adds richness and creaminess without extra fat. A blend of Indian spices makes everything taste warm and flavorful.

Bonus? This dish is crazy good for you. It’s high in fiber, potassium, and a whole alphabet of vitamins. There’s a nice balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrate too! Not too shabby for less than 250 calories. Recipe after the jump! Read more…

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Healthy Comfort Food: Super-Tender Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs, perfect for an appetizer or tonight's dinner

Every culture has a meatball. The Filipinos have almondigas, inspired by Spanish albondigas. The Swedish have köttbullar. The Polish have klopsy. At their core, all these meatballs are the same. Deliciously-seasoned meat, rolled into two-bite balls and served with a starch (rice, pasta, or bread).

These turkey meatballs are my take on the classic American meatball. I made a few simple changes to make the meatballs healthier. Instead of seasoned bread crumbs, I used finely ground rolled outs. Hooray for whole grains! I also cut the number of eggs down from two to one, and added shredded zucchini to sneak in some extra veggies. I cooked them in a spicy, easy-to-make tomato sauce — canned tomatoes are a lifesaver here.

Healthy, easy, and cheap. I am all about it, and you should be too. Keep reading to get the recipe! Read more…

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Small Girl, Big Appetite: How to Eat Out and Stay Healthy | Bok Choy Salad Recipe Inside!

Make healthy meals like this bok choy salad a major part of your regular routine

I was recently at dinner with some girlfriends, and one of them was teasing me about my impossible appetite. I wasn’t offended at all. In fact, it’s a badge I wear with pride. To quote my friend, I will absolutely “eat you under the table.” Food truck festivals, family-style Italian, dim sum Sundays — I do it all.

Food can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, especially when shared with good company. Many diet gurus and experts will tell you that when you go out with friends, you should choose light options. “Get a salad with dressing on the side,” they’ll say, “or a nice piece of grilled fish.” That may work for some people, but from my perspective…  that kind of sucks.

Why drag yourself to a restaurant to order a $14 salad that you could probably make better (and healthier!) at home, while your friends and family relish more delectable fare? Spare yourself the torture; treat yourself! But do so with a few key things in mind. Read more…

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Homemade Snack: Sweet & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas with Sesame and Soy

Where has the time gone? Somehow, it’s already September. And already two weeks since my last post! Disaster.

The good news is that September is a month for fresh starts. I’m not in school anymore, but I still feel shiny and new by the time September rolls around. I think it’s the combination of changing seasons and deeply-discounted office supplies that does it for me. September just feels like a time to set goals and get focused.

I signed up for a 5K to kickoff my seasonal renewal. Even though five kilometers is a pretty short distance, I decided to train hard for the race anyway and shoot for a really solid time. Naturally, two days into my regimen, I managed to do something that made my knee very unhappy with me. I had to skip the treadmill for a few days.

…I think you know what I did with all that extra free time.

I had some cooked chickpeas hanging out in the fridge, so I decided to toss them into the oven to make a protein-packed, healthy snack. I seasoned the chickpeas with an Asian-inspired mix of agave nectar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and tons of garlic powder. These chickpeas are everything I love in an afternoon pick-me-up: savory and salty and sweet, all at the same time.

These roasted chickpeas are way addictive. Proceed with caution. Read more…

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