Tag Archives: fall

31 Reasons We Love Everything About Halloween

While this week has already been frightful enough for our friends in New York and along the East Coast, and we’re grateful for their safety, we can’t help but hope that everyone everywhere gets a chance to partake in the fun side of scary with Halloween tomorrow. It’s got to be one of the silliest holidays of the year with as much opportunity for indulgence as any other, but also plenty of opportunity for healthifying the heck out of it!

At the very least we knew we had 31 reasons to love this spooky holiday, because, you know, it falls on October 31. First on our list is a Halloween full moon. The official full moon for October was last night, but there is sure to still be plenty of eery glow to light your trick or treat path. Second is all the walking the entire family gets by trekking from house to house.


Why else do we like Halloween? Let us count the other 29 ways…

Pumpkin Workouts

Homemade Caramel Apples

Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Fitness-Inspired Halloween Costumes

The Trick or Treat Goodies (more…)

Saturday Morning Drill: Pumpkin Workout

It’s almost Halloween and by this time almost everyone you know likely has a pumpkin either for decoration, carving or baking. But before you do anything too drastic, put your gourd to the test with this 15-minute full body workout that only requires one piece of equipment: A big, beautiful pumpkin.

When it comes to picking the perfect “workout” pumpkin, it should be medium in size and about 8 pounds (depending on your strength). If it’s too light the workout won’t be challenging. And if it’s too heavy you run the risk of injuring yourself. The pumpkin we chose was small to medium in size and worked perfectly. If you don’t have a pumpkin you can easily substitute a weighted ball or any semi-heavy round object. Be creative!

Each of the seven moves in this Saturday Morning Drill require about 12-15 reps. You can either do all of them once and then call it a day or you can really challenge yourself and complete  another 2-3 rounds. I personally like to aim for a minimum of two full rounds and then go for a third if I’m feeling extra motivated. Make the call for yourself once you get a taste of the workout.

When you’re done with your pumpkin, don’t let it go to waste! Instead, try these easy and healthy pumpkin recipes that your whole family will love.

Hearty Pumpkin Chili 

Pumpkin Spice Bread 

Sweet Pumpkin Polenta 

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

5 More Healthy Pumpkin Treats

 

We Pimped a Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

Tis’ the season to consume many, many, many pumpkin spice lattes. A now ubiquitous beverage of fall, this Starbucks flavored java is loved the world over.

Last month there was a reported pumpkin spice syrup shortage at hundreds of Starbucks around the country; lovers of this beverage were outraged! It was the Pumpkin Spice LattePOCALYPYSE! Happily for the PSL fans (that’s what they affectionately call this fall beverage) the syrup was replenished and drinking resumed.


But wait! I am so sorry to burst your pumpkin bubble, but do you know really know what you are drinking? Espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice syrup, yes, but what is in that pumpkin spice syrup? I for one, wanted to know. Starbucks isn’t terribly forthcoming about ingredients. Their website is extremely helpful with fat and calorie counts, but when it comes to actual ingredients one must dig deeper to come up with the truth.

I emailed them (which quite honestly, is very simple to do on their website) and asked for the ingredient breakdown. I received this:

Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, Annatto (E160b, Colour), Natural and Artificial Flavours, Caramel Colour (E150D), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (E202, a preservative).

This list did not make a holistic nutritionist very happy. The first ingredient is sugar, then more sugar in the form of sweetened condensed milk, and numerous coloring agents and preservatives. Then the big whammy, under the guise of “natural and artificial flavors” are hidden health disastrous ingredients that legally do not have to be listed. Ingredients like Vanillin instead of Vanilla (synthetic vanillin primarily comes from wood pulp, a bi-product of the sulphite process. Yum!) are considered “natural ingredients.”

Well fear not pumpkin addicts, this is a truly simple and luscious drink to make at home. You will save calories, fat, and yucky franken-food ingredients, AND save yourself a pretty penny!

Consider the Pumpkin Spice Latte Pimped! (more…)

Pumpkin Chili Makes a Hearty and Healthy Fall Meal

When it comes to a brisk fall day, nothing sounds better than cozying up inside with a blanket, a cup of tea and a warm bowl of chili. Chili was a mainstay in my household growing up, and it continues to be now that I’m married and off on my own.

Because there are so may varieties of chili it’s hard to pick just one favorite, especially when many argue that true chili doesn’t have beans while others content vegetarian versions are the best. While I have tried a number of variations and admit that the hearty, meat-containing types really satisfy my deepest chili cravings, this vegetarian variety quickly wiggled its way into my heart as a new healthy favorite. (more…)

Meet Mr. Honeycrisp, the Man Behind Fall’s Most Popular (and Most Expensive) Apple

I walked in to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago to grab a few things and ended up grabbing a few things not on my list. Who doesn’t? I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the front fruit display had traded peaches for Honeycrisp apples. After months and months without eating any apples, I was beside myself with excitement as I loaded up four softball-sized apples at $2.99 per pound.

Yep. I paid a three dollar per-pound price for a piece of fruit. And so have millions of other people. I am part of the reason the Honeycrisp craze has grown in to a full blown obsession rivaling only those who camp out for the first pumpkin spiced coffee of the season. I don’t eat any other kind of apple, and until a few years ago it had been several years since I’d even touched one. Honeycrisps are unlike any apple you’ve ever tried.

The Honeycrisp was developed at the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program in 1960. It was a cross of the Macoun and Honeygold, a hybrid of the two apples that took more than 30 years to move to market. Between 1960 and 1991, the apple that is now known as the Honeycrisp was identified, tested, and introduced to market in 1991. That was 20 years ago. So where has this divine piece of fruit been hiding? I asked David Bedford, a research scientist and lead apple breeder at the University of Minnesota. This is Mr. Honeycrisp.

Once the Honeycrisp was released in 1991, Bedford explained it was a very grassroots effort to get the apple out there. They had to sell the seeds to the nurseries, who then sold saplings to the orchardists, who then had to plant and grow the trees. These aren’t like tomato vines, they take time, years in fact. Once the Honeycrisp trees were planted they had three to five years before they were fruit bearing.

An apple with no marketing budget and just some excitable word of mouth has grown to be the fifth most grown apple in the U.S, according to Bedford. “It’s a hometown kid without much promotion.” The apple really took off and joined the mainstream, Bedford explained, after Washington state growers got a hold of it. “Sixty percent of apples in the country are grown in Washington,” he said. “When they get behind something, you see it go mainstream.” (more…)

Whole Wheat Chicken Pot Pie Makes a Healthier Comfort Food

If you’re like us, you start craving hearty comfort foods when the weather takes a chilly turn. The warm, filling satisfaction of a bowl of chili, pot roast or steamy apple crisp is enough to cure even the harshest cases of winter blues. One of our favorite comfort food recipes is this chicken pot pie, which features a whole wheat crust and milk instead of cream for a healthy-yet-delicious twist on a classic.

You won’t find any condensed soup in this recipe as it’s made completely from scratch yet remains surprisingly simple to throw together. From start to finish it requires just one hour and yields four generous servings to feed even the hungriest of eaters in your home.

(more…)

How to Cook with Pumpkin

When fall rolls around, I can’t seem to steer my mind away from all-things pumpkin. Just this week I was busy at work in the kitchen, dreaming up new pumpkin recipes to share with family and friends. While most assume that pumpkin is high in calories because it’s most often found in pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds and fruit are actually incredibly healthy and often overlooked as an important source of vitamins and minerals. Here we take a look at the abundance of health benefits this fall fruit provides, as well as methods for preparing it with five delicious and healthy recipes. 

Health benefits: Both pumpkin seeds and fruit are two super foods that you don’t want to miss out on this fall. Pumpkins are loaded with good-for-for you vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, which promote healthy, glowing skin among other important health benefits. They’re also high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and lutein, which can improve eye health. In addition, pumpkins contain plenty of beta carotene, which have anti-inflammatory properties; and antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body and help prevent cancer.

Other surprising health benefits? Pumpkins can promote better bone density and digestion and even lower cholesterol. They’ve also been found to help prevent prostate cancer, kidney stones and even depression.  (more…)

Halloween Food Crafts for a Healthy and Delicious Way to Celebrate the Season

Whoever said you couldn’t play with your food likely never really knew the joy of eating. We certainly aren’t suggesting tossing handfuls of spaghetti across the table at your annoying little brother, but we do think that the fall season is perfect for a little crafting-meets-snacking.

Some of our favorite seasonal treats are perfect for gathering ’round the family, getting plenty messy, sharing lots of giggles, all while making something yummy to enjoy as we gear up for Halloween. Fun and delicious treats don’t have to be sugar bombs. These homemade treats are healthful and fun to eat, too!

Ready to dig in?

BROWN PAPER BAG POPCORN

Forget the microwave popcorn you think you know. With nothing more than a brown paper sack, whole popcorn kernels, and a microwave, you’ll have light and airy popcorn in minutes without the chemicals, calories, and sodium.


The kids will love helping you make this, whether it’s movie night or a Halloween party. Make the popcorn something special with our Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn treat, which is simply brown bag popcorn, cinnamon, and raisins.

To share with friends or handout at a school party, let the kids make Hand-O-Lanterns to decorate each brown paper sack. Just paint their palms orange, their fingers green, and press on to the bags. When the paint dries they can use black markers to draw pumpkin faces!

(more…)

3 Premium Yoga Retreat Destinations to Realign Your Fitness Goals This Fall

Fall is a great time to cleanse, detoxify, and reorganize your health priorities in preparation for a long, cold winter. Sometimes breaking out of a routine is the best way to realign our intentions and deepen our commitment to wellness.

If you think a little change in scenery is what you need to give yourself that gentle kick in the butt to reboot your booty, check out the following yoga retreats. Everyone I know who comes back from a yoga retreat is more than refreshed and ready to take on whatever challenges life brings. Maybe it is time you take a much-needed break, reinvent your mind-body fitness strategy, and come home with a fresh perspective on life.

Not sure where to go? We’ve found a few locations that will satisfy your fun-filled yoga needs or more luxurious yoga dreams.

Via Yoga

With locations in Mexico and Costa Rica, Via Yoga offers yoga and Pilates retreats combined with surfing, snorkeling, whale watching, and margarita drinking. Love yoga, your workouts, and the pleasure of eating good food with great folks? Visit ViaYoga.com and check out the great offerings and specials for a fun-filled and adventurous retreat. (more…)

Pimp That Recipe: Caramel Apples for Fall

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

Fall is not fall without caramel apples. At least to me. Crisp tart apples and sticky sweet caramel. Yum!

As a child, October meant caramel apples. We would travel to the farmers market to pick out the perfect caramel apple for the ride home. This much-anticipated treat was homemade by the farmer’s wife, with a fresh apple picked from the tree and dipped in a simple caramel sauce, made from sugar, heavy cream and sometimes butter. Then, as Halloween neared, my mother would come home with a big bag of apples and get to work on her own caramel apples for the family.


What was once the simplest and purest treat has turned into the simplest, fastest pre-packaged (and full of scary stuff) treat. Walk down the apple aisle of any grocery store this month and you will find “caramel apple wrappers” and packaged  “old fashioned caramel dip.” Although convenience has its place in today’s hustle and bustle world, I wonder if you have ever read the ingredients in that easy-to-grab dip? (more…)