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fall



Homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Beats Any Canned Soup in Your Pantry

I’d much rather eat something fresh and homemade than something out of a box or can. Sure, it can be a little more time consuming, but that’s what my weekends are for. I feel a lot better serving a meal in which I can name every single ingredient. Plus, I don’t mind the bragging rights that come with a little honest-to-goodness made-from-scratch cooking!

One of my husband’s favorite meals is my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. As soon as the temperatures start cooling off, I’m more than happy to spend a Sunday in the kitchen making this cool-weather meal for him.

I only have to make this once or twice each winter because it fills my Crock Pot completely full and then several containers for freezing. While I may have to invest an afternoon to prepare it once, I’ve got several effortless meals later. 
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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
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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!
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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.
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