Going Meatless for #Elf4Health

Happy Monday! And Happy First Day of Elf4Health!!

Today is the start of the 2013 edition of Elf4Health. Last night I “met” my elf for the first round, Tracie! Tracie is training for her first half marathon in February, and now that it’s gotten cold in upper New York she’s having to do most of her training on the treadmill (oi vey!). But I know she’s going to rock it!

The first challenge is to have a Meatless Monday. It’s exactly how it sounds: make all your meals meatless. Breakfast is pretty easy for me, as this morning all I wanted was something warm so I heated up some oatmeal after CrossFit. Lunch was a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some cheesy broccoli I found in the freezer.

Now, for dinner. I’ve had a butternut squash laying around for a while, so I decided I wanted to try making butternut squash soup in the CrockPot. It’ll be served with a salad and homemade biscuits.

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Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
Freshly diced yellow onion (I only used a couple slices, since M isn’t a bit onion fan)
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
32 ounces low-sodium veggie or chicken broth
Cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste

  1. Prepare your slow cooker (I spray olive oil before placing the ingredients inside)
  2. Peel & cube the butternut squash and apple, dice up the onion and place it all in the slow cooker
  3. Pour the broth.
  4. Cook in the slow cooker. 6-7 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high
  5. Once everything is soft, use an immersion blender (or do what I did, carefully transfer  contents into a blender, in batches, and puree) to blend everything.
  6. Once thoroughly blended, add your spices to your taste. (I just added a little of everything, and then let everyone make it their own (do they like it extra sweet? Or a little more pepper?)
  7. Serve and enjoy!

I served this with some homemade whole wheat cheddar biscuits, adapted from an easy recipe I found online.

Whole Wheat Herb & Cheddar Biscuits

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cold milk (I used fat free)
Italian spices to taste
Shredded cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 450* F. Prepare an ungreased cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and Italian spices with a whisk or fork.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix those pieces into the flour. Continue until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Pour the milk and mix all together.
  5. Drop the batter onto the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. With about 4-5 minutes left in baking sprinkle some shredded cheese on top each biscuit.

Here are a couple more Meatless Monday options, including what I made for last year’s Elf4Health:

Your turn: What’s your favorite Meatless Monday meal?

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Yummy Eats — New Recipes I’ve Tried Lately

Recently I’ve been trying some new recipes for M and I to try that are healthy and delicious. It’s been fun!

Friday morning I tried Tina’s French Toast Scramble. At first I was skeptical about the taste…I mean, egg whites and a banana? But, no…really, this was so yummy! I used 2 egg whites, a banana, honey, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, and then a scoop of peanut butter in a mug as I ate this with a glass of nonfat milk. I didn’t expect it to hold me over, but I was surprised that I wasn’t hungry until it was time for my mid-morning snack of an apple. This is definitely now in my breakfast rotation!

Saturday our friends made a Guinea peanut sauce with butternut squash recipe from Allrecipe.com. It was pretty yummy, but needed just a little more kick to it. Perhaps a little more pepper? More garlic? Not sure, but that might be a task for the future… (A great recipe for my vegetarian friends!)

Monday I told you about M’s healthy banana cookies… I’m excited to try some more healthy cookie recipes now.

Sunday I tried Anne’s chunky turkey vegetable soup. I had been wanting to give this a try, and we had veggies to use up in the fridge. This was one of the most delicious vegetable soup recipes I’ve ever had, and it was so easy! I diced up a green bell pepper, 2 (or 3, I can’t remember) celery stalks and a couple big handfuls of baby carrots and combined those with a can of diced tomatoes (low sodium), browned ground turkey, and brown rice. It was very hearty and full of flavor (check out her post with the list of spices). (I didn’t have any kale, but I have thought about adding some spinach to this recipe some other time.) We decided next time I need to double the recipe for leftovers, and that this was definitely a keeper in the dinner rotation.

This chunky turkey vegetarian soup is so colorful, which means it's nutritious on top of delicious!

This chunky turkey vegetarian soup is so colorful, which means it’s nutritious on top of delicious!

So there you have it, just a handful of the new recipes I encourage you to try. One of my goals is to try some new things with cooking, and so far we’re on a good roll!

Do you have any new recipes to share?