Fall Farro Salad with Spiced Apples and Walnuts Plus Secrets to Fall Plant-Powered Eating

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fall farro saladI love fall. The return to comfort food. Crisp air, along with crisp leaves underfoot. But  the fall schedule in my house is definitely busier than those lazy days of summer! Which leads me to a favorite recipe to help you stay well nourished and sane as you shift into a new season, but first, a favorite appliance!

. Hello Dehydrator: Why should canning and pickling have all the fun?

To hang onto the flavors of summer whilst infusing a pop of taste and nutrition into winter months, consider trying a dehydrator. One of the oldest ways to preserve the "peak of the harvest" - they are making a comeback and it's easier than ever with today's crop of modern technology machines.

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To keep your energy and resilience functioning at their best ( a key to warding off cold and flu season),  try this stunning fall recipe that delivers big flavor in a lean and green package, from my friend and fellow plant-passionate dietitian Sharon Palmer, RD.

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Fall Farro Salad with Spiced Apples and Walnuts

Fall Farro Salad with Spiced Apples and Walnuts

Makes About 6 Cups
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Borrowing flavors from a Waldorf salad, this hearty whole grain salad gets a crunchy boost from Fuji apples, celery, and walnuts. The exotic ginger, cinnamon, and caraway seed dressing gives it a spicy kick.

Ingredients:
1 large Fuji apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. apple juice
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. low-sodium herbal seasoning
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2.5 cups cooked farro, cooled
1 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 sprigs of parsley, coarsely chopped
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Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, add diced apple.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, low-sodium herbal seasoning, caraway seeds, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Pour over apples and toss together.
  3. Fold in farro celery, walnuts, cranberries, and parsley.
  4. Chill until serving time.
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3 Secrets to Enjoying Plant Powered Eating This Fall:

Sharon shared her top 3 tips for keeping plants front and center this fall, without trading an iota of taste or comfort. And we both chimed in on some ideas to help you bring the tips to life.
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1. Fall back on plant-powered comfort foods.
Many of our fall favorite comfort meals can be powered by plants- who wouldn't, for instance, love to curl up with a bowl of smokey red beans and rice, grilled vegetable lasagna with pesto, or black bean and butternut squash chili? It's also easy to take your favorite comfort food meal and whip it into plant-based shape: spaghetti and meatballs can become spaghetti with marinara sauce and faux meatballs (check out this amazing Meatless Meatball recipe made with mushrooms), chicken and dumplings can become a hearty fall vegetable stew with dumplings. Or a tired tuna noodle casserole could transform into a butternut squash, fennel and gruyere cheese casserole-perfect for a chilly evening-and insanely good leftovers.
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2.  Cook up a big pot of vegetable soup. 
Start the week with a big pot of soup, based on fresh, seasonal vegetables, like carrots, celery, and potatoes, frozen vegetables such as zucchini and peas, or canned veggies like canned tomatoes, with lots of added herbs and spices.  Add a handful or lentils or whole grains (farro, barley, wild rice) to add more nutrients.  Now you've got a hearty soup that can be warmed up with meals or for lunch during the week. It's especially simple if you have a slow cooker-just toss in and go. For an easy start, try my Southwest Quinoa Black Bean Soup recipe - I did for Dr. Oz- he loved it!
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3.  Put legumes on the menu a few times a week.  
Economical, easy and delicious, put beans, peas, and lentils on your menu a few times a week to gain health benefits such as better blood sugar control, and a reduced risk of obesity and heart disease.  Toss a hefty handful of beans (that have been simmered with broth, herbs and spices)into your salad or wrap; try cooked lentils in veggie burgers, savor a homemade spicy bean chili, serve a side three bean salad with a handful of fresh chopped herbs at lunch or dinner, or use chickpea flour to make a fabulous, high protein chickpea fritter-delicious as a light meal or a satisfying snack.
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Now that I've thrown the gauntlet down with all of these great ideas, I see that I need to get some more recipes for you to try!  Will do, I promise. In the meantime, I hope you will let me know what you think after you've made Sharon's delicious dish!

Summer Bliss Peach Smoothie Recipe

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Peach SmoothieWhen I lived in Italy the locals had a saying:

"What grows together goes together."

I find it to be a great help when I get back from the farmer's market and am trying to let delicious inspiration strike.

That's essentially how I stumbled on this utterly refreshing yet surprising peach smoothie combination - some of summer's best in a glass, really. Using yellow peaches give this smoothie a warmer color than using white peaches.
Other summer stone fruits like apricots and nectarines are also delicious swaps if that's what's growing near you.
Really ripe fruit is the key to this smoothie-you can add a dash of vanilla extract for extra flavor.

Summer Bliss Peach Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of peeled and cubed ripe yellow peaches (3-4 medium peaches)
1 cup chilled Almond Milk (or other non dairy milk)
1 cup ice
15 Basil Leaves (medium to large)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

Need help finding a farmer's market near you? Check out this link! And see you at the market!

5 Fresh Sandwiches to Shed Pounds for Spring

SandwichSpring is here!

Well, almost. But with shorts and swimsuits looming in your not too distant future, it's time to dust off your News Year's plans to eat better and chef up these delicious sandwiches to help you get there.

I find that lunch can be the hardest meal of the day to get inspired over.  It's easy to fall into the same old ruts, or even worse, reach for take-out or visit the office vending machine and call it a meal.

Here are some of my spring faves that you can dig into guilt-free, knowing you're doing your body good, while keeping your planet's future in mind. Packed with healthy ingredients, protein, fiber for staying power (a key for weight loss), and an array of veggies to boost your nutrition quotient, each recipe is sublime and will keep you on your path to lean and green cuisine.

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Best-Ever Eggless Egg Salad

In my recent EarthGrains Facebook fan page post (full disclosure, I am a paid spokesperson for them), I shared several other delicious recipes, one of which was for an egg salad recipe. But here's another option, especially if you are limiting your weekly egg count. .

Make this super-tasty eco-conscious sandwich filler in no time.  This recipe is perfect for packing grab-and-go lunches or for lounging around at home. The nutritional yeast adds flavor, but also provides a rich source of protein and vitamin B12, so it's best not to omit. EarthGrains bread is 100% whole grain and has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives-which I love- plus 20% of the grain is Eco-Grain™ - a wheat grown using innovative farming techniques that help reduce the amount of pesticides, energy and carbon emissions associated with production.

1/4 cup Canola mayo or vegan mayo 1 tsp Granulated garlic 1 tsp Fresh chopped parsley 1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast 1 tsp Turmeric 1/4 cup Diced celery 1/2 tsp Dried dill (can use 1 tsp fresh if in season) 1/4 cup Broccoli sprouts, rinsed well. 1 Block extra firm tofu, drained, and chopped Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste Avocado slices Spring lettuce greens

2 slices of 100% Whole Grain EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo through the dill until well combined. Add tofu and gently fold into mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Scoop 1 cup eggless egg salad on EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat and top with veggies.

.. Sustainable Tuna & Artichoke Sandwich

Tuna is one of the most careful choices you have to make at the supermarket, as there are concerns about sustainable fisheries management and mercury contamination (to get the latest, download the latest copy of your region's Sustainable Seafood Guide). So what's the best choice for your tasty tuna sandwich? Look for albacore or skipjack tuna that is, "Marine Stewardship Certified" for a winning lean and green overlap. This certification confirms the tuna is caught in a sustainable fashion (using the troll or pole and line method). Artichokes make this filling feel extra creamy, and really kick this sandwich up a notch in taste. This sandwich powers you up with protein, slimming whole grains and heart healthy fats.  What's not to love?

1 6 oz. can Marine Stewardship Certified Albacore or skipjack tuna, broken into chunks 1/4 cup Chopped, pitted kalamata olives 4 artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped 1/2 tsp Lemon zest 1 Tbsp Chopped parsley 1 tsp Capers, drained 1 (12-ounce) Jar marinated artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped 2 Tbsp Canola mayo 1 tsp Fresh lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste 2 slices 100% Whole Grain EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

  1. In a medium bowl combine tuna through artichoke hearts. Fold in the mayo and the lemon juice. Add a bit more mayo or olive oil if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Scoop out tuna/artichoke mixture on Earthgrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

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Sunshine Pita Pocket

There are loads of veggie burgers in the freezer aisle these days, so beware of the "health halo" that some not-so-healthy ones carry. Many now have super long lists that you need a magnifying glass to decipher- look for products made with 5 ingredients or less.

I am a big fan of Sunshine burgers, which I discovered at the ADA Expo last year. Aside from being vegan and organic (both great for the planet), they have a super clean ingredient list, and are also soy, dairy, wheat and gluten-free. A pretty tall order for a burger-and you will be amazed at how delish they are! And it's a perfect final destination for any leftover caramelized onion you may have.

1 tsp Canola mayo or Dijon mustard 2 strips Roasted red pepper 1/4 cup Chopped cucumber Caramelized onions 100% Whole Grain Pita Pocket 1 Organic Sunshine Veggie Burger

  1. Warm veggie burger according to package directions. Spread mayo or mustard on pita, tuck in the burger and remaining ingredients.

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Thai Chicken Wrap with Peanut Sauce and Asian Slaw

This fresh take on what can seem ho-hum leftovers, is filled with protein to help satisfy you all afternoon. The zingy combo of veggies, cilantro, and lime is a refreshing change for spring.

1/3 cup Last night's extra grilled chicken, chopped (preferably organic) 1/4 cup Shredded cabbage (red or green or even both) 1/4 cup Grated carrot 1/4 cup Diced red pepper 1 Diced green onion Tasty toppers: Fresh chopped cilantro and a squirt of lime 100% Whole grain tortilla/wrap 2 tsp Your favorite all-natural peanut sauce or Asian-inspired salad dressing*

*Make one yourself by whisking together 1/4 c. rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp all natural peanut butter, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fresh lime juice and 1/4 tsp chili garlic paste, or to taste.

  1. Combine chicken through green onion in a small bowl. Top wrap with mixture and roll up.

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Grilled Sweet Potato Burger

My intern, Lindsey Toth, turned me on to this fantastic tower of goodness. It has grilled sweet potato rounds, caramelized onions, bean sprouts, and cilantro hummus (or any type of hummus you like). It is to die for!  If you make the sweet potato ahead of time and then just briefly warm on the stove before assembling, this hot and hearty sandwich is super quick. Feel free to add your own favorite veggie fixings too.

1 sweet potato, sliced about half-inch thick rounds Olive oil for grilling 1/4 cup Caramelized onions 2 Tbsp Cilantro hummus (or your favorite store bought kind) Handful sunflower sprouts 100% whole grain bun, toasted

  1. Heat grill over medium. Brush sweet potato slices with olive oil and grill over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes per side.
  2. Spread each side of toasted bun with 1 Tbsp hummus. Layer on sprouts, onions, and grilled sweet potato.

Got other faves to help you shed pounds for spring? I'd love to hear about them.