Tag Archives: apple

The Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble

17 Jan

What do you do with a bag of banged up apples? Make apple crumble!

dsc_0684-2

I returned home after a quick post-work grocery shop last week to realize that I picked up THE most bruised bag of apples. Only two of more than a dozen beautiful Ontario empire apples were unblemished. The remainder were seriously bruised and I’m not just talking about surface bumps. The skin was broken and they were slowly starting to ferment from being exposed to the open air. YUM.

Apple crumble is the perfect dessert for this time of year because it’s warm, comforting, and doesn’t have to be calorie dense for those looking to shed a few post-holiday pounds. Most recipes call for sugar in both the apple mixture and the crumble, which can sometimes mask the natural sweetness and flavour of the apple itself. Since I was making apple crumble for a snack and not a special occasion, I scoured the web for a healthy version that I could enjoy any day, guilt-free.

dsc_0706-2

The recipe I settled on, from the blog Amy’s Healthy Baking, doesn’t use any added sugar in the apple mixture and only a scant amount in the crumble. The crumble combines oats and whole wheat flour with a tiny bit of butter (1.5 tablespoons, to be precise) and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. The result was a crumble that was not overly sweet, and an apple mixture that tasted liked… apples! It was naturally sweet and flavourful. If I were to make this again, I might experiment with the crumble as it was a bit moist in consistency without the usual crunch that I’ve come to expect. Regardless, it tasted delicious and really satisfied my sweet tooth. Plus the house smelled AMAZING afterward.

dsc_0704-2

The Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble
(from AmysHealthyBaking.com)

Did You Know? The difference between a crisp and a crumble is that a crisp always uses oats while a crumble may or may not. I grew up using the term “crisp” when referring to this type of dessert, but opted to use “crumble” throughout this post as the crust wasn’t very crispy.

For the Crumble
¾ cup large flake oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 ½ tbsp butter, melted

For the Filling
6 cups diced apple (dice into pieces about the size of blueberries) – a tarter variety like Granny Smith may not work as well since they are
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat an 8” square pan with butter, oil, or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare the crumble topping, combine the oats, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the maple syrup and melted butter. Stir until fully incorporated.
  3. To prepare the filling, toss the apples with the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl until completely coated.
  4. Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, and gently press down with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the topping (the topping tends to clump, so try to break it up into fairly small pieces).
  5. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until the apples are fork tender. Cool completely to room temperature; then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving to allow the juices to fully thicken. If you prefer to enjoy your crumble warm, then reheat individual portions (or the entire pan) once it has chilled in the refrigerator.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 175 kcal, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fibre, 2 g protein, 22 mg sodium

Apple and Cucumber Salad with Dill

8 Aug

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending four and a half beautiful days in St. John’s, Newfoundland. We walked a lot: up and down Signal Hill and to and from the downtown strip daily. But we also ate a lot. Cod cakes (the best ones had a nice crispy exterior), cod tongue with scrunchions (essentially fried bits of salted pork fat), and the best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted. And we drank. A lot. Our trip coincided with George Street Festival which is the biggest party weekend of the year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20160728_220301_1470149199659_resized (2)

Now that I’m back at home and feeling a few pounds heavier, all I want to eat is fresh vegetables and salads in an attempt to erase the gluttony of my trip out east.

My friend T had me over for dinner last month and made me a remarkably tasty salad that she claimed was super easy. It was a bed of lettuce topped with sticks of apple and cucumber. The dressing consisted of olive oil, rice vinegar and fresh dill. Nothing more. Since that visit, visions of her salad have been dancing in my head.

DSC_0183

T used a mandoline to cut her cucumber and apple for the salad—something that intimidated me, but made me realize that I need to give mine a fair chance. The first and last time I used my mandoline was a year ago, and it wasn’t pretty. If you don’t have a mandoline, a good sharp knife will do.

On Saturday, I made amends with my mandoline and re-created T’s simple summer salad. It was everything I remembered (and more, since I added a sprinkle of toasted almond slivers): crunchy and sweet, light yet satisfying. And she wasn’t lying—it was super easy.

DSC_0177

Do you own a mandoline or know of any tasty dishes that require one? Please share your recipes and any tips or tricks in the comments section. I’m eager to use mine more often (and would like to keep my fingers intact in the process)!

DSC_0170

T’s Apple and Cucumber Salad with Dill

All measures are estimates. Adjust based on your taste preference and/or what you have on hand.

6 cups lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (red leaf lettuce contrasts nicely with the green cucumber and apple)
2 Granny Smith apples
1 medium English cucumber
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
Fresh dill (to taste)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)

  1. Toast almonds in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from heat when golden and aromatic, and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a mandoline (or sharp knife), slice cucumber and apple into thick sticks.
  4. To serve, top greens with apple, cucumber and almonds. Add dressing and toss to combine.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 165 kcal, 11 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 17 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 2 g protein,  130 mg sodium

Mission Accomplished: the “Gala”-ctic Apple Frittata

1 Oct

It’s been a very exciting couple of weeks for me with adventures that have all shockingly(!) revolved around food.

The first exciting outing was a trip to the Ontario Food Terminal.  Last Saturday, for the first time in history, the terminal opened its doors to the public.  I’ve always dreamed of setting foot inside the terminal, curious to see the inner workings of the place that houses all of the produce that eventually makes its way onto our grocery store shelves.  The day did not disappoint: there were tours, cooking demonstrations, ample opportunities to chat with vendors, and free food.  I was on cloud nine!

My second thrill was being served dinner by Lynn Crawford (of Food Network fame).  When I booked E’s birthday dinner at her restaurant, I secretly hoped we would catch a glimpse of her but never expected that she would be waiting on us: filling our glasses with water and delivering our main course and dessert.  She described the food with the same enthusiasm that she does on TV.  It was totally surreal.

Finally, for the past two weeks I’ve been partaking in weekly ‘Food Missions for Food Lovers’ organized by the National Post newspaper.  I’ve been published in the paper both weeks, and I even got my own ‘Gastrosketch’ last week (sadly, cartoon Lisa appears to have a mustache).

Mission #17: Your Favourite Food

Mission #18: Taste Something New

This week’s challenge is to eat something with apples.  Challenge?!  Ha.  Apples just happen to be one of my favourite foods and they’ve made it into several recipes that I’ve posted on my blog since its inception.  Wanting to do something a little bit different, I decided on a frittata recipe that combines vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, and jicama… again!) and fruit (apples).  The result is a very hearty, satisfying dish with a delicate balance of savory and sweet.  It was a bit of a pain to prepare so I’ve included some tips that may (or may not) make the process less aggravating.

Don’t be alarmed, the purple flecks are from an heirloom carrot

 

Stovetop Potato & Apple Frittata
(from Clean Eating magazine, January 2011)

3/4 lb Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
3 tsp olive oil, divided
4 eggs
4 egg whites
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, minced, leaves reserved and minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c peeled and grated jicama, placed into a bowl of cold water to prevent it from browning
1 large firm Gala or Fuji apple, unpeeled
1/2 Spanish onion, sliced into thin rounds

 

  1. Thinly slice potatoes by cutting them in half, placing them flat side down on a cutting board, and then using a very sharp knife to make thin, even slices. As you finish cutting the potato halves, push the slices back together to prevent them from browning.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a 10 or 12 inch thick bottomed nonstick pan over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add potatoes in a thin layer, so each slice is touching pan’s surface. Cook potatoes undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip each slice over and cook for another 4 minutes. (The edges will brown and the centers will be nearly translucent when done). Work in batches, if necessary, placing each round of cooked potatoes on a cool plate and setting them aside. [Lisa’s aside: it would have taken me 5+ batches to get all of the potatoes cooked using this method.  I ended up microwaving the sliced potatoes in a dish with a bit of water (in 2 batches), then I quickly browned the potatoes in the pan to remove some of the moisture]
  3. Meanwhile, crack eggs and egg whites into a large bowl and break up yolks with a fork. Stir in carrots, celery stalk, and salt. Squeeze water out of jicama and stir jicama into egg mixture.
  4. While last batch of potatoes is cooking, thinly slice apple. Transfer final batch of potatoes onto a cool plate and set aside. Then add 1 tsp oil, apple, and onion to same pan used to cook potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apple and onion slices are nearly translucent.
  5. Add potatoes to egg mixture then stir in apple and onion. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to same pan, pour in egg mixture and cover. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until edges brown and begin to pull away from pan. As you’re cooking frittata, slip a heat proof spatula around its sides once or twice and jiggle pan to make sure frittata isn’t sticking. Invert frittata by removing the pan from the heat, placing a large plate over the pan, and flipping frittata onto the plate. Slide frittata back into pan, uncooked side down, and cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Slide frittata back into pan and onto serving plate. Garnish with reserved celery leaves.  [The frittata was way too massive and heavy to flip… plus, I’m not that skilled!  Instead, I cooked the frittata with a lid to help steam the top]
Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 246 kcal, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 30 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 13 g protein, 422 mg sodium.

Appeasing a Dietitian and a Meat-Lover at the Same Time: Apple-Fennel Stuffed Tenderloin

9 Sep

As promised in my last post, a guest entry from E.  Disclaimer: I have nothing against meat.  -Lisa

Living with a dietitian can be tricky at times, especially when you’ve been given a nickname like ‘the living black hole’.  For those who don’t know me, I eat everything, and a lot of everything.  Even spinach.

While I do enjoy tickling my sweet and savory taste buds, nothing beats salivating over a perfectly cooked piece of meat, biting into its fleshy tenderness, spilling flavorful juices onto your tongue, and firing up all those umami taste buds.  This sensation is heightened to heaven when the meat is well marbled, with fat of course.

May I remind you that I live with a dietitian.  Apparently, too much animal fat in your diet is not good for the ticker or the physique.  So one must tread carefully when suggesting meal ideas that revolve around meat to a dietetic girlfriend.

I’ve learned that you have half a fighting chance when you talk up the dish and make it slightly more extravagant than just a slab of meat.  For instance, you can “butterfly a lean pork loin” and “stuff it with fennel and apples, roast it to perfection” as well as “serve it with a side of sautéed greens with garlic” (I’ve highlighted the words that you may want to stress when describing this dish).

This dish in theory should serve four relatively hungry adults.  It only lasted one evening between the two of us.  The meat came out tender and juicy and the fennel and apple added a natural and subtle sweetness to the dish.  Enjoy!

Apple and Fennel Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

 

Healthy Apple-Fennel Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
(lightly adapted from The Rachael Ray Show)

1 pork tenderloin, roughly 1.5 lbs (~700 g)
1 tbsp canola oil
Light sprinkling of salt and pepper
—————————————————————————————————-
Half of a small fennel bulb, cored and julienned, plus a pinch of chopped fronds
Half of a firm apple, such as Gala or Honey Crisp, cored and julienned
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems discarded and leaves reserved
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a rimmed baking tray with aluminum foil and lightly grease with canola oil.  Set aside.
  2. Trim pork loin of silver skin.  Use a small paring knife for this job.
  3. To butterfly the pork loin, place the loin on its side so it naturally sits with the widest side on the cutting board.  With a sharp butcher’s knife, slice the loin lengthwise so you can open up the loin like a book, leaving about ½ an inch at the end of the loin.
  4. Cover the pork loin with Saran wrap and using a meat hammer (or the side of a pot), pound the loin out to ¼-inch thick.
  5. Place extra-virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium heat.  Add the fennel, apple, onion and garlic.  Sautee for 8 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
  6. Add the apple juice and breadcrumbs into the skillet and mix well to make stuffing.  If stuffing is too dry, add additional apple juice as needed.
  7. Place stuffing onto the pork loin leaving about an inch of meat on each side uncovered.
  8. Roll the pork loin up and place seam side down on a baking tray.
  9. Rub 1 tbsp canola oil on the pork loin and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer the pork loin into the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  11. When the meat comes out of the oven, let rest before serving by covering it with aluminum foil for 10 minutes.

Makes 4(ish) servings.  Per serving: 345 kcal, 41 g protein, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 20 g CHO, 2 g fibre, 405 mg sodium

Cook 1 New Food a Week: Celeriac (and Apple Slaw)

15 Apr

It’s not January but I have a new resolution:  to cook 1 new vegetable (or grain, or other wholesome food) a week.  Lately I’ve been surprised by the number of foods that exist that I haven’t ever tasted or attempted to cook.  How can this be?!  I’m supposed to be a foodie!  More importantly, I’m beginning to realize that I need to know a LOT about food as a dietitian.  Exhibit A:  Last week I came across multiple unfamiliar items while reviewing a patient’s food records.  Sweetsop? Bodi? Eddoe?  Even if the name of the food sounds familiar, it’s tough to have a clue about its nutritional profile if you’ve never tasted or cooked it.

This week I started with a relatively basic vegetable… the humble celeriac, or celery root.  I’ve eaten celeriac at restaurants but never have I been so courageous to tackle this unfortunate looking root at home.  Celeriac is unique amongst root vegetables in that it has a relatively low starch content.  Gram for gram, celeriac has one-third the calories and carbohydrate content of potatoes.  As a result, mashed celeriac (or a mashed potato-celeriac combo) can lighten up a meal and make room for other foods… such as that slice of bread.

Celeriac aka Celery Root

Cooked celeriac has a mellow yet distinguishable flavour– like a milder version of raw celery stalks.  When eaten raw, I’ve read that celeriac is supposed to have a strong and pungent taste.  Interestingly, I felt quite the opposite in this Celeriac Apple Slaw.  The apples and currents provided a whack of sweetness which was balanced by tart lemon and earthy fresh basil.  A perfect spring slaw. And the perfect way to give celeriac a try.

A dismal photo of the Celeriac Apple Slaw (it tastes better than it looks!)

 

Celeriac Apple Slaw
(from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 cups peeled and grated sweet, firm apples
2.5 cups peeled and grated celeriac
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup currants or raisins (I only used 1/4 cup… half a cup seemed like a lot!)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup minced red onions
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Add the grated apples and stir well– the lemon juice will prevent discolouration.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6 cups.  Per 1 cup serving: 96 kcal, 3 g fibre, 3 g fat, 163 mg sodium.

Nutritious and Delicious Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple

14 Nov

In the summer, I discovered that raw kale is far superior to cooked kale.  If left to marinate long enough, raw kale goes from being “grassy” (in the wise words of E) to fairly neutral in taste.  Best of all, it’s a sturdy green that keeps its texture days after being dressed.

The most recent addition to my cookbook collection, the Moosewood Collectives, is full of tasty, nutritious, and hearty recipes.  I’m itching to try each and every one of them… if only there were more hours in the day.  Last week, I came across a delicious sounding recipe for a “Raw Slaw.”  Kale, red cabbage, carrot, and apple.  It sounded easy enough, plus it was another way to lessen my apple stockpile.  The recipe also called for the addition of fresh thyme, which I was hesitant to purchase.  Not because I don’t like thyme (in fact, I love it– the smell reminds me of my Mom’s old garden), but simply because I knew the leftover thyme would sit in my fridge and spoil.  As it turns out, the thyme was a nice addition but does not make the salad.  Feel free to include it or omit it as you see fit.

All in all, this salad was deeeeeeeeelicious!  So delicious that I made it not once but TWICE last week.  Partially because I now have a massive head of red cabbage in the fridge that needs to be used up.  Rotkraut anyone?

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple

 

Our Favorite Raw Slaw (from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
dash of cayenne pepper
3 cups shredded kale, ribs removed
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1-1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup grated apples

  1. In a cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the kale, cabbage, carrot, and apple.  Add the marinade, stir well, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6 servings.  Per 1 cup serving: 92 kcal, 7 g fat, 1 g fibre, 212 mg sodium

 

Heart Healthy Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates

4 Nov

As many of you know, apples are one of my favourite foods.  Crunchy, sweet-yet-tart, and very satisfying.  I won’t ramble on about the health benefits, but you know what they say: an apple a day…

When my friend Steph asked if I wanted to go apple picking with her earlier this fall, I enthusiastically gave her a big YES!!!! I’d never been apple picking before but it has been on my autumn “to-do” list for several years now.  So, a couple of weekends ago we braved the GTA traffic and drove up to an orchard in Brampton to spend the afternoon picking (and eating) apples with our other friend Steph and my sister J.

Random lady who wanted her photo taken + the girls with Mutsu apples

I was surprised by the size of the trees– I fully expected that ladders would be involved!  Instead, the trees were relatively short and most of the apples were within reach.  First we picked some large, crisp, sweet Mutsu apples that were practically the size of our heads.  Then we moved on to the Ida Red trees, which yield a tart apple that is great for baking.  Although I wasn’t planning on doing a ton of baking in the near future, these apples keep for 6 months in the fridge so I picked quite a few.  Finally, we moved onto one of my favourite eating apples: the Empire.  They taste just like a nice crispy version of the MacIntosh apple… none of that mealy nonsense that you sometimes get with Macs!  For useful info on various apples and their uses, click here.

Mutsu trees

Ida Red apples

I now have 2+ drawers full of apples in my fridge.  Maybe I was a little overzealous with my picking, but at least this means I won’t have to lug home apples from the grocery store for another month or two.

Recently, a recipe for reeeeeeally healthy-looking muffins caught my eye and tonight I was eager to give them a try.  I must admit, the recipe looked almost TOO wholesome to be true.  No oil, lots of oat bran, and no brown or granulated sugar.  I was also a bit skeptical as the batter came together– it did not look like anything I’d ever seen before!  It was loose rather than cohesive… but I packed the “batter” into the muffin tins and popped them into the oven, hoping for the best.  In the end, everything seemed to meld together in the oven and the muffins turned out wonderfully.  There was just the perfect amount of sweetness from the molasses, dates, and apples, and lots of that hearty whole-grain texture from the oats and oat bran.  Something tells me these muffins won’t last long… I’ve already eaten 3 tonight!

Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates

 

Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates  (from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp molasses
3/4 cup finely chopped dates  (or chopped raisins/dried cranberries)
1 cup oat bran
2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt   (I would reduce this to 1/4 tsp next time…)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.  Stir in the dates, oat bran, and apples.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, rolled oats, and ground flaxseed.  Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and allow to cool fully on rack.  Muffins will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Makes 12 muffins.  Per muffin: 110 kcal, 3 g fibre, 2 g fat, 276 mg sodium