Welcome Fall 2013

Today is the first day of Fall. I just can’t believe it but I already see leaves falling and changing colors, mums out on front porches, apple festivities around town and Halloween decorations in stores and homes!

trees

Autumn is just beautiful here in New England. I love to see all the trees along the Merritt Parkway in full blown and the leaves in all different colors, it’s just gorgeous. The autumn harvest is plentiful here too with apple and pumpkin picking and butternut squash, yum!  Plus, Julian was born in the Fall, which makes this season extra special! (Love you Julian)

Julian's Birth 071

However, I have to admit, Fall is a bit sad for me too…. because it means THE END OF SUMMER and a step closer to the dreaded Winter, ha! I know, I should enjoy all the four seasons here in Connecticut, but as you all know, Spring and Summer are my two favorite seasons. I love the warm air, the sign of re-birth and the sun on my face. Plus, school is out and we get to do more fun activities outside, go to the beach, hit the farmers markets and go on vacation!!! Ok, ok, enough about summer and back to the Fall.

So, in honor of this beautiful first day of Fall, let’s get in the kitchen and start cooking some warm, Autumn treats!

fall harvest

This morning, we started with the very popular whole grain, fluffy, sweet, Buttermilk Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (gluten free) served with REAL sweet maple syrup from Connecticut. The kids in my cooking classes absolutely LOVE these pancakes!

buttermilk pancakes

For lunch, we cooked up this hearty, mouthwatering, Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, made with ground turkey, carrots and peas and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese! I also made a small vegetarian version, made with mushrooms instead of ground turkey for my handsome, vegetarian hubby.

turkey shepherd's pie 2

Finally, for an afternoon sweet treat, we baked up some Sweet Potato Muffins, (gluten free) made with whole grain oat and almond flour, ground cinnamon, delicious sweet potatoes and glazed with pure maple syrup.

sweet potato muffins 3

Welcome Fall!

Chocolate Coconut Chia Muffins

As you all know, I love muffins. They are a perfect sweet treat for any time of the day and if made with wholesome, organic ingredients, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating them. I have always enjoyed baking muffins at home, they are so versatile and so simple to make, plus you can pack them with so much nutrition and nothing beats a freshly baked muffin right out of the oven!

chocolate chia muffin

Chia seeds have become a new staple in our household. They are  packed with protein, fiber and Omega 3s. They keep you feeling full longer and give you tons of energy and because of their unique structure and water retention, you can turn them into a gel and use the gel to replace up to half the fat in any recipe.

chia seeds 2

I have posted a recipe for Chocolate Banana Chia Muffins made with chia seeds in the past, which we still make and love. However, when you’re not in the mood for bananas, I now make these Chocolate Coconut Chia Muffins. They are so moist and sweet, that you feel like you are eating chocolate cake without all that fat and sugar! As a matter of fact, if you made these for your family, they wouldn’t even notice the difference between a traditional white flour chocolate muffin and these whole grain, chocolate chia muffins.

This muffin recipe is gluten free, made with oat or almond flour but can easily be substituted with whole wheat flour. However, it’s always a good idea to keep all your food intake in balance, just like everything else in life. So, I challenge you to give the oat or almond flour a try. Trust me when I tell you, that you won’t even taste the difference and it is so much healthier.

So, get out your mixing bowls and bake some of these muffins today!