All Posts By Emily Lee

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: A Feast of Fall Sides

by in Healthy Recipes, November 20, 2015

How do you make sure the vegetarian at your Thanksgiving feast goes home feeling pleasantly sated just like everyone else? Well, for starters, you’ll need to pick really fantastic sides — ones that are so good they’ll make the turkey seem secondary. Most of us will agree that the sides are the best part, anyway. But with an abundance of pie in everyone’s future, it’s probably wise to offer the meatless eaters a few options beyond starchy mashed potatoes and carb-loaded stuffing. While roasted or sauteed vegetables are great to fill up on when you’re trying to “save room,” you’ll also want something that feels special, or celebratory, for the holiday. Here are a few vegetarian side dishes that, when served together, make up a perfectly satisfying Thanksgiving menu.

Vegan Wild Rice-Stuffed Butternut Squash (pictured at top)
Serve this impressive fall dish as the main course for vegetarian and vegan guests, and everyone else at the table can enjoy it as a hearty side. The wild rice, walnuts and dried cherry stuffing has incredible texture, and the small amount of curry powder gives the squash a nice warmth and depth.

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The 7 Sides You Need at Thanksgiving (And How to Make Them Healthy) — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 19, 2015

Is there anything more necessary than a generous scoop of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? A slice of hot buttered cornbread is nice, too. Some would even say it’s the green bean casserole that really makes the meal special. Personal preferences aside, we can all agree that the sides are the best part of Thanksgiving — next to the smorgasbord of pie, of course. And since we only get to enjoy this celebratory feast one day each year, why not dig in to the indulgent dishes that are so representative of the holiday? Then again, if you plan on having a lot of leftovers, you could be enjoying these dishes for a few days (or an entire week) after Thanksgiving has passed. That’s incentive to throw some healthier options into the mix. Here are the classic, comforting sides we all long for, with a few minor alterations to make each one less of a splurge. As it turns out, your healthiest Thanksgiving could be your most-traditional yet. Who knew?

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6 Healthy Ways to Up Your Carrot Cake Game — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, November 12, 2015

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means our opportunities for sampling fresh baked goods are about to quadruple. If you’re choosing between a mammoth slice of cake festooned with buttery frosting and a modest piece of carrot cake, the carrot cake is clearly the better choice. Carrots are in peak season right now, and when used in baking, this vivid orange vegetable offers wonderful texture and natural sweetness. Still, the usual embellishments — chopped nuts, dried fruit, cream cheese frosting — all present opportunities for refined sugar and added fat to sneak in. So whether you prefer your carrots in cake, cupcake or muffin form, follow these six tips for turning your favorite carrot desserts into health-minded fall treats.

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6 Ways to Never Get Bored of Brussels Sprouts — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, November 5, 2015

Brussels sprouts are a pretty divisive vegetable: You either love them or hate them. But developing a love of these cabbagelike little bundles really comes down to finding a preparation method that suits your tastes. Some eaters adore the nutty intensity of roasted whole Brussels sprouts. Others might prefer them deconstructed in a salad, or doctored up with nuts or bacon. Taking the time to find your favorite preparation method is well worth the effort, since Brussels sprouts can produce some of the easiest, most-affordable side dishes around. Here are a few renditions that you’ll definitely want to tuck away in your recipe book, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Add (a little) Bacon
Food Network Kitchen knows that salty, crispy bacon makes everything better. When served warm, their Brussels Sprouts with Bacon are welcome at any holiday meal. Since the recipe doesn’t go wild with added butter or oil (there’s enough fat in the bacon), it clocks in at a reasonable 252 calories per serving.

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5 Ways to Host a Healthier Halloween Party — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, October 29, 2015

Halloween is not the night to restrict your diet, but that doesn’t mean your evening of revelry has to be a complete nutritional disaster. If you’re hosting a party this year, skip store-bought candy and punch, and opt for homemade goodies instead; that way, you’ll have more nutritional control. Don’t hesitate to whip up everyone’s favorites — cookies, candies, even a cocktail or two. But a few mindful alterations (and moderation) can save you from a sugar hangover the next morning. Here are five festive recipes that are sure to hit the spot without going overboard.

Orange Sherbet Cups with Blackberries (pictured at top)
Try finding a Halloween treat that’s more refreshing — or more festive — than this one. Play up the orange-and-black motif by hollowing out some orange halves. Then, fill each half with a generous spoonful of your favorite orange sherbet. Complete the sinister look by topping each “cup” with fresh blackberries.

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From Soup to Stir-Fry: 6 Healthy Uses for In-Season Squash — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, October 22, 2015

Cooking with squash is easy, and it adds a certain richness to comforting fall meals. Most importantly, it’s an excellent way to boost the vitamins and fiber in your diet, especially as we enter that time of year when tempting baked goods are ever-present at school or the workplace. Sure, squashes’ gnarled stems and rough skins can come across as a bit intimidating. But the effort spent peeling, de-seeding and cooking these hearty vegetables comes with a major payoff — for your taste buds and your health. Here are a few simple recipes to add to your weekly lineup, featuring common fall squashes like acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and more. From soup to stir-fry, there’s nothing these versatile veggies can’t do.

Squash and Spinach Lasagna (pictured at top)
Who says lasagna needs meat? Here, fresh butternut squash lends a nice richness and meaty texture for fewer calories than a traditional beef lasagna, and part-skim mozzarella gives you that gooey cheese goodness. Toss in some fresh baby spinach for added vitamins and minerals.

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6 Classic Comfort Foods with a Cauliflower Twist — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, October 15, 2015

For most of us, raw cauliflower isn’t the thing that gets our hearts racing. But never mind crudites — it’s that time of year when we need ready-to-bake lasagnas on hand in the fridge, or simple, satisfying pasta recipes to whip up on a busy weeknight. As it turns out, there are plenty of clever ways to incorporate the tender, winter-white florets into the season’s most-time-honored comfort foods. You can even replace traditional mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, or try tossing the roasted florets in hot sauce for a lighter alternative to Buffalo chicken wings. Whether you’re preparing a hearty sit-down meal or a casual snack to enjoy at the next big tailgate, here are six ways to revamp classic comfort foods by giving them a healthy cauliflower twist.

Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna (pictured at top)
When we’re talking comfort food, lasagna is one of the first dishes to come to mind. Beef, although classic, doesn’t need to be a part of the equation — especially if you’re looking to cut fat from your diet. In Food Network Kitchen’s healthy take, cauliflower is the star. The tender florets are not only blended into the ricotta cheese filling for texture, but also roasted and used in place of the traditional meatballs or sausage.

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The Chef’s Take: Cabbage, Speck and Grape Salad at Eataly

by in Dining Out, October 8, 2015

These days, when you enter a hip restaurant, you can expect the menu to offer at least one trendy take on kale, Brussels sprouts or even cauliflower. But cabbage? Cabbage is still waiting for its moment in the sun. We encounter this leafy green, rich in vitamins K and C, most often as a co-star in sauerkraut, slaws and old-fashioned stews. We celebrate with cabbage just one day a year — on St. Patrick’s Day — and even then it’s overshadowed by fatty cuts of slow-cooked corned beef. But from a chef’s perspective, cabbage has a lot to offer: It usually clocks in at around $1.24 per pound, whereas kale or Brussels sprouts might cost you double at some marketplaces. It’s also highly abundant around this time of year, when produce supplies start to thin out.

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5 Healthy Ways to Bake with Pumpkin Puree — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, October 8, 2015

If you’re daunted by the idea of baking with fresh pumpkin, well, we can’t really blame you. Splitting, gutting and skinning a whole pumpkin with nothing more than a carving knife and a large spoon to scoop out the seeds is a time-consuming process — and completely unnecessary when you have pure pumpkin puree on hand. Luckily, one-half cup of unsweetened canned pumpkin contains roughly 50 calories per serving, which means it’s a great way to add moisture and creaminess to your favorite baked goods for very little additional fat or sugar. Better yet, it’s a quick and convenient method for imbuing each bite of cookie, muffin or pie with comforting fall flavor. Here are five easy ways to work rich pumpkin puree into your favorite baked goods, from classic pumpkin pie to cheesy pumpkin biscuits.

Pumpkin Muffins
Instead of relying on fat for flavor, Ellie Krieger’s better-for-you muffins get their distinctively warm spiciness from molasses, dark brown sugar and a total of four ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Low-fat buttermilk, canned pumpkin and just a touch of canola oil instill a moist tenderness in each of these wholesome pumpkin-seed-flecked muffins.

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How Sweet It Is: 7 Sweet Potato Dishes for Every Palate — Fall Fest

by in Healthy Recipes, October 1, 2015

Sweet potatoes, a creamy vitamin A powerhouse, are just as symbolic of autumn as the season’s vivid foliage. They’re also far, far underutilized. If you’re in the habit of passing up sweet potatoes in favor of white potatoes, now’s the time to revisit this versatile root vegetable as we enter its peak season. Sure, we’re all familiar with traditional preparation methods: baked, split down the middle and slathered with butter; the classic marshmallow-topped casserole that makes its once-yearly appearance on Thanksgiving. But there are healthier — and more imaginative — methods of dressing up this superfood for a fall soiree. Explore its savory side, or play up its sweetness with rich fall spices. Definitely experiment with different textures. Whether you prefer them mashed, pureed, cubed or whole, here are seven comforting takes on this in-season spud that will make you forget white potatoes in a heartbeat.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes (pictured at top)
These are not your average baked sweet potatoes. Pat and Gina Neely up the ante on this classic presentation by scooping out the cooked insides and mixing them with a little bit of cream cheese, brown sugar, butter and lots of fall spices. Completing this extra step will be well worth it when you taste the result.

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