Changing of the season

I guess we can officially kiss summer goodbye?! Fall weather is here! Not really in Oklahoma because normal weather patterns don’t matter in this state. It is getting a little cooler in the evenings, though! But anyway, is it too soon to start making apple desserts? Nope. Before I get into the recipe featured in this post, let’s talk about the changing of the seasons. Am I the only one that gets a little sad when the weather starts getting cooler? Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE fall weather because that means “Maktober” is around the corner. I just don’t like letting go of those easy summer days by the pool. Change is inevitable. It’s a part of life. Each season brings about something special. Here are my top three tips for making a smooth transition from Summer –> Fall.

1. Fall Food

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Photo by Cala on Unsplash

A new season means new fruits and vegetables! Take advantage of this. Eat more broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, apples, pears, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes. How many pumpkin spice lattes have you had already? Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, all the delicious fragrant spices we kept in the back of our pantry all summer can officially make their way to the front now. Find a good soup recipe to ease you into this new fall menu.

 

2. Go outside

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Ginny Boone teaching us all to love and connect to our Earth home.

Personally, this is my favorite time of year for outdoor activities. Grab your favorite light sweater you’ve been dying to wear (the one you’ve been telling yourself it’s too hot out to wear) and take a little walk. It’s probably too cold for water activities but it’s perfect weather for a bonfire. Scout out some local biking trails in your area or camping sites you can check out for the weekend.

 

3. Find your groove

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You may be getting back into the swing of things now that summer is over. The last of the vacations has already been taken and everyone is back in school. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get set on a routine, especially when it comes to sleep. The sun rises a little later now so you may find it a difficult to wake up at your normal time. My summer morning routine consisted of waking up at 6:20 am and going on a 20 minute run with Kalvin and Luna. It was just enough to wake up all up and kick-start our morning. However, the sun doesn’t rise until 7:00 am now so waking up at 6:20 am, while it’s still dark out, is really hard, especially for my two sleepyhead roommates. So now, we wake up and take things slow. We make some coffee, do some stretches, Luna eats breakfast, and then we head out for our 20 minute walk. Slowly, we’ve started picking up the pace a bit more now that our bodies have adjusted to waking up before the sun. It takes time and persistence but I encourage you to find your groove this fall and stick with it. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, regardless of the day, will help your body adjust to the new schedule and make it more likely to stick with you.


A word on moderation

The recipe featured below is a great way to enjoy a dessert while staying on track with your healthy lifestyle. You can eat it alone or top it off with the Greek yogurt frosting (see recipe below). But here’s the thing: if you want to top it off with full fat ice cream every now and then, go for it. I encourage you to enjoy foods you’ve put on your “guilty pleasures” list occasionally so you don’t end up binge- eating one day. Trust me. I could eat ice cream every single day of my life. The only thing that stops me is knowing how the ingredients affect my overall health. Think about how certain foods fit into your lifestyle and the purpose each ingredient plays into fueling your body. With that being said, let’s look at what traditional cream cheese frosting contributes to our lifestyle, shall we?

My favorite frosting recipe is a mixture of cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Cream cheese and butter are high in saturated fat, a type of fat found in animal products. Increased intake of saturated fat has been linked to an increase in risk for heart disease. The US Dietary Guidelines recommends less than 10% of total caloric intake come from saturated fats. The guidelines also recommend no more than 25% of energy intake coming from added sugars. Again, everything in moderation.

So, without further ado…the first fall dessert recipe 🙂


Apple Pie Blondie with Greek Yogurt Frosting

I adapted this recipe slightly from “The Big Man’s World”. This recipe is originally a paleo and vegan dessert but I added a few things to make it my own. Kalvin and I have been eating this with ice cream all week…until I came home after work one day and found there was NO MORE ICE CREAM LEFT. That is the last thing you tell a woman after a long day at work. My sweet husband (scared for his life) immediately offered to run out and buy some more real quick in exchange for full forgiveness. Instead, I decided to grab some Greek yogurt and get to mixing! The final product was more amazing than I could imagine. TRY IT.

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Apple Pie Blondie

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 3-4 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 T apple pie spice (a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
  • Cinnamon yogurt topping (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking tray (size does not matter here).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix very well until a very thick batter is formed. Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing.
  3. Top with cinnamon yogurt topping, if desired (see recipe below).
  4. Keep refrigerated.

 

Cinnamon Yogurt Topping

  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator before serving.

 


Sources

US Department of Agriculture. 2010 US Dietary Guidelines Executive Summary.  Available at: Website (PDF). As found in The Nutrition Care Manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed August 30, 2017.

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