Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples + 10 Best Baking Apples

Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed ApplesCooler, crisper days have arrived and I have a hankering for a more homey and comfy breakfast than my typical smoothie or on-the-go protein bar. But with the craziness of my morning routine (my personal running, tying up work loose ends and giving rides to school), I rarely have time for anything coming out of the oven. But my recipe for Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples can be quickly prepped and cooked in the microwave, so I’m winning before sun up. In fact, this is what I ate for breakfast the morning that I woke up really early to drive to Marble Falls, Texas and ended up winning the entire Hill Country Half MarathonSuper Oatmeal Stuffed Apples

My “super” oatmeal is far from the cement-like, sugar-laden and fake-flavored oatmeal packets found next to the Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts. Instead, this powered-up oatmeal stuffed in my apple has been fortified with extra taste, texture and nutrition thanks to the addition of uncooked quinoa, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices mixed together with my dry, quick-cooking oats.  I typically will make a big batch and then scoop out what I need in the morning for this apple recipe or just for a simple bowl of oatmeal.

On crazy weeks when I don’t have time to scoop and stir, I like to buy Super Oats Nuts & Seeds.

After pulling my stuffed apple out of the microwave, I drizzle it with Almond Vanilla Opadipity by Litehouse sweet Greek yogurt dip. I love this lightly sweet Greek yogurt dip as a healthy topping on all my family’s favorite breakfast foods including this oatmeal recipe, but also pancakes, waffles and granola parfaits.

Oatmeal Stuffed Apple Scoop 686 x 550I like to use a great big Honey Crisp apple as my vessel to hold my mix of “super” oatmeal, the center is just scooped out with a melon-baller to create the perfect edible bowl.

Now, not all apples are the bomb for baking – some varieties, like the ubiquitous Red Delicious, seem crisp and crunchy when plucked off the tree (or out of the produce bin) but can turn mushy and mealy in the oven. For treats like apple pie, tarts and muffins (and especially my recipe for Super Oatmeal Stuffed Baked Apples), I prefer my apples to remain a little al dente – and I think most would agree!  Here is a list of my favorite 10 apples with flesh that stands up to baking and offer a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors. Try using a variety of these apples for a more complex flavor and colorful presentation.

TheFitFork.com - Apples10 Best Apples for Baking

  1. Honey Crisp
  2. Golden Delicious
  3. Granny Smith
  4. Braeburn
  5. Jonathan
  6. Melrose
  7. Mutsu (Crispin)
  8. Pink Lady (Cripps Pink)
  9. Rome Beauty
  10. Winesap

If you are looking for more healthy apple recipes, check out this bumper crop collection from CookingLight.com.

Best Apple Recipes - Cooking Light

 

Are you an apple fan? What is your favorite variety to eat out of hand, or bake with? What is your favorite topping for oatmeal? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Slice top off each apple approximately 1-inch down.
  2. Use melon scooper to scoop out apple flesh, leaving a ¼” to 1/3” thickness on apple.
  3. Pick out seeds and core of flesh and chop remaining apple flesh finely.
  4. In medium bowl, toss together oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and Stevia. Stir in chopped apple pieces.
  5. In microwave-safe measuring cup, boil water and stir in ONE CUP into the oatmeal until combined.
  6. Place apples in microwave-safe baking dish. Stuff mixture evenly into the two apple “bowls,” packing down and over stuffing, if necessary. Set “lid” apple pieces in the side of baking dish.
  7. Add ¼ cup water to bottom of baking dish. Cover with dish lid. Microwave for 3 minutes on high, and then in additional 1-minute increments until oatmeal is cooked through and apple is tender (microwave times will vary by appliance).
  8. To serve, top oatmeal stuffed apples with Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dip, extra pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon.
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Turk’y Cutlets with Fall Festival Couscous #OMGardein Holiday

If your life is similar to mine, that November and December datebook is packed full of year-end deadlines, holiday planning, seemingly never-ending shopping and all sorts of soirees, celebrations and family festivities. Oh, and don’t forget squeezing in running and working out so that you can charge into the New Year fabulously fit. All this whirlwind of activity can wreak havoc on healthy dinner plans, but I have a nutritious, quick and easy dinner idea planned with plant-based proteins from Gardein.

Turk'y Cutlets with Fall Festival Couscous

My recipe for Gardein Turk’y Cutlet with Fall Festival Couscous is perfect for a quick weeknight meal but also gorgeous enough for any holiday company that may be dropping by. Full disclosure — I definitely eat beef, chicken, fish  . . . . and, lots of plant-based proteins too – I love variety and all the foods! However, I have a non meat-eating family member visiting every Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian recipes that he and the entire family will enjoy. Dinners featuring a Gardein Turk’y Cutlet are proven winners with me, my kids and my company – they cook up in just 15 minutes, have a delicious crunchy exterior texture and offer 22 grams of protein. Serve these versatile cutlets on top of my fall-inspired nut and fruit Fall Festival Couscous and you have a vibrant vegetarian meal with a comforting vibe!

Gardeom Turkey Cutlets on Fall Festival Couscous

Fall Festival CouscousSweet Potato, Cranberry and Pistachio Couscous

The beauty of couscous is that it cooks in less time than the quick and easy Turk’y Cutlets, so you don’t have to worry about delaying dinner while you wait for brown rice, quinoa or another grain to finish up.  I suggest the larger “pearl” couscous, also known as “Israeli” couscous – it can be found near the  whole wheat.  Other nutritious ingredients in this colorful side dish include dried cranberries, shelled pistachios and diced sweet potatoes.Mini Crabless Cakes from Gardein

Gardein Turk’y Cutlets aren’t the only product you’ll love. The company sells over 20 different varieties of plant-based proteins made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies – the taste and texture is excellent!  Hungry holiday guests always seem to require appetizers to distract them from the delicious smells of the main course coming from the oven. Gardein has many quick-to-cook and simple-to-serve protein options that make an excellent starter for your gathering. For example, the Gardein Mini Crabless Cakes can be served with an easy dip such as honey mustard sauce, a tomato-based cocktail sauce, ranch style dip or mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha  — I’m serving them up at my next party sprinkled with feta and pomegranate arils with a berry vinaigrette for dipping.

 

gardienLook for these products in the freezer aisle to use in my recipe for Turk’y Cutlets with Fall Festival Couscous and test out your own creativity with the succulent, seafood-inspired Gardein Mini Crabless Cakes  — and you can also visit the Gardein Holiday Recipe Page for lots of quick and easy recipes with a festive flair and a money-saving  coupon download.

 


Gardeom Turkey Cutlets on Fall Festival Couscous
Turk'y Cutlets with Fall Festival Couscous
Print Recipe
This quick and easy meal featuring Gardein plant-based protein brings the special flavor of the fall holidays to every night weeknight dinners.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Gardeom Turkey Cutlets on Fall Festival Couscous
Turk'y Cutlets with Fall Festival Couscous
Print Recipe
This quick and easy meal featuring Gardein plant-based protein brings the special flavor of the fall holidays to every night weeknight dinners.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 F degrees and cook Turk’y Cutlets for 15 mintues, flipping once. While cutlets are cooking, prepare couscous (below):
  2. Add olive oil to 1 quart pot and bring to medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and par cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. Add parsley, onion, pepper, couscous and vegetable broth to sweet potatoes and stir until combined.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil and turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, while still covered, for another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in cranberries and pistachios.
  6. To serve, make a mound with ½ the couscous mixture and top with 2 Gardein Turk’y Cutlets. Drizzle with warmed gravy packet, if desired.
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Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte (with Protein)

Scary Pumpkin Spice LatteSince 2013, Starbucks has peddled hundreds of millions of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes making it the unofficial drink of the Fall season. I’ve served up . . .errr, dozens and dozens of my “not so scary” version, but drinking one gets you membership in a much more exclusive club – a club where members care about what their dumping down their bodies.

Did you know that a typical 16-ounce (“grande”) Pumpkin Spiced Latte has more than 50 grams of sugar coming mostly from sweetened condensed milk and 14 grams of fat.  Oh, and another surprise, the original coffee shop drink doesn’t even have real pumpkin in it! You can google all the other unhealthy benefits, but these are some that bother me the most!Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte

You can still enjoy a steamy, sweet mug of creamy cinnamon-nutmeg-clove goodness without popping the buttons off your jeans with this pop-culture addiction. My Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte can be made two ways – either with your milk of choice . . . or I often like to use a Vanilla Core Power to get a little more protein in the morning.

Core Power Pumpkin Spice Latte

My 16-ounce Core Power version Pumpkin Spice Latte is so much better with 252 calories, 27 grams sugar, 3.5 grams fat (with no whip) and 26 grams of protein. If you don’t use Core Power, the calories are likely to be a bit less . . .but, also less protein. You can stock up on Core Power High Protein Shake here. 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingAlso, would you like a Sugar-Free Protein Pumpkin Muffin with Cinnamon Frosting to go with your muscle-making PSL?  I can hook you up with my recipe here!

Are you a pumpkin spice addict (anything), or sick of the trend? Do you make coffee at home, or hit a coffee shop daily? Have you ever been to a pumpkin chunkin’ or hurled your jack-o-lantern? Just wondering! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired.
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How To Fight Off Fall Allergies with Yoga & More

How to Fight off Fall Season AllergiesIf you like to run, workout and enjoy the outdoors, or even just want to relax inside without itchy eyes and incessant sneezing, seasonal fall allergies can be a more-than-pesky problem. Fall is the worst season for allergies sufferers; there are more allergy triggers than any other time of the year. Typically, weed pollens (like the 17 varieties of ragweed) and mold spores peak in the autumn months as do other irritants like dust mites. Ewww.

Don’t let fall allergies kick you in the butt without fighting back. Allergy relief comes in many forms, and usually a multi-faceted approach is what works best. There are many over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines that can help reduce symptoms (I head to MinuteClinic inside CVS Pharmacy to take care of this). Some even say that eating locally-sourced honey and natural remedies can help you build up your defenses.

How to Fight Fall Allergies so You can Run

Don’t let seasonal fall allergies keep you off the running trails.

Practical tips can help reduce allergies, as well. For example, don’t leave windows open during the day and avoid the use of a window fan – both will fast track unwanted pollens and mold spores into your home.  Remember to clean and change air filters every three months to reduce the amount of dirt, debris, and allergens you come into contact with daily. Shake out bedding and wash it often and don’t go to sleep after being outdoors without washing your hair (allergens get trapped in there).

Practicing yoga can also be a good way to help alleviate allergies and boost your overall immune system. Plus, spending even just 10 or 15 minutes a day practicing yoga can reduce overall stress and create a calming effect which, in turn, makes it easier to deal with seasonal fall allergies. Today, I’m sharing Four Yoga Poses to Alleviate Fall Allergies to help you start feeling less clobbered and optimize your overall health. Remember, yoga isn’t a cure-all, although it can aid in your overall allergy-fighting plan. Please seek medical attention for serious allergy symptoms, if you have a fever or think you could have the flu.

Four Yoga Poses to Alleviate Fall Allergies

Downward Facing Dog along with other more advanced inversions can help to release drained mucus trapped in nasal passages. However, experts suggest remaining upside down no longer than one minute.

Plow Pose helps to relieve the pressure of allergies by relaxing and opening up muscles at the base of the neck.

Bridge Pose helps to open the chest and lungs and improve breathing. Backbends and leaning backward over a large exercise ball are other alternatives.

Mindful Breathing helps to increase lung capacity, expel toxins and alleviate allergy-related congestion. Attention to deep, relaxed breathing also helps to relieve stress and create an overall calming effect.

minute clinicIf you’re going to include over-the-counter or prescription medications in your allergy-fighting arsenal, MinuteClinic is a convenient solution to get you feeling better quickly. This walk-in clinic located inside CVS Pharmacies has nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can give you a good look over and recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate.

RSVP here.

Do you have any allergy-fighting tips? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post is sponsored by MinuteClinic, however all opinions and yoga suggestions are my own.

Boo-Yeah! Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans, Caramel & Greek Yogurt - TheFitFork.comPumpkin, it’s what’s for breakfast this time of year! Maybe I’ve gone overboard with the gourd, but I don’t care. I’ve created a pumpkin recipe that you absolutely must make this weekend for a satisfying but not too sinful brunch – Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping.

skeleton shoes runningPumpkin is a super food, I know y’all have heard me ramble on and on about the health benefits. It’s filled with fiber and a great source of vitamins, especially A and E. That bright orange colored flesh indicates an abundance of antioxidents ready to help boost your heath and also potentially prevent a laundry list of chronic diseases and conditions. I eat to stay a lean mean, running machine, but I definitely don’t want to be a SKELETON — so in preparation for my hilly 10 mile race on Sunday, I’m going to attack a stack. YUM!

I pumped up the nutrients in my pancakes to the next level by adding Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure) to the batter – lots of good stuff here including quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia. You can use any type or brand of oats you like – I’m just saying these Super Oats rock! Also, instead of dousing my pumpkin pancakes in a ton of sugary syrup, I simply mixed together some protein-packed Greek yogurt with just a touch of caramel sauce mixed in for a tasty topping.

Bit of Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake theftfork.com

Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping Recipe

  • 1 ½  cups “complete” whole wheat or buttermilk pancake mix
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans plus extra for topping
  • 12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup caramel dip

Instructions:

  1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 degrees
  2. In medium bowl, mix together pancake mix and oats. Stir in water, pumpkin puree and pecans with spatula  until big lumps disappear, don’t over mix (toughens pancakes).
  3. Pour approximately 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto lightly greased skillet or griddle.
  4. Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.
  5. In small bowl, mix together yogurt and caramel sauce.  Top on pancakes and sprinkle with extra pecans.
  6. Makes about 18 pancakes (serves 6).

 

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin  Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola - Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola – Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Looking for more ways to incorporate pumpkin into your morning meal? Everyone at my house clamors for these other pumpkin favorites — baked pumpkin protein donuts, pumpkin granola with golden raisins and almonds, pumpkin white chocolate quick bread and caramel pumpkin smoothies.

What are you making with pumpkin these days?

Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup #SilkProteinPower

The weatherman said we had a cold front today, dropping the temperatures down into the upper nineties. Yeah, you heard me right 98 degrees in September, but that’s the trade-off for getting to live in the awesomeness that is Austin, Texas. Getting an outdoor workout this time of year can really take a toll, and I always have to remind myself to bring plenty of water for hydration and a healthy snack for immediate post-workout refueling. Because my tummy usually doesn’t want solid food right after a high-intensity, high-heat run or WOD I often rely on Silk Chocolate Soymilk in the shelf-stable 8-oz boxes – it’s a favorite to pack in my gym bag for healthy carbs, no cholesterol and plant protein.

In anticipation of cooler weather, I’ve been playing around with soup recipes. I love soups that are CREAMY, but I don’t like the added fat and calories. Light bulb moment – why not substitute the cream with a healthier option, such as Light Original Silk Soymilk. If you’re curious about the nutritional benefits of Silk Soymilk, head over to Silk.com to learn more about soymilk – they can explain it all in every delicious, nutritious detail, but in a nutshell (or a legume pod, as the case may be)– soymilk is a smart addition to any healthy diet.

So, despite the heat, everyone at the dinner table slurped up my latest soup creation – Smoky Chipotle Butternut Squash & Chickpea Soup. Perfect for a weeknight meal, this soup is super easy to make because it relies on frozen butternut squash, canned chickpeas, and a blender. After the soymilk and other ingredients are ingredients are incorportated, it can quickly be heated up on the stove or in the microwave. Between the soymilk and the chickpeas, this autumn-inspired soup packs a nice little punch of protein power to support overall wellness and a “Meatless Monday” or vegetarian meal.

Smoky Chipotle Butternut Squash & Chickpea Soup Recipe

  • 1 10-oz bag frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz. chipotle peppers with adobe sauce (from 7.5 ounce can)
  • 2 cups Light Original Silk Soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried onion
  • Garnishes: crumbled queso fresco, chipotle chili powder, fresh cilantro, jalapeno pepper slices, pepita seeds
  1. In blender, add all the ingredients except for the garnishes. Puree for approximately 1 minute or until mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer to 2 quart pot and heat on medium low until desired temperature is achieved (or microwave loosely covered with a lid) in consecutive 30 second blasts, stirring between, until heated.
  3. Garnish with toppings of choice. Makes 4 large servings.

Okay, you know I #LoveMySilk, so when I saw this outdoor marquee photo from one of my favorite restaurant in Austin, I knew it was too silly not to share!

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.