Fall Favorites

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love watching the leaves change color, being able to swap out my shorts for cozy knit sweaters and taking in all the fun fall activities. 

One of my family’s favorite activities is going to the orchard. Our two-year-old loves picking apples for us to bring home which means I need a variety of fall recipes to make sure the apples we pick don’t go to waste. Apple Cinnamon Bread, Hurry Up Baked Apples and Homemade Applesauce are some of our go-to recipes for apples. I love the aroma of cinnamon and cooked apples throughout our home during this time of year.

After visiting the orchard, I love coming home and warming up with a comforting meal. As the weather begins to shift and the air becomes crisper, I find myself reaching for more soup and slow cooker recipes. Below are a few of our favorite recipes to make after our visits to the orchard. Add some warm bread on the side for a nice, hearty meal.

After enjoying your favorite fall activity, try one of my family’s go-to fall recipes to bring you some extra comfort and warmth during this season.

Happy fall!

Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a new mom she is always on the lookout for easy, healthy recipes to prepare for her family.

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Apple Cinnamon Bread

I suspect that my family’s favorite food for me to make is quick bread. Last week, my four year old told me that my banana bread was the best. It was zucchini bread, but that is ok. I enjoy making quick breads and my family enjoys eating them. Today I am going to share with you our October recipe of the month – Apple Cinnamon Bread.

I like this recipe because it is lower in sugar and fat and higher in fiber than other quick bread recipes. The sugar and fat are lower because applesauce is substituted in for some of the oil and white sugar. The fiber is higher because half of the flour is whole wheat and a diced apple is stirred into the batter. My family likes this recipe because of the cinnamon sugar topping. It adds extra flavor with each bite.

When making quick breads, I like to play around with using different pan sizes. Many quick breads take 45 minutes to an hour to cook in a traditional loaf pan. I rarely have that much time to bake a loaf of bread. So, I will spread the batter out in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. When the batter is spread out, the baking time is cut nearly in half. Sometimes, I split the batter into muffin tins. In that case, the baking time is only around 15 minutes. Try this recipe out in a pan that works for you. Just remember to check the bread every 5 to 10 minutes the first time you are trying it in a new pan so that it does not get overcooked. This bread is done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Super Snacks for Super Kids

The return to school can be hectic for both children and parents. This year, school may look different for your family, but no doubt, your children will still be hungry come snack time! The good news is that snacks are a good way to make sure your child is meeting their nutritional needs. Sometimes it can be difficult to meet these needs simply through food at mealtimes.

While it is easy for kids to grab a bag of chips to snack on, there are some ways you can make snacking both hassle-free and nutritious!

  • Choose snacks that your kids enjoy: Make a list of snack options and ask your kids which ones they like the most.
  • Plan ahead: Choose and prepare nutritious snacks ahead of time so that they are ready to go. Your kids may be able to help in preparation as well!
  • Keeping them accessible: Keep nutritious snacks where kids can easily see or grab them.
  • Make snack time fun: Having snacks with bright colors and different textures is visually appealing to kids.

Luckily, there are many different ways you can incorporate nutritious food into your child’s diet through snack time. You can find them in every food group, so you can always switch it up to fit your child’s needs. Here are some quick and easy snack ideas you can try at home:

For additional snack and recipe ideas, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Written by Jonnee Sulzberger, ISU Dietetic Intern

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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It’s Apple Season!

It is Apple Season! October is National Apple Month. These days, there are so many varieties of apples available that you may be wondering which variety to buy.  Which apple is best for a specific use, how to store apples for best quality, or how many apples are in a pound or bushel?

Apples are considered a great snack food as an average sized apple contains about 90 calories and is about 85% water. That makes them thirst quenching and a quick energy provider with their natural sugars, plus the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.  They also make a great portable snack; take one along to work, school, or when you are running errands.

Apples may be displayed in a fruit bowl at room temperature for a short period of time but that will dramatically reduce their usable life. Apples will last the longest when kept close to 32 degrees. For most of us that would mean the refrigerator. Apples stored near 32 degrees in perforated plastic bags or covered containers will last 8-10 times longer than if stored at room temperature.

Here are some fun apple math facts:

APPLE ARITHMETIC
3 medium sized apples equal approximately 1 pound
Pared and sliced, 1 pound apples yields 2 3/4 cups
A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds
A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
A bushel of apples will yield 15 – 20 quarts of applesauce

The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven. Granny Smith apples are generally thought of as the go-to baking apples but there are others that hold up well under heat and balance the sweet-tart flavor. The crisp texture of the Honey Crisp apple will hold firm when baked or caramelized. Pink Lady apples will retain a distinct shape when diced and added to coffee cake or muffins.  Jonathans are tart and tangy and have been pie favorites for many years.

sses-answerline-table

Bred to be an eating apple, Red Delicious are not good for baking. They are mild-flavored, sweet, and juicy. Other apples good for eating fresh are Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn.  These apples also work well in salads.

Enjoy apple season this year and have fun experimenting with different variety combinations in your baking.

Written by: Liz Meimann, Beth Marrs, Marcia Steed, and Marlene Geiger- Answerline Staff

Fruit Pizza

You have to try this Fruit Pizza!  It really is one of the biggest recipe hits we have created for our Healthy and Homemade Calendar.  It is quick, easy, and uses common ingredients including whole grains (oatmeal).  Plus it tastes and looks fabulous.

Since we introduced this recipe it has turned up at birthday parties, coffee breaks, receptions, kids cooking lessons, and picnics.  Each time the flavor is a little different depending on the fruit and yogurt chosen.  In the winter, there were more mandarin oranges, bananas and apples on the pizzas, now I see peaches, berries, and melon which are plentiful and in season.

Sometimes it is served in wedges; other times the crust is divided into 8 individual cookies so that each person can “decorate” their cookie with the fruit of their choice.  Kids can help make the cookie and they love to decorate with their favorite fruits.

Another idea is to use the shape of the cookie or the fruit colors to tie into the theme of a party.  Last year I made a football shaped cookie for a Super Bowl Party.   Berries could support a patriotic 4th of July fruit pizza.

Holiday Fruit Salad

This month we are featuring the Holiday Fruit Salad recipe.  This salad is great anytime, and looks so good and tastes so fresh it is perfect for special meals.

Here are some tips if you would like to try it now to see if you want to include it for your holiday meals.

  • Use any canned, frozen, or fresh fruit.  When you combine different fruit colors and shapes I think the salad looks more interesting.
  • If you want to use fresh fruit, consider oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pears, pomegranates, apples and papayas because they are plentiful or “in season” in the winter months and usually cost less.   (Bananas are also a good buy year round.)
  • The fruit can either be arranged on the plate with the sauce drizzled over the top, or for a faster version, just combine the cut up fruit with the cooled sauce and serve.
  • The juice in the recipe adds flavor and nutrients, but you can get by without it.
  • You can vary the color and flavor of the sauce by using different flavors of gelatin.  One package of gelatin mix makes enough for 2 salads. Store and label the leftover gelatin for the next time you want to dress up your fruit.

I like this recipe because it looks special, but does not add a lot of sugar and fat (i.e. calories) to the fruit.

I would love to know how it works for you.

Holiday Fruit Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/2 small package) dry sugar-free favored gelatin (any favor/color)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (optional)
  • 1 or 2 packets non-caloric sweetener or 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 4 cups cut-up fruit (apple, orange, kiwi, banana)
  • Optional garnish: Pomegranate seeds

Instructions

  1. For sauce, stir cornstarch and gelatin together in a small saucepan. Add water and stir to dissolve. Add the orange juice and, if desired, the lemon or lime juice.
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning.
  3. Gently boil for 1 minute. Cool completely. Stir in sweetener or sugar, if desired.
  4. Arrange fruit on plates and pour sauce on top. Or pour cooled sauce over cut-up fruit in a bowl and stir to coat.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.

Fresh apples…

I love them. Crisp. Crunchy. Juicy. And full of flavor.

It makes my day when I can be out riding my bike and find an apple tree close to the path—just waiting to provide a snack. When they are free, I love them no matter what variety of apple it is.

When I buy apples, I select the variety based on taste, cost, and how I am going to use them. The best cooking apples have a good sweet-tart balance and their flesh doesn’t break down as they cook.

-pointers from Peggy

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