Spiced Peach and Berry Fruit Bake
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We all know that fruit is good for you but did you know that berries are good for your brain? Research has shown that increased intake of certain berries is associated with slower rates of memory decline. One study found that berry intake appeared to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. In addition to brain health, berries are currently also being studied for cancer prevention and improving cardiovascular health.

Not only are berries good for your health….they are also delicious and make a great dessert.

Last weekend I had to think of a quick and easy dessert to take to a family dinner and I wanted to bring something at least fairly healthy. So my first thought was “baked fruit.”  I  went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of fruit and baked it with orange juice, spices and a little bit of brown sugar. I ended up buying way too much fruit (I always overestimate) and it wouldn’t all fit in the pan, so the apples and pears get to be used for packed lunches. My dessert turned out delicious and it reminded me a little bit of pie filling, but really fresh, fruity and flavorful homemade pie filling. I topped mine with a squirt of reddi-wip for a nice finishing touch :)

 

Spiced Peach and Berry Fruit Bake

Ingredients
8 oz (~2 cups) Frozen Cranberries
11 oz container (~2 cups) Fresh Blueberries
6 oz container (~1 1/2 cups) Fresh Raspberries
6 Peaches, Sliced into Wedges
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Reddi-wip for topping

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Place fruit in 9×13 inch glass baking pan. Heat orange juice in microwave for ~1-2 minutes, until hot. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add in vanilla and spices and stir. Pour over fruit in glass pan and bake in oven for ~35 min. Remove from oven and scoop into small bowls or martini glasses. Top with reddi-wip if desired. Serves 8.
 Spiced Peach and Berry Fruit Bake
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IMG_0273
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In December I was in a mad search for a healthy gluten free appetizer to take to a holiday party and I could not find anything that really struck my fancy. I found a few recipes that incorporated sweet potato rounds, which I thought was really interesting but they had guacamole on top, which sounds delicious and I probably will make that at some point in the future, but I wanted something a little more wintery and holiday-ish to bring. (If you are curious about the guacamole sweet potato appetizers, I have a few pinned on my pinterest page @DelishnNutrish) So I knew I wanted sweet potatoes as base, they are full of vitamin A, fiber and potassium and low in fat, making them a nutritional powerhouse, plus they are delicious. But what do I put on top? While I contemplated this I turned on an old re-run of Iron Chef America….and the secret ingredient was….mascarpone cheese! So i decided to make a mascarpone cheese topping with pecans to give it a little crunch (pecans are heart healthy and can actually help lower bad cholesterol) and some vanilla extract and cinnamon sugar. The topping turned out really delicious and the flavors melded well with the sweet potato base. You can actually do this recipe hot or cold, I went with hot but I think it would be just as good cold.

Sweet Potato Bites

Ingredients

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Allspice

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese

3/4 Cup Chopped Pecans

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes off well and slice in 1/4 inch thick rounds (Don’t peel the skin off).  Add slices of potatoes to mixing bowl and coat with olive oil. Add cinnamon and allspice and mix until spices are evenly distributed. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place sliced potatoes on parchment. Bake for ~30 minutes. While potatoes are baking, you can prepare the topping. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small mixing bowl (cheese, pecans, cinnamon sugar and vanilla) and refrigerate until potatoes are done cooking. After potatoes are cooked through (~30 minutes), remove from oven. (If serving cold, allow to cool) Add topping by the teaspoonful to each potato slice. If serving hot, put potatoes with topping back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and serve. Makes 35-40.

Sweet Potato Bites

 

 

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Chicken and White Bean Soup with Veggies
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Soup is such a great comfort food. Especially in the winter when you are sick with a cold. It can help provide warmth and nutrients to help fight off your cold, prevent dehydration and help get you back to feeling like yourself. So for all those sick with a cold right now, get better soon and enjoy a nice bowl of soup :)

 

Chicken and White Bean Soup with Veggies

Ingredients:

1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

4 Cups Unsalted Chicken Stock

4 Cups Water

1 Can Reduced Sodium White Beans, Rinsed and Drained

2 Cups Sliced Carrots

2 Cups Chopped Celery

1 6 oz Bag of Baby Spinach

1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp Basil

1 Tsp Oregano

 

Directions:

Add chicken breast, stock and water to Dutch Oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for ~20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from pot and place on a plate or cutting board. Add carrots and celery to simmering pot along with black pepper, basil and oregano. While veggies are cooking, cut chicken into bite size pieces  and add back to pot when veggies are tender and cooked through. Add beans and spinach to pot and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes until everything is warm and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Chicken and White Bean Soup with Veggies

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