Farmer’s Market Find of the Week

As I was walking through the farmer’s market a couple weeks ago, I came across a lovely bag of assorted apples. They included a couple golden delicious, a few granny smith, a pink lady and some other red varieties. I love snacking on apples, so most of them ended up filling my tummy that way. But when I had a few random apples left over, I thought hard about what I wanted to do with them.

Having seen a stuffed baked apples recipe for the slow cooker a while back and being intrigued, I decided that this was something I had to try. But I didn’t want to buy extras for the stuffing, so I dug through my cupboards to see what I could make them with.

bite of slow cooker breakfast baked apples

I didn’t want to make a dessert, though, I’m saving that for when I can share my dessert on Saturdays. Instead, I decided to do a twist on the dessert apples and make them into a breakfast treat instead. I had all of the right components for breakfast: oats for complex carbohydrates, nuts for protein and the apples for fiber. I added some things for flavoring (cinnamon, vegan chocolate chips) and a few things for healthy omega-3 fatty acids (chia seeds, flaxseeds). And, voila! I made the delicious slow cooker breakfast baked apples that I’ve been enjoying the past few days, both as my breakfast and as my mid-afternoon snack. Plus, they were so simple to make.

healthy granola for baked apples

Mixing everything together was easy enough. It’s mostly a mix similar to my best ever granola bars, except that I didn’t have all of the goodies that I had back then. This had a nice dose of almonds and walnuts for some extra morning protein.

cored apples for baking

Coring the apples wasn’t easy without having an apple corer. I ended up using a small cheese knife. If you have an apple corer, awesome for you. If not, you can make do the same way as I did. They may not look pretty, but I won’t be eating them for their darn good looks anyway.

stuffed apples in slow cooker

Then I just had to stuff the apples and place them gently in the slow cooker.

toast the leftover healthy granola

I had a little bit of my breakfast stuffing left over, so I toasted it to divide up and serve with my baked apples after they were done.

finished breakfast baked apples

Mmmm… don’t they look delicious? They came out exactly as I wanted them, filling the house with that sweet aroma of baked apples coupled with vanilla and cinnamon. It almost smelled like an apple pie, except this was even better since it was a healthy treat. Or, you know, the perfect breakfast.

slow cooker breakfast baked apples

Slow Cooker Breakfast Baked Apples
Yield: 6; Prep: 20 minutes; Toast: 10 minutes; Slow Cook: 3 hours on High

Adapting this recipe from Family Circle’s Dessert Baked Apples, this sweet breakfast treat can be served in the morning or even as a healthy afternoon snack since the nuts give it that extra dose of protein. It can also be made without the chia and flaxseeds if you don’t have any on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup certified organic gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup organic vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon brown cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseeds
  • 6 assorted medium apples
  • 1/4 cup light cranberry juice

Instructions:

  1. Combine the oats, almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips, cinnamon, sugar, oil, vanilla, chia seeds and flaxseeds in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  2. Take your apples and remove their cores using a small knife or an apple corer. Make sure the hole in the apple is big enough to stuff your breakfast mix into, but does not go all the way through.
  3. Stuff breakfast mix into each individual apple, then carefully place them on the bottom of the slow cooker. If you have a little left over, toast it in the oven for 10 minutes and combine with the apples at the end.
  4. Take the 1/4 cup cranberry juice and pour a little on top of each individual apple. Then, take 1/4 cup water and pour it on the edge of the slow cooker so that it coats the bottom.
  5. Set your slow cooker on High for 3 hours. Once done, serve each apple with a spoonful of the leftover mix as a great breakfast or a delicious sweet afternoon snack.

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When I was walking around the farmer’s market, I wasn’t sure what I was really looking for. But I’ve been on a serious soup kick lately after having made baked potato soup and curried eggplant soup in the past month. When I saw these candy onions, my mind immediately gravitated to the delicious full texture of French Onion Soup. I bought them immediately and took them home.

slow cooker onion soup

But when it came time to actually make the soup, I decided that I wanted to make something lighter than a classic French Onion Soup. I didn’t want to use a beef broth since I try to aim for eating vegetarian (particularly when I’m cooking) and I didn’t want the extra calories of the thick piece of bread drenched in cheese.

The only thing that I knew I wanted was to make it in my slow cooker. Maybe I’ve become addicted or something, but I really enjoy how easy it is to do anything with it around.

I searched around for some guidance and found an easy to follow Slow Cooker Onion Soup recipe from A Veggie Venture. I used significantly less onions, though, so my soup came out very light and brothy. But, to be honest, I really like them that way. Here’s how I made it:

chopped candy onions

Chopping up the candy onions made my eyes water a little bit, but not too terribly.

candy onion with seasonings in slow cooker

First I had to just toss the onions into the slow cooker and let them begin to brown a little.

cooked candy onions in slow cooker

After about an hour, I added in flour and the rest of the seasoning and let it cook just a bit longer.

candy onions with broth in slow cooker

Then it was just about adding in the broth, thyme and bay leaves and letting it cook thoroughly.

finished slow cooker onion soup

When the soup was done, the gentle soft sweet smell of the onion mixed with thyme filled my house. I couldn’t wait to dig in and taste this very mild soup.

slow cooker vegan gluten-free onion soup

Slow Cooker Vegan Gluten-Free Onion Soup
Yield: 6 (1 1/2 cups); Prep: 10 minutes; Slow Cook: on High for 1 1/2 hours, on Low for 8 hours

This very mild non-bread-and-cheese onion soup is perfect if you want a great, simple starter to any meal. It’s lowin calories and also makes an ideal light lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium candy onions, chopped (or other onion)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Adobo (or other seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion cane sugar (or other sugar)
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tablespoon Better than Bouillion vegetable base
  • 3 tablespoons garbanzo flour (or other gluten-free flour)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. Put the chopped onions, olive oil, 1 tablespoon Adobo seasoning and cane sugar in the slow cooker. Set it to cook on High for 1 hour, letting the onions begin to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, set the water to boil and add in your vegetable base. Cook it for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it turns into your veggie broth. Set aside.
  3. Once the hour is up, open your slow cooker. Add in the 2nd tablespoon of Adobo seasoning and the flour. Mix your onions thoroughly and set the slow cooker on High for 30 minutes.
  4. Finally, add in your vegetable broth, thyme and bay leaves. Set your slow cooker on Low for 8 hours and let it cook. Once done, serve on its own or with a piece of toast.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Curried Eggplant Soup

November 5, 2011
Recipe: Slow Cooker Curried Eggplant Soup

Walking through the farmer’s market the other day, my mind started to wander as I thought about what I wanted to buy. I noticed the deep purple of the eggplant right away. Intrigued, I walked over, picked them up and thought about all of the times I have had eggplant in my life. Honestly, there […]

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Event: Sustainable Seafood with Eric Ripert, Carl Safina, Karen Rivara and Leonard Lopates

October 16, 2011

This past Wednesday I was lucky enough to attend my 2nd event in the annual Lopates & Locavores at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. Last year I attended one about cooking greens in the winter and learned a ton of great strategies. Now I went to learn about sustainable seafood from experts Eric Ripert (chef […]

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Healthy Spiced Apple Butter

October 15, 2011

I often allude to the fact that I grew up in a not-so-traditional home. You see, I was born in Moscow to a Russian mom and Cuban dad. We moved to the US when I was 8 years old (no, I don’t have an accent) in search of a better life. My parents were hard […]

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegan Stuffed Ivory Peppers

October 8, 2011

As my friend and I were walking to a store the other day, we ran into the end of the farmer’s market in Union Square and I was immediately drawn to these almost white-looking peppers. After talking to the farmer, I found out that they were ivory bell peppers. They looked great, so I bought […]

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Recipe: Three-Cheese Cauliflower Casserole

October 1, 2011

Cauliflower is a vegetable that I didn’t really like until recently. Well, honestly, there’s a lot of veggies that I didn’t like until recently. But this one in particular I fell in love with quite quickly. When I went shopping at the farmer’s market the other day, I saw a big head of cauliflower and […]

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Recipe: Swiss Chard, Grilled Asparagus and Toasted Walnut Salad
with Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette

September 16, 2011

Running out of the subway station and into the late-summer air in New York City felt magical. I was already late for meeting a friend for dinner and a movie, but as I walked through the end-of-the-day goodies at the farmer’s market in Union Square, I stopped dead. There they were: the most beautifully ripe […]

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Why I Always Have Fish in My Freezer

August 16, 2011

Today is my dad’s Birthday (Happy Birthday, papi!) and besides giving me life (along with my awesome mom, of course), there is one thing I will always be grateful to my dad for: he is the reason why I always have fish in my freezer. I admit: he’s not a professional fisherman. But it’s his […]

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Recipe: Easy Leek Pesto

May 16, 2011

Keeping off 100lbs of weight loss (or, well, 90lbs since I had to re-join Weight Watchers back in February) is no easy task, let me tell you. But one of my best strategies for making sure I am eating healthier is not only buying organic produce as much as possible, but buying local produce. After […]

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