Fall for Pumpkin Protein Balls this Season (See What I Did There?)

I look forward to October every year for one simple reason: it’s Pumpkin Everything Season! And despite living in Southwest Florida where the temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees, once autumn shows up on the calendar, I morph into that girl.

pumpkin-everything-season

Yep, I’m basic apparently. So sue me. Fall is a glorious time. And pumpkins are a direct result of that gloriousness.

These seasonal superfoods are rich in Vitamin A to promote vision health, Fiber to increase digestive regularity, Antioxidants to support immune function, Potassium to stimulate post-workout energy and Carotenoids to reduce skin aging effects.

Plus, they get all the Instagram likes, so…

But I digress. If you wanna experience those nutritional benefits for yourself, not just during autumn but year-round too (Why isn’t the PSL Summer Edition a thing? Looking at you, Starbucks!), might I suggest these no-bake Pumpkin Quinoa Protein Balls.

They’re perfect for a healthy plant-based breakfast or afternoon snack. And, all basicness aside, they taste like fall is supposed to taste. *insert brown leaf emoji*

I rest my case.

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls

yields 2 dozen protein balls

Ingredients:

1 can Pumpkin PurƩe (organic)

1 tbsp. Sunflower Butter (organic)

1/3 c. Rolled Oats (whole grain)

1/4 c. Quinoa (organic)

1 Apple (peeled & diced)

1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Spice

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Ginger

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-ingredients

 Preparation:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to its package instructions, then set aside.
  2. Combine the pumpkin purĆ©e, rolled oatssunflower buttercinnamon, ginger and pumpkin spice in a mixing bowl.
  3. Slice the apple into small chunks, then stir into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa to the pumpkin mixture, then stir these ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide the batter into bite-sized balls and place in the freezer for 1 hour before serving.

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-batter

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-before-photo

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-after-photo

So. Much. Yes.

2 Salad Recipes to Spring into Cookout Season

OutdoorĀ entertaining is finally in full-bloom, so make your backyard the place. to. be. with my springtime spins on classic salad favorites.

First on the menu line-up, Asian Chicken SaladĀ gets healthified by replacingĀ those addictively fried wonton noodles withĀ crisp and colorful matchstick veggies. Next, traditionalĀ Nicoise SaladĀ gets revamped by swapping out anchovies and tomatoes for salmon and strawberries.

The final outcome? A “dynamic duo” of dishes that you’ll want to keep in your recipe repertoire all season long!

Note:Ā To my vegetarian peeps, although both recipesĀ areĀ meat-centic, you can easily eliminate these components and turn the salads into side dishes instead of main courses.

springtime salad sensations

image courtesy of Nocoveglia via Flickr Creative Commonsā€”altered with permission.

Asian Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 Chicken Breast (free-range)

2 Baby Bell Peppers (julienne sliced)

1/4 Red Cabbage Head (julienne sliced)

1 Carrot (peeled & chopped)

1/2 cup Edamame (steamed)

1/4 cup Raw Almonds (chopped)

2 tbsp. Soy Sauce (low-sodium)

1 tbsp. Sesame (or Olive) Oil

2 tsp.Ā Rice Wine (or Cider) Vinegar

1 clove Garlic (minced)

1 tsp. Ginger (ground)

1 Lemon (juiced)

Preparation:

  1. Whisk together the Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar, Garlic and Ginger in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Place the Chicken into this mixture and set aside toĀ marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. PrepĀ the Vegetables andĀ AlmondsĀ according to the ingredient specifications, then transfer into a serving bowl and toss to combine.
  4. Preheat a skillet on theĀ medium-high stovetop setting, then addĀ the Chicken and marinade mixture.
  5. SautƩ the Chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked thoroughly, then remove from the skillet and cut into strips.
  6. Combine these Chicken strips with the other ingredients and drizzle the Lemon juice on top like a dressing.

Asian Chicken Salad


SalmonĀ Nicoise Salad

Ingredients:

1 Salmon Filet (wild-caught)

2 cups Spinach (whole leaves)

1 cup Strawberries (sliced)

1/2 cup Gorgonzola (crumbled)*

1/4 cup Raw Walnuts (chopped)

2 tbsp. Balsamic (or Red Wine) Vinegar

1 tbsp. Olive Oil (extra-virgin)

1/4 tsp. Himalayan (or Sea) Salt

2 Thyme Sprigs (chopped)

1 Lemon (juiced)

*Make this recipe vegan byĀ omitting the Gorgonzola or usingĀ these substitutes.Ā 

Preparation:

  1. Whisk together theĀ Balsamic Vinegar, Olive OilĀ andĀ Himalayan SaltĀ in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Place theĀ SalmonĀ into this mixture andĀ set aside toĀ marinate for aboutĀ 10-15 minutes.
  3. Spread theĀ SpinachĀ on the bottom of a serving bowl, then prep the Strawberries, and WalnutsĀ according to the ingredient specifications.
  4. Transfer these ingredients into the serving bowl, then add the Gorgonzola and toss to combine.
  5. Preheat a skillet on theĀ medium-high stovetop setting, then addĀ the SalmonĀ and marinade mixture.
  6. SautĆ© the SalmonĀ for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked thoroughly, then remove from the skillet and peel off its skin.
  7. Lay this Salmon filet over the other ingredients, then add the Thyme and drizzle theĀ LemonĀ juice on top like a dressing.

Salmon Strawberry Salad

Got any seasonal salad creations of your own to share? Awesome…then, let’s get a recipe swap going in the comment section!

Fall Into the Season’s Freshest, Healthiest & Yummiest Flavors

In this week’s installment of “Who-Cares-If-I-Live-In-Florida-It’s-Fall-So-I’m-Gonna-Eat-Fall-Food-Dammit,” enjoy my seasonal take on a vegetable stir-fry. This rustic recipe might look simple and understated, but it’s bursting with savory warmth, aromatic spice and pick-me-up heartiness. Plus, that quinoa hiding underneath gives the dish a nutty nuance, which just screams “Happy Almost Holidays!”

Autumn Veggie Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Quinoa (rinsed)

1 Sweet Potato (peeled & cubed)

1 cup Chickpeas (drained & rinsed)

1 cup Brussels Sprouts (fresh)

2 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic (minced)

1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1/4 tsp. Sea Salt (or, to-taste)

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat a saucepan on a high stovetop setting, add the Quinoa and 1 cup Water, then stir to combine.
  2. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, then add 1 tbsp. Olive Oil and 1 clove Garlic.
  3. Stir to combine again, cover the saucepan and allow the Quinoa to simmer until the Water is absorbed — about 20 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat a large skillet on a medium stovetop setting, coat the bottom with nonstick cooking spray, then toss in the Vegetables.
  5. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. Olive Oil, 1 clove Garlic, Paprika and Lemon Juice to the Vegetable medley, then stir periodically until the Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts soften.
  6. Combine the Quinoa and Vegetables in the skillet, sprinkle Salt and more Paprika, — if desired — then dig in!
sweet potato brussels sprouts and chickpea quinoa bowl

And, behold…comfort food at its colorful, delectable best!