Fall has arrived and there is no other season that can get you in the mood for good health. The fresh air and cool breezes can be an inspiration to get outdoors and increase physical activity with walking, running, or biking. The arrival of fall also brings an assortment of seasonal vegetables that offer fresh flavors and good nutrition. Take advantage of nature’s healthy treats this season – here are a few Fall favorites:
Sweet Potatoes – The sweet potato is a large, starchy, sweet-tasting, root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato. It’s a very versatile vegetable which can be made into french fries or baked in the oven. They can even be made into mashed potatoes. See the recipe below.
Butternut Squash – Butternut squash is a winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the bottom. It can easily be made into a soup, a perfect way to warm up for the season.
Asparagus – Asparagus is part of the vegetable group and it contains very little carbohydrate; therefore it has little effect on blood sugar levels. It’s an excellent source of folic acid and is a good source of vitamin C. Just make sure to break or cut off the tough ends of the asparagus and rinse the spears thoroughly in cool water. Asparagus can be grilled, roasted, boiled, or steamed. Check out the easy recipe below and you are only minutes away from a mouthwatering asparagus side dish.
Artichokes – Artichokes contain a small number of calories and carbohydrates, but they are full of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and magnesium. Artichokes intimidate some people, but they are easier to prepare than you might think. Follow these simple steps: Use a sharp knife to cut off the stem at the base and the top of the artichoke.
Trim the tips of the remaining petals with kitchen shears. Boil artichoke in 3 inches of water in a covered pot until a petal near the center pulls out easily, about 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain well. Press the petals back and remove the small purple-tipped center petals. Here are quick recipes for some of our fall favorites:
Serving Size: 1/6 of a recipe
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and peppers
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash asparagus and cut off ends. Coat a baking dish with olive oil.
2. Place asparagus in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and lemon.
3. Bake for 15 minutes.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serving Size: 1/5 recipe
Makes: 5 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
3 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon margarine
1. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Pierce all sides of the vegetable with a fork. Microwave on high for approximately 15 minutes or until soft (or roast potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes).
2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the meat out into a medium mixing bowl. Discard skins.
3. Mash the potato pulp with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Butternut Squash Soup
Serving Size: 6
Prep Time: 45 minutes
1 large butternut squash
4 celery stalks
1 small yellow onion
2-3 sprigs basil
Olive oil and salt and pepper
1. Sautee onion, celery, and butternut squash in a pan with olive oil. Add a dash of salt. Stir frequently and make sure to use low heat. Cover and let the mixture cook on low heat. You can also add all the vegetables to a slow cooker or electric cooker.
2. Once the vegetables are cooked, puree the mixture in a blender. Add water to smooth out the correct consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Serve warm and garnish with basil.