The Insanely Easy 15-Minute Dessert to Try This Holiday Season

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Photograph by Becca Boyd

When it comes to dessert, I’m a bit of a traditionalist (i.e. I don’t want bacon in my cookies, thank you very much), and what’s more traditional this time of a year than an apple pie? While I could attempt a low-fat or gluten-free pie crust to impress you, I’m sure I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a recipe that tastes as good as the real deal, and that just doesn’t work for me.

So in the vein of my crust-less pumpkin pie from last month, I decided that the most sensible route would be to forge on with the elemental ingredients; after all, the velvety smooth, sweet and tender filling in an apple pie is the best part. Agreed?

This dessert is quick and easy enough for a weekday after-school snack but elegant enough for company. Experiment with different spices or purchase some cinnamon gelato to really up the ante. Best part? You’re just 15 minutes away from this new, lightened up classic.

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The Only Holiday Appetizer Recipe You Need: Creamy Baked Feta Dip

Low-calorie baked feta dip | Photo by Becca Boyd

Low-calorie baked feta dip | Photo by Becca Boyd

This is the time of year when it feels like every weekend has a new kitchen assignment; you’re either making an appetizer or baking a dessert for the latest round of holiday parties. For those of us who are trying to keep their diet in check, consider this week’s recipe a wonderfully delicious opportunity for healthy eating.

Warm and creamy with a flavor punch from the tangy feta cheese, this dip seems wonderfully indulgent (but isn’t—really!) and presents beautifully with brightly colored veggies. It also comes together faster than you can say, “Where’s the punch?”

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Make: Gluten-Free Molasses Spice Mini Pumpkin Pies

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Photograph by Becca Boyd

You can put pumpkin in just about anything, but for me the classic pumpkin pie reigns supreme. While pumpkin pie is naturally packed with fiber, vitamin K and vitamin A (thank you, pumpkin!), the crust has always been a head-scratcher for me. I mean, when it comes to pie, there’s just no way around a buttery, fat-filled crust—or is there?

My latest creation was a revelation, you guys. I simply removed the crust all together, put my pies in ramekins, and topped them with a dollop of whipped cream. The outcome—a crustless, gluten-free mini pie—actually presents more elegantly than the regular kind, and no one will think you’re serving a “healthy” dessert. That can be our little secret.

If you’re hosting the Thanksgiving this year, feel free to make these up a day ahead (I like my pumpkin pie chilled). If not, offer to bring dessert. You’ll happily and guiltlessly nosh while accepting praise from your adoring public.

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Make: Protein-Packed Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger and Cilantro

Asian Chicken Salad | Photograph by Becca Boyd

Asian Chicken Salad | Photograph by Becca Boyd

Okay, you’ve made it past Halloween. Sure, you ate one too many Reese’s, but you’ve ditched the rest of the candy stash and are ready to get back on track. Of course, now Thanksgiving is around the corner, which could pose another looming threat by claiming what’s left of your self-discipline and leaving you helplessly shoving Christmas cookies in your mouth as you watch the scale tick upward.

Resist! Fight back! Do it by dialing up the health factor on every meal within your control. Soups, big salads and lean protein should be all that’s coming out of your kitchen until Thanksgiving Day, or what I like call “My Annual Excuse to Eat Lots of Pie Day.” This chicken salad will get you there. Flavorful and packed with protein, it’s great in a pita but one step healthier over mixed greens.

Hang in there—you can do it!

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What to Eat This Week: Stuff Yourself Silly Edition

stuffed apples

Shutterstock

When you take stock of your kitchen and realize a nearly empty pantry or fridge is staring back at you, it’s time to get creative. I have two words for you: stuff it.

I’ve found that if you have a veggie and a handful of other things (beans, rice, other veggies, pasta, whatever), it is often very easy to stuff the veggie with said other things and call it dinner—a delicious dinner at that.

If you prefer to follow a recipe rather than winging it, here are five dinner recipes you can try this week—and one bonus dessert recipe, because duh—that involve stuffing one thing with another thing to create an all new (and, of course, delicious) concoction that just might make it into your regular rotation. Happy stuffing, friends.

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Snack Attack: The 71-Calorie Apple Chips You Have to Make ASAP

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 2.11.24 PM
On a post-hike corner-store trip a few weeks ago, my very hungry friend spotted a bag of baked apple chips, frantically ran to them and scooped them up like they were the last bit of food on planet Earth, ran back to me, shoved the bag of apple chips in my face and declared them to be “The greatest snack you will ever eat in your LIFE.” And I have to say, they were really good. But at four bucks for a tiny bag that barely lasted the two of us 10 minutes of snacking, I thought to myself, I’m never buying these again. But I will make them.

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The Only National Chocolate Day Recipes You Need

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Yes, yes, it’s National Chocolate Day. It’s all my Facebook friends are talking about.

While I’m not a huge chocoholic (Have a fruity pie? I’ll go to town on that jawn.), I’m sure more than a few of you are. Our Be Well Philly recipe czars certainly know what’s up when it come to chocolate. They’ve whipped up some pretty spectacular—and healthy(ish)—chocolate creations that even this non-choco can get behind.

Here, three of our most insanely delicious chocolate recipes ever. Go. Celebrate.

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Make: Tomato, White Bean and Rosemary Soup

Photo credit: Becca Boyd

Photo credit: Becca Boyd

A recent article by Mark Bittman in TIME magazine discussed how millenials’ obsession with food media—competition shows, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on—isn’t translating into our kitchens. Maybe we see the bar set so high that we figure anything we attempt will fail in comparison. On my blog, I try to make the recipes approachable for every skill level; food is a constant in our every day lives and, nine times out of 10, it won’t be glamorous.

This soup exemplifies those beliefs. Using canned tomatoes and beans, this beautifully healthy recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. It’s real, home-cooked food, and it’s simple enough for the most novice beginner. Dairy-free yet still creamy, thanks to the beans, it’s about as healthy, and I daresay tasty, as dinner can be.

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