Autumn’s chill brings with it the bounty of harvest. As the season turns, warm treats from the kitchen fill the bill for heart healthy and nourishing fare. Root vegetables such as carrots and the luscious fullness of apples bring us back to Earth after the light and hot summer months. Combine fall’s goodness with the summer flavor of pineapple in this unique twist on autumn fare.
Festive Harvest Muffins
- 3 cups spelt, quinoa, or whole grain flour (of a combination thereof)
- 1 Tbs baking soda
- 3 ½ cups carrot pulp - Click here for more pulp ideas.
- 1 cup pineapple pulp
- 1 cup honey or agave nectar
- 2 Tbs cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 6 egg whites
- 1 Tbs vanilla
- 1 cup applesauce* or canola oil
- 1 ½ cups crushed walnuts
*A note on applesauce: Using applesauce as a substitute for oil is a heart healthy way to cut calories, increase nutrient density, and make baked treats better for the body. Substitution is equal: 1 cup applesauce for 1 cup oil. Consider making your own applesauce or choose low-sugar applesauce to keep the calories and sweetness in check.
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350o F. Grease muffin pan. Mix the pulp well with flour. Add egg whites, vanilla, honey, and applesauce or oil and blend into the pulp mixture. Mix in nuts. Fill muffin pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Carrots – The Nutritional Low Down
Carrots are a root vegetable filled with the uber-antioxidant beta-carotene. Carrots offer not only the power of beta-carotene, but a whole host of additional antioxidants, including those that boast cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits.
Antioxidants are the name of the game with carrot consumption. Carrots bring the fight against free radicals up close and personal, but with a power-packed arsenal.
Carrots do contain the more staid antioxidants like Vitamin A and Vitamin C, but they also bring phytonutrients like the aforementioned beta-carotene. Additionally, their phytonutrient power includes alpha-carotene and lutein; hdroxycinnamic acids including caffeic, coumari, and ferulic; and anthocyanindins such as cyanidins and malvidins.
And the cool part is that Carrots come in the autumn colors of red, purple, orange, and yellow. Celebrate your harvest by munching on any variety and know that their antioxidant power is yours.
Cardiovascular Health is the product of this high voltage anti-oxidant power of carrots. Carrots help our arteries stay healthy and whole so they can carry on with the movement of highly oxygenated blood.
Research shows that vegetables with a deep shade of orange/yellow are the most protective against cardiovascular disease. Within that color group, carrots were found to be the single most risk-reducing food.
Vision Health is another claim to fame of the carrot. Research shows that, especially for women, consuming carrots at least twice a week reduces the risk of glaucoma.
Fighting Colon Cancer is another added benefit of consuming carrots. While research in this area continues, the consumption of carrot juice has shown a decreased risk in colon cancer by participants consuming 1.5 cups of fresh carrot juice daily.
Selection and Storage
Choose carrot roots that are firm, smooth, bright and deep in color. They should also be fairly straight in shape. If they’re forked, cracked, limp, or rubbery, you’ll want to give them a pass. If there are stems attached then look for ones that are bright green and feathery.
Carrots keep for a very long time if properly stored. Keep carrots in the coolest part of the refrigerator, preferably in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel. Consume carrots within two weeks.