Living Lite

Baked Apples with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

November 13, 2017

The most popular fruit in the United States, apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Apples also contain quercetin, a compound that may help prevent cancer and heart disease, also xeaxanthin, important for eye health. Be sure to eat the peel. The majority of nutrients are in the skin. At the market, choose firm apples with no soft spots or bruises. Be sure to wash apples under clean, running water before eating. (excerpted from the "Fruit and Veggie Glossary" in Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season!)


Apples and their pear cousins are the only locally grown fruit from now until... May or June! But don't despair. Apples are a versatile fruit, come in many shapes, sizes, colors, flavors and textures. They can be eaten "as is" or incorporated into sweet or savory recipes. Think waldorf salad, apple crisp, apple cakes, caramel apples, hard or soft apple cider, Thanksgiving stuffing, German potato salad, applesauce, poached apples in wine sauce. Grate apples into your pancakes, coleslaw, muffins, and loafs. Chop apples and toss them in your tuna or chicken salad. Use apples any time you want an alternative color, texture or flavor in a recipe or menu. You get the idea! My Baked Apples can be eaten as a dessert, a snack, an appetizer, or a satisfying end-of-day refreshment with tea.


Katherine's Baked Apples with Roasted Nuts & Dried Fruit

excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" 



A traditional yet simple and healthy dessert.


4 servings


4 large apples

1 C water, sweet white wine or apple juice

8 tsp sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon mixed into the sugar (optional)

1/2 C chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)


Peel the top half of the apples and, using a apple corer or melon baller, core the apples. Put about 1” of the water in a baking pan. Place the apples in the pan, blossom end down.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp of the sugar in the cavity of the apple and 1 tsp around the  top. If desired, stuff chopped nuts and/or dried fruit into the cavity.


Bake uncovered for about an hour, or until apples are very tender. Cool and serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate. Serve with sweet or sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt.


Only about 90 calories each!

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A Fall Menu for Guests with Dietary Food Restrictions

November 7, 2017

Cooking for special guests with food restrictions can seem an ominous task. It often means that none of your favorite special occasion recipes work, risking disappointing your guests with a less than delcious meal.

 I was recently faced with entertaining a friend who couldn't eat grains, starch, sugar, dairy, eggs, legumes, peanuts, almonds, garlic, or alcohol ... You get the picture! But my friends said I did it well, so I thought I would share my menu with you.

First, since my food choices were limited, the recipes were likely going to be fairly simple. so choosing the best ingredients was paramount. Obviously, that meant I bought just about everything from the local Farmers Market.

As Hors d'oevres, I served Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves. On most diets, vegetables are unlimited, so you can't go wrong with them. My quacamole was simply mashed avocado with salt and pepper. You can stuff the cherry tomato halves with anything - tuna or smoked salmon salad, tabouleh, etc. I also served pistachio nuts in a side dish (always with a spoon to prevent spreading germs).

Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves

As the first course, I served Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger, always a hit. I created this recipe years ago, because I couldn't find a butternut squash soup recipe with no cream. Of course, this made it perfect for this special menu. All I had to do was to excluded the garlic.

As the main course, I served a crab cake, topped with a tiger shrimp and 2 scallops as decoration. All bought that day from Stachowski's in Georgetown. The guests were overwhelmed with the freshness, sweetness and delicacy of the seafood. And I confirmed that nothing in the crabcake was verboten. With most of these diets, protein is not limited, but I chose seafood to be on the healthier side. My side dishes were Haricot Vert sauteed in olive oil with sweet onions and red peppers. And for color, golden and red beets simply boiled with salt and sliced, were served alongside.

Red and Golden Beets (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Red and Golden Beets

Of course, I really wanted dessert to be special. But I was limited to fruit. Hmmm...  I've eaten roasted fruit, like apricots and peaches, and sauteed fruit in butter and brown sugar. The butter and brown sugar were out, so I decided to roast fruit, which I had never done before. I looked up a few recipes, found fresh pineapple and fresh figs at the grocery store and thought long and hard about what I could roast them in. Could they be roasted alone? I couldn't find any recipe this simple and I was afraid to try it. It seemed that the fruit would need some kind of fat and sweetener to make it special. But I couldn't use butter or sugar. Instead, I chose coconut milk, hazelnut oil, and a little honey. I tossed the fresh pineapple pieces and fig halves, in a bowl with the mixture, added pecans, and placed them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (nothing sticks to it). Roasted til the pineapple was golden brown.

But that wasn't enough. I needed something creamy with it... ice cream or whipped  cream were out of the question. But I heard that coconut milk was popular with the alternative dieting crowd (even though it riases bad cholesterol more than anything else!),  so I looked up how to make something creamy out of it. Turns out, it gets nice and fluffy when whipped with a beater. I served it alongside the fruit. And it was a hit!

Roasted Fresh Pineapple, Figs and Pecans Tossed in Honey, Coconut and Hazelnut Oil (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Roasted Fresh Pineapple, Figs and Pecans Tossed in Honey, Coconut and Hazelnut Oil

With a willingness to experiment, try new recipes, and to please your friends who want to eat great food but may be on special diets, it's worth it to take your cooking into a new direction. My dinner was probably hit and miss. But my friends appreciated my effort and I'm sure enjoyed at least most of it!

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Ten Tips for Enjoying Halloween Candy Without Guilt or Consequences

October 31, 2017

Now that you have all that Halloween candy, what is a healthy way to handle it, especially for your children? You don't need to think of candy as "bad." Studies over the years have found there is no association between candy eating and poor health or weight gain. But eating candy in moderation helps.

There are a few simple strategies designed by behavioral scientists and nutritionists to help your children (or you) enjoy candy without guilt or even weight gain. Remember:

1. Moderation is more realistic than complete elimination,

2. Eat about 10% of your daily calorie needs as candy and you can still maintain a healthy body and weight (most women consume about 1800 calories/day, so their candy allottment might be 180 calories daily. For men, perhaps about 220 calories),

3. When candy is in the house, it's fair game for everyone. Denying access to candy your child knows is in the house (and they always know!)  is counterproductive and can eventually lead to bingeing when it becomes available, 

4. Remove the emphasis on restriction. If you don't want someone in your house eating candy, don't have it in the house. This changes the emphasis from what you "can't" have, to what you "can" have,

5. Structure your family's eating. Eat regularly scheduled meals at predictable times through the day,

6. Provide reasonable guildelines for eating the candy that is in the house, and practice what you preach,

7. If you'd like your child to eat candy moderately, limit how often it is brought into the home and serve small portions, or use pre-packaged candy in small amounts,

8. Serve all food positively. Fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods should be presented just as positively as candy,

9. Don't use candy as a reward of any kind,

10. Above all else, provide a consistently positive atmosphere in which all food is eaten. There is no "good" or "bad" food. All food fits, but you may need to define the balance, amounts, and timing that candy or any food is eaten in the household.

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