We’re in Apple-topia over here.
After last weekend’s trip to the orchard, we drove home with sore feet and bags of apples. My boyfriend is quite the winemaker these days (and even won “best in show” at the county fair this year — woo!); apple brew is one of the concoctions on his to-be-made list. So much of the fruit will be broken down for that.
But the rest? That’s for us. For desserts and snacks and dinners. We’ve been chopping up chicken and apple sausage for dinner, sauteed with slices of apples. I’ve been cutting them up as “dessert,” which isn’t nearly as appealing as, you know, chocolate — but in an effort to cut down on calories, I’m learning to live with it.
And then I found this recipe, which is really just half a recipe. There’s no cooking or real preparation involved. It’s succinct — but tasty. Here we go:
Cut an apple in half, removing seeds, and bake until soft. Top with 2 tablespoons of low-fat or fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon and one crumbled reduced-fat cinnamon graham cracker.
And it. was. delicious. No butter, no oil, no sugar (except from that solitary graham cracker, but that barely counts). For someone who craves a little sweetness after dinner, this was a treat. Okay, it’s not really pie, but the graham crackers allow me to pretend. I like pretending.
Since we have about 47 more apples to use before they spoil, I have a feeling it’ll be showing up in a kitchen near me quite soon.
While searching for healthy twists on traditional holiday recipes, I knew right away I couldn’t leave out my most favorite of all autumn items: pumpkin! (Were you really expecting me to say anything else?) I’m doing a magazine spread of healthier alternatives to the dishes that make this season great, and it’s not like I could print and promote a recipe I hadn’t tried myself. Am I right?
I said, am I right?
Yes. Of course. So I whipped up this pumpkin pie mousse, adapted from a recipe found online. I actually lost track of where I originally found this one, but it’s pretty similar to this version. The biggest change from traditional pumpkin pie is that we’re not using a real pie crust, and there’s no additional sugar. Plus, we’re using all fat-free or low-fat ingredients.
And do you think the pumpkin pie fanatics around my house missed those calories? Absolutely not. This light, fluffy and decidedly pumpkin-y concoction tasted delicious, and the added crunch from the crushed graham crackers kept it from feeling too much like dipping into simple pie batter. It’s cool, refreshing — and simple. Very, very simple.
So when you’re eager to try out a pumpkin dish this fall but aren’t ready to commit to a full-blown pie, keep this one stashed in your repertoire. This pumpkin nut wouldn’t steer you wrong.
Pumpkin pie mousse
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup skim milk
1 (1 ounce) package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (8 ounce) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
Cinnamon, to taste
In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin and instant pudding mix. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice, and fold in half of the thawed whipped topping. Pour into an 8-inch pie plate and spread remaining whipped topping over top. Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers and lightly dust with cinnamon. Chill for one hour, or until set. Serve in individual cups for an added touch.