Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring? First world problems I know but whew! After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma. In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar. I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy. This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.
Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked. This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new. Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash. I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste. Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish. For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.
Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup
Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night. The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store. If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!
With the holidays season in full swing, these Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins are a healthy breakfast or dessert in between all the wine, cheese and other treats we indulge in this time of year. After a weekend of stuffing my face, I crave fruit and fiber – an apology to my body for having no will power when I see a cheese platter. I’ve fully accepted that as I get older, I can no longer eat with total reckless abondon, and need to be kind to my stomach even during the holidays.
Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins
This past fall, my girlfriends and I spent the day apple picking at Puddicombe Estate Farms, an annual tradition. With a bushel of fruit in my fridge the possibilities were endless! Over the past month I made lots of cider, apple crisp, apple butter and for my last five precious apples I decided to bake these muffins. Easy to make and a quick, portable breakfast or snack, my boyfriend and I are big muffin fans and when we bake together, we like to throw in all kinds of different ingredients and try out new flavour combinations.
One of my staple dishes I like to make during the holidays is a cornmeal and apple stuffing, such a tasty pairing! This inspired me to include some cornmeal to add some natural sweetness and density. While I added a bit of brown sugar, they are mainly sweetened with honey and the apples. To add to the heartiness, I also threw in some ground flax seeds for extra fiber. Packed full of apples with some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for that holiday spice, these muffins are a healthy sweet treat.