As the weather starts to turn colder you may feel the craving for carbs.  It’s actually a psychological and biological natural response; which goes back to our ancestors when they needed to put on a little fat to keep them warm.  Combating those cravings can be challenging as you also try to seek some comfort from your food.  Here are a few alternative seasonal healthier options to turn to.

Barley with Butternut Squash and Apples


½ cup uncooked barley
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cup butternut squash, diced
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup sweet red peppers, diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, diced
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
¾ tsp thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
1/3 cup fat free no sodium chicken broth  

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add barley.  Cover saucepan and simmer barley until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Then drain.   Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat; add squash, onion and red pepper.  Cook stirring often, until vegetables are browned and almost tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir in apple, garlic, thyme, and black pepper.  Cook, stirring until apple is almost tender, about 2 minutes; stir in broth, scraping bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.  Stir in cooked barley; toss over low heat to mix and coat.    

Spiced Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup  


1 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced 6-7 cups no sodium vegetable stock
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp fennel seeds ground
½ tsp oregano
1 Clementine peel  

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Add carrots, sweet potatoes, stock coriander, fennel, oregano and Clementine peel.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove orange peel and puree soup in a blender.      

Pumpkin Protein Cookies  


1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup vanilla protein powder
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup raisins  

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well combined.  Drop cookies onto a baking sheet and press down.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.


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