Spring Apple Butter

We may be a little past the FALL season, but that doesn’t mean your home is APPLE free.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have a habit of buying apples for the entire week with every intention of eating them… but by Wednesday of the NEXT WEEK, I’ve still got the same amount of now nearly bad and a little bruised apples that I purchased during my last grocery haul.

I had 4 apples left this week, so I tossed them in the Instant Pot and made some Honey-Apple Butter. I wanted to share this super quick (easy and flexible) trick for homemade apple butter. The remarkable thing is that you can make this work with ANY amount of apples or any type of sugar.

What I used:

  • 4 apples: washed, cored and quartered
  • Cinnamon: Eyeball it or drop in 2 sticks
  • *You could add nutmeg to this as well (I’d start with 1/2 tsp)
  • Vanilla: 1 stick but you can sub for 1tbsp of extract
  • Water: 1/2c
  • Honey: 1/3c
  • Light Brown Sugar: 1/4c
  • *Not in this batch but an excellent way to sweeten the butter.

Instructions:

Add your apples, cinnamon, nutmeg vanilla, sugar, and water to your Instant pot and set on High Pressure for 5 minutes. Once done, let the pressure cooker self-release.

After they’re cooked, blend your apples in either a blender or food processor and add in your honey (if you chose to use it). Once your apples and honey are blended, you have two cooking options:

Your Instant Pot (Using the sauté feature)

A standard pot on Low heat

Either way, you’ll probably want to have a splash shield or lid ready.

Transfer your mixture to your pot of choice and bring to a low boil/simmer to thicken and darken until you’ve reached your desired consistency and color. If you have trouble with your apple butter thickening, you can also bring it to high heat for 2-3 minutes (assuming you’re utilizing a traditional pot), then lower back down to a simmer. Also, be sure to stir frequently.

Since my first time making this, it’s been a staple in our home. We use it on sweet potatoes, pancakes, waffles, with graham crackers, and on sandwiches. It’s pretty much a fan favorite around here and keeps us from wasting produce!

I hope you get the chance to make this, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

-C

Sweet Potato Waffles

If you follow me on social media, then you knew this day was coming…

Today I’m going to share with you my sweet potato waffle recipe from last weekend.
My tiny human and I had an incredible time making these and they were a hit in the flavor department. 

These waffles are great because they’re:

  • Low in calories!
  • High in Vitamin A (123% DV)
  • High in Vitamin C (132% DV)
  • AND honestly, they’re just delicious.

I made this recipe twice, testing the amount of liquid and the waffle iron temperature. If you’d like your waffles a TINY bit crispier, cut the amount of milk to 1/3 cup. Also, I recommend no higher than a temperature of 4 unless you’re going to put the waffles out early. 

You’ll need: 

  • 2/3c mashed sweet potato (cooked)
  • 1/3c light brown sugar 
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder 
  • 1.5-2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk 

While the waffle maker is preheating, mix the ingredients together (I recommend mixing the first 6 ingredients well, then adding the flour and milk and mixing again).  

A few good toping options are: 

  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Whipped cream
  • Cream cheese

However, the G family found that our favorite is homemade honey-apple butter. ***If that sounds good to you, stay tuned because I’ll be coming up with a macro friendly recipe soon.*** 

  • Calories: 169
  • Carbs: 24g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Protein:7g
  • *Macros are for 1/3c milk!

Let me know what you think by commenting or emailing me at nutritionwcrystall@yahoo.com

Weekend Waffles-PB&J

Moving 3,735 miles 2 weeks before Christmas meant that my list for Santa was short this year, but on my list was a Belgian Waffle maker. Now I’ll admit that I made this request having ZERO waffle making experience unless dropping some frozen waffles into the toaster counts. But when I saw my brand new, Cuisinart waffle maker under the tree, I knew I’d be eating way “too many” carbs and enough waffles to make my heart content.

We’re almost 4 weeks into the year, and while I haven’t exactly stuck to my “diet goals,” I have made waffles EVERY WEEKEND. So far, I’ve made a lot of spontaneous pre-mixed waffles, specifically: Kodiak Cake Waffles, Aunt Jemima Original, and Krusteaz Light & Crispy Belgian Waffle (the last one is my favorite).

I’ve also made the fluffy waffle recipe from Grace & Good Eats (fantastic btw). You can find the link to that recipe right HERE: https://www.graceandgoodeats.com/fluffy-waffle-recipe/

So far this year, I’ve made strawberry chocolate chip waffles and several versions of cinnamon-sugar waffles BUT today’s Peanut butter & Jelly waffles were the biggest waffle hit yet.

I’m going to drop that recipe here for you: Try it! They’re super TASTY! I used:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of Krusteaz Light & Crispy Belgian Waffle Mix
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Water
  • 2/3 Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup of Jelly/Jam (Warmed)
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray
  • Syrup
  • Toppings of choice: Powdered Sugar/PB/Banana/Nuts

Directions:

  1. Mix the Krusteaz, eggs, water, and peanut butter together.
  2. Warm the jelly/jam into the microwave and warm for 20-30 seconds. It’s ok if it’s still a little chunky (in my opinion, a few jelly/jam chunks are super nice).
  3. Add the warmed jelly/jam to the waffle mix and stir until combined.
  4. Drop up to 2/3c of waffle batter into your waffle maker (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and cook to your desired crispiness (I like 4).
  5. Top with more peanut butter, jelly, powdered sugar, banana, or berries and syrup (or honey for a Low GI syrup substitute).
  6. And enjoy!

A few notes:

A few notes:

  • You can make this with a different waffle mix or even a homemade waffle, just skip the oil.
  • If you’re not into jelly, you can add some mashed banana, but you’ll need to reduce the liquid by at least 1/4c.

French Fries, Noodles, Bread…. Today, we are talking about C-A-R-B-S!

Carbs

Aka: carbohydrates

A carbohydrate is a macronutrient that is made up of a single sugar (or multiple sugars), carbon, hydrogen, & oxygen.

Carbohydrates provide energy @ 4 cal per gram & are a QUICK ENERGY source making them a useful tool for physical activity (workouts, runs, sports, etc).

They’re also the preferred source of fuel for your noggin and nerves!

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories: Complex & simple. The difference between the two being how many sugars are in each glucose chain.

Complex- long chains of sugars (glucose). This group includes starches and fibers such as bread (choose whole grain), pasta, crackers, legumes, peas, corn, potatoes, squash, etc.
Simple- single sugars & pairs of sugars. This group includes white sugar, fruits, dairy, cookies, candy, jelly, syrup, etc.

Both categories of carbohydrates can be “healthy” and “unhealthy,” but the key to making smart carb choices is knowing what food will make you feel good and help you optimize your energy. 

Because carbohydrates can cause spikes (and subsequent crashes) in blood sugar. This can cause fatigue, lack of focus, and make you crave a nap. To avoid this feeling (or worse feelings if you have a carbohydrate metabolism disorder), choose your carbs while considering portion control! I know this is hard (or maybe it’s just me) but try only ordering one pancake instead of a full-stack or maybe pair that cookie with some beef jerky.

In addition to blood sugar, fiber is also a fundamental nutritional component of carbohydrates. Technically speaking, fiber is the indigestible roughage/bulk of a plant-based carbohydrate. That may sound gross, but it plays an important role in digestion, blood sugar regulation, and weight management.

There are actually many people out there who correlate “healthy” and weightloss with low carb (or no carb) diets/meal plans. But I promise, your nutrition DOESN’T have to be that way UNLESS you want it to.
In fact, the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for carbohydrates is 46-65% of your daily intake (with only 10% of your TOTAL CALORIES coming from sources with added sugar).

These are some healthy & unhealthy carb choices I had I currently have in my pantry. It’s OK to want both!

Like I mentioned earlier, your brain and nervous system need carbohydrates to perform. Additionally, carbs provide 1/2 of the fuel utilized by your muscles! To optimize the use of carbs before you work out, you might try 1-4grams per kg (2.2lbs) 30 minutes before exercise. Oh, and remember when I said carbs are a quick energy source?! Try having a few during your workout and see if you can see a difference!

So girl (or guy), eat those carbs. If you’re concerned they’re going to make make you fat or unhealthy, my recommendation would be to make good, well-balanced choices. This will help you reach your goals and feel energetic in the process.