Spiced Pumpkin Muffins


banana muffins

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  The weather is crisp and cool, the leaves start to fall, and best of all it’s pumpkin season!

Pumpkin is a hearty squash that boasts many vital nutrients to keep your eyes, heart and immune system healthy, loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium to name just a few.  Get your pumpkin on early with this seasonal favorite of mine, and kids tested and approved!

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe type: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

These tasty and kid approved recipe is great for that holiday brunch party
  • 1½ cup whole wheat or white flour
  • ¾ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 /2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (Optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two- 12 mini muffin pans or one 12 muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir pumpkin puree, milk, oil, eggs, into the dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cook for 5-10 minutes and serve



Sweet Corn Taco Bake


taco bake

If your family is like mine taco night is a BIG hit.  Everyone seems to like Mexican food in my house.  The kids love it because it tastes good and I love it because you can be so creative.  Whether you like sweet, spicy, cheesy, creamy, crunchy or all of the above you can make it happen with Mexican food.

Now one of the problems I’ve found with making taco night is that well..  there are just so many sides to put out and it creates a lot of dishes.  I created this easy to bake recipe to streamline the whole taco making process.  An added plus is that this is great recipe to make on the weekend and have ready to heat up for later in the week.  Now before I go into the recipe, let me tell you why this dish has it all.  Black beans add protein and fiber, cheese provides calcium, corn boosts both iron and antioxidants in your diet , beef is a good source of both iron and protein, and finally tomatoes are rich with vitamin C .

Sweet Corn Taco Bake
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: one cup
  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 9.5
  • Saturated fat: 4.3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 26
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 241
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 32
  • Cholesterol: 78

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and heat up later in the week for a quick, healthy, tasty dinner the whole family will LOVE
  • one pound ground beef or turkey
  • one sweet onion, chopped
  • one yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • one 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • one package taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • one cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • optional toppings include salsa, light sour cream and avocado

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. chop one large onion and one yellow pepper and add to skillet
  3. cook on medium high for a few minutes while adding the ground beef, cook until meat is browned
  4. using a colander drain excess fat, add beef back to skillet along with taco seasoning, ¾ cup water, and crushed tomatoes
  5. simmer 10-15 minutes
  6. add in ½ can black beans and corn and gently stir turning heat off
  7. cut 6 corn tortillas in half
  8. use casserole dish and layer meat, ½ tortillas and ½ the cheese, repeat
  9. top with green onions and bake in the oven for 25 minutes

Shrimp Pad Thai with Creamy Peanut Sauce


thai food

I discovered this recipe by accident.  It was one of those Saturday afternoons when our family had spend the whole day busily exploring and a relaxing evening was in order.  Since it was the end of the week as I looked in the fridge to see what we had, I discovered it was very sparse with only a few fresh ingredients to choose from.  What I did find were some shredded  carrots, onions, scallions and shredded cabbage.  I checked out our pantry next, and to my discovery I saw a box of brown rice noodles.


One of those purchases I buy to try out if I ever get around to finding a great recipe to use it with.  I was pleased to know that the box had a recipe right on the back!


Lets see oil, garlic, eggs and lemon juice check, fish sauce actually check! scallions check, frozen shrimp check… lets see no peanuts or bean sprouts.  That’s when I had an idea…. see the variations I made to make this recipe awesome.  After the rest of the family woke up from their long afternoon nap… I was happy to realize I had discovered a new comfort food for the family!  Again I’ve made some adjustments to this recipe so you can assure that the ingredients make this a healthful alternative to most restaurant pad thai dishes.

Shrimp Pad Thai with Creamy Peanut Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 371
  • Fat: 16
  • Saturated fat: 2.8
  • Carbohydrates: 28.4
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 1370
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 21
  • Cholesterol: 193

Cuisine: Thai

If you love restaurant pad thai you can be rest assured that this version is packed full of healthy oils, vegetables, flavorful protein and fiber!
  • one box brown rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 shallots finely chopped or alternatively, ½ onion, finely chopped
  • lots of shrimp 1-2 cups bay shrimp
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cabbage (sliced thin to angel hair style)
  • one cups shredded carrots (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • Sauce

  • 4 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1-2 pinches or crushed chilies or pepper flakes
  • Garnish

  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions
  2. top with peanut butter to prevent sticking and to warm the peanut butter mix gently and set aside
  3. Mix ingredients for sauce: lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar and chilies and set aside
  4. Heat pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp. oil garlic, shallot or onions and shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp are opaque, add in cabbage and cook 3 minutes longer and set aside.
  5. Add remaining 1 tbsp. of oil and 2 eggs and scramble.
  6. Reduce heat to low, add sauce and noodles.
  7. Toss until well mixed
  8. Add shrimp mixture
  9. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.
  10. Thai comfort food the whole family will LOVE.


Red Apple and Cranberry Frisee Salad with Maple Vinaigrette




This is a wonderful salad for a fancy dinner party or when you are making dinner for your loved one.

Red Apple and Cranberry Frisee Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
This simple yet delicately flavored salad is the perfect starter to any dinner fancy or not.
  • one package 4 cups mixed green salad
  • one sweet red apple very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cups walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ shallot finely chopped

  1. Finely chop the shallots and set aside
  2. mix rice wine vinegar, salt,and maple syrup together
  3. add in shallots
  4. slowly pour in canola oil mixing vigorously
  5. Prepare mixed greens in large bowl
  6. toss in dressing
  7. top with cranberries, walnuts and sliced apples


Delicately Roasted Delicata Squash



Working at Google has many perks and one of the top perks for a nutritionist is all the expertly prepared gourmet foods.  I love going to one of the 27 odd cafe’s and finding some vegetable I have never seen before.  Recently, I found a roasted squash in the salad bar with a light colored, stripped, thin, edible skin.  I do love the taste of a nice roasted winter squash and delicata squash is no exception.  There are now 3 types of winter squashes I know of that have thinner delicate skins you can easily eat.  These are acorn, kaboca, and now delicata!  I once again got several of these in my farmers market box  that gets sent monthly to my house.  This squash has a sweet, creamy texture making it a perfect side dish or afternoon snack on the weekends.  This is the most basic recipe, but I’ve also tried varieties with sweet spices or savory herbs.  Check back for those varieties soon.  Winter squash is rich source of beta carotene  (vitamin A) in your diet, with one cup having over 300% of the DV.  Squash is additionially  an  excellent source of vitamin C, both vitamins A and C are important for immune system function and can help keep you healthy all winter long.

Delicately Roasted Delicata Squash
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 75
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated fat: 0
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 12
  • Fiber: 9
  • Protein: 2.3
  • Cholesterol: 0

You can make this recipe with delicata, acorn or kabocha all taste fantastic.
  • 2-3 delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. wash delicata squash thoroughly and cut in half
  3. scoop out seeds, I like to use an ice cream scooper
  4. cut squash into ½-1 inch pieces and season with oil and salt
  5. bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until brown turning half way through, add more salt as desired.
  6. DONE! super easy




Garden Fresh Split Pea Soup


split pea soup

Split pea soup is absolutely a classic.  I first fell in love with split pea soup when I went away to college.  There is this restaurant in Buellton California that serves probably some of the best split pea soup I’ve ever had.  If you’ve ever had a road trip on the 1 going south from northern to southern Califoria you’ve probably at least seen the sign for Anderson’s split pea soup.  They serve by the bowl and all that you can eat.  My dad one time ate 8 bowls!  This recipe is my own and has more garden fresh vegetable bites in it, thats the way I like my split pea soup.

In order to make this recipe a little more simple I’ve adapted a few shortcuts that you can use, you can buy pre-cut onions and shredded carrots.  Then the only chopping and peeling tasks involve 3 cloves of garlic and 2 stalks of celery.  Another option is our local supermarket also sells precut celery, carrots and onions, even better way to save time.

photo 3-3

Garden Fresh Split Pea Soup
This split pea soup is so easy to make takes less than an hour from start to finish and will leave you feeling warm and cozy the rest of the day!
  • one bag split peas
  • one tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 new potatoes small to medium sizes peeled and diced
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves

  1. Sort and rinse peas in fine mesh strainer, set aside
  2. Dice the onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes
  3. In a large saucepan heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in garlic and cook 1 minute longer
  5. Add broth, split peas, potatoes, and bay leaf and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. serve warm with crumbled crackers and parsley



Quinoa with Zesty Lemon and Arugula



Quinoa is one of those versatile grains.  In fact it isn’t even a grain but a seed.  Quinoa also boasts that it contains all 9 essential amino acids and is gluten free for those with gluten sensitivities.


Quinoa with Zesty Lemon and Arugula
This salad recipe was adapted from my daughters preschool teacher. She brought a version of this salad to one of the school feasts over the holidays and it was a hit!
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups loose arugula
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ½ an avocado diced
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In large mixing bowl add quinoa and arugula. Toss is tomatoes, green onions, avocado and parmesan cheese.
  2. Squeeze lemon into separate bowl and pick out any seeds add in olive oil and pour over salad.



Chia Seed Pudding with Fresh Berries



If the only thing you’ve done with chia seeds is grow a pet then you’re in for a treat.

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse.   They not only contain omega-3 fatty acids but are an abundant source of fiber 10 grams per ounce, that is 1/3 of your daily value.  Although flax seeds have more research out chia seeds are sure to contain even more health benefits that we will discover in the years to come.  This pudding is a great end to your day, reminiscent of good old fashion tapioca.

Chia Seed Pudding with Fresh Berries
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 10
  • Saturated fat: 3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 18
  • Sugar: 7
  • Fiber: 9
  • Protein: 4

Chia seeds are small,little, black seeds, Once they are introduced to liquid they expand and have a texture very close to tapioca. This recipe is one of my favorites for a dessert when you want something sweet and healthy.
  • 1½ cup milk (soy, almond, coconut, regular)
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. sugar in the raw
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • berries to garnish (I love fresh strawberries and blueberries)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, chia seeds and sugar in the raw, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The chia seeds will puff and expand.
  2. Pudding may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. Before serving, stir once and spoon into serving dishes. Garnish with fresh berries and serve immediately.


Hearty Cinnamon Bulgur Pancakes



As I was thinking about what to cook for breakfast I remembered that I had served bulgur and raisins to my one year old daughter.  I originally wanted to introduce a new food to my daughter and got the idea from my “make your own baby food cookbook”  Turns out everyone really liked this including me, I was thoroughly surprised when both my little girls gobbled up the breakfast and it was so easy to make.  So this morning I decided to try out a heartier version of the standard old pancake.  These pancakes pack in extra fiber, b-vitamins, magnesium and are lower in calories.

Cinnamon Bulgur Pancakes
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 4
  • Calories: 268
  • Fat: 8
  • Saturated fat: 1.5
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 42
  • Sugar: 5
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 7

These hearty breakfast pancakes have a nutty flavor and are sure to be a Sunday favorite topped with bananas and cinnamon.
  • ½ cup bulgur and one cup boiling water
  • ½ cup raisins or one cup fresh blueberries (optional)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup milk
  • one egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  1. Pour water over bulgur and let sit covered 30 minutes, stir in raisins or fruit if using.
  2. In large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flours, banking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon) set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix milk, lightly beaten egg, and canola oil.
  4. Add wet ingredients into bulgur and fold into dry ingredients until just mixed.
  5. Pour onto heated griddle. Make sure to watch these carefully as to not burn the pancakes, pancakes should be golden brown.
  6. Serve with sliced bananas, cinnamon and real maple syrup.


Green Smoothie


I love smoothies for a refreshing afternoon snack, this one I’ve perfected over time to make a perfect creamy smooth and nutrient packed smoothie!

Green Smoothie
  • ½ ripe pear
  • ¼ avocado
  • ¾ cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • one cup greek yogurt or one scoop vanilla protein powder
  • one cup almond milk
  • one cup ice

  1. Mix all ingredients in the blender





Stephanie Lasher is a registered dietitian. Information contained on this site should not be used to diagnose medical conditions. Persons with serious health issues should consult a physician before undertaking any new diet or exercise plan.