Pumpkin stone soup to soothe your soul

My college roommate, Julie, used to gauge my feelings by what I was whipping up in the kitchen.

Tuna noodle casserole was a quick and thrifty dish signifying broke but determined. Blueberry coffee cake signaled adventurous, yet grounded. Soup, however, was a loaded proposition.

Soup made her ask: “What happened?” or “Who broke up with whom?” or “So your term paper’s due tomorrow?”

Pumpkin Chowder

It’s that time of year — we’re carving pumpkins for our Halloween festivities. Did you know Irish immigrants brought the pumpkin-carving tradition to America? Using pumpkins as lanterns is based on an ancient Celtic custom.

So once you’ve carved your pumpkin, what do you do with the stuff inside? The seeds can be roasted for a snack, and the “meat” can be used to make soups, pies and breads. Pumpkin is highly nutritious. It’s low in calories, fat and sodium; high in fiber; and a good source of vitamins A and B, potassium, protein and iron.

Egg muffin recipe

Power up your mornings with power muffins
Preparing your breakfast ahead of time makes it easy to eat right all week

Eating a balanced breakfast is an important part of a healthy diet. When you start your day by eating right, you are giving your body the fuel it needs to power up. You are also kick-starting your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories throughout your day.

Applesauce all grown up

Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Braeburn all have something in common besides being apples. They’re also great for making applesauce.*

Applesauce is more than baby food. It can serve as a great snack or a healthy sweet treat. Plus it’s high in fiber, which can keep your digestive system on track. One cup of unsweetened applesauce has only 100 calories, making it a filling, fat-free, healthy option.

Add some additional flavors and you have an even more grownup version!

Fun food, PB&J-style

If you leave breakfast up to the kids, chances are they’ll dream up something with peanut butter and jelly.

After all, it’s yummy, messy and fun!

Here’s a way to contain that idea into something that can be grab-and-go quick with minimum mess.

These waffles can be whipped up and eaten on the spot, but you also can stack them, with waxed paper in between, and freeze them in a plastic bag or freezer container until the next time you need a speedy PB & J waffle fix. Simply pop them in the toaster like those frozen waffles from the grocery store, and you’re set!

Apple Salad Recipe

Have you ever used apples in a vegetable salad? Lots of recipes mix apples with vegetables to make a slightly sweet, refreshing salad. When pairing them with vegetables, consider using a variety that isn’t too sweet or too tart. Braeburn and Fuji apples are sweeter than the tart Granny Smiths many people use in pies, but they’re not quite as sweet as red and golden delicious or Honeycrisp. However, with about 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, there are plenty of different colors, textures and flavors to choose from. By the way, did you know that only the crabapple is native to North America?

Apple Chips Recipe

Everyone’s heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But do you know why? Regularly eating apples (with the skin) may help lower cholesterol, decreasing the risk for heart disease. They also have antioxidants (most are in the skin) that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells. Plus, they are a good source of soluble fiber — the kind of fiber that helps you feel full longer and keeps blood sugar in check. So enjoy those tasty apples — sweet or tart — and the health benefits they provide! Try this recipe for apple chips, a snack you can take with you anywhere.

Fresh and healthy lunch box meal ideas

They’ve got the latest backpack, spotless sneakers, new notebooks and a handful of No. 2 pencils. Now some fresh ideas for the lunch box!

If you’re the lunch packer, there may be times when your kids ask for the same old, same old, day in and day out. Your job is figuring out how to slip in some healthy new items that they will like, without straying too far from the norm. (“What is this? Some sort of vegetable cupcake?”)