• Lindsey, EDRD

(Ugh. That title. It's 1:30 pm, the coffee has worn off, and I can't think of anything clever and not boring.)

You know how I have a thing for muffins?

Best kid snack food ever. Minus the crumbs I am constantly vacuuming off the couches and rugs.

Well I've started to make donuts because the kids seem to think they're more fun. JOKE IS ON THEM 'cause they're pretty much a muffin in round form. But hey, it's okay to mix it up a bit. Given that I still had some apples in the fridge from the orchard trip, I decided to make an oh-so-seasonally-appropriate apple cinnamon version.

Every time I make donuts I tell myself that I'm going to keep it simple and not get all "extra" about it. But you can't fight nature- I'll show you what I did here. You can keep it simple, or you can lean in. Your choice. Either way these freeze well if there happen to be any leftovers.

Baked apple cinnamon donuts. Let's do it.

Apple Cinnamon Donuts

3/4 cup brown sugar (can sub white sugar- it really doesn't matter)

1/2 cup butter spread (I used Country Crock)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For glaze

2/3 cup powdered sugar

~2 teaspoons milk

Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine sugar, butter spread, and applesauce. Stir in the egg. Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Generously spray your donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Grab a large tall cup and place a zip top freezer bag around it. Carefully pour the batter into the bag in the cup- then simply seal it up and snip off a 1/2" corner so you can easily pipe in the batter.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Now for the part where I went above and beyond the call of donut: I had a particularly fat apple so I cut thin cross sections and cut out the middle core to make donut-sized apple rings. I microwaved the rings for a minute, or until they were somewhat softened. I placed the rings at the bottom of the donut pan, then piped the batter on top. I kept some of the donuts plain and added apple rings to about half of them. Bake as usual! My kids preferred the apple ring kind, even though they didn't turn out as pretty looking.

To add optional glaze, whisk together the ingredients- glaze should be thick but drizzle-able. Another tip: place paper towels under the cooling rack so that the extra drizzle just falls down and doesn't make a mess to clean up. Once drizzled, pop them in the fridge to let the drizzle "set."

Makes a dozen donuts. Per donut (with glaze): 203 calories, 35 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams fat, 3 grams protein, and 77 mg sodium.

  • Lindsey, EDRD

I am by no means the first blogger out there to do a Trader Joe's report. I do like seeing what others are buying though, and since it's been YEARS since I've stepped in a TJ's, I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

Trader Joe's obviously does a lot of seasonal items, and being like errrry other fall-lovin' girl out there, I was excited to see what was on the shelves. Sidenote- I definitely felt like a weirdo taking photos of products all over the store.

Like most grocery stores, TJ's starts you out with the produce. I did buy some bagged kale and salad, but forgot to take a picture. Pretend I did. Let's otherwise start our tour!

Holy ravioli! They are definitely hitting it hard with the ravioli. As much as these looked delicious, I passed. Notice the "Protein Palette" on the bottom- crackers, salami, and almonds. Nutritionally it's pretty meh minus the almonds, plus for that price point, you could easily assemble your own protein pack at a lower cost (with leaner meat and whole grains).

I am a fan of their pre-marinated meat. It saves time and money- rather than having to buy specific spices/ingredients you might not have, it's already pre-seasoned. I picked up a spatchcooked lemon herb chicken that I roasted later on in the week.

I am a huge fan of sprouted whole grain bread. I've said it before but it's important that when choosing bread, you choose 100% whole grain. We still need to be mindful of total calories though- these slices are the perfect size and pack a good nutrient content, while also being a great price point (I'm looking at you, Whole Foods). I chose the 7-grain bread to try.

I don't care that this is organic- I mean, as long as it's affordable and high nutrient I'll buy it organic or not. I like that this is high fiber and low sugar. I did purchase this and we are halfway through the box!

My husband and I drink tea daily and this time of year, nothing is better than a hot chai....

...but please steer clear of this pre-made Chai mix. Look at how many grams of sugar! YOWZA. I buy the plain unsweetened chai, mix in my unsweetened almond milk, and add a tiny squirt of stevia.

It's hard to find crunchy almond butter, so this was a yes for me. I love to pair it with an apple or on my sprouted grain toast.

I picked up these snack bars for the kids' lunch boxes. I wouldn't really say they're super nutrient packed, but there is less sugar/more nutrients than your basic chocolate covered Quaker/Sunbelt bar.

Yes please to tricolor quinoa for $3.99. Is it nutritionally different than plain white quinoa or red quinoa? No. But it looks more fun.

I love their boxed soups- I've tried most of the flavors and love them all. Pair them with a hearty grilled sandwich (ahem, coming soon to Instastories) and you have a soup-er easy fall meal. GAH I AM THE WORST. I bought the tomato & roasted red pepper, along with some broth to have on hand.

This is a new product and I've heard that it is the next big craze- I bought two boxes but haven't yet tried it. Hearts of palm come from...palm trees. Weird. Look at how many grams of fiber you get for the low calories. I'm planning on pairing this with some roasted garden tomatoes, pesto, and ricotta. I'll report back.

Weh-hell-ell. Isn't this fancy? It comes with teeny wooden spoon. I've come across a few recipes that call for herbs de Provence and truthfully I've just winged my way around them. I passed on this but oof, it sure looks fun.

I have purchased many tubs of this stuff over the years. It's a great product at a great price point, but to be honest, I make my own now and it's even cheaper.

This caught my eye. I do like the whole cauliflower-subbing trend...

...I'm not super impressed by the nutrition. If you were to make a sandwich using this, you'd be getting 3 grams of saturated fat, which comes from the grated parmesan cheese. Plus it was $3.49 for the package (you could make two sandwiches). For that same price, get the whole loaf of whole grain bread instead. This could be a good option, however, for people with diagnosed gluten intolerance/Celiac disease.

I thought about buying this but passed- yes it has butternut squash as an ingredient, but the main ingredient is enriched flour (NOT whole grain!).

I've never had this flavor before- sounds good to me! Be sure you pick unsweetened sparkling water- I noticed that some of the flavors had added sugars.

I have bought these in the past and have learned my lesson. They are a do-not-buy for me because I have zero self control around chocolate + peanut butter.

YES to these though. I can eat 2-3 and my sweet tooth is satisfied.

I bought this because I was intrigued, ha. It's definitely not a health food (it's basically honey, cream, and sugar) but hoooooly smokes it is SO good. I made a whole wheat pumpkin bread and smeared some of this on a slice for a treat. Delish.

Okay so this is a great example of a product that looks healthy, but the label tells another story. 260 calories per patty- yes, you get 26 grams of protein. But a regular burger patty made of extra lean ground beef gives you the same protein with fewer fat grams (about 5 grams) and fewer calories (~140 calories). Sure, this is a good option for someone who is vegetarian or vegan, and it's by no means a "bad" food- just another reason to read labels.

If it was just me, I probably would've bought these to try.

Okay, time to pay and check out...and then go home and show the things I forgot to photograph!

Like this oat-based milk alternative. I did read the label and gasp- purchased it anyway. That's a LOT of sugar, but I bought this knowing that I'd be using a splash in my coffee as a treat, rather than a beverage to add to cereal or chug down. Moderation, my friends.

I did treat myself to a little $4 bouquet. And contrary to what it looks like here, I do have five fingers on my left hand.

I bought three of these bags of frozen cauliflower and butternut squash "risotto" and paired that with a roasted turkey tenderloin, which I diced up and added.

It was REALLY good! I will make again- high fiber, high protein, and the whole family ate it up.

I had also picked up this box of semi-DIY nut butter bars. I figured they could be more easy snack options for the kids. Because I am me, I added some dark chocolate chips to the mix too. Tip: don't stir these yourself. I tried my best to "stir to combine" but ended up dumping into my stand mixer to let it do the work.

We are all digging these- will buy them again. And yes, I'm pretty sure her shirt is also tucked into her undies. #Pottytraining.

My trip to Trader Joe's was successful- I found some winners, and spotted some not-so-much-winners, as is the case with any grocery store. It's always fun to find some new products!

  • Lindsey, EDRD

It's the mooooost wonderful tiiiiiiime of the year!


I love it. Warm but not hot. Cool but not cold. Leaves are hinting at changing colors. Candles are being lit. Chai tea is a-brewin'. And we schlep our kids to the orchard in celebration of it all.

I've said before that the orchard we go to is a no frills type place and I love it for that reason. It's a father and son farm and you can take whatever you want (of course you pay after you harvest)- they have Brussels sprouts, peppers, flowers, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, beets, carrots, pumpkins, raspberries, tomatoes, and of course, the apples.

Annika, eating a freshly picked carrot. In spite of the dirt, she insisted it was "So nummy!" Hmm...

Taste-testing the broccoli

We left $80 lighter but with a good haul- two bags of apples, a bag of pears, two pints of raspberries, two baking pumpkins, two decorative gourds, a bunch of beets, some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.

Later that afternoon I let the kids bully me into making a homemade apple pie (pies are definitely not in my skill set).

Yeah it didn't suck, especially since I also had vanilla ice cream and caramel on hand.

Back to vegetable-filled dietitian land...

What to do with random fall produce? Make a soup of course! So many soups, this one included, are really loose recipes. Feel free to swap in whatever veggies sound good to you. I let mine simmer for two hours, but you could simmer for just a few minutes, or even longer than I did. You could put it in a slow cooker. You can change up the seasoning. Soup is not fussy, and this is the epitome of "throw it together" healthy eating.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

-1 bunch beets (I had about 6 small beets), washed, peeled and cut into ~1" chunks

-1/2 lb carrots, washed and cut into ~1" chunks

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-2 boxes low sodium vegetable broth

-2 bay leaves

-1/4 teaspoon onion powder

-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

I also used a handful of Brussels sprouts and broccoli florets and kale

On a rimmed sheet pan, combine beets, carrots, and olive oil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway to evenly roast. If veggies are lightly browned and tender, they're done- they may need longer roasting time depending on how large they were chopped. I added my kale during the last 5-10 minutes of roasting- it would've otherwise burned.

Add broth to a large pot and heat to medium-low. Add remaining seasonings, including bay leaf. Add roasted veggies and cover. Let simmer for however long you feel like!

I chose to puree my soup but you could absolutely have it as-is. I removed the bay leaves and used my easy-peasy immersion blender. It really is a pretty color of soup thanks to the beets (also, hellooooooo vitamins and fiber!).

I happened to have bought a loaf of sliced rustic bread and I made some gruyere pressed sandwiches to go along with this. I'm almost always a whole grain/sprouted grains girl when it comes to bread, but I thought I'd treat the family to something different.

Makes four large bowls. Per serving: 171 calories, 29 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber (yesssss), 4 grams fat, 7 grams protein, 405 mg sodium, plus 716% of your vitamin A needs for the day and 120% of your daily vitamin C needs. Nutrient-packed and fresh and delicious and perfect for the fall!

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