Red Hot Memories + Recipe: ‘Spooky’ Apple Pie Granola

IMG_9857_edited-1IMG_9824Sticking  my finger into a homemade apple pie spice mix and then onto my tongue,  I ‘m suddendly  reminded of Atomic Fireballs and Red Hots. Do you remember them? They’ve been around for a l-o-n-g time  and have a super spicy cinnamon flavor that’s sure to light up your taste buds. What was it that I combined with cinnamon for this nostalgic taste?  Cardamon!   I came upon this combination by merely trying to meet the October Recipe Redux Challenge:

Spooky Spices : You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

How is cardamom spooky?  Well, if we’re talking spooky as in Halloween,  (and we’re all vampire savvy now, right?) cardamom has a bite (albeit a good one.) And it’s especially GOOD when paired with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (spices I used to make my homemade apple pie spice mix). However, the reason I chose cardamom for this challenge is NOT  because of its bite, but  because it hasn’t gotten as much love in my kitchen as let’s say, cinnamon, oregano or basil. I truly like the taste of cardamon, but when I ‘m looking for a  warm spice, I typcially reach for the more common ones such as cinnamon and nutmeg.  Like most spices, cardamom is  a  good way to boost the flavor of foods, and it’s  health benefits are related to  digestion.

Now that we’re starting to feel a chill in the air, it’s the perfect time to start using cardamom (along with cinnamon and nutmeg.) In today’s post I want to share two ways I enjoyed my cardamom spiked apple pie spice mix (try saying that 5 times fast):

First I used  it in my  homemade granola. Then I sprinkled  it on some sliced Fuji apples to make  Anne Mauney’s Spiced Baked Apple Chips and used these to complete my  granola mixture. The resulting nutritious  snack is a  healthy way to get whole grains, healthy fats and fiber.  I love it as a topping on a dish of Greek yogurt (especially drizzled with a bit of Vermont Maple Syrup).

In addition to using cardamom in a simple apple pie spice mix for seasoning apple chips and granola,  try treating yourself to something baked with  cardamom, add it to a  smoothie,  and try it as an alternative to season your vegetables.

Don’t forget to check the bottom of this post for more links to ‘spooky spices’!

How do  you use cardamom?



‘Spooky’ Apple Pie Granola 

by Diane Boyd


    for the apple pie spice blend

    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/16 teaspoon cardamom

    for the granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (use gluten free for GF granola)
    • 2 Tablespoons dry quinoa
    • 1 Tablespoon apple juice
    • 5 teaspoons honey
    • 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of apple pie spice blend (recipe above)
    • 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped or broken into bite sized pieces (I used Bake Spiced Apple Chips)


    for the apple pie spice blend

    Place all spices together in small bowl and stir well to combine.

    for the granola

    1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. In a medium bowl combine oats, quinoa, apple juice, honey, oil, vanilla, salt and spices. Spread on a nonstick foil lined baking sheet.

    3. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until oats are brown, about 20-25 minutes.

    4. Cool. Add dried apple chips.

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    Spaghetti ‘N Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce

    IMG_9786_edited-1By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

    When I say pasta, what do you say? Probably not breakfast,  am I right? How about recovery?  Today I am sharing a recipe for a pasta meal that’s both a post workout meal and a perfect way to start your day! But before I get to the recipe, let me explain how you can shape a healthy lifestyle by capitalizing on the versatility of pasta:

    • Use it as a foundation for healthy meals, including breakfast.  

    • Time it after a bout of cardio exercise as a recovery measure for  refueling muscle energy  and preparing your body for its next training session.   

    • Pair it with lean proteins and vegetables for delicious tasting combinations that are healthy, easy and  budget savvy.

    After an early morning run last Saturday, I put the adaptability of pasta to work in an outstanding breakfast. It was a perfect way to recover from my workout.. just the right amount of carbohydrates (for refueling muscle energy),  protein (for building and repairing muscle tissue), and healthy fats (for cardiovascular health and taste).  Feeling good about my new found way to enjoy an early morning recovery meal, I made it again  Sunday morning.  And as the saying goes, if it happens twice, it will happen again.

    What recovery meal or breakfast food do you enjoy that includes pasta?


    Spaghetti n’ Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce

    by Diane Boyd


      for tomato sauce

      • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
      • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
      • 1 can (28 oz. ) whole peeled tomatoes with juices, lightly crushed
      • Sea salt and Black pepper to taste

      for pasta

      • 1/2 box spaghetti (about 8oz )
      • 2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

      for cream sauce

      • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 2 tablespoons skim or low fat milk
      • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
      • 5 large pastuerized eggs


      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

      for the tomato sauce

      2. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, fennel and paprika and cook while stirring, about one minute or until fragrant.

      3. Add tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. With the back of a spoon create 4 pockets in the tomato sauce.

      Set aside.

      for the pasta

      3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

      4. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add spinach, cheese, oil and salt. Toss well until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

      for the cream sauce

      5. Beat Parmesan cheese, milk , salt and egg together in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour  sauce over the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

      to assemble

      6. Twirl 1/2 cupful of the spaghetti mixture around tongs or a large fork to form a pasta nest.

      7. Transfer pasta nest to skillet with tomato sauce (in pocket created).

      8. Repeat making 3 more pasta nests and placing in  tomato sauce.

      9. Add one whole egg to each pasta nest and transfer skillet to the oven. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


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      Giveaway: Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar

      Disclosure: As a Cabot Team Leader for the virtual race, Cabot is paying for my entry fee, making a donation in my name to my local food bank, and providing  a Cabot Legacy Collection GiftBox for my readers.  I was not compensated for writing this post and opinions are my own.

      Attention cheese aficionados!  Here’s your chance to win some of the world’s best cheddar! Yes, I’m happy to be giving away  Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar. That’s three, yes three distinct flavors: White Oak Cheddar, Farmhouse Reserve, Apline Cheddar. How how easy will putting  together a cheese platter for your next tail gate be? Cabot even has a suggested wine pairing for each cheddar. Go to the bottom of this page and enter now!


      It’s hard to pick a favorite in this amazing collection, but I have to say, the one I keep stocked in my refrigerator is the White Oak Cheddar. Probably because of my fondness for apples (it pairs wonderfully with them).   Cabot describes this cheddar as “subtle caramel sweetness with delicate hints of the duskiness of wine aging casks.”

      Guess it’s  the perfect time to announce I ‘m a member of the Cabot Cheese Board. It’s a partnership that  benefits both me and Cabot; a no brainer  on my part. Cabot sends me some  amazing care packages (just received Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar), includes my recipes on their sight with other bloggers’ recipes and supports my work in their social media channels.  I provide them feedback and spread the word about the worlds best cheddar!

      Enter to win The Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Cheddar Gift Box, right here, right now!

      Contest ends 10/30 2014 at 12:00 am . Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter. 
      a Rafflecopter giveaway


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      Share the Love: a true foodie love story



      I heart a good love story! You too? Well today’s post starts  with one. This is my third post in my series where I get to  pitch another nutrition influencer. Yes, and it’s impossible to tell you about Min Jung (MJ for short) without telling you about the love of her life, Hungryman (Tim, aka the husband.)


      Food loving team, MJ and Hungryman!

      Aww, I know. This is really sweet. And it’s a true story. I ‘m always impressed with individuals who are passionate about what they do. Min is certainly one of them. Min pursued a career in dietetics in order to nourish her husband back to good health. She tells this story so beautifully on the blog she and her knight in shining armor share together,  The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman.

      Min has been successful  juggling school, taking good care of Hungryman, and blogging about healthy food with Hungryman and their side kick, Kona.  I was happy to have to opportunity to meet this sweet, youthful dietitian at the blog brulee. In case you’re wondering, yes, she is just as nice in person as she is online!

      Connect with Min

      Facebook  Twitter Instgram Pinterest

      Stay tuned for more profiles of nutritionists making waves in the social media.

      Posted in Health and Wellness, Inspiration | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

      Fuel A Healthy Lifestyle: Salad Nicoise


      By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
      lasagne noodles •  orzo • elbow macaroni • thin spaghetti • whole wheat penne angel hair nests • farfalline • couscous
      October is National Pasta Month. To celebrate, the National Pasta Association is holding a recipe contest that kicks off today. The challenge is to show how pasta fits into a healthy lifestyle! So, what’s up with the laundry list of wheat pasta at the beginning of this post? That’s actually a  list of the different types of pasta currently in my  kitchen pantry. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Boy, she sure does like pasta!’ Yes, I do relish the taste of pasta, and I also delight in the fact that it’s the perfect foundation for  healthy meals, like my version of  salad nicoise. 
       As a runner, and mom of two athletes (I’m proud to say, both now NCAA Div. I college athletes), I’ve always relied on carbohydrates for energy  for myself and my family.  Pasta is an excellent source of carbohydrates, and it pairs so well with lean protein and vegetables, making it simple to pull together a  healthy meal in a matter of minutes.  Not only that, pasta satisfies hunger and is budget friendly, which should make it a blue chip pick for many consumers. 
       Get out your stopwatch, today’s  recipe can be made in 20 minutes! All of the ingredients used are staples in my kitchen,  making this my go-to meal after a hectic day when there’s little time for food prep.  I also frequently  make this a day ahead. This way, if I get a chance to squeeze in a  long run, all I have to do is pull it out of the refrigerator, making it  easy to time my recovery within the recommended 30 minutes following my workout. It provides me with an appropriate balance of carbohydrates (for replacing muscle fuel), protein (for building and repairing muscle tissue)  and healthy fats for good cardiovascular health and taste.  I hope you’ll try my  salad nicoise after you wind down from your next run or other sports participation! Please check out the other links at the bottom of this post to discover more ways pasta fits into a healthy lifetstyle.

      Pasta Salad Nicoise

      serves 4

      by Diane Boyd


        for the dressing

        • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
        • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
        • 4 Tablespoons Canola oil
        • 1 clove minced garlic
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
        • freshly ground pepper to taste

        for the salad

        • 2 cups frozen green beans
        • 2 cups uncooked farfelline (mini bow tie pasta)
        • 2 ribs of celery, sliced
        • 1/2 cup red onion, thinnly sliced
        • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
        • 1 12 oz. can water packed tuna, drained
        • 5 pimento stuffed olives, sliced
        • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)


        for the dressing

        Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

        for the salad

        1. Steam frozen green beans according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

        2. Add 2-3 quarts of water and a pinch of salt to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

        3. Add pasta to boiling water, stirring gently.

        4. Cover pot with lid until water begins to boil again, then remove lid. Stir pasta frequently. Cook according to package directions, mini bow tie pasta may take only 6 minutes to cook til ‘al dente’ or firm to the bite.

        5. Once pasta reaches al dente, drain and run under cold water to stop from further cooking.

        6. Add pasta, tuna, green beans, celery, onion, tomatoes, olives and basil to a large bowl or platter.

        7. Stir dressing to combine ingredients and pour over pasta, tuna and vegetables. Toss well.

        8. Garnish with fresh basil.

        9. Serve immediately or refrigerate to enjoy later. (Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

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        Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Recipe Redux, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments