Hiking!!

Yes indeed, it is that time of year again! When the weather gets all snuggly… there’s a smell in the air that just can’t be beat… the days seem shorter… the colors more vibrant… and every shelf of every store displays those lush oranges, deep reds, and bold yellows to entice you to buy their warm and cozy looking decorations. (Not to mention, everything, I mean everything, is laced with pumpkin, nutmeg, apple and/or cinnamon. I know those are the only recipes my taste buds are calling!)

It’s also my favorite time of year to hike! One of my most favorite past times. Venturing off into the great trails of whatever city I happen to be in. Pretending like I’m no longer a part of my current world, but rather a part of a past world, one without booming vehicles and smartphone this/smartphone thats. A world where my peace and tranquillity can only be broken by seeing a fellow hiker approach (or run at me if said hiker happens to be a fun loving furry pooch!) to whom I smile and nod and say “Hello! marvelous day isn’t it?!” And they can only reply with “Yes!! It is!”
And why does fall make this hike so marvelous? Well, the crisp weather, the cool breezes, the warmth of the sun…it all adds up and leaves my body feeling invigorated and graciously happy.

That’s my kind of hike.

And that’s also why I’ve decided to sit down today and throw out a list of awesome hikes for my fellow readers to look into! I found two amazing sites:

Outside Magazine’s America’s Best Trails & Tecca.com’s Top Websites to Make Your Hike Great.

Outside Mag is, of course, our link to the great outdoors a la actif. If you’re a nature loving, outdoorsy, campy, hiking, climbing, trail type of person, their website and magazine are right up your alley. This particular link shows off the best trails for, well, just about any occasion! For example, they have chosen winners in many a category, including “Best Trail for Getting High,” or “Best Trail for Donating Blood,” or “Best Trail Named after Booze.” As well as a few more typically thought of trail categories like “Best Pacific Coast Trail,” or “Best Prehistoric Trail.”

Tecca.com’s article is equally handy, linking you to some awesome sites to help you plan your next hiking adventure or escapade into the great outdoors. They site reviews perfect for backpackers, family outings, pet owners, etc. and all in one convenient article.

So what’s your excuse!? You have all the resources right at your finger tips, and all the adventure lies in you. 🙂

OH and when you get home…

Apple Cider Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Pie Sandwiches

Enjoy! :):)

 

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I’m Strong til the Finich, ‘Cause I eats me Spinach

Popeye had it right; Spinach comes packed with a whopping punch of 36% (6.43mg) Iron per cup (180g) when cooked/boiled without salt.

And while it’s great for many a reason to eat your Spinach, it’s beneficial to think outside the spinach box to find nutritional rather than supplemental ways to get enough iron. It’s extremely important to make sure your iron levels are in check, especially for us girls, and especially for us veggies! I, personally, suffer from anemia and I can always tell when my iron levels are low. I become extremely lethargic, I crave ice and, yes, spinach, and I also have a strange metal-esque taste and feeling in my mouth. It’s not fun. And It’s not necessary either!!

You may already know that there are a multitude of fods that are high in iron and yet acceptable for veg-heads. BUT did you know that there are actually means of COOKING that can affect the amount of iron your body consumes?! I didn’t either. And I was extremely intrigued by the Shape posting about cooking in Cast Iron Pans. According to the posting, “Women should aim to get 15mg iron a day (quite true), so use your cast iron skillet to prepare iron-rich foods such as lean beef, fish, and poultry. **Bonus: You’ll avoid all the carcinogenic toxins found in many non-stick pan coatings (TOTAL bonus!!).” 

But what happens? What gets added to one’s food when cooked via Cast Iron skillet??

Acidic and watery foods (like spinach and other leafy greens or fish for those pescotarians out there) absorb the iron molecules from the cast iron pan/skillet.

Researchers published a study in the July 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and showed that cooking in cast iron skillets added significant amounts of iron to 20 foods tested. For example, the researchers reported that the iron content in scrambled eggs increased from 1.49 mg to 4.76 mg of iron. Pretty amazing huh?? They also found that the iron in one serving of tomato sauce increased from under one milligram to almost 6 mg when cooked in an iron pan. Most surprising, though, is applesauce. A 100-gram serving (about a quarter of a pound) went from .35 mg of iron to over 7 mg when cooked in cast iron! I need to get me a Cast Iron Pan!

A few things to keep in mind:

The longer you use your pan, the more build up of a fatty layer will develop. It’s still safe and healthy to use your pan, as a matter of fact, chefs believe it enhances flavor! However it decreases the amount of iron transferred from the pan, so don’t rely just on the pan! 

Also, beware of cooking your food too long. Eventually, if left long enough, more than just iron will be transferred. A yucky, metally taste will come along too. Never fun.

And a few more tips via Dr. Weil:

“One caveat about cast iron cookware: don’t use it for deep-frying. (You shouldn’t deep-fry anyway.) Iron can accelerate the oxidation of fat and cause it to become rancid.

When choosing iron cookware, look for products with a fine, smooth surface, which will take better to seasoning. Avoid pots and pans with pits, ridges, cracks, chips, seams and jagged edges. Good quality cast iron is uniformly gray and the same color inside and out.”

 

Scrumdidilyumptious Apple Oatmeal Cookies!

   

Two of my very favorite snacks include Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Apples. When I found this recipes online (via FitSugar-by way of Pinterest of course!) I had to give it a try! These bodacious cookies are a delight to the tastebuds, and actually quite healthy for you! The recipe incorporates Flax Meal, Apples, and Cinnamon (cinnamon was my own addition—I decided upon it because I was all out of Vanilla Extract and in my mind, when Apple meets Cinnamon, one cannot go wrong.

The Flax Meal comes loaded with Fiber-soluble and insoluble; it has a great dose of Omega-3’s (something that is a bit more difficult for vegetarians to come across); and, another little known benefit of the mighty Flax is that it is an abundant source of Lignans. Lignans have both plant estrogen and antioxidant effects on our bodies. They could be cancer fighting and preventing agents.

Alright, now on to the Recipe!!

Apple Oatmeal Flax Cookies
[as inspired by: http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Recipe-Apple-Oatmeal-Flax-Cookies-5324399]

Ingredients:


1.5 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Flax meal (ground flax seed)

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon

1 pinch salt (I’m not a big fan of adding too much salt so I used less than the teaspoon the original recipe called for.)

1 cup Canola Oil/Vegetable Oil/or any form of Cooking & Baking Oil you deem perfect.

1 cup Turbinado Sugar (or any form of sugar you please.)

egg whites

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (not 100% necessary, especially if you use the cinnamon.)

2 cups Whole Grain Quick Oats

2 Small to Medium Apples, Peeled and Chopped

1 cup of any of the following add ins (totally optional suggestions! Feel free to get creative and think of your own!) Chopped Walnuts, Sliced Almonds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Chips, Carob Chips, Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds, Chopped Dates, etc. etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, flax meal, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, larger bowl, beat together oil, sugar, eggs, and (if you added it) Vanilla Extract  until fluffy. Stir in the oats, apples, flour mixture, and nuts/add-in option.
  4. Spoon out cookies onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown. (It took my oven 15 mins on the nose, but ovens vary so keep an eye and nose on the lookout) Place cookies on a cooling rack. Enjoy!!