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Fun Fall Recipes and Cocktails

And low calorie, of course

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. The weather starts to cool off, the leaves start changing, those fluffy sweaters make their appearance, and there's so many yummy veggies and fruits available to use for family dinners and holidays. Apples are in season to make those mouth watering apple pies from scratch and not to mention all the things you can make from the pumpkins that are available this time of year! As comforting as these foods are in conjunction with seasonable recipes this time of year, they can also be very fattening and full of calories. There are definitely ways around that though, and you can certainly enjoy the season without putting on the extra fluff! Here are some of my favorite Fall recipe and cocktail go-to's that are lower calorie and healthier too!

One thing I love to make when it's cool out, is a healthy turkey chili. It's easy, you can put it in the crock pot for busy days, and the whole family loves it. This is how I make mine:

- 1-1.5 lbs of lean ground turkey meat

-1 small yellow onion, diced

-1 green bell pepper, diced

-2 cloves of garlic, sliced

-1 can of Rotel, 1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)

-1 can of fire roasted corn (drained)

-2 cans of low sodium red kidney beans (drained)

-1 small can of tomato paste

-1 package of low sodium chili seasoning mix

In a saucepan with olive oil, cook the onion, green pepper, and garlic for about 10 mins. Then, add in the turkey meat until the meat has cooked through. Add this mixture and all other ingredients to a crock pot. Mix together and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Top with your favorite toppings: chopped green onions, low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt, low fat shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes.

Serves 6-8 people

Another Fall meal that takes no time to make, but is delicious and is a crowd pleaser at my house, is a crock pot or dutch oven veggie/turkey sausage soup. I basically make this one with broth, all the veggies that are about to go bad in the fridge, spices, and turkey sausage. SO easy, ya'll! Make some low calorie cornbread to go with it, and there's dinner!

-1 lb of turkey kielbasa/sausage

-All the veggies in your fridge (onions, squash, zucchini, corn, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc!)

-2 cloves of garlic (sliced)

-1 can of Rotel, 1 can of diced tomatoes (not drained)

-3-4 cups of broth

-2-3 cups of water

-dash of oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper (to taste)

-2-3 bay leaves

Place all in the crock pot and let cook all day on low or cook on the stove top in a dutch oven or big pot on medium heat for 45 mins- 1 hour.

Serves 6-8

Here's a tasty, healthy, low cal side dish that I love to make in the Fall. I actually got the idea from my cousin a few years ago (so I can't take full credit), but it's a dish I love to make this time of year, as it tastes very "Fallish" and it's so good too.

I guess you could call this a green apple, cinnamon, red onion, sweet potato medley. It's all of these things mixed and marinated with olive oil in a gallon sized Zip Lock bag. Then, you'll place the mixture on a baking sheet (lined with tin foil) and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 mins-1 hour. Be sure to move mixture around half way through to ensure all sides are being baked.

Now Fall wouldn't be Fall without festive cocktails, would they? So many fun fruits, garnishes, and concoctions this time of year! Here are 2 of my very favs:

Apple Cider Mimosas:

(BTW champagne is honestly the best way to get a slight buzz without all the calories!)

- All you need is champagne and apple cider, ya'll! Garnish with cinnamon, sliced apples, and/or light sugar on the rims of the glasses.

Rum Hot Toddy:

And ummm....tis the season for head colds too (right?), and hot toddy's are supposedly the best cold remedy-so there's that! LOL

-a shot of rum

-1 tbsp of maple syrup

-1 slice of lemon/juiced

-1 cinnamon stick or dash of cinnamon

-Boiling water

Take advantage of this season, ya'll! There's so many foods and drinks that are festive and fun to make this time of year. Whether you're cooking for your family or entertaining, you can always come up with healthy options! This time of year is not an excuse to gain an extra layer of "fun", but a time to experiment with seasonal foods and provide wonderful nutrients to our bodies. Play around with recipes and have fun with it! Find ways to cut out the extra, unnecessary calories and fat and create new, healthy traditions.

"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons" - Jim Bishop

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