The hundred degree weather seems to have subsided here in Saint Louis. This is one of the things I am thankful for at this moment. The cooler weather has me thinking about all things Autumn. I should let you know that this is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it! From the cool temps in the morning through seasonal teas to the bright chubby pumpkins popping up everywhere.
Some of the things that I look forward to each Autumn have everything to do with plant-strong foods. First of all, it’s apple season! There are so many varieties to choose from. Use this opportunity to try a new-to-you apple. I found the most amazing pink fleshed heirloom apple the other day called Pink Pearl. A small light yellow skinned fruit that had a slight blush to it in spots. Imagine my surprise when I took a bite and it was pink inside! Look to local orchards and family farms for heirloom varieties that you may not find at your local market. A quick apple crisp can be made with just a few simple ingredients, or try substituting apples for the blueberries in our Blueberry Dumpster Cobbler: http://engine2diet.
It also happens to be squash season. The interesting and unique qualities of different types of squash makes it a great choice for so many plant-strong dishes. Squash can be turned into everything from soups, to a topping for your oatmeal as seen in the photo here. I like to toss in a few raisins with my oats and add cooked butternut or acorn squash dusted with cinnamon. If you have never had squash or don’t know what to do with it, no worries! Pick one out, bring it home and Google it. I’ve learned so much about different varieties of fruits and vegetables just by looking it up on the internet. With a plethora of online resources for plant-strong recipes, you just can’t go wrong with squash.
One of the things I used to look forward to is a pumpkin spice latte. Aaaaaah the joys of fall! Not so fast! Did you know that some of the syrups used to make these contain dairy? It just figures. Now I enjoy a fine cup of herbal tea instead. I have a big selection this time of year. Currently in rotation in my kitchen: hot cinnamon, pumpkin spice and rooibos vanilla chai. I like to brew them strong, using two tea bags instead of one. The robust flavors of fall make a great treat for those trying to give up coffee.
This time of year is also what I call Soup Season! Though I enjoy soup all year round, I especially look forward to a steaming bowl of soup during fall. Whether it is slow cooked all day long or whipped up in a few minutes. Soup can be a light lunch or a hearty meal. It also makes great leftovers. This past week, I especially enjoyed a bowl of spicy pumpkin soup. Tonight I think I will make chili. Lots of beans and peppers in my chili, served over a bed of kale, it’s one of my favorite plant-strong meals to make!
I hope you will take advantage of all the great flavors available this season. Branch out, try something new!