Nothings says "autumn" quite like pumpkin. When I was a kid the only kind of pumpkin in my world was a Halloween jack-o-lantern. We were not a pumpkin pie eating family - in fact I'm pretty sure that the idea of eating pumpkin in any form l was a "gross". That was just something that Laura Ingalls and her family did and we all knew that was just olden days stuff. Admittedly I did grow up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1970's so if it didn't come out of a can or the freezer then I probably didn't eat it.
Happy September! It's back to school season (insert Happy Dance gif here)! This is my favorite time of year for all kinds of reasons. Back to school means fall is coming!! If you know me then you know that fall is my season. Boots & sweaters, lower temperatures, dense issues of Vogue magazine and best of all, soups, stews and fall produce! After all these years I still have a hot crush on butternut squash, brussels sprouts & chanterelle mushrooms. Being in the kitchen makes me happy and cooking fall foods makes me even happier.
I've been on a bit of a chia pudding kick again lately - probably due to the abundance of fresh berries in the summertime. I'm all about anything that can be a vehicle for those berries! We can easily go through a couple of half-flats per week at our house. This morning I had vanilla chia pudding with a heap of gorgeous blueberries and some cacao nibs and as I was taking a picture for Instagram (as one does) I realized that while I have shared some recipes for chia pudding in my newsletter, I have never shared one on my blog.
My friend Lisa C. turned me on to this delicious quinoa salad that is fast becoming a staple at my house. She makes it a little differently each time depending on what's in her garden and in her fridge. Her rule of thumb is to use a mix of colors and textures with "a punch of sweet and a little bit of crunch." After cooking the quinoa in veggie or chicken broth she'll add things like small cubed/steamed beets, slivers of kale, diced cucumber and bell pepper along with currants or golden raisins and then pistachios, almond slices or toasted pine nuts. You can also add feta or goat cheese or some grilled chicken to make it even heartier. The final ingredient is a whole mess of finely chopped herbs like flat leaf parsley or mint or dill. Don't be afraid to experiment using whatever is available to you. This salad is really versatile!
While I absolutely love to cook and spend a lot of time tinkering with recipes and ideas in the kitchen, I have never been much of a baker. In part this is because baking is more of a science. Back in the day, when I tried things like baking bread but I always seemed to kill the yeast and when I made layer cakes they usually came out uneven and messy. But a larger reason for my not baking was if I baked something then I would eat it - and keep eating it. Cookies and sweet treats have always been a weakness for me. There was always the "bake and release" option but I didn't love baking enough to do it in my spare time so mostly I didn't bake.
When life is extra busy you want something warm, flavorful and comforting on deck, this Green Chicken Curry totally fits the bill. It comes together on no time and it's easily as good as anything you would order from your local Thai place. Once you've made it a couple of times it becomes a real no-brainer and as long as you have the basic ingredients on hand it can be on the table sooner than if you had it delivered.
Lots of people have asked me for the hummus recipes from my Yes, this! Wellness retreat last weekend so here they are. Hummus is one of those things that is super simple to make and way more yummy when you make it yourself. It's also not an exact science: taste after you blend in your food processor or blender and then tweak accordingly.
I just returned home from leading my first Wellness retreat out on the Oregon coast and it was so much fun! My friend and co-facilitator, Dr. Louise Rose, and I taught our retreaters all kinds of cool stuff from TRE™ and reflexology with essential oils to how to reduce chronic inflammation in your body and in your mind (aka "stinkin' thinkin'"). There were foot baths and sauna time and journaling exercises and lots more, and it was all pretty wonderful but one of the things we loved the most was feeding everyone. Louse and I have a long history of geeking out over preparing delicious food with healthy ingredients and sharing inspirations and recipes so cooking for our retreat was a no-brainer.
I may have said this before, but I have a big crush on winter squash, and pumpkin is no exception. Pumpkin Spice lattes have too much sugar for me (sorry to be a buzzkill but a 16oz #PSL has a whopping 50g!) so I make other arrangements to get my pumpkin spice on. This is my recipe for Pumpkin Spice granola and it is the bomb! It's grain-free so a little goes a long way. It's great sprinkled on Greek yogurt, in a little bowl with the milk of your choice or in a bag as a snack. It's healthy, delicious and tastes like fall.
The weather is starting to change and fall is in the air. It's my favorite time of year. I have always been a "fall" cook, meaning I like to make soups, stews, and pretty much anything that involves a butternut squash. But my favorite by far is soup. There's nothing more comforting and delicious than a bowl of soup when the weather starts to get a little cooler.