Happy Monday and hello from Northern Michigan where we are enjoying some crisp fall weather and even a few dustings of snow last week. I’m not sure I am ready for this, but we are embracing it.
Despite the cooler weather, fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the crisp air for running. We pull out the cinnamon scented candles and brooms. And we start cooking a bit more for the season.
Soups show up on the stove. Breads and cookies are baking. The slow cooker is put to more use. We also start to switch up some of the foods we typically eat.
Our little girl is a lover of all fruits. While she gobbles up strawberries and blueberries, we have had to opt for more seasonal options like pears and honey crisp apples (our favorites). Fruit that isn’t in season is either hard to find or comes at a hefty price because it must be shipped in from other parts of the world or country. Beyond not being very pocketbook friendly, it also loses a lot of the delicious flavor that fresh picked, local and in season produce offers.
I love asparagus, but in the winter a small bunch can set you back $7.00. Ouch! Again, it just doesn’t have that delicious flavor that you find direct from the farm in the summer.
Eating seasonally is great in so many ways. Produce is cheaper when it is ripe, and has more color and flavor. By eating with the seasons we also switch up our diets and add a bit of variety.
While in New York with Rock he took me to one of his new found favorite restaurants called Create. They offer acai bowls, salads, sandwiches, soups and rice/quinoa bowls. We were looking for something to fill us up after a hard day at work and he brought me over to the rice and quinoa bowl section. After looking at the menu, I opted for their Natural Bowl. I chose brown rice and steak to top mine off. Inside was roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potato, baby kale, roasted tomato, chick peas, and avocado.
My bowl was delicious and a great reminder that we can easily switch things up. While I love salads in the summer, the rice or quinoa bowl is a wonderful option in the winter when we are looking for something to warm and fill us up.
Roasted vegetables are a great way to add flavor to your meals. It is simple and adds totally different tastes and aromas to your veggies. All you need to do is chop vegetables evenly and toss with olive oil. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake at 425° for 15-30 minutes. Start checking after 15 minutes, as some vegetables go faster than others.
You can roast veggies ahead of time on the weekend and then pop them into the refrigerator for later in the week. Throw some rice in a bowl, add your toppings of choice and toss in the microwave for a minute. You could do this several nights during the week and never have the same meal twice.
Great veggies for fall: Squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, carrots, fennel, cabbage, brussels sprouts, parsnips, garlic, and radishes. All of these can easily be chopped and roasted. You can also add herbs to season as you roast. I am a huge fan of rosemary, thyme, basil, and sage.
Great fruits for fall: Grapes, apples, pears, persimmons, cranberries, and pomegranate.
Other great things to have on hand: Canned black beans, frozen corn, chickpeas, hummus, avocado, cilantro, and salad greens. These can all be added on top of your seasonal bowls.
Switch up your base: You can easily switch the base of a bowl up to completely change things around too. Try adding greens, couscous, freekeh, or grits. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Quinoa is an excellent source of protein! Quinoa and soy are the only two plant based complete proteins; meaning they contain all of the amino acids our bodies need. For anyone who is a vegetarian or vegan, quinoa is an excellent source of protein to add into your diet. It is also a great low calorie option for meals. For those of us who do eat meat, it is a great choice for Meatless Monday meals.
How do you like to eat seasonally? What would you put in a rice or quinoa bowl?