Eating seasonally: Fall foods?

Last Friday, I asked which food staples you keep on hand. This week I want to know how these staples adjust with the seasons, or do they? How does your fall pantry look different from summer?

For example, I keep fresh berries on hand in the summer, but now have switched to frozen. I also usually buy pomegranate seeds in the fall to add to salads, and squash to add to soups or as a dinner side. Most of my basics stay the same though – we eat tacos anytime of year!

How about you? What are your favorite fall staples?

Staples – what do you keep on hand?

You’ve seen the list of items cooking magazines assume you have on hand. I’m wondering which items you actually keep on hand. Are there certain items you always have on hand?

  • Top ten for baking… AP flour, wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, butter, eggs, milk, maple syrup.
  • Top nine for snacking… triscuits, almonds, bananas, peanut butter, bread for toast, yogurt, chips, carrots, bagels
  • Top eight for cooking… olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger, grains, veggies, salt, pepper.
  • Five, six or seven ingredient dinner… tomatos, cheese, tortillas, turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce and/or avocado
  • Four ingredient crockpot dinner… chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, crunchy taco shells
  • Three ingredient dinner… salted pasta & sauce (Trader Joe’s Three Cheese, anyone?)
  • Two ingredient dinner… cereal & milk
  • One favorite snack… yogurt

Recently, I’ve had brown rice syrup on hand instead of maple, and fresh ginger instead of powder. Peanut butter toast, tacos, spaghetti and cereal are my go-to’s. Dare you to share next!

Ginger: 3 ways

Ginger, as a spice, is something I’m familiar with, but recently we started adding pieces of the fresh root to our diet and we are hooked! Ginger is recommended for a number of health benefits and also adds great flavor. Here are 3 easy ways to make it a regular part of your eating routine.

  1. Blueberry smoothie – Blend 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup blueberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1-inch piece peeled ginger, with ice

2. Ginger Chicken Fajitas – I used romaine instead of chard and we ate the fajitas without the cashew sour cream, but I’m sure it would be tasty too!

3. Try it in some tea, such as:

  • Trader Joe’s Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea – turmeric is the new superfood!
  • Bigelow Benefits Ginger & Peach Herbal Tea – my mother-in-law recently bought me a box of this tea, thank you!

The first two recipes are from Clean Eating July/August 2016, and they also included one scoop of protein powder in the smoothie. I left out the powder and used almond milk.

Gluten-free

30 Days: No Gluten

I’m not a fan of diet trends. However, my primary doctor recommended I go gluten-free for 30 days to see if that is a factor in the gastro symptoms I’ve been experiencing the past 5 months and I was ready to try anything. It’s been a week, but it feels like forever! The first few days I was enthusiastic, but I quickly discovered I was unprepared for the mix of emotions and the steep learning curve as both my mind and body adjusted to the lack of gluten which is so prevalent in what we eat.

The Challenge:

I’m now somewhere in between I suppose. Determined to stick with it and less excited about it. As someone who eats pretty healthy foods already, I’ve been surprised how many words I have had to google to see what they actually are… a whole new vocabulary! It is a bit like learning a new language, but I’m starting to piece it together.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, but this is not always listed in such simple words. For example, malt comes from barley so that word means no too. A further challenge is cross-contamination. For example, all the ingredients in ice cream might be ok, but if the ice cream shake is made with the same machine as a malt, no go.

I’ve realized… 1) how often I eat! Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner x 7! My doctor also told me to eat more calories (I’m pretty active, but that seems an additional challenge) 2) how much gluten sneakily gets in to everything 3) how exhausting it is to think about each and every ingredient in each and every ingredient for every snack and meal. I’ve gained compassion for others who have similar restrictions. I’ve tried to prepare my heart to accept the idea of a lifestyle change if needed (for example, if I had celiac, a true gluten allergy, Jeremy and I sharing a kitchen becomes much more complicated) and I’m so beyond grateful that the initial screening for celiac came back negative. Now, three more weeks until REAL pizza crust! 🙂

 

Kefir

Have you heard of or tried kefir? It’s my new favorite superfood. Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to drinkable yogurt. It begins as grains and grows into a culture when soaked in milk (or tea or coconut water). The resulting is a tart, probiotic-filled liquid.

Here are a couple of related articles:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-kefir

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/kefir.html

Whole-grain Muffins

Below is my current favorite muffin recipe. Whole grains + great taste + a variety of ideas to change it up = keeper! I’ve tried all three variations and my favorite flavor is the orange pistachio. I’ve also tried making adjustments based on whatever I have (for example, most recently swapped berries for orange, berry yogurt instead of plain and coconut milk instead of cow’s milk) and still turned out great! 🙂

 

Birthday Weekend

My husband and I are both planners. For us, a day off usually entails not planning because it is a rest from what we naturally do regularly. Saturdays, vacations, holidays, and birthdays fit in this category.

Friday

Another one of my favorites things is seeing people I know get to know each other. So this year, I invited friends and family over for a BBQ on the Friday before my Saturday birthday. That way, I could enjoy celebrating with everyone, but do all the planning and prepping ahead of time. Then on Saturday, I was free to take the day as it came. It was a fun weekend!

Saturday Morning

Saturday, Jeremy said we could do whatever I wanted so I just kept doing what I felt like next! We went to Chaps for an early breakfast. Baked oatmeal and coffee for me; french toast for him. He was skeptical that oatmeal was a good birthday breakfast choice until he tasted it. It won him over and he doesn’t even like oatmeal much. We also got a cinnamon roll for later.

Next, we went antiquing. We checked out three local stores, two of which were new to us. Boulevard Mercantile is a cute building with a good selection and I will definitely go back. We had been to Tossed & Found before and it seemed to have more furniture, as well as a hodge-podge of other items. Last, we visited the Vintage Rabbit Antique Mall and that store is HUGE. We spent quite a bit of time browsing through all of the trinkets and I was surprised that Jeremy seemed to enjoy it as well.

Saturday Afternoon

We also returned some books to Auntie’s downtown and walked over to browse Atticus. A lot of ground in one day! After all the shopping, we headed home for a leftover bbq food lunch and watched a show. We are currently watching S.H.I.E.L.D. on Netflix. Then we both did some reading, eventually splitting the cinnamon roll and having a second cup of coffee.

Then, we went for a walk in a new-to-me park called Heritage Gardens. It is a part of Edwidge Woldson park that was discovered after the ice storm in 1996. Spokane’s once secret garden was full of perennials that we now have in our yard, plus more flowers & great views of downtown!

Saturday Evening

We headed back downtown to Fire for Camino & Honey Badger pizza, and then, Jeremy ordered an ice cream cookie for us to share. I had enough sweet for the day with the oatmeal alone, but it was a day to celebrate and the treats were delicious!! We ended the day with the new Beauty and the Beast; it was as if the animated story of my childhood came to life! Loved it!

What are you up to this weekend?

Cinco de mayo

We’re hosting a taco bar tonight for our neighbors and co-workers. We love Mexican food and independence, so why not invite them to celebrate these things with us? 😉 Weather permitting, we may also have a fire pit!

P.S. Here’s the history behind the Mexican holiday.

Bloomsday

Such a fun race, but I’m not participating in it this year. We actually ran weekly all winter (despite it being uber cold and icy), but I’ve been running less this spring, and decided I’d rather focus on getting back into a regular routine than running Bloomsday. Jeremy will be right behind the Kenyans though, I’m sure!

Go-to Snack?

What is your favorite go-to snack?

I often choose greek yogurt as a mid-morning snack. If I’m at work, I’ll take a Chobani and some almonds. If I’m at home, I’ll mix berries and nuts or chia seeds with honey or vanilla yogurt. One day this week, I added peanut butter, and then! (because I was feeling a little overwhelmed by life) I also added chocolate chips! :O

Ya’ll. IT. WAS. AMAZING.

And that’s all I have to say today. 🙂