fall

Chicken Chili

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Though it’s easy to complain about schizophrenic weather patterns and to whine about the chill when the pendulum swings back toward Seasonal December temps, there are some definitely bright points about it being balls cold outside.

1.) Boots. I heart boots so much.

2.) Soup, stew, and chili.

chicken chiliThis recipe came together when I was cleaning some stuff out of the cabinet one night recently. You can totally leave out the chicken, as it’s filling as is, but if you have some pulled chicken fresh from the slow-cooker, it makes a wonderful addition.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (can omit)
  • sliced peppers, about 2 (I used about 2 cups of frozen, thawed)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 c water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • extra cumin if desired
  • a few drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • ~1 c pulled chicken, preferably organic (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onion is soft.
  2. Add peppers, tomatoes, water, sauce, beans, spices, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add chicken (if using) and simmer another 30-45 minutes. Serve hot and topped with shredded cheese or other desired toppings.

I’m sure this would also be awesome with a little boozy something or other cooked in. Maybe I’ll try it with wine sometime. I know chili is often made with beer, but that would necessitate buying beer I’m not going to drink so…

What’s your favorite chili recipe? 

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Fall Beers

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I’ve tried to like beer, but we’re just never going to be good friends. Yes, even pumpkin beer. I know. pumpkin face

However, I understand that people love beer, and that seasonal beers get a lot of love.

Current health recommendations for alcohol are up to one drink per day for women and up to two per day for men—not fair, but you need to take into account the fact that our bodies metabolize alcohol at different rates. So if you’re wondering what to fill those two allotted glasses with this weekend, Self magazine’s Flash blog just put out a great little list of “fall beers worth every calorie.”

Do you like beer? If not, what’s your poison? 

Strange but Good

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I’ve been eating a lot of soup lately. Even if it weren’t suddenly chilly out and I didn’t still have a toothache, it’s my go-to comfort food. In the past week, I’ve had salsa verde chicken soup, miso soup, and red lentil soup with roasted butternut squash & apple and caramelized shallot.

soup and waffleAs far as what to eat with said soup: Who needs bread & butter when you have pumpkin waffles and tahini? Strange but delicious, I swear!

Speaking of strange, I may or may not have thrown a few pieces of roasted butternut squash in with some plain yogurt and pumpkin butter. Why not, right? It was actually pretty delicious. Something else to add to the list of things I enjoy but would never subject another human to.

squash in yogurtAlso strange-but-good (so far, at least):neil young

What’s on your strange-but-good list? 

Pumpkin Things

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OMG so many pumpkin things at Trader Joe’s right now! And so many more to try…I allowed myself a few impulse buys yesterday afternoon on my after-work grocery run. Can’t wait to give these a try.

IMG_3568I am also amused that the pumpkin things match my orange kitchen: )

What was your last impulse buy? 

Simple, Beautiful Things

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I know everyone and everything is all “omg, pumpkin spice!” but let us not forget that there are other wonderful things about fall food. For example, the humble apple—what a beautiful, simple thing, especially with a little cinnamon on top. sliced apple

Need a reason besides this picture to enjoy an apple? How about 5 reasons?

 What’s your favorite way to enjoy apples? 

Sunday Things

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Happy Sunday! I don’t know if anyone else is as excited for this first day of Fall as me, but there really are few things like the optimism of a new season. Powerful stuff. I started my day with yoga—it was the perfect way to celebrate the autumnal equinox.

We’re also just coming off the weirdness of Thursday’s full moon. Did anyone else think last week was a little odd?

lobster1.) Strange/full moon day-things aside, my dreams were even more bizarre than normal. I think my favorite is the one where I was dating a fictional friend’s parents, and while I was out at a seminar, the father left a big paper bag of lobsters at my door, only each lobster had been cut into various ways for cooking purposes. For whatever reason, lobsters have become a motif in my dream and real life in 2013. Here’s what my favorite dream analysis website (yes, I have one) has to say about lobster dreams. Makes sense to me.

Earth Balance Creamy PB with flax2.) I decided to try a new jar of “work” (aka shelf stable) peanut butter the other day. I’m not a huge fan of the palm oil in this, and given its high fructose content, I kind of think agave nectar is basically equivalent to high-fructose corn syrup (albeit from the agave plant), but this ingredients list is still a lesser evil of the no-stir peanut butter world. And anyway, after  eating so much coconut via peanut butter over the last few months as I worked my way through one jar, I thought I should try something different. I don’t have any acute concerns about my saturated fat intake, but I do like to be mindful of where it comes from in my diet and keep that in mind when planning meals so I can get an appropriate amount.

3.) So maybe I’ve been binge-watching Season 2 of New Girl on Netflix. Of course, my version of binge-watching a show often involves having it playing on my phone while I do stuff on the computer. Weird, I know.

4.) I had Chinese food with my dad on Friday night and received this fortune cookie. Oh dear. That’s all I can even say about this one. Fortune Cookie horse
5.) As for that empty jar of coconut peanut butter…

Oats in a coconut PB jarBest breakfast ever.

Have a great rest of your day. I’m off to go read and drink tea in a cafe or something autumnal.

What are you excited about this fall? What was the last crazy dream you had? 

5 Reasons to Eat an Apple a Day

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So last week, my manager asked me to provide an article for the upcoming fall health fair,  and yesterday let me know that actually, said health fair was canceled because there aren’t enough people (outside our department, anyway) who actively give a sh!t to make it happen.  Oh, and resources. Always, always, always $$$$. Anyway, though fall doesn’t officially happen for another few weeks, here’s what I wrote: 

5 Reasons to Eat an Apple a Day

Though many of us are sad to say goodbye to summer fruit for another year, fall welcomes the arrival of its own fantastic seasonal lineup of produce. Apples are one of the classic fall fruits. Here are just a few good reasons to enjoy “an apple a day”:

  1. They’re seasonal and local: New York State is the second largest producer of apples in the US, producing over 29 million bushells of apples annually.
  2. They’re a great source of soluble fiber: One medium-sized apple packs 2-3 g each for only about 85 calories. Research has shown that soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, protect against some cancers, and promote healthy digestion. It can also help manage weight, as fiber fills you up without a lot of calories, so you feel full for longer.
  3. A daily apple boosts your vitamin C intake: A medium-sized fresh apple contains about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs. Getting adequate vitamin C helps keep the immune system working and allows the body to make collagen, which helps heal wounds. It also acts as an antioxidant to protect the body from free-radical damage.
  4.  They’ll help keep your teeth clean: Chewing on a fresh apple stimulates saliva production in the mouth, helping prevent tooth decay. Can’t brush after lunch? Try having an apple for dessert to freshen breath and polish your teeth!
  5. They’re a natural convenience food: Apples are super-easy to grab & go. They’re also incredibly versatile. Use them in breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert! Leave the skins on for optimal nutrition.

cold remediesMy favorite apple varieties are granny smith and macintosh—I’m all about the tart factor.

What are your favorite apples and apple recipes? I’ve got some red lentil butternut squash apple soup in my near future, I think. I also love apple in oatmeal, salads, and simply, thinly sliced.