My favorite season is fall. I love the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and the flavors of apple and pumpkin. This is a great time for reflecting on the year and getting back into productivity. This also includes getting back into the routine of healthy cooking. I want to give you some ideas to use fall flavors in your healthy home-cooked meals.
As the days get shorter and the rainy gray days come back, I love making more soups or slow cooker/fast cooker meals. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or “instant pot,” I suggest you look into it for making fast delicious meals. All you need is a protein, vegetables and some seasoning to make a great tasting dish. A pressure cooker is faster than a crock-pot but retains all the same flavors. Recently I have been combining wild salmon, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, spinach and canned clams (in water), which after 20 minutes in the instant pot, tastes like seafood stew. Another delicious idea is to line the pot with cabbage leaves, and stuff them with ground turkey, then put another layer of cabbage. Add bone broth, paprika and garlic powder, and pressure cook for 15 minutes for a delicious tasting cabbage soup.
Everyone seems obsessed with PSL — “pumpkin spice lattes.” I think you can make your own pumpkin spice snacks instead of spending money on sugary drinks. For a pumpkin spice coffee, add ¼ cup coconut milk, 1 tbsp canned pumpkin, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 2 cups coffee to the blender. Blend and drink. Top with cinnamon sugar if you desire. I also like to make chia pudding with apples and cinnamon, just combine 1 cup coconut milk with 4 Tbsp chia seeds in a glass ramekin dish. Stir in 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 Tbsp chopped apples or canned pumpkin and let it sit overnight. Chia pudding makes a great tasting breakfast or even a dessert. The other day I made an apple crisp with the organic apples I picked at Skipley Farm in Snohomish. Instead of using wheat flour I substituted coconut (or almond) flour, added chia seeds, water, cut up apples and cinnamon, and baked the dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It came out great.
We can’t talk about fall recipes without mentioning squash. Squash is very high in vitamin A, which is a great natural immune booster through cold and flu season. I picked up some Acorn squash from a farmers market the other day. I was thinking I would cut it in half, and bake it with cinnamon for 45 minutes until soft. After that, you can add ground turkey and spinach on top for a great fall dinner dish. I also like to make spaghetti squash — t is sold at any local grocery store in the fall and winter seasons. I cut the squash in half, take the seeds out and bake it with olive oil for 45 minutes. Then I fork out the spaghetti squash. It tastes great with chopped tomatoes, basil and fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Make sure this fall season your plate is filled with colors like orange and yellow and spices that will keep you dry and warm.
Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care naturopathic doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville. To learn more go online to www.treeofhealthmedicine.com, or call 425-408-0040 to schedule an appointment. Visit her food blog at www.FoodLoveblog.com.