autumn
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Falling for fall foods

FALL:  What a superb time of year!  Nothing better than opening your door or window and inhaling that fresh snap of clean, brisk fall air.

Fall brings the colors of autumn, simmering ciders, festivals, delicious harvest food and so much more!

But when a fall day is rainy and chilly, like today, it’s easy to make the most of it.  I started with my morning cup of coffee and a piece of avocado toast, then back to bed curling up with a good cozy mystery (check out the Book Category for plenty of cozy mystery book reviews).  An hour later, I got up and refilled my coffee, munched on a walnut maple muffin and continued reading. On these kinds of dreary days, you can stay in your PJs all day because sometimes you just need to pamper yourself.

When it comes to fall foods, we all think of pumpkin, apple and maple items.  Stores are touting tons of fall food. Why not treat yourself to pumpkin or maple pancakes, energy bars, muffins, cookies, pies etc…grab your unique seasonal goodies while you can!

Take the chill off your day with a steaming cup of coffee or home-made latte.  Add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. I found my pumpkin spice in a grinder at Trader Joe’s, but many grocery stores carry it in the spice aisle.  When you buy your favorite apple cider don’t forget to buy cinnamon sticks to use as stirrers to give your cider a dash of extra flavor – or a hit of rum for that extra punch!

In fall, kitchens start simmering crocks of chili and specialty soups.  I love fall’s easy one dish recipes:  a hearty bean soup, crockpot kielbasa with kraut or easy baked spaghetti squash. Below are easy one-pot recipes to kick off your fall season.

BAKED SPAGHETTI SQUASH

  • Cut a spaghetti squash in half horizontally and scoop out seeds and membrane.
  • Rub each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prick halves with fork. To kick it up a notch, sprinkle with oregano and basil.
  • Bake spaghetti squash at 375 degrees until almost done. For the last 10 minutes, pour into the center hallow of each squash half, your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara.  Optional:  top with mozzarella cheese.

When cheese is melted and squash is very soft, simply put it on a plate and eat it right out of the shell.  It’s like eating spaghetti but this stringy squash is a great substitute for pasta.

KIELBASA WITH SAUERKRAUT

In a crockpot or heavy saucepan add kielbasa.  I use turkey kielbasa, lower in fat and just as tasty.  Cut kielbasa into pieces approx. the length of hot dogs or sausage and ADD:

  • 30 oz. of canned or fresh kraut
  • One sliced onion
  • one half to a whole green pepper, sliced (depending on your taste)
  • Optional: add 3 or 4 slices of apple
  • Depending on how much kielbasa and kraut you have in your pot, add 1 to 2 cups of water (enough to completely cover kraut and kielbasa so everything can slowly simmer together).

Simmer on low heat for an hour or two until kielbasa and kraut is piping hot and thoroughly heated through.  The smell is intoxicating.  Eat it as is, or get some hefty club rolls and make a kielbasa with kraut sandwich.  Dijon mustard on kraut sandwiches is a winner.

BEAN SOUP:

In a crockpot or heavy saucepan, add two 15 oz. cans of navy, cannellini, black beans or a mix. I like to use one can of black beans and one can of cannellini.  ADD:

  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • one half can of water
  • several pieces of leftover ham, kielbasa, hot dog dogs or cooked bacon.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped onion
  • Optional: 2 – 3 tablespoons of chopped green pepper

Slow simmer soup for at least an hour until all the flavors blend together.  Crush some of the beans in the pot to make the soup thicker.

Optional toppers:  croutons, oyster crackers or shredded cheddar cheese

 

AVOCADO TOAST:

Not necessarily a fall food – but fast, healthy and just downright good for breakfast or lunch!

On a piece of hearty TOASTED BREAD, spread smashed avocado and cut bread in half vertically.  On each piece of bread, add half a slice of bacon (I prefer turkey bacon).  That’s it – easy and delicious!

Variations:

–  Add a few slices of tomato and turn it into a BAT (Bacon, Avocado and Tomato)

–  Over the toasted bread with smashed avocado, drizzle chili oil and cracked black pepper.

Enjoy the splendors of the fall season – they won’t be here for long!  Follow Wonder Women Sixty every week for easy and simple fall and Halloween DIY ideas plus fall and Halloween cozy mystery reviews.