On My Plate: Fall Y'All

Health: It’s officially fall, y’all, and I am happier than a kid in a candy store; this is simply my favorite time of year. And, this is the season where I start thinking a little more about all of the things and people I’m grateful for. All things considered, I’m a pretty lucky gal. So tonight on the way home I started thinking about everything I’m grateful for, and when I pulled into our driveway I looked over at our neighbor’s house and thought to myself, “I’m so grateful we have great neighbors. I should let them know how much we appreciate them!”

So I did just that. After all, how often do we do things for others just to show them that we appreciate them? I’m working on doing this more, and in all kinds of ways: a thank-you card, an extra cup of coffee for a friend, baking bread for a neighbor, etc. There are always little things we can do to show each other appreciation. Plus, did you know doing good deeds is good for your health? Read any “10 Ways to be Happy and Healthy” lists and being grateful is always in the top ten. I hope sharing this story inspires you to let someone (or several people) know how much you appreciate them.

Food: I love squash. Squashy squash squash. It’s hearty, healthy, and CHEAP. Get on the squash bandwagon, people, because it’s taking us to Awesome Town! Here is a rich and creamy homemade soup you can make in no time. You’ll feel like you’re indulging but there’s not a bad ingredient in this recipe. At just 114 calories per cup and full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, this soup will warm your heart just in time for the chilly weather. Enjoy.

 Heartwarming Fall Soup

1 small butternut squash (or pie pumpkin)

2 ripe pears

olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped

4 cups vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Peel and chop the squash and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Core and quarter the pears and add them to the sheet, too. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil and toss with your fingers to coat. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until soft and golden on the edges (you should be able to pierce the squash easily with a fork).

In a medium saucepan or pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for a few minutes, until soft. Add the ginger and cook for another minute. Add the roasted squash and pears and enough stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until everything is very soft. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a regular blender) until smooth. Enjoy!

Homestead: Several years ago my mom introduced me to plug-in timers. Ever used one? They’re awesome! You plug in an appliance, such as a lamp, to the timer, set the time at which you would like your lamp to come on (and go off) every day, and then you plug the timer into the wall. And then guess what? That’s it. When you come home at 5pm in the fall and it’s totally dark outside, it’s light inside your home. If you go to bed early, no worries, that lamp will turn itself off! I just started using these last year when we bought our house. It’s so easy to change the time if need be, and the convenience is great. Plus, they’re energy efficient and easy on the wallet to boot! If you haven’t invested in one of these yet, I highly recommend it.

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