September is the month that starts making me gear up for the fall. By September I am ready for a change in weather and a change in food. Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year anyway. I love the weather and the foods of the season that come along with it… apples, pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, turnips, collards and so many more. I am not much of a cook, but I like things that are quick to make and eat and I love soups and stews, making these so I can eat on them through the week. My life is busy so no time for making gourmet meals for me. Simple is what I like and few ingredients. No hassle kind of cooking. This morning brought our first cool temperatures in Georgia so I was ready as I had hit the grocery store for apples, pumpkin, butternut squash and a few side items to get foods for the weekend.
First order of the day was a pumpkin smoothie before heading out the door for the local United Way Cardboard Boat Race. (Every year we build boats out of cardboard and duct tape and race across the lake, great fun for a great cause.)
A smoothies was a great way to start my morning with something light; two of my favorites: pumpkin smoothie and apple spice smoothie. Simple and easy: scoop of vanilla protein powder, tsp. vanilla extract, 2 tbsp organic pumpkin or any small apple, tsp pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice (add as much as you like to suit your taste buds), 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and crushed ice. I usually add cinnamon to the apple spice smoothie.
When I got home I was ready to eat so before starting my chili , I had a snack of apples, goat cheese and Wasa bread. Apples are everywhere in Georgia this time of year… festivals, road-side stands and local farmer’s markets make it easy to pick up anytime and offer a wide variety not always available in the grocery store throughout the year. So I eat a lot of apples…
Next, I started getting the chili ready to eat on for the next few days which chili is always better a few days later as all the spices have had time to settle in. I can really taste the flavors on day two. I do my chili like always, but I added butternut squash to my bell peppers and onions when I was sauteing them to give it the fall flavor. My chili changes randomly depending on my mood. Today I added the butternut squash, some organic pumpkin puree left over from the smoothie this morning which helps to thicken it up, and a tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. The smell while it cooks is wonderful with all the fall seasonings. Try the cinnamon and nutmeg you won’t regret it! All my friends are amazed when they eat my chili to find out what is in it that gives it such a unique taste.
I left the black beans out today only because I added the butternut squash and didn’t want to be eating so many carbs, On a side note… another great chili variety is to add black and green olives with a splash of the green olive juice! (Not with the pumpkin and butternut squash, just in case you thought that!) I read about this somewhere and man-o-man is it good for the olive lover.
When it gets ready to eat, I will add crumbled goat cheese and avocado on top for the finishing touch of flavor and chow down! Of course I am already thinking about the morning with melted goat cheese and apples on toast… can’t wait! I love food for the fall!