Curried Root Vegetable Salad

Autumn is the time of year to start transforming our swirling intense energy of summer into a calmer, more grounding energy in preparation for the resting season of winter.  We can allow ourselves  to slow down, draw inward, and begin to bring our energy back  down to the earth.  Rest, meditation, and changing our workouts can help with this.  Another way of doing this is to eat a lot of root vegetables. It’s a great way to connect with the earth’s naturally grounding energy. You can’t really get much closer to the earth than eating a potato or carrot pulled right from the ground! Yesterday I made this chilled salad but it could be served warm too.

I always leave the peels on

Bake 1 sweet potato, 1 large carrot and 1 acorn squash. Simply poke holes in vegetables, wrap in foil and place in 375 degree oven for approximately an hour. They should soften but not be mushy.  I actually left the peel on the acorn squash rather than scooping it out as usual. It was soft and added some flavor and a beautiful dark green color. Leaving on the peel of vegetables adds fiber and cuts out a time-consuming task which I’m always looking to do. Just be sure to scrub them well before cooking.

Rainbow of nature’s vitamins!

Chop into bite sized pieces. Toss in toasted sesame oil, dark vinegar, drop of honey (optional- the veggies are so sweet it really isn’t necessary unless you want that added sweetness), curry, cinnamon and garlic.  I would suggest a rich balsamic or flavored vinegar. I used fig so there was some sweetness to it.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately or set in fridge to marinate and chill.

Stir well to coat veggies with savory oil and spices

I was dying to sprinkle on feta cheese but I resisted the urge. Read more about my weird obsession with feta here. I think goat cheese would be an excellent companion to this.

It’s sweet, spicy and warming. The dark colors are full of antioxidants as well.

What do you enjoy eating in the fall? 

Overnight Apples ‘n Oats

There are a ton of recipes and ideas online for Overnight Oats. I first discovered them on this blog.  I’ve experimented with several ingredients and have found some great combinations. This one is good for Fall using seasonal apples and warm spices. This is meant to be eaten cold so it’s good in warmer weather too. I actually eat it as a snack at night too. Use whole raw oats, not steel cut or instant oatmeal. Oats are a whole grain and a complex carbohydrate source. The body takes longer to break down complex carbs so we don’t get  hungry as quickly as when we eat simple carbs (sugar, refined grains, processed foods) It’s also a soluble fiber and good for the digestive system.

Carbohydrates = Energy!

Combine whole oats, large TBSP plain greek yogurt, dash of nutmeg, generous sprinkling of cinnamon and 1 small chopped apple.

Pour almond/soy/coconut milk on top. Stir wellAdd 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, walnuts and any more liquid necessary. I used water to moisten it more.

Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning you won’t have to skip breakfast or wonder what to eat, it will be right there ready for you!  If you like Muesli you will love this. It’s a real comfort food with a soft texture, but the rich spices combined with crisp apple and nut pieces make it interesting and not bland.

NO excuses for skipping breakfast anymore

Other ideas: use berries, bananas, almonds, or other nuts. Toss in flax seed, other protein powders, almond extract or dried fruit.  Stir in pureed pumpkin, applesauce or even peanut butter. It’s really a great way to save time, experiment with flavors,  and get a quick meal with good carbs, fiber and protein.

Apple Cinnamon Green Smoothie

I am learning to love green smoothies. Not just because of the nutritional benefits like getting amazing phytonutrients, fiber and anti-oxidants in a one drink,  it’s more that I love the fresh taste of them. Greens are full of “life” and that has a certain flavor that can’t be found in other fruits or vegetables.

I learned this recipe last night at a nutrition workshop. It’s seasonal and uses Honey Crisp apples but you could use any apple variety you enjoy.

Pour almond/soy/coconut milk of your choice into blender with a fresh spinach leaves. I used kale but if you’re  new to green smoothies you may want to start with baby spinach as it is more tender and blends easier. Both kale and spinach are high nutrient dense foods so either choice is good. Blend on high. Add in: 1 banana, 1 apple cut in pieces, dash of cinnamon and dash of vanilla extract. Blend well. Add crushed ice. If you like things extra sweet you can add in apple juice or a bit of honey. If you have one of those fancy blenders then just put all ingredients in at once. I don’t have one of those….yet..so it’s best to add separately.

I added a scoop of protein powder but it actually made it too thick and heavy so I will skip that step next time.

I  feel so good and almost buzzed after drinking green smoothies! I think it’s all the nutrients and vitamins getting immediately into my bloodstream without having to go through the entire digestive process of breaking down the food.  They are great for mornings, afternoon snacks or after working out or yoga…..

What are your favorite green smoothie add-ins?

The awkward tweens

Today was a perfect day between Summer and Autumn. It was sunny and warm, yet still had the crispness of fall in the air. People were everywhere outside enjoying the day but it was hard to decide to wear shorts or long sleeves.  I ended up in my bathing suit by the pool soaking up the sun but it was too cool to go in the water. The coconut smell of suntan lotion seemed to not fit in any longer. It always makes me sad when it’s pool-closing time…..

Even the farmers market seemed to be caught between summer and fall. There were peaches (from Idaho) and local tomatoes alongside beets and winter squash. There were pumpkins and mums side by side with the last of the summer corn.  I couldn’t decide if I felt like sliced tomatoes or butternut squash soup…So I bought a little of everything.

How do you feel in transitions?  Sometimes that energy can feel frantic when we don’t know which direction to go. It’s like the teenage years of not being a child and not being an adult- so much restless energy with no clear path. Following the earth’s natural rhythms can help us through these short times of transition. The days are getting shorter and our bodies will begin to get sleepier earlier, this is part of our circadian rhythms working with nature. Rather than forcing the seasons and weather to change, or forcing ourselves to stay awake longer with artificial light, we can just sit and allow it to be what it is.  Soon enough all signs of summer will be gone and we can rest easy in the comfort of Fall.

Go with the Flow of Seasons

Today is the last day of summer as the autumn equinox begins September 22nd. There is no doubt that fall is in the air as is the energy of Change. Fall is the season of change and I am reminded of this on my hike as I watch the wildlife and plants begin to slowly take new forms and color.

There is much energy in nature as all things busily prepare for a long resting season. Late bloomng flowers send out one last burst of brightness and animals eat heartily to begin to store up fat for the winter months ahead.

Later this fall things will slow down more as trees drop their leaves and plants die back while their root systems dig deeper into the earth.  Fall has always been a time of change for me. Whether it’s job changes or moving, I always start to feel the shift of things in my life this time of year.  When we follow the natural rhythms of nature, our efforts are in alignment with the natural flow of the earth and things go easier.

 

It’s a good time of year to ask the following:  What can we let go of in order to rest easy and be at peace for the upcoming winter?  What things, relationships or beliefs have we accumulated over time that we are now ready to release?

What do we need to stock up on and nourish ourselves during the winter months?  What can we do to begin to feel grounded?  What will allow us to rest comfortably within ourselves as the outside world slows down?

I celebrate this season of change, transformation and release.