The leaves are beautiful colours and the sky is blue, but there is a definite chill in the air. Fall is such a pretty time of the year, but I spend most of it acclimatizing to the frosty mornings and brisk winds. "Put on another sweater," is my mantra, but on these chilly days, I like to have something that warms me from the inside out. That's right, I'm talking about soup!
I am a very early morning person, which has its pros and cons. On the positive side, I am incredibly productive and get a lot done before ten in the morning. On the negative side, if I don't have a proper breakfast, I'm dizzy, glassy-eyed, and comatose by ten in the morning. The solution, of course, is to eat a breakfast that incorporates protein and fibre for that long-lasting feeling of fullness and satiety.
In baked goods, eggs are used as a binder, emulsifier, and a thickening agent. But what do you do if you are unable to eat eggs? Flax "eggs" are a great substitute for the real thing and they are very simple to make. Use one flax "egg" as a one-for-one substitute for recipes that call for up to three eggs. Flax "eggs" (flegs?) work particularly well in loaves, cookies, and cakes. If you find that your baked good is not rising as much with a flax "egg," increase the amount of baking powder in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.
Juice cleanses and detoxes are all the rage these days, but they seem especially ubiquitous coming up to the summer season. Generally, I am a person who believes in everyday clean and healthy eating and good food choices with only occasional indulgences, which really negate the need for a detoxifying cleanse.
It's difficult to make good choices while hungry. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea, and to me, so is deciding what to have for lunch. It's just too tempting to succumb to unhealthy takeout options when my stomach is growling and I'm snappy and crabby due to low blood sugar.
Wouldn't it be nice if every day at noon, you could have a delicious, healthy, inexpensive lunch at the ready, to fight those takeout temptations? Well, with a very little forethought and advance preparation, you can!
It's that wonderful time of year when the air is fresh and crisp, the leaves are crunchy, and squashes take over the produce section in the grocery store. On a chilly day, a pot soup simmering on the stove while the temperatures dip is the absolute definition of cozy. What could be better than peeling off your gloves and warming your hands and soul with a thick, rich squash soup?
It was the end of September when the first one arrived in my inbox, and to be frank, I was surprised it took so long. Usually the first Student Safety/ Appropriate Parking Spaces/ Reminder to Drivers from the school arrives around Pumpkin Spice Latte time, and we all know that happens at the first sign of crisp air.
I'm a huge fan of roasted squash: I love it cubed and roasted until crisp on the outside. It's great eaten hot out of the oven, or cooled with salad. My very favourite is butternut squash; I had it in my mind to make a nice kale salad topped with butternut squash and chickpeas, but when I got to the grocery store they were ALL OUT OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH.
If you search this blog for the word "chickpeas" you will get a lot of results. It's no secret how much I love chickpeas; I'm always experimenting with them and writing about them and making big heart eye emojis at them. They're so versatile, inexpensive, and easy to store - not to mention that they are high in fibre, protein, and iron. Plus, they're shaped like little butts. What could be better?
When I was nine, my friend Melissa and I watchedNadia, a made-for-television movie about the Romanian gymnastic prodigy, Nadia Comaneci. We would watch it over and over on her VCR, laboriously rewinding our favourite parts, and then we would run to her backyard and play at being Nadia in the 1976 Olympics. Melissa was an actual gymnast, whereas I could only really turn a somersault, but no matter.
Well, here we go - jumping with both feet into September. In my house, we are juggling two different schools with two very different start and end times, intenstified karate practices for both boys, requests for school volunteers, and the usual increased work load that September tends to bring. Oh, and did I mention I'm in the thick of yoga teacher training? I am.
It is a busy, busy season, but I'd much rather be busy than bored, wouldn't you? Fortunately for me, there's no chance of that happening.
I remember it clearly, from my junior high home economics days: Miss H, with her Dorithy Hamill haircut, her home-sewn brown smock dress, and her sensible shoes was teaching us the basics of baking. Pie pastry, she said,is very tricky and you need to be an experienced baker to make it.
I have two tween boys, and the sheer volume of food that they can put away really makes me fear for the teen years. What is going to happen when they hit their real growth spurt? We go through snacks like nobody's business around here, and because of my reluctance to purchase many packaged items, I am always baking something for them to nosh on. Lately I've been focused on making snacks that are high in protein, so the boys are satisfied for more than twenty minutes at a time and so I can go for more than one day between baking marathons.
Where I live, it has been a rainy, cold summer. I have been inundated with photos of friends in other parts of the country, in pools and waterparks, trying to keep cool during these past few hot months. I will admit to feeling pangs of jealousy, as I turn on the oven to make pizza, not being concerned if the house temperature goes up a few degrees, because I am wearing fuzzy slippers and a long-sleeved shirt.
I know how it is; I really do. Summer can be packed with activities; maybe the kids are at camp while you're frantically trying to get your work done in time to pick them up, maybe you spent the day at the splash pad with a preschooler and a toddler and now feel like you're on the verge of collapse, maybe you took the tweens to the amusement park and you feel like you lost your mind in the process. It's hot, you're sweaty, and the last thing you feel like doing is making dinner.
Every once in a while, a new plant-based product comes around that piques my interest. Normally, I'm fairly immune to the charms of packaged foods proclaiming that they are vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, high in fibre, high in protein, high in iron, chock-full of Vitamin C, Omega-3-enriched, and/ or filled with magical unicorn dust and granulated rainbows. But every now and then, something catches my eye and I feel the need to try it.
The other day I was at the grocery store, and I noticed this product: