Well, summer has waved goodbye and autumn has arrived. Cool mornings give way to warm afternoons, as we fuss over how many pumpkins to put on our front steps, and welcome back pumpkin spice EVERYTHING.
Kids are back in school, and the colder temps remind us that we need to strengthen our immune systems for the coming seasons! Stave off those sniffles with a healthy body fueled by veggies! Did you know that your plate should be half plants at every meal for optimum health?
Luckily the CSA has our back, with the best the early autumn season has to offer. You will be seeing Autumn Squashes, sweet corn, carrots, leafy greens like kale and tatsoi, lettuces, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes, radishes, zuchinni, herbs, fruits like apples and pears, and so much more. So, let's talk about ways to use these delectable items all up in the yummiest of ways!
Butternut Apple Bake
What a great way to keep you warm and smiling all day long! This recipe has a mild sweetness that will keep you reaching for leftovers from breakfast through dessert! It even might tempt the fussier eater who refuses veggies. I personally switch this just a tiny bit by using coconut oil instead of butter, skipping the balsamic vinegar and adding a tablespoon or two of almond butter and a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. Either way, you can't go wrong!
Cider Glazed Carrots
Don't just make this recipe for thanksgiving. I make it nearly every week. You know those nights when you made your dinner, but it just needs a nice side of veggies? This is the one. Pick up some apple cider and get ready for your family to feel that you have somehow become Martha Stewart.
Sweet Potato Hash
The most delightful Veggie Breakfast (or anytime meal!). Great for prepping ahead, and you will feel so proud of yourself for eating a cornucopia of delicious healthiness. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back while making yummy noises. You can't lose on this one.
Colleen's Quinoa Salad
I made up this recipe and it's always the first to go at potluck parties! Use up that end of summer sweet corn, tomato, peppers, cucumber and cilantro! This will make about 8 servings. It lasts about 3-4 days in my house - we eat for dinner one night, and take for lunch the next day or two, etc.
One of best things about quinoa, is that, besides being a whole food, it is among the highest in protein in grain-like foods.
Do you know how to cook quinoa? I will post that in this recipe too, because it's important!
2 cups quinoa (uncooked)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (try to get the lower sodium)
2-3 corn on the cob
Chopped scallions or red onion (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, however much you want)
handful of cilantro, washed well and chopped (1/4 cup or so)
red or green bell pepper, finely diced
jalapeno, minced (Optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, toasted in dry frying pan until toasty and puffed.
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup or less of olive oil
cumin (1tsp - or more)
salt (to taste)
1. Cook the quinoa (you can even do this a day or two ahead of time):
RINSE the quinoa VERY WELL. Quinoa has a natural soapy like film over the grain that will make the grain taste very bitter if you don;t rinse it off well first. Do not skip this step!
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add 2 cups quinoa, reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer for 15 minutes (check after 10 or so). The quinoa will be fluffy, and the water should be all gone, similar to preparing rice or couscous.
set aside to cool, or put in fridge if making ahead.
2. Boil the corn cobs until done (usually 8 minutes or so), then when cool enough to handle, cut the niblets free from the cob. Alternatively you can grill the corn for 2 min on each side, for a bit of a smoky taste that is wonderful!
3. mix the dressing together, taste and adjust seasonings if you like, and add to the cooled quinoa. You can always make and add more dressing if you feel it needs it.
4. Mix in the diced peppers, onion, corn, cilantro, black peppers, and pumpkin seeds. Refrigerate for at least an hour or more before serving.
5. feel good for eating something yummy and healthy.
Leafy greens are soooo good for you and super abundant as the weather cools. You may have been seeing tatsoi as a choice at the CSA and wondered what it is and what to do with it.
Tatsoi is an Asian variety of Brassica grown for greens. Also called tat choy, it is closely related to the more familiar Bok Choy. This plant has become popular in North American cuisine as well, and is now grown throughout the world.
A wonderfully versatile green, it can be eaten raw or in a stir fry, like we are sharing here!
Pressure cooker Pear Upside-Down Cake
I tried this recipe last night, with the CSA pears from last week, in my instant pot. I love making cakes in the Instant Pot - it's simple and you can walk away and let it do its thing. Plus they come out super moist and delicious. This recipe is from Jill Nussinow, a well known plant based author. The cake is gluten and dairy free, and simple. It is not a super sweet cake, which I think is wonderful to stay on the healthier side, and i find it delicious.
My family wanted a little more sweetness in the cake, so feel free to up the sugar to 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup. Either way it's it is still quite a bit lower sugar than most cakes, And you will love it.
Well, friends, I hope you have plenty of inspiration to use up all of your CSA veggies coming your way this week! Stay warm, happy and healthy!