seasonal eating…

Since produce is available to us year round, it can be difficult trying to understand what is actually in season and what is not.  Of course you should always look for ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, however you might want to check with your local grocer to see what is the perfect food for each season.  But until then…..here is a simple guide to help get you started…

FALL FOODS

winter squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicata, hubbard, kabocha)

apples

beets

belgian endive

brussels sprouts

cranberries

figs

grapes

mushrooms

parsnips

pears

pomegranates

pumpkin  

sweet potatoes

swiss chard

WINTER FOODS

chestnuts

grapefruit

kale

leeks

lemons

oranges/tangerines

radicchio

radishes

rutabaga

turnips

SPRING FOODS

apricots

artichokes

asparagus

avocados

carrots

cherries

chicory

chives

collards

dandelion greens

fennel

mangoes

mustard greens

new potatoes

peas

rhubarb

spinach

spring lettuces

strawberries

sugar, snap and snow peas

watercress

SUMMER FOODS

bell peppers

blackberries

blueberries

raspberries

broccoli

corn

cucumbers

eggplant

green beans

nectarines

okra

peaches

pineapples

plums

summer squash

tomatoes

watermelon

zucchini

HEY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?:

  • healthier
  • cost effective
  • enjoy a greater variety
  • better for the environment
  • very delicious!

According to Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, fresh food is also the most nutritious. And that nutritional boost might pay off under the mistletoe: “When your diet is naturally richer in vitamins and minerals then you are going to increase your chances of beating a cold and keeping your immune system solid through the holiday party season,” says Blum.

Yummm!!!  That’s good enough for me!!

it’s time for more FALL FAVORITES…

Yummy fall drinks and comfort foods…….sound good?  How about….the “not so fattening” favorites???

That’s what I’m talking about……..

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

1 cup coffee

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 packet Stevia

2 Tbs. Pumpkin Puree

1 tsp. Pumpkin Spice

Blend together milk, puree and spices, then add to coffee.

(optional: whip almond milk until frothy and sppon on top of drink…sprinkle with add’l pumpkin spice!)

PUMPKIN PIE PROTEIN PANCAKES

1/4 cup egg whites

1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

1 Tbs. Ground Flaxseed

1 tsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of Pumpkin Spice

Mix together and pour onto griddle.  These are perfect with a little maple syrup or sliced bananas.

BAKED APPLES WITH CINNAMON AND WALNUTS (via)

2 Baking Apples, cored (like McIntosh)

1 cup Unsweetened Pomegranate Juice

1 tsp. Cinnamon

16 Walnut Halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the apples in a baking dish. Pour the pomegranate juice over the apples. This will become a syrup as the apples cook. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes, basting with the syrup, or until the apples are soft, but still hold their shape. Serve each apple topped with walnuts and syrup.

VEGETARIAN FOUR CHEESE LASAGNA  (via)

2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

5 tomatoes

1 pint ricotta cheese

9 ounces crumbled feta cheese

2/3 cup pesto

2 eggs, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 pkg  pasta sheets (lasagne noodles)

1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast in oven until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grill eggplant on a charcoal grill or fry in a skillet, turning once, until charred and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Halve tomatoes and place on baking sheet in oven for last 15 minutes of pumpkin time; cook until tender and wrinkly.

In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, feta, pesto, eggs, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Fold roasted pumpkin into ricotta mixture.

Spoon half of the tomato sauce into a 9×13 baking dish. Lay two pasta sheets over the sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices over pasta and top with half the ricotta mixture. Cover with two more pasta sheets. Arrange the roasted tomatoes evenly over the sheets and spoon the remaining half the ricotta mixture over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Top with remaining two sheets of pasta. Pour remaining tomato sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and bubbly.