Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apples, Pumpkins, and Produce

It's October.  I'm so excited for autumn - it's my favorite season, hands-down.  I like the piles of crunchy leaves, the cozy sweaters I can bring out from my closet, the warm, rich food... hey, I'm a food blogger, right?  I'm always thinking about what I can eat, and in fall, there is a cornucopia of choices - and I'm not just talking about Thanksgiving dinner.

I do love apples....
For one thing, there are apples.  I love apples, especially Granny Smith, with a bit of peanut butter or creamed honey.  Or in pie.  Or cooked with a bit of butter, and served with breakfast.  Or just plain - crunch!  Fall is apple season - if you live up north, you'll probably have bushels of fresh, local apples flooding the farmers markets.  Even down here, we've got a couple farmers selling apples.  And, boy, are they good.

Pie Pumpkins
Another fall produce item is - duh - pumpkins!  Everybody knows that fall means pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup... the list goes on.  However, look at almost any recipe for any of these dishes, and what will it say?  "2 cups canned pumpkin."  AARRGGHH!!  We seem to think that edible pumpkin only comes in a can.  Well, it doesn't - you can eat the flesh of any pumpkin, same as any squash.  They sell special "pie pumpkins," which are grown specially for making pie out of.  However, if you really want to, you can make pie - or any pumpkin dish - out of one of the pumpkins sold on the side of the road.  Click here for a recipe.

There are a lot of other veggies and fruits that we seem to think don't even have a season.  They do: fall.  Here's a more-or-less complete list.  Some of my favorites include grapes (yep, grapes are an early fall produce item), cranberries (you can get 'em fresh), potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions.  These are all available year-round in the stores, so I guess we don't ever think about when they're in season.  But, like I've said before, food is so much better for you and your taste buds when it's fresh, local, and in season.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And I'm Back!

Wow, it's been a while!  We've started school again.  It's great, but there is a lot more work than last year.

From one blogger to another, your
website rocks!
So, a couple days ago, I decided it was high time to return to the blog'o'sphere.  I sat down and started catching up on all the blogs I follow.  I was reading 100 Days of Real Food, which is a great website for real foodies.  It's about a family in Charlotte, NC who decided to only eat unprocessed food for one hundred days. Lisa - the mom in this family of four - blogs about their experiences.  Even though their original pledge ended about a year ago, they have done two other "100 Day" promises:  real food on a budget, and a series of "mini-pledges," week-long challenges that focus on one ingredient or type of food.  Not only that, but Lisa posts real food recipes that her family loves.

A while back, when I first read the blog, I thought, "I should do something like that through my blog!"  Well, now I am.  For one week, I want you and your family to take one step toward a real food diet.  If you're new to the healthy eatin' scene, try cutting soda out of your diet.  If you've been leaning toward more natural food, try to buy only local veggies.

One piece of advice:  Take baby steps.  Sometimes, jumping in all at once is good - for instance, when you're at the pool, and the water's kind of cold.  But with things like this - lifestyle changes - it's better if you don't try to be perfect right off the bat.  When we first started switching to real food, it was a slow process.  My mom and dad bought half the grocery store's supply of sparkling water when they stopped drinking Diet Coke.  We bought the "all-natural" version of Cheerios for my baby brother, who was just beginning to eat solid food.  My sisters and I ate whole-wheat bagels and we stopped getting frozen pizzas.  But we still had processed non-food in our pantry.  It's taken us three years to get to where we are: no packaged snacks, no flavored yogurt, no juice or soda in sight.  Admittedly, we'll sometimes get ice cream, or we'll make chocolate chip cookies, or my mom will make sweet tea when my friends come over.  You don't have to drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect - it's impossible.  Just try to be good, and then try to be a little better, then a little better...

Aaah, I'm going off topic!  Basically, I want you to take one step in the right direction.  Switch to sparkling water for a week, instead of soda.  Buy some local veggies, or maybe even go out to a local farm.  Make a completely locavore meal.  And then, write about your experiences in the comments, or email me.  I'd love to hear about your real food journey - and so would everyone who reads this blog!