As the weather shifts so do our moods. I imagine I am not alone when I feel at a loss during these darker, wetter, windier months. While I might struggle to find joy in my day to day life, I am sitting down to remember things that bring me happiness and a sense of peace, which is often hard to access.
The colors of changing leaves
The smell of cinnamon on the stove while apples cook
Baking cupcakes and the joy it brings my girls, as they arrive home to a warm treat after school
Holding a cup of hot tea, letting my hands warm up around it and taking in the scent of chai and turmeric
A cold run with rosy cheeks and sweat everywhere else
A hot shower
My sweet puppy and his wiggle bottom
Dinner with my family
Wrapping up in a blanket, cuddled on the couch with a book
This is the start of my list. I will come back to it and bring in other simple pleasures when I start to feel that sense of joy being depleted.
One thing that always brings joy, takes me out of my head and into the current moment is cooking. I love the scents and tastes associated with different spices and it brings me comfort to share food with others. So, I am sharing with you, a couple recipes I find nourishing during these cold months.
The first is a delicious pound cake/bread I found on New York Times. The recipe sounded interesting to me and I was curious to try it, Miso Maple Loaf Cake. When I made it I used Bob’s One-to-One Gluten Free flour (I knew I would likely be eating this for a few days in a row, and my body would appreciate the GF flour). It turned out a little crumbly right out of the oven and when I tried to toast it but otherwise it was delicious. It can be enjoyed warm or room temperature, delicious snack with a cup of tea. I also omitted the glaze on top, I didn’t have orange marmalade and I didn’t want to make it super sweet. I have eaten it plain, with jam or with an egg on the side.
Another staple in my house during the fall is cooked apples. I often steer away from raw veggies and fruits in the fall because I am always cold and most cold foods don’t appeal to me. But still I want to make sure I get these healthy foods into my meals each day, also my veggie bin is usually overflowing with apples and pears this time of year.
My cooked apple recipe goes something like this:
Cut up apples and pears (I leave the skins on) 4-5 apples will make about 4-5 servings.
Drop them in a pan with water and a bunch of spices. I generally add what I have on hand: cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, pumpkin spice, ginger, nutmeg, and anything else that tastes like fall and a dash of salt. This time I found some cardamom seeds so I threw those in and a few pours of maple syrup (honey would work too). Then I let the water boil, turn down the heat and let it fill my house with sweet smells, stir it occasionally and then when the fruit is soft and the water is cooked down its ready.
No measuring, no real timing, just letting the apples stew until they are nice and soft is best. If you have a hard time just winging it, this recipe is pretty close to my method, although it uses an Instant Pot or you could use a Crock Pot, putting it in the Crock Pot would have the house smelling delicious all day, but I didn’t want to wait 4 hours.
Let me know if you try either of these recipes or share YOUR fall favorites in the comments!