Nourishment. Just the word itself makes me feel like wrapping myself up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of Early Grey in my hand. To me, nourishment is an ideal that I live by. It means taking care of myself and the amazing family and friends around me. It means being healthy, making good choices, healing through food, and overall contentment. A full belly after a bowl of split pea soup. That’s nourishment!
The fall makes me feel like emphasizing this aspect of my life even more. Summer is over and to me that means it’s time for me to go into my shell a bit. I stay in more, find more time for house & personal projects (the sewing machine starts to come out about now), and also I begin to point the direction of my energy toward my family. The fall, and then winter, are very introspective times for me.
Because of my mini-hibernation mode, I find that my food cravings change. I begin to focus more on slow food meals: meals that take a long time to make (or long enough) so that I get to spend a good chunk of time in the kitchen each day (total therapy!). I make myself a cup of tea with plenty of honey and milk, and set my mind every day at about 4 pm to making the meals that my family will eat. I take my time. I cook healing and hearty foods. We all sit around the table and enjoy dinner earlier than in the summer, and when its time for bed it just seems like everyone is ready for a nice night of deep sleep. While the weather outside gets colder, my house seems to get warmer, filled with the smells of dinner on the stove and wood burning in the cast-iron wood stove.
It’s a good time to eat at our house.
Now is the time when I finally feel ready to begin my slow dissent into my hibernation hole. I also have a very strong desire to be kind to my body. Our weekends tend to be packed full of events with friends & family, which is wonderful and something that I feel really lucky about. However, it does mean that come Monday I feel as though I have overindulged more that I would have liked. With that in mind, this week is going to be about eating healing foods. I just want to take care of myself and my family from the inside out. What better place to start than with everything the fall has to offer? I’ll be using up some squash and pumpkins that I have in various ways. I’ll be tossing fresh, thinly sliced greens into my salads, and might even begin pulling my baby kale from the garden. I just discovered that my first round of sweet potatoes are coming in (and looking gorgeous) so I might be tempted to use a few of those, too. I also plan on using okra when I can. I’ve had so much come in this year, and while that is beyond exciting, it’s been challenging finding new ways to use it! I’ve fermented a ton, but I’d like to begin doing something else with it now that I can be assured I’ve preserved enough for the winter. Check out my Spicy Okra on Saturday’s menu.
Finally, this weekend is Parents’ Weekend at VA Tech! This means that we’ll be enjoying some of our meals down in Blacksburg. I plan on making some things ahead to bring down so we can eat when we arrive. We’ll also most likely be eating out at least once, so having healthy meals on hand that can be turned into snacks is a great way to keep eating healthfully!
Monday: Leftover Salmon Corn Chowder, French Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Romaine Salad with Nasturtium Leaves
Tuesday: Chicken Baked in Homemade Sauerkraut, Smoked London Broil, Truffled Charcuterie and an Apricot~Plum Chutney, Sauteed Green Beans in Compound Butter over Spaghetti Squash
Wednesday: Delicata Squash Soup with crispy sweet potato, butternut squash, shallots, toasted pumpkin seeds and ricotta
Thursday: Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi in the last of the Basil Pesto, toasted Pine Nuts on top, Roasted Carrots, Radishes and Baby Beets
Friday: Habanero-Lime Enchiladas with Shredded Chicken, Stewed Jalapenos, fresh Queso Blanco and Red Pepper-Black Beans (this is a great make-ahead dish!)
Saturday: Blue Plate Special Night (Vegetarian): Warm Cabbage, Spicy Okra, Lime-Peanut Salad (these recipes will come from one of my favorite comfort food cookbooks (unlikely, but true): The Soul of a New Cuisine, by Marcus Samuelsson.