Farewell sweet summertime soirées, picnics on the beach, and backyard barbecues... and hello, fall! It has been a month since I moved to Charleston and what better time than to experience the season of changing leaves.
I never had a real appreciation for fall until I lived in New York City for graduate school and experienced all four seasons in their pride and glory (yes, even those good ol' nor'easters). I remember my first true autumn, a much-anticipated season to follow my first hot and humid summer. I recall the gold and copper leaves lining the paths of Central Park, crisp autumn air on my walk down Broadway and pumpkins lined up outside corner store bodegas. These little details were a stark contrast to the mild California autumns I grew up knowing and sparked this newfound appreciation for the season.
Charleston has been nothing but lovely since I arrived, with the warmest of welcomes both literally and figuratively. As we reach the tail end of September and humidity starts to part and make room for a cool breeze, I am reminded of my warm memories up in the northeast, and I already know that fall in Charleston will be one to remember.
What's in season?
There are so many reasons to love this time of the year, but naturally, I am all about the seasonal produce. The seasonality of food refers to the time when food is at its peak in terms of harvest. Eating in season is associated with enhanced flavor, nutrition, and affordability. Upon moving here, I quickly discovered that Charleston farmers’ market is the epicenter of everything local and seasonal when you live downtown. Needless to say, it has quickly become a Saturday staple!
Fall is all about warm, earthy flavors and spices to accompany chillier nights and heartier dishes. When I think of iconic fall flavors, 'winter' squash always comes to mind. Pumpkin, Butternut, Acorn, and Spaghetti and are some of my favorites and are all high in fiber and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, our immunity-boosting, healthy-skin-maintaining, nutrient. They are also a nutritious and flavorful substitute for rice or pasta in the colder months.
Get in the mood for fall:
Nothing gets you more in the mood for the season like fall-inspired tablescapes and décor. This season is all about warm colors, rustic accents, burlap table runners, and sweet details like unkempt wild florals and rosemary. Adding elements that illicit the warmth and coziness of the season can make a meal taste better and a gathering more memorable. Copper is trendy this fall and I've round up some of my favorite items to include in your seasonal tablescape.
What to serve:
Today I am sharing a healthy pumpkin bread recipe. This loaf is made with heart-healthy fats and whole-wheat flour, which packs more fiber and B vitamins than its refined counterpart. It is also low in sugar and made with just enough maple syrup to sweeten—a lower glycemic alternative to refined sugar that will help prevent spikes and dips in energy. Give this a try and let me know what you think!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda mixed in 1/4 cup hot water
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease a 9 x 5 inch bred pan.
3. In a large bowl, beat you eggs and add in your oil, maple syrup and pumpkin purée. Add your baking soda to hot water, stir to mix and then add to your batter.
4. In a medium bowl, mix your cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and whole wheat flour.
5. Combine your wet and dry ingredients. Add to your greased bread pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.
6. Allow the loaf to cool in the bread pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 150 calories, 8 g fat (1g sat),
18 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber, 13 mg sodium, 136 mg potassium.