There are a hundred and one things to love about fall. The colors, the weather, the sweaters, football…you name it. Fall is a wonderful time of year, for more than just the weather, clothes, and sports.
I love the colors, weather, sweaters, and football (and the start of basketball season), but my favorite thing about fall is the seasonal food. The coffee shop on campus has Pumpkin Spice as its flavor of the month, and the Au Bon Pain has pumpkin muffins. Goodbye, meal plan. Sure, you can have pumpkin foods all year, I suppose, but they’re best in the fall; same with apple.
Unfortunately, I haven’t made any pumpkin foods myself quite yet, but that will come. For now, I would like to share a couple favorites, a homemade version of a healthy snack, and my new favorite drink…second to coffee, that is.
The first food I will share isn’t necessarily a “fall” food, but I just made it tonight and I haven’t written about it yet. My mom makes it at home a lot, and I love it on a sandwich or just on some Ritz crackers. This magical food is pimiento cheese. You can make it with any “harder” cheese…I doubt mozzarella or havarti or anything like that would work because they don’t grate very easily. I use cheddar; anywhere from mild to sharp, white or orange works just fine.
To make this, grate your cheese; I use one 8-oz. block of sharp cheddar, which is plenty for me. Mix this with a whopping spoonful of mayonaise and a capful of apple cider vinegar. And then the chief ingredient, about half of a small jar of diced pimiento peppers. Mix this all up until it is thick. If you feel like there is too much mayo, add more cheese. You can eat it as soon as it’s made, which is what usually ends up happening with me, or you can chill it for a couple hours and let it come together. Either way, it is delicious, especially in a grilled cheese sandwich, or atop a hamburger.
My grandparents have several pecan trees on their property, and every year they get about 30 pounds of pecans. My grandpa makes pecan pie, but my mom and I keep it simple and spice them up, literally. Spiced pecans are delicious, an addicting snack, and are really easy to make.
In a sautee pan, toss a handful or two (or three) of pecans in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let it simmer for about five minutes, and then remove from heat and cool.
See? Easy. I made a batch tonight, and I’ll be shocked if they last me through tomorrow.
Applesauce was one of my favorite lunchbox snacks, and I still enjoy it every now and then. I stumbled upon a recipe for crock pot applesauce on Pinterest, and I had to try it. I was surprised at how simple it was, and it made enough to last me a week.
I used a mix of about 15 apples: predominantly small fujis and galas, with a couple larger granny smiths thrown in for a sour twist. Peel, core, and chop the apples, and put them in a lightly greased crock pot. Add cinnamon and brown sugar, stir, and cover, and cook on low for about 6 hours. I uncovered and stirred once every hour or two, just to mix it around, and to let the smell fill my apartment. And I’m telling you, that is an incredible smell. The finished product is delicious served hot or cold.
And finally…my new favorite drink, and believe it or not, it’s mostly caffeine free! I’ve discovered my love for ginger ale, but I can’t seem to drink it plain. When we stopped in Victoria, BC this summer, I ordered a Shirley Temple at dinner, it was made with ginger ale and orange juice. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and I have made it for myself again and again. But even better than orange juice is cranberry juice mixed with ginger ale. I must drink three tumblers of it every day. It’s a nice balance of tart, tangy, and sweet-ish, and a nice fall beverage.
And with all of that…happy eating, and happy fall!
Speaking of fall colors, I can’t help but to show off how beautiful my school is during this season. Now I understand why they say, “if God’s not a Hokie, then why do the leaves turn maroon and orange in the fall?”