Seasonal Transitions | Healthy habits for Fall + Recipe September 24 2015

Autumn

As September 23rd marked the Fall Equinox, it also marked an equal balance between hours of light and dark. From now on the nights become longer than the days and we naturally begin to spend more time indoors, making it a time to slow down and turn inward, breathe in the fresh crisp air and prepare for the coming Winter months. Take this opportunity to build positive new habits, re-commit to nutrition and a healthy skincare regimen, and to spending time with family and friends.

This season is so abundant with ripe fruits and vegetables that make cooking at home such a wonderful experience, and a great reason to hunker down for an evening in. Incorporating much of the Autumn's harvest into your diet is a great way to connect with the season and engage your senses in the colours and aromas that come along with it. Some of the amazing produce that is in season in Ontario right now include squash, yams, brussel's sprouts, beets, apples, pears, plums, artichoke, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower. These are all especially high in fibre, and skin-loving vitamins and nutrients. In particular, beets, carrots, and squash are high in beta-carotene, which can help protect against skin against damage caused by a summer's worth of ultraviolet rays. An increased fibre intake (along with lots of water!) will improve digestion, helping you to absorb as many nutrients from your foods as possible and feel lighter through the heavier, darker seasons to come. 

Be sure to pick up a wide variety of root vegetables to roast at home. Below is a Roasted Vegetable Salad which will make a great meal for transitioning from Summer to Fall. Even though the weather is going to begin to cool down, still take the time to make it out into nature to embrace all of the smells, colours and natural beauty that this season has to offer! It's a great time to reflect and be grateful for the abundance that surrounds us, especially as we approach Thanksgiving come October!

 Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe by, Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

Notes: this salad takes about 30 minutes to prepare and serves 4 – 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 bunch beets, scrubbed with greens trimmed
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard or beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw, pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

Cut the root end off of the garlic. Set out a square of foil, drizzle in a teaspoon of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Set head of garlic in the oil and wrap the foil around it. Set foil packet in a small oven-proof dish, and slide into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then set aside to cool. Once you remove garlic, turn oven up to 425 degrees.

Peel the carrots. Blanch the carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes, then set aside to cool. Add the beets to the same water used for the carrots. Boil beets for 8 – 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, and run under cold water. At this point, the skins should readily peel off; use your fingers or a peeler for tougher skins.

Halve carrots and cut beets into quarters or sixths, depending on size. Arrange each on a separate baking sheet {to preserve colour}, drizzle each with 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Slide into the oven and roast for 15 – 20 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through.

Arrange the chard and beet greens on another rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with just a touch of oil, rub it all over the leaves and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt. Slide into the oven and bake for 4 – 6 minutes, or just until leaves have softened. Keep a close eye on these, you just want them to soften and brown slightly.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. First, squeeze the roasted {and cooled} garlic out of the papery skin. Set in a small bowl, and mash with a fork. Mix in lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Next, whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified.

Finally, to toast the pumpkin seeds, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the pumpkin seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the pumpkin seeds start to pop, 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat, toss with a little sea salt, and set aside to cool.

To serve, toss carrots and beets with the prepared dressing. On a large platter, layer roasted chard on the bottom, topped with carrots and beets, and finish with a drizzle more of dressing, toasted pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a few twists of b

 xx Whitney

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