September is thinning season. The air gets thinner as the weather turns cold. Time feels like it gets thinner as the days get shorter. And personally, I usually start to feel worn a bit thin as activities and work obligations start to ramp up. Goodbye, summer days plump with rest and relaxation. Hello, lean fall.
To combat the inevitable frenetic energy that happens this time each year, I’ve been actively focusing on balancing what I have to do with what is good for me. For example, every day I make myself a grain bowl to eat for lunch because it’s full of all the nutrients I know I need to be nourished and feel good. It’s not the most exciting lunch, but hey, it’s for my health. On the flip side, if I’m feeling grouchy or gloomy like I tend to do when the days get shorter, I am allowing myself something comforting and even indulgent. That might be a mid-day sweet treat, or a warm, cheesy dinner (my current favorite is this pepperoni pizza gnocchi casserole). Food isn’t the only way to balance your health and mood. I’ve also been intentionally thinking about how I use my time, especially free time on the weekends. I’m working on giving less value to my ever-present to-do list and turning more of my energy to the people and things that give me joy. Whether that’s going to grab brunch with a few close friends on Saturday morning or making something new in my kitchen to close out the weekend, I know that feeling good about how I spent my time is ultimately what will make me feel good about myself at the end of the day. The cool kids have been calling it “self-care,” but I like to think of it more as balance. You can’t be constantly in motion and never stop to recharge.
We’re taking this idea of balance into the Kitchens with us as we think about the kinds of foods we want to eat in the fall. We recently finished up development on a round of recipes that were inspired by dishes we loved as kids, with the requirement that each recipe had to have a little twist or tweak to it. For instance, everyone loved chili mac as a kid—it’s a classic. Heck, I love chili mac now as a full-grown adult. Our recipe developers took the concept of a chili mac, subbed out the ground beef for ground turkey and used zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta. And guess what? The zoodle mac that we ended up with really hits the spot, while still being a nutritionally balanced meal. Plus, using all those healthy zoodles means covering the whole dish in melty cheddar cheese is totally okay, right?
Believe it or not, Halloween is JUST around the corner. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here at Tablespoon because it’s just so much fun. The food is frightening and silly, the drinks are always a blast—and who doesn’t love to pretend to be someone (or something) else for a night? We’re already getting in the haunting mood as we’ve been busy re-testing and re-tasting our favorite spooky cocktails. I discovered my love for our blackberry witch mojito recipe. It seems strange to drink a minty mojito in the fall, but the murky, moody color makes it the perfect drink to mix up at a small Halloween get-together. Plus, it’s packed with healthy fruit to combat all the candy and booze you’ll be consuming. It’s all about that balance, right?