As a born-and-bred Canadian, fall has a special place in my heart. Winters are (obviously) COLD. And icy. And long. Spring and summer are beautiful, but fall is just glorious. Now that I'm living in the US, I still love everything about this season - the crispness, the colors, and the autumn-inspired recipes. Not every recipe is a success, but as I like to say, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn." Case in point: the new pumpkin pie I recently attempted wasn't very tasty. But I used the leftover pumpkin for some delicious muffins (check out the recipe below!), so there was definitely a silver lining there.
In honor of the cooler weather, I reached out to a couple of (wonderful) Canadian dietitian buddies of mine, Bracha Kopstick is a pediatric dietitian, and Atara Fenig specializes in women's health. I asked each of them for a seasonal nutrition tip and a favorite fall recipe to share with you. They both independently chose to talk about vitamin D, so this is clearly on the forefront of their minds this season!
Bracha: "If you've stopped taking your vitamin D over the summer, now is the time to restart! Vitamin D may help with symptoms of depression, and with fewer sunny days and more incidents of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), vitamin D supplements is key for these shorter and cooler days."
Atara: "Canadians don't get enough sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D. Because vitamin D is found in only a small variety of foods, we may not be getting enough for optimal health from food alone."
Vitamin D has been getting a lot of press in recent years and especially in the past few months due to its potential role in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. While solid research on that is still pending, vitamin D has many essential functions, including supporting a healthy immune system, and supplementation can be very important.
My Canadian colleagues were unknowingly in sync with their choice of recipe, too - or maybe Canadians just like soup! I certainly do! While I'm not always in the mood of making it, I do enjoy serving it at dinnertime once the weather gets cool. It's definitely a good feeling knowing you've got some in the freezer. Enjoy these recipes - and consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your shopping list. :)
Bracha's Cozy Potato Parsnip Soup
A wonderful combination of chunky and creamy, smooth and sweet.
Makes 8 servings
7 small white potatoes
2 medium parsnips
8 cups chicken stock or to cover
salt & white pepper to taste
Peel and cube potatoes and parsnips. Place in pot
Pour in all the chicken stock, ensuring all the vegetables are covered
Bring to a boil
Puree about half the soup (you can puree it all if you prefer it completely creamy). Add water to reach your preferred consistency. Spice with salt and white pepper.
Atara's Lentil Vegetable Soup
Makes 6 servings
1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp curry powder or ground cumin
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp pepper
salt, tot taste
1 TBSP lemon juice
dash hot red pepper sauce, optional
2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro or parsely
Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and cook until tenderand fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook for 30 minutes.
Add carrot, celery, and potato and combine well. Stir in lentils and stock. Bring to boil. Add pepper and salt. Cook gently, covered, for 30 minutes.
Sserve as is or puree soup for a smoother texture. Add lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.
And here's the pumpkin muffin recipe I tried that worked out well:
A soft and moist pumpkin muffin recipe that's sure to become a family favorite.
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
Makes 9 muffins
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk of choice
3 tbsp oil or additional pumpkin
2 1/2 tsp white or cider vinegar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup spelt, white, or oat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or sub additional cinnamon
1/2 tsp each: baking soda, salt, and baking powder
optional handful chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whisk liquid ingredients. Let sit 10 minutes, and sift dry ingredients in a bowl while waiting. Pour dry into wet, stir just until evenly mixed, and smooth into a lined muffin tin. Bake 19 minutes on the center rack. Let cool. The muffins taste even better the next day, and liners peel off easily the next day as well.