Fall Foodie Favorites: Oldies and Newsies!

Fall is just starting to pick up speed and I love when our food matches the season. For me, it makes the season that much more fun and interesting.

I thought I would share my all-time favorite fall dinners,  breakfast, breads, and desserts with you, in case you’ve been looking for some fall in your foods. Some are oldies that I found in previous falls, and some are newsies from this year. I hope you enjoy!

Fall Favorites

This newsie is White Chicken Chili Soup. It is delicious. But the simplicity of the recipe is actually why it sold me. So many White Chicken Chili Soups seem to have lots and lots of ingredients, but this one keeps it simple, while still tasting elaborate. That is a win in my book. I did make a few alterations, by mostly adding in a couple vegetables, but doing so did not make it a “vegetable chili” in any way.

Also, I did find that serving this chili over brown rice was really delicious. Not only does it make it more economical, by the spreading the chili further, it also enhanced the flavor. Here is the full recipe, with my alterations, but feel free to follow the link above and see the original. (Sidenote: I half the recipe for our little family, but here is the full recipe).

Delicious-White-Chicken-Chili-Recipe-on-lilluna.com-chili-soup

photo courtesy of Lil’ Luna.

Ingredients:

(Italics and a (*) indicate my alterations to the recipe)

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 (15.5 oz) cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-4 chicken breasts (approx. 2 cups shredded chicken)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • *1/2 tsp. chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • *1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • *1 bell pepper, diced
  • *1/2-1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2-1 cup sour cream OR 2-4 oz. cream cheese (feel free to use neufchatel)
  • Optional: Shredded cheese to top
  • Optional: serve over brown rice.

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, add broth, beans, chicken, green chilis, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, chili pepper, pepper, diced onion, diced bell pepper, and corn. Simmer on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes, or until it is heated through. (I turn up the heat to medium high and just bring it to a boil until my chicken is cooked through.)
  2. Take out chicken and shred with a fork, then add back to the pot.
  3. Right before serving, stir in sour cream. Add cheese on top if desired.

Hooray for a relatively fast, healthy, and very delicious soup!

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The next is a favorite oldie that I have on my Gale Family Recipes site–Butternut Squash Chicken Stew. I haven’t made it yet this season, but last season, I loved it! This soup packs a punch of flavor, and I love that the base of the soup is vegetables. Anyway, so much goodness going on in this stew. And isn’t it pretty?

Photo courtesy of Cookin' Canuck.

Photo courtesy of Cookin’ Canuck.

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This oldie–Golden Sweet Cornbread is a hit, always has been. As soon as my husband and I tried it, we were obsessed. I’ve tried multiple recipes that crumble like crazy, feel slightly dry in my mouth, or just lack flavor. This one trumps all. It’s moist, doesn’t crumble, and has a sweet, but not too sweet, flavor. I do make a couple alterations that improve flavor and help the cornbread stay together, so look for those alterations in the link above.

Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com

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Now this newsie, is a great find and I’m so thrilled to have found it. This Zucchini Bread recipe is to die for. Really. Okay, not really, but it is at least good enough to make it multiple times, crave it, and then feel comfortable taking to neighbors.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

photo courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

I had a lot of zucchini this summer and I tried multiple recipes and this one took the cake, by far. This might not be the recipe for you, but for me I look for something delicious–not too healthy, but also not too sugary or oily. This one fit the bill for me. It also has good spices and has a good balance between feeling too heavy or light. I make no alterations to the recipe, except that I usually double it. 🙂

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Another oldie that’s on my list to make again this year is Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Spinach. This recipe is the epitome of health and yum getting married. Everything about it is healthy, but it also is fast and delicious. It also is vegetarian, which while I’m not a vegetarian, I love finding recipes that don’t take meat and use other sources for protein, to ensure I’m getting a wide range of nutrients. I did make two slight alterations, which you’ll see on my site. I’m looking forward to trying it again this year!

Photo courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod

Photo courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod

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This recipe breaks the mold– it’s my favorite fall breakfast! Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal is divine. Before trying baked oatmeal I was rather apprehensive. In my family, oatmeal was always a bland meal that you made if you didn’t have taste buds, or you just ignored them. But after trying this, I was changed.

Photo courtesy of Kath Eats Real Food

Photo courtesy of Kath Eats Real Food

Baked oatmeal is so versatile, yummy, and yes, healthy. I would bake up a pan of baked oatmeal, cut them into squares and then put them in tupperwares. Then, in the morning, I would either eat it cold with yogurt or milk (similar to granola) or warm it up, cut it in half, and put some butter on it. I also just snacked on it plain, because it was that flavorful. I also love that it is something you can make ahead and then enjoy throughout the week.

After eating it for a while, I came up with another flavor and it turned out to be my favorite– Baked Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal. {**This link is probably the most comprehensive recipe. So follow this link if you want to know exactly how I make it.**} I don’t have a picture of this one, but it looks exactly the same as above.

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Lastly, here are two of my favorite bread recipes. I feel like it’s nice to have a go-to homemade bread recipe and here are two options–one is whole wheat and the other white. Both are absolutely delicious and relatively fast when it comes to rising time, and ease of making–both of which are necessities for me.

The White Homemade Bread recipe is my newsie for this year. It’s delectable. If you are looking for a crowd pleaser and not concerned about your carbs, then go for the gold, or white in this case, and give it a go. I can promise it won’t go wrong. It also makes a whopping 4 (9×5) loaves!

Photo courtesy of Just Another Day in Paradise

Photo courtesy of Just Another Day in Paradise

This No-Fail Whole Wheat Bread recipe is my oldie that I want to try again this year. I seriously loved this recipe. It had the awesome full taste of whole wheat, but lacked the typical cons of wheat bread (being overly dense or dry). Also, just like the recipe above, this recipe is speedy. Mmm, just remembering this recipe is making me crave it. Really, if you have never liked whole wheat bread, but want to try a recipe, try this one. Most likely you’ll enjoy it and then feel good about all the fiber and complex carbohydrates it packs.

Whole Wheat Bread

Photo courtesy of Progressive Pioneer

Well, I think that will be it for today! I love baking and cooking so stick around if you want more recipes. Or better yet, hop over to my actual recipe blog–Gale Family Recipes–where I share our family favorites. My style is summed up like this: things that are supposed to be delicious- I try to keep delicious. But foods that can be easily made more healthy, I try to make healthier. After being on a no-sugar diet for over a year, I know how to be healthy, but also enjoy the taste of all foods, so hop on over for some healthy and some purely delicious family faves 🙂

Healthy & Fit Pregnancy- Group info inside!

Well, the second trimester is lovely. I’m 16 weeks along and I feel like I’m mostly back to the old me, aside from the occasional headaches, stretching pains, and back aches. But, I’ll take it and I’m happy!

With this new found energy, as well as lack of nauseousness, I find myself eating allll the time and wanting to cook things. I felt like my body was just yearning from the inside out.. “feeeeed meeeee!!!” So, that is just what I did. I think I am back up to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is good. Now, the trick is for me to get out of that mindset of stuffing my face with food. I’m trying to re-train my brain that I don’t need to eat a lot of whatever sounds good. It may have worked when only one or two things sounded good during a day, but now that 50 things sound good… no bueno. It’s back to balance and remembering that I need to stop when I feel full, and to choose good foods to eat.

It’s tough though. It is hard to re-train a brain and harder to actually act on it.

But that is my goal.

My goal is an active pregnancy. My goal is to eat well and be active, in hopes that life will never be like the swinging of a pendulum, going back and forth from a “I don’t care about my health, I just want to eat what I want to eat” attitude to “I’m counting my calories, exercising all the time” mentality. Nor do I want to sign off on healthy eating and exercise simply because life is just hard right now. Life never stops being hard, and in fact when I eat worse, life gets exponentially harder. I feel guilty, I feel gross, I lose confidence, and I just feel lethargic. It’s not worth it.

SO… after all that. I guess what I’m implying is that I’m going to strive to be active and healthy this pregnancy. I’m not going to overdue it, because that isn’t balanced, but I am going to try to exercise–do at least some form of exercise each day. Something.

I want to give myself a variety and do aerobic activities and strength training. And in general, I’m going to try to watch my portions and try to opt for more whole, nutrient dense, foods. Of course I’ll give into cravings, that is life, and I don’t pretend to be able to not eat sweets. I love sweets and they will always be a part of my life. Guaranteed. But, I’m going to try not to eat them alll the time as the main course or side dish to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, my question is: do you know anyone who is pregnant and feels like-minded? Or do you know someone who is hoping to be pregnant soon and preparing their body for the transition? If so, please send them to THIS Facebook group. It’s totally free and just for encouragement, ideas, and sharing our life.

Pregnancy Facebook Group Cover FinalI want to be accountable for myself and I often find I do SO much better when I see others around me striving to do the same. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’d love to motivate others around me too. Because why have to work so hard postpartum to “get our bodies back”, when we could have a better pregnancy, labor, and postpartum if we focused on health during the journey of pregnancy? Anyway, now I’m rambling. Here’s to a healthy life!

The opportunities are vying

Sometimes life is just plain old busy. Many nights I’m burning the oil trying to get things done, only to burn the candle in the morning as I wake up before dawn with my son, who is all ready to play with his choo-choo trains and fix something with daddy’s special tools.

It’s no secret that the pace of life has picked up speed in recent years. Each year there seem to be more things vying—literally vying—for my attention, time, and energy. I see other moms crafting it up and making their home a beautiful place with their own special touch. I see them taking on side projects to bring in a bit of extra income. I see others making baby books as a touching keepsake and becoming more fit than ever before.

Good.Better.Best These endeavors and opportunities are all good and I often wonder if I should start doing them too. I almost feel I need to take on something extra to simply “fit in.” But, it seems with the overwhelming amount of good opportunities there is a chance I could start forgetting the best things—my child, my relationships, and our good ole’ family down time; laughing together, rolling around on the floor wrestling, throwing  a ball outside. The stuff solid families are made of.

“Not everything… is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” –Dallin Oaks,    

 Good, better, best.

I’m beginning to realize not every activity, opportunity, or project may be worth my while. It may be a good use of my time, but is there something better, or best? I have a choice. The choices I make now will largely influence how close I am to my kids, what they value later in life, and how they choose to live. Time is not forgiving, and even if I have the best of intentions to spend the time with my family, it won’t just happen.

Family edit 681Sometimes the best use of my time will be saying, “No”. No to an opportunity. “Sorry, I want more time with my family. I already have too many distractions, I don’t want another.” It turns out, staying at home with my boy is “enough.” Staying at home with yours is, too.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” – Tim Duncan

My boy, who seems like he was born the day before yesterday is almost 2. I’m starting to realize life is fast. Life is just too full of potential to be less than intentional with my time and with the people I love the most.

For those opportunities that come vying–unless you’re best, sorry, I’ll say no.

Have you had similar thoughts and wondered how to slow down and simply enjoy your family? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts!

I would love to connect with you on a more personal level. Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where I share more of my daily ins and outs, cooking faux pas, and overload of child cuteness!

When it’s okay to rest

For the last week and a half I’ve been sick; sick with the scratchy sore throat, stuffy head, runny nose, and getting all my calories from cough drops, sort of sick.

It was frustrating, just as it is whenever sickness comes. But this time I was more disappointed, simply because I was finally getting some great habits in my life. I had worked out a schedule with friends to exercise a couple times a week and was pumped to get into a routine.

But when I got sick, I knew workouts were out for me until I was totally better. I’ve done sports enough growing up to know this about my body. I’ve worked out too many times when I was almost better, to know working out too soon only prolongs and worsens my sickness. So this time, even though I practically wanted to jump out of my skin and workout, I waited it out. I let myself rest. I slowed down.

Slowing down was what I needed.okay to restIsn’t it interesting how when life gets overwhelming, we often think the solution is to pick up speed, to power through, to sprint to the end, or to toughen up? We ignore our body or our hearts and believe if we just give it all we got it will work out. Nah, we don’t need to let something fall out of our life. Yes, we can continue doing everything, even if our condition is worsening. In fact, we almost wear it as a badge of honor that even with this activity, and this responsibility, and this life change, and this commitment, we still came through it while doing it all.

At least I know I’ve tried to wear that badge–the “Juggled it All” badge or the “Kept all the Plates Spinning” badge.

But, are we better off inside ourselves for pushing through the harsh conditions?

Sometimes we have no choice. Sometimes the time for decision has past and we have to power through. But more often than not, we could decide to say no; we could decide to slow down and re-coop enough to rejuvenate and calm our troubled waters.

“It is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.”- Dieter Uchtdorf

Life really isn’t a race. There will be no badge for the one who powered through life until they reached the point of utter exhaustion. There will be no grand prize for the ones who juggled the most responsibilities. But, I’m pretty sure there will be happiness and peace for those who simplified, gave their life grace, and slowed down to rest.

How do you remember to re-evaluate your life when you feel overwhelmed? How do you give yourself grace and love even when you feel your life isn’t as exciting or fast-paced as others? I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoyed this post, then I would so appreciate your vote! Thanks!

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What you do speaks so loud

This is a post I really hope for some feedback on from all you mommas. You who are striving to balance your social media or blogging addiction (at least that is an accurate description for me) with your sheer love and addiction for your kiddos.

I share pictures and blog mostly about my boy Parker, and the lessons I learn as a mother. But lately I’ve realized that sometimes my interest in sharing through social media or blogging itself, gets in the way of the quality moments and daily experiences I have with him.

This seems painfully crazy and ironic to me.

Of course, I need an outlet for myself. For me, this is a fact. But, I also deeply desire to support my son in his emotional need of true, genuine interaction; not just merely being a body in the same room.

BathboyI want to be there. I want him to see the excitement in my eyes as we toss the ball back and forth. I want my touch to feel authentic, real, and fully meant for him. I wish for him to know he is the most important thing; not the phone I sometimes reach for every 10 minutes, or less, unfortunately.

“What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Add text(1)Honestly, many times I am there. I’m fully invested. That truck book, that basketball, and my boy’s zeal for sports are all that’s on my brain. But flip the coin, and there are also many times when I’m not. I’m engaged, but in the back of my mind I’m actually interested in something else, besides what I’m doing with my boy.

So this post is me really putting it out there and saying I’m going to work on making my actions say: “I love you, son. I love you more than the thrill of blogging; more than the comments from friends on the photos of you. The photo of you is cute, and the fact that my friends notice is great, but YOU are what I’m really crazy about.”

I hope I’m not the only one who struggles with this! How do you balance your hobbies or your “addictions” with really engaging with your kids? How do your actions show your kids that you love them like crazy?

[For a superb article on focusing on our children read How to Miss a Childhood at Hand Free Mama.]