Fall is Here!Posted: September 27, 2013
It’s amazing how fast Fall creeps up on you. Spring and Summer seem to take forever to get here, Winter often feels like it’s eight months long here in New England… but Fall is here and gone before you even know it. It’s a shame too, because to me, it’s the most beautiful part of the year. The weather is perfect, the colors on the trees are absolutely gorgeous, and there’s so much to do.
I really need to get outside with my camera and snap some more foliage shots before it passes – and if you haven’t been to New England during the Fall, I would definitely encourage you to visit. There are all kinds of farms near where I live, and I can’t wait to go apple picking, do some pumpkin carving, and perhaps most importantly, bake some Fall goodies. My friend has been talking about this apple brownie recipe she has, and it sounds pretty perfect to me.
Besides Fall desserts though, Fall meals are pretty delicious too. In the Summer, I’m all about salads and grilled meats and veggies, but in the Fall, I love soups, hearty stews, and tender roasts from the oven. I have this distinct memory of coming home from school one chilly Fall afternoon and my mom had a pot of beef stew cooking in the kitchen that smelled (and tasted) amazing. Every time she cooks it, I still think of that day!
Last weekend, when I was grocery shopping, I saw the roasts and immediately wanted to make one. My mom’s roast beef, pot roasts, and beef stews are the best, but I try my best to match her from time to time. (It doesn’t always work.) I didn’t have a whole lot of veggies on hand, so I kept this pot roast pretty simple, but it still came out great. First, I chopped up a couple potatoes, a few carrots, and a sweet onion. I don’t eat white potatoes too often, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of pot roast. Next time, I’m thinking of trying sweet potatoes, yams, jicama, turnips, or rutabaga.
I originally planned on using the crockpot my mom gave me to cook the roast, but when I plugged it in, it didn’t seem to get warm. I was a little disappointed to have to throw that baby out, but it was a wedding gift for my parents from over 25 years ago, so I guess it lived a good life!
I ended up roasting it in the oven, and it was just as good. I used a 1.5lb chuck shoulder roast, put it in a baking dish with the potatoes, carrots, and onions around it, poured about 1.5 cups of beef broth over it all, and baked it for about 2 hours at 350*F. (Don’t quote me on that time and temperature though – it’s really just a guess.)
Sometimes people think you have to use all those fancy seasoning packets (which are loaded with sodium) to flavor roasts and stews, but this was delicious without. The natural flavor of the foods is more than enough!
When the weather gets cooler, I find myself spending more and more time inside (unfortunately), and besides cooking, that also means more time spent in the gym. I’m thinking about joining the local CrossFit gym this Fall/Winter, but I’m still loving my workouts at the Y, and I won’t be giving those up anytime soon. I’ve felt good and strong this week (despite a near-death experience where I had to bail out from underneath a 125# barbell during a push press), and it’s pretty exciting!
Friday got here this week just about as fast as Fall did this year, but I’m sure glad it did! I’m thinking about heading up to the lake to help my dad take the boat out of the water this weekend, but there also might be some of that aforementioned apple picking/baking in my future. And maybe, just maybe… a few more pumpkin beers?
What are your favorite Fall activities/foods?