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Time To Get That Warm Cozy Feeling!

I have to say that fall foods are some of my all-time favorites! The savory flavors mixed with sweet spice flavors, and oh, the smells! It just feels like a mouth full of coziness.

When the weather turns cold, our spice cabinet changes. The top spices for fall are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cardamom. When mixed with savory spices such as cumin, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, parsley, and bay leaves; the blend offers comfort and warmth with a bit of nostalgia.

Each fall, I look forward to a drive around the county. Not only looking at the peak colors, but stopping at the local farm stands to get my share of winter squash to last the season. I am not partial to one. I stock up on acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and delicata squash.

Winter squash has a long shelf life and can last for nearly 3 months, if stored in a cool, dark, dry place. So stock up now. If you have cut into your winter squash, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in your fridge for up to a week. If a whole squash is too much to eat, it freezes beautifully. Just cut into cubes and store in freezer containers. Be sure to label and date your containers.

One of my go-to dishes is a stuffed squash. I will make a large amount of the “stuffing” at one time. First, I start with some slow and low sauteed onions for that lovely caramelization.. Then I mix in garlic, fresh ginger, and a blend of the fall spices. A drizzle of honey or maple syrup adds a cozy touch. I don’t measure, instead it’s a little of this and a little of that into the dish. Mix in a bit of quinoa or brown rice. Add a few chops nuts and dried fruit. You can use apricot, raisins, or cranberries. For the meat, you can use sausage or ground turkey. You can also use chick peas or cannellini beans mixed in or a replacement to the animal protein. Once you have your stuffing, you can freeze this into smaller portions. Just pull out what you need when you are ready to roast your winter squash.

By making simple and healthy choices on a daily basis, you will be well on your way towards achieving optimal wellness. We know the healthy choice is not always the easiest choice, but small changes can make a big difference. Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services offers Nutrition & Wellness programs to help you in your journey toward total wellness. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS Nutrition &Wellness programs if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution. Call NY Connects at 716-453-4582 for more details and information about any of these Nutrition and Wellness programs provided by Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.

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