Maybe it’s just me, but my daily food choices are DEFINITELY inspired by the weather. Reflecting on some of my daily eats, I realized that certain flavors and textures are more appealing to me based on the temperature. It was gorgeous and sunny around lunch time, and all I wanted was either a loaded salad or a veggie hummus wrap. Since lunch had to be portable today (working at a desk in this picture), I went to a campus eatery that has to-go containers. I am the annoying girl in the salad line that has to get everything…I can’t help it I love everything, and lets face it, salads are never really THAT filling. In this mix: mixed greens, romaine, spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, tofu, mushrooms (sliced bella and marinated portabella strips), mandarin oranges, feta cheese, carrots, and snow peas along side a juicy apple. This hit the spot, but a few short hours later it was time for a snack.
I relished in the weather as I walked outside to a local cafe to study. I sat at a cozy table near a window so I could continue to enjoy the playful sun and craved a tropical bite as I worked. I’m not really a pineapple/coconut girl, but the Tropical Fruit Tart LaraBar was screaming my name. I’ve always wanted to try this flavor, but it has never sounded particularly appealing to me until today. I LOVED IT. I kept questioning why I had avoided this flavor for so long, because I have tried every other Larabar. It was sweet and appropriately nutty. I could taste the orange and coconut the most with a slight hint of pineapple and crunchy almond. This was so satisfying, and I washed it down with an iced tea. Maybe I think I’m still on Spring Break?
After a few solid hours of work, I decided to head back to my apartment before it got dark out. As I walked, the air was a bit cooler, and it reminded me of a quintessential fall day. I love the flavors of the fall. My mom always made roasted acorn squash, turkey, stuffing, baked apples…all the warm comforting flavors you crave on a cool evening. Obviously, food carries a lot of sentiment (I miss home!) to me and I decided to make Seared Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms, Warm Kabocha Salad and Lemon Steamed Green Beans. I seared the chicken in olive oil (about 4-5 min per side) and removed it from the pan. I then sauteed 1/4 of a Spanish Onion, added sliced bella mushrooms and balsamic vinegar until it reduced. When the reduction was a syrup consistency I topped the chicken with the mixture. For the Warm Kabocha Salad, I coated the Kabocha with olive oil and cinnamon, and roasted it for about 40 minutes. I added it to a bowl of spinach, chopped walnuts, dried cherries and dried blueberries and tossed it all together. This dinner was sweet, savory and represented every element of the fall.
I couldn’t shake my cinnamon craving, and went for a make shift apple pie. I chopped half of a Jonagold Apple, topped with cinnamon and microwaved it for a minute. I added a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and some Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola. What a great way to end my day. This reminded me of the gigantic apple dumplings my family would purchase from the Farmers Market nearly every Saturday. We would have them for dessert after a thoughtful Sunday dinner. My mom would bake them in the oven, and the sweet-syrup-goodness would start seeping out the pie crust cover. They were always topped off with large scoops of vanilla ice cream, and it was heavenly. I’m still not sure how each member of my family was able to eat a whole one; they were so large that they only fit in our over sized soup bowls!
Do particular foods strike memories for you?