Fall Comfort Foods

Virginia Beach fall food

Last modified: November 21, 2016

As the temperatures cool, the days grow shorter and our thoughts turn to Halloween, then to Thanksgiving and even – gasp! – the holiday season, our bodies are starting to go into something akin to hibernation mode.

In other words, we want to stay indoors with a good book (or movie/show on Netflix), cuddling under comfy throws on the couch with cats, dogs and family members while sipping hot cocoa and watching the leaves fall from the trees.

Our bodies also tend to want to eat more carbs as the days grow shorter. In other words, we CRAVE comfort foods!

So don’t fight Mother Nature; eat those filling foods. Eat the foods that bring you comfort as well as a sense of safety, love and coziness.

Eat baked macaroni and cheese hot from the oven! For a six-serving dish, you’ll need two tablespoons of butter; ¼ cup of finely chopped onion; two tablespoons of all-purpose flour; two cups of milk; ¾ teaspoon of salt; ½ teaspoon of dry mustard; ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper; one 8-ounce package of elbow macaroni; two cups of shredded Cheddar cheese (make sure it’s sharp Cheddar); and one 8-ounce package of processed American cheese (cut the cheese into strips).

To make, you’ll first need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then:

• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then sauté the onion in it for two minutes and stir in the flour and cook for one minute, constantly stirring. Then stir in the milk, salt, mustard, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the mixture boils and thickens.
• At the same time, bring a pot of water (lightly salted) to a boil. Then add the macaroni and cook for eight to 10 minutes or until the macaroni is firm. Drain.
• Add the Cheddar and American cheese to the milk mixture and stir until the cheese melts.
• Combine the macaroni and the cheese into a two-quart baking dish and mix well.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
• Let it cool before serving for about 10 minutes.

Cider donuts are another fall favorite with many people in the Northeast. Wikipedia.com, in fact, calls them a “harvest tradition” in that region of the U.S. These donuts often are sold with apple cider (they’re often sold at cider mills). These cake donuts get their flavor from the nutmeg, cinnamon and apple cider that are used in the donuts’ batter. Cider donuts also often are sprinkled with cinnamon.

There’s little that shouts fall louder than a hot pumpkin latte. Many coffee shops and fast food restaurants sell these tasty drinks during the fall season (often through Thanksgiving), but there’s no need to get in your car to enjoy one: you can brew one up at home.

For four cups, you’ll need four cups of milk (divided); ¼ cup of white sugar (or more, depending on your tastes); four tablespoons pumpkin puree; one tablespoon and one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; two teaspoons vanilla extract; and one cup brewed espresso.

• To create, whisk two cups of the milk, all of the sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and the vanilla extract in a saucepan over low heat and simmer for five minutes. Then whisk the remaining milk.
• Pour the milk mix through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any pumpkin pulp. Then return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer (while whisking) for two minutes. Add the espresso and whisk until foamy for one minute.

Enjoy a cozy fall season!

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