Preparing for Fall

Fall has arrived, finally.

We had a heavy Summer here in Buenos Aires!

January had temperatures in the high 90s and there were a lot of electrical outages.  February was loads of rain which resulted in too many mosquitos.  March was magnificent!  I think March and November are the best months to be in Buenos Aires.

And April is already looking rather colorful!Over the weekend I pulled out my suitcases filled with sweaters, scarves and warm socks in anticipation of the cooler climates.

We need to prepare ourselves for the change of seasons!

Here’s my game plan…

Scarves.  It’s all about scarves in Fall.  Why?  We need to protect ourselves from the wind aka the seasonal enemy.  During Fall our immune system is at it’s weakest moment of the year.  And this ‘immune system qi’ circulates around our mouth and nose area.  So make sure you wrap those scarves up high!

Why is wind so bad?  Because it dries us out (hence chapped lips & dry skin) and brings external pathogens into our lungs.  Lungs are one of the two organs associated with Fall according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and we need to protect them.  Our skin is actually a reflection of how are lungs are doing.  So if our skin is dry, our lungs are dry.  And then the coughing begins.

So go heavy on the moisturizers!

This is what I’m currently bathing myself in- almond oil, coconut oil, Dr. H’s rose cream, echinacea hand & body cream.

With the temperatures dropping we need to warm our body.  It’s all about letting go of Summer’s dry heat and welcoming in Fall with warm and hydrating heat.

The best way to do this is through food & drink.

Bone broth is one of the prime foods during Fall.  Chicken bone broth is ideal because of the natural elements found in the bones that are related to red blood cells.  If you’re looking for a recipe, check out this guy but simmer longer, anywhere from 6-48 hours.

Eat the broth on it’s own or use it in replace of water for rice, quinoa, grits, or as a base for soups and sauces.  Not only will it add an abundant amount of flavor but also loads of warming nutrition.  Carrots + Apples + Pears + Butternut Squash.

These are Fall’s top fruits & veggies.

It’s all about bright orange vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, yam) and pears and apples.

Ginger is also great for the Fall as it helps warm the body and release toxins that could lead to sickness.

Lately I’ve been making a lot of- hot water + honey + lemon + ginger whenever I feel a head cold coming on.  Measurements aren’t important, just make it according to your tastebuds!  I like to grate the ginger with my microplane for maximum flavor…!Since we want warmer foods this time of year I’m roasting the majority of my fruits & veggies.

Grab a baking dish, cut up your fruits and veggies and drizzle with olive oil/honey/salt/seasonings.  Pop them in the oven and bake.

These apples and pears were drizzled with honey + cinnamon + clove + nutmeg.  Actually, these are some of the better spices we should be eating during Fall.

Fall is all about pungent flavors.

Speaking of pungent flavors, one of the best greens we can feed ourselves this time of year are mustard greens.

I’ve found them in china town near the other greens (hojas mostazas) and have been wilting them in bone broth or cooking them in a hot wok.  Their flavor is quite bitter!

Some of the best moisturizing foods for the Fall are pork, duck and nuts.  Mushrooms are also great.

Braised pork shoulder recipe here.

But lately I’ve been eating so much chicken, which is so unlike me!

It’s just so simple.

My favorite is this one pan dish of chicken, carrots, butternut squash, onions and garlic.

Cut the veggies into large chunks and put them in your cast iron.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Season the chicken with salt & pepper and place on top of the vegetables.  I prefer dark meat so I use pata y muslo aka legs & thighs and leave it whole as the bones have so much flavor.  By having the chicken up top all the natural juices will work their way down to the vegetables keeping them hydrated and adding flavor.

Just try it!

Lemon, sage, thyme, dill are also good additions!   Can’t go wrong with those fresh herbs.And if you have any leftover chicken they make for a great soup!

Inexpensive too.

My pesos are tight right now with the new restaurant and all… soups and stews are a great way to keep costs low.

You can do this a couple of different ways.  Here’s my fave-

Chicken and Potato Soup

  • one half a chicken (2 leg/thighs- pata y muslo
  • 2 large onion, medium diced
  • 1 large carrot, medium diced
  • 2 celery stalks, medium diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-6 small/medium potatoes, halved or cut in large chunks
  • chicken stock/broth, (or vegetable stock or water)
  • handful of green onions, sliced
  • 1 fat TBS flour or cornstarch (cornstarch in BA- Maizena
  • salt & pepper
  • cayenne
  • 5 bay leaves

Take a large stock pot and place it over medium high heat and allow to get hot.

Season the chicken well with salt & pepper.  Place the chicken skin side down in the hot pot and cook for about 3-4 minutes til golden brown.  Flip, repeat and remove chicken to a side plate.

Throw in the onion, carrots, and celery and cook over high heat til browned.

Add garlic and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, add the cayenne, flour/cornstarch and stir everything around allowing the flour to toast.

Add about 2-3 quarts of stock/water and using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to release any sucs.

Bring to a boil, add the chicken & bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add potatoes and green onions and continue to simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove the chicken and use two forks to remove the chicken from the bones.  Return chicken meat to soup and discard the bones.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings.  It’ll most likely need a big pepper crackin’ and a fat pinch of salt.  Add a splash of vinegar at the very end to take the flavor up a notch.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with more green onions.  OR wait til the next day and then eat it.

Soups and stews are always better with time.  Check out more soup tips here.You can also substitute the chicken for beef and the recipe’s the same more or less.

Just remember-  a good vegetable base, a chunk of meat, stock and time.

Slow cooking.

Fall is all about slow cooking.  Warm foods.  Nurturing.  Substance.

Preparing our bodies for the winter.

Grief is the emotion correlated with Fall.  We store grief in our lungs.  If it’s repressed it festers and disrupts the breath.  And then our whole bodies are off course!  Deep breaths, yoga, meditation and acupuncture help maintain a fluid breath.

It’s all about letting go!

Letting go and making space for new goals, improvements, clarity.

Last weekend  these ladies joined me and Lauren from Acupuncture Buenos Aires for our Fall Zen Workshop where we went over all these Fall details in addition to yoga, acupuncture and journaling exercises.  It was a magical day!  Lauren and I have big goals on bringing wellness to Buenos Aires.  We plan on starting with an urban workshop with the change of each season, so stay tuned!So that’s my Fall game plan.

What about y’all?

Any Fall tips?