Thursday, October 11, 2012

Loving Fall: Tips to Invigorate Your Routine

It's really starting to feel like fall in St. Louis. I find the beginning of every season to be really exciting, but I especially love the beginning of fall. Particularly because the weather is so nice that it such a great time to be outdoors--where I love being the most. Take advantage of the fall season as an opportunity to freshen up your routine. Here's how I change mine up.

I love exercising outdoors in the fall. Especially this week when there has been a cloudless sky, bright sunshine and perfectly cool fall air. You know, that type of weather that's warm enough to exercise in shorts and a tank top, but breezy enough to not really get sweaty? I love looking at the beautiful colors that Mother Nature displays during fall too; it makes my workout a lot more interesting. Even my drive to work gets a little more pleasing as I overlook the tree-filled hills of Missouri changing colors.

I love pumpkins! I don't know what it is, but I could decorate my house with tons of them, except for the fact that Mr. Patton holds me back (which as much as I hate to admit it is probably a good thing). This year, our best friends grew a pumpkin patch on their farm in southern Kentucky and let us come out to pick pumpkins. It was so much fun and I got to pick lots of pumpkins! Mr. Patton was pleased because my obsession with pumpkins didn't knock our budget at all this year :) (Thanks, you know who!) Stay tuned for when I turn our pumpkins into delicious recipes to enjoy later this fall.

Fall means it's time for the annual St. James Art Fair in Louisville, Kentucky (my hometown). Attending the art fair has been a family tradition of ours for as long as I can remember. This year my aunt invited lots of family to town so we had an especially fun time! I love discovering new artists and adding unique pieces to our home--it's something I look forward to every year. This year I found Spirit Dancing who creates these beautiful "smoosh pots." I bought two...and will probably be back to their booth next year. Check out their shop on Etsy for your own taste of St. James.

I love campfires--the smell of them, the food you cook on them and the camaraderie that happens around them. My favorite things to cook over the campfire are Hebrew National beef hot dogs and s'mores. (Yes, both indulgences). For my friend's recent baby shower I was asked to create a "s'mores bar" for which I designed several "gourmet" s'mores:
  • Double dark chocolate: chocolate graham crackers, dark chocolate bar, roasted marshmallow
  • Turtle: chocolate or honey grahams, almond chocolate bar, caramel pieces, roasted marshmallow
  • Caramel apple: cinnamon grahams, caramel pieces, apple slices, roasted marshmallow
  • Peanut butter: honey grahams, Reeses cup, roasted marshmallow.
We have a bunch of leftovers, so we'll be roasting marshmallows over our little fire pit tomorrow night. S'mores only have about 110 calories each and have about 5 grams of fat. If you can enjoy only 1 or 2, they're a practical option for dessert at your fall parties.

I love hearty, fall foods that warm me up as the temperature drops. I use the crockpot to prepare dinner often during the fall and winter. Hello, chili! I also include more fall veggies, such as butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale, in our side dishes. They're hearty, filling and a refreshing change. Start with some of these recipes and keep watching the blog as a I share some of my other fall recipes over the next few weeks.

Fall is a great time to invigorate your meal plan and exercise habits. Branch out from your routine a little bit and try some new things. Healthy eating and routine exercise are a lot more fun when you're not doing the same old, same old thing all the time. Fall is the perfect time to make a change! Spice up your fall routine by:
  • Checking your grocery for fall veggies. If you're not familiar with how to cook them, find a new recipe and try one new food or recipe a week.
  • Begin an outdoor activity like walking, jogging, hiking or biking. 
  • Use your crockpot to prepare healthy "comfort" food and keep the grill going on nights when the air isn't too cold.

What do you love about fall? How to you invigorate your routines?