It seems that cool, fall weather arrived just in time to welcome October. One of the reasons I love fall so much is because of all of the coziness going around: fuzzy fleece blankets, cuddling while watching a movie, and big bowls of soup. That’s great and all, but I’ll be the first to admit that trying to keep warm while running errands takes a lot out of me. Because of this, I make sure to have a few key items always stocked in my kitchen so that when I come home, I don’t have to make too much fuss whipping up something to eat. Here are my cold weather kitchen essentials!
I love soup. I especially love making soup. Throughout the year, I use veggie broth to cook or add into almost anything (try cooking your rice in broth – it’s life changing). I first learned how to make soup when I was about 10 and religiously followed the recipe in an Emeril Lagasse cookbook for kids. Following that recipe, it took about 45 minutes to make a big ol’ pot of soup, but I have since adapted it to make basically any quantity of soup I need or want in as little as 10 minutes. I always have one quart of broth open in the fridge and one in my can-drawer as back up. If you (somehow) still don’t believe me that broth of any kind is worth having, try cooking a pack of ramen in broth instead of plain water. You can thank me later.
Spinach and Mushrooms
These are other ingredients that I ate year round, but I seem to inhale them once the weather turns chilly. My favorite way to eat mushrooms and spinach is quite simply as a snack: sautéed together in olive oil with salt, pepper, cumin and a little garlic powder. Mushrooms are super filling and spinach adds a little bit of green and many great nutrients. I also like to toss both in soup – mushrooms get chopped and tossed into my ramen soup and spinach gets wilted into every other soup. If you’re into making your own fajitas, try adding mushrooms into the mix. They beef up your fajita veggies without weighing you down. If you normally eat your pasta very plainly with cheese and some butter, try sautéing mushrooms in butter and then tossing in your pasta, some spinach and cheese – super simple, but super tasty.
(More on the blog: Movie Night Essentials)
It’s almost as important to maintain hydrated in the cooler months as it is in the summer. I know that I find myself not reaching for water as much because I’m trying to warm up my inside with a hot coffee or tea. That’s all fine and dandy, but your body still craves water to ensure that it can function properly. (Read an article about hydration in colder weather here) Coming into college, I bought the 6-cup Brita Filter (I think it’s called “Slim”) which worked great and fit perfectly inside my mini fridge. Since moving into an apartment, I wish I would’ve gotten the larger size so I could wait longer in between refills.
Hot Chocolate (Tucker’s Essential)
His exact words were, “Always hot chocolate in the cold months.” It gets pretty chilly here in the Midwest (sometimes earlier/later than usual) in the fall and there are few sensations greater than drinking in a hug in the form of a hot chocolate when you get home. Growing up, I always made hot chocolate with water, but around my senior year of high school I started making my own peppermint mochas (thank you, Starbucks for creating this obsession) using hot chocolate mix, milk and those hard peppermint candies. I haven’t gone back to using water since – okay, okay I use water when I’m in a pinch, but it’s significantly tastier with milk, if you can imagine that. Would you be interested in seeing my recipe for homemade peppermint mochas? Let me know!
What are your cold weather kitchen essentials?