There is no way for me to hide the absolute joy unspeakable that I have about the fact that fall is just a few days away (September 22)! While there are a billion-and-one things that I adore about this time of the year, one of my favorites is preparing warm dishes, on purpose, to contrast the cooler weather that's headed our way.
At this point, it's kinda becoming a tradition for me to share some of the food trends that are big during each year. So why break with tradition, right? If you enjoy cooking (or you're so-so about it but you want to cook more this fall), here are 10 popular things that totally hit the spot when it comes to autumn-focused foods and drinks (by the way, all of the hyperlinks on foods are connected to recipes. Enjoy!).
1. All Things Apple
It's kinda crazy that we see apples all year-round considering they are in season from late July thru early November yet we'll have to get into the kind of preservatives that are oftentimes put in foods so that we can eat them 12 months out of the year at another time. For now, what I'll say is since the fall is harvest season and apples are being picked in abundance during this time of the year, this is when you should enjoy making as many apple-inspired meals as possible. Apple pie. Apple crisp. Apple butter. Applesauce. Apple waffles. You name it.
2. All Things Pumpkin
You already know. The signature fruit for fall is definitely the pumpkin. Makes sense too since it's in season from mid-September through November. While the first dish that probably comes to your mind is pumpkin pie, don't sleep on other ones like pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes and even pumpkin milkshakes!
If you've ever wondered what the differences are between a cup of espresso vs. a cup of coffee, the short long of it is they both are brewed differently which results in espresso being a thicker and more concentrated form of whatever coffee bean you're consuming. It's also like taking "a shot" of the bean because while coffee servings are oftentimes eight ounces, espresso is usually just one.
That said, as far as heaping hot brews go, this year, it's espresso that's getting a lot of attention. If you're curious about what some of the current best beans are, Roasty Coffee did an article on the topic. You can check it out here.
Again, since fall is harvest season, I shouldn't be shocked in the least, just how much I've been reading about pickled veggies. Basically, when you choose to pickle a food, you are allowing it to ferment in a brine or vinegar solution (think cucumbers turning into pickles). The health benefits of pickling are pretty cool because it can help you to better digest your food, curb sugar spikes, increase your antibiotic intake, treat muscle cramps and balance your electrolytes. Plus, pickling is so much better for you than canned goods. If you'd like to attempt to do some pickling this fall, it's a lot easier to do than you might think. Click here to watch a video that will walk you through it.
5. Hot Chicken “Junk Food”
I live in Nashville, so of course, I smiled when I saw that hot chicken was a big fall food trend right now (I mean, Nashville Hot Chicken, right?). Hot chicken burgers. Buffalo chicken pizza. Hot chicken wings. Hot chicken chili. Homemade buffalo chicken sauce. If hot chicken is totally your thing, then this is totally your season to dig all the way in!
6. Sweet Potatoes
I like sweet potatoes a lot. One, because they taste great and two, because they're considered to be a perfect food (that basically means that they have a ton of nutrients in them). This is another food that goes really well with being a fall food trend because it's harvested between September and early October. Sweet potato fries. Mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potato cornbread. Sweet potato guacamole. And definitely sweet potato pie. You can't go wrong with putting some of these in your grocery cart. That's for sure.
Whether you realize it or not, whether it was intentional or not, I'm pretty sure that you've had a mocktail before. It's simply a cocktail that doesn't have any alcohol in it and this is another thing that is big this fall season. I mentioned in the intro that I would hyperlink recipes to all of the specific kinds of foods that I mention. Well, for this, I decided to share mocktails that have a fall theme to them. Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail. Sparkling Citrus Pomegranate Mocktail. Non-Alcoholic Sangria. Maple Pear Sparkler. Mocktail Kahlua Coffee Frappuccino. These are just some of the ones that particularly caught my eye.
8. Vegetarian Soups
Ah. Vegetarian soups. This makes me think about the interesting relationship that I have with tomato soup. For one thing, I absolutely have to crave it. Secondly, I don't really like it unless I can have a homemade grilled cheese sandwich along with it. And boy, if that doesn't say "welcome to fall", I'm not sure what does.
Quinoa Vegetarian Soup with Kale. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup. The Absolute Best Lentil Soup. Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili. Classic Minestrone Soup. Lawd, is there anything better than curling up on your couch when it's cold outside and sipping on a cup of hot homemade soup? I doubt it. I seriously do.
9. Comfort Foods
Comfort foods are just that — foods that bring us comfort, joy and relaxation. The challenge with consuming them all of the time is many of them are high in sugar and/or carbs. Still, being that comfort foods are another huge fall food trend, try to not totally deprive yourself of things like macaroni and cheese, chicken and waffles, deep dish pizza, lasagna (meat here and veggie here) and whatever it is that your favorite auntie likes to make around the holiday season. The way I see it, comfort foods shouldn't be avoided, just consumed in moderation. Enjoy, sis.
Raise your hand if you're shocked that tea is a big fall food trend. If anything, I'm thinking that we're all giving a collective "duh". Still, since herbal tea helps to hydrate, boost immunity, improve digestion, prevent chronic diseases and even stimulate brain function, definitely take out a few moments to check out my shout-out to teas via "10 Hot Drinks To Keep You Warm This Fall & Winter" and "10 'Uncommon' Teas You Should Add To Your Stash (& Why)". So, set aside a weekend to finish that book you've been trying to get around to all year-long and don't forget to have a warm cup of tea while you do it. It's one of the best ways to ring in the fall season. No doubt about it.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood