I don't know about y'all, but there's not one thing that I can think of that I don't like about this time of year. And while I typically cook, at least four times out of each week, there is something about the cool autumn air that beckons me to spend more time in the kitchen, coming up with dishes that will make me feel all warm and cozy inside.
While I was looking for a couple of new recipes to try, I happened upon some fall food trends that I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about. All of them are delicious. All of them are easy to come by. And, best of all, all of them are sure to make your autumn menus even more divine.
1. Edible Containers
While I definitely don't like a messy kitchen (yuck), I must admit that, unlike a lot of my friends, I am not the kind of person who is gonna have a coronary if a dish is in the sink when I turn in at night. That might be why I was so geeked when I saw that one of the current big food trends right now are edible containers. In short, it's basically what the phrase says—containers that you can eat once you finish eating whatever is inside of them.
For instance, I really like to put homemade soup into some bread. It's sooooo good. While it might look bougie, this is actually one of the easiest dishes on the planet to make. If you don't wanna make your own soup, all you need to do is get some round bread loaves from your local grocery store. Cut about 1/3" deep circle around the top of each loaf. Heat up some soup (or stew) and pour it into the hole. Whew, chile! By the way, if you wanna impress yourself and make some bread bowls yourself, I found a pretty cool recipe here so that you can do just that.
I actually grew up consuming more carob (at least in my home) than chocolate. While it doesn't quite hit the mark of the deliciousness of chocolate, it's honestly not all that far off and is a viable chocolate alternative.
On the health tip, carob is good for you because it contains no caffeine, is gluten-free, is super high in potassium and calcium, and it's low in fat and sodium. Carob is also high in fiber and antioxidants too.
I personally like carob in the form of a cup of hot carob milk or even carob brownies. If you want to take a stab at either one, a recipe for the drink is here; the ones for brownies is here. Having both of these on a cold autumn day while watching a throwback movie? Life doesn't get much better than that.
Something else that has been a big food trend, pretty much all year-long, has been drinks that are low in alcohol. Now before y'all completely side-eye me on this (because I KNOW y'all ain't giving up any red wine any time soon), this doesn't mean you've gotta totally go without. Again, we're just talking about actual trends here.
As far as wine goes, the kind that is super popular right now is Piquette. If you're not particularly familiar, in a nutshell, it's a wine that's made from the skins, seeds, stems and pulp that remains after grapes are processed in order to make wine in the first place. As a result, in contains somewhere between 4-9 percent alcohol while more traditional brands have somewhere between 12-15 percent. So, if you wanna still toss a couple of glasses back but you also want to be cognizant of how much alcohol you take into your system, Piquette is a really dope compromise.
4. Tajin Seasoning
If you're someone who likes to experiment with seasonings a lot—or you've just started cooking at home more and you want to learn about other ingredients that you can add to your favorite dishes—how about adding Tajin (pronounced ta-heen) seasoning to your pantry? It's a seasoning that is popular in a lot of Mexican cuisine. As far as what it tastes like, tangy lime is probably the best description. A lot of people use it as a meat rub, as a complement for any recipes that have foods like pineapples and cucumbers in it, and it tends to go in alcoholic drinks like margaritas and Micheladas as well. I don't know about y'all, but I can do some fish tacos or chicken quesadillas any time of year, so yeah…this seasoning trend is good news to know about. (You can usually find it at your local grocery store, by the way.)
5. Chocolate Chili
Chili is that stick-to-your-ribs-when-it's-freezing kind of meal and I'm totally here for it! Believe it or not, it's actually got its fair share of health benefits too. Thanks to the beans and/or meat in chili, it's filled with protein. The beans also mean that chili has quite a bit of fiber in it. Ingredients like peppers provide antioxidants, and chilies specifically, contain endorphin and serotonin that can help you to feel calmer and relaxed. As a bonus, believe it or not, capsaicin (an active component in chili peppers) can actually curb sugar cravings too.
While chili is pretty much "in" during any time of the year, a particular kind that is a big trend this fall season is chocolate chili. No, it's not about putting a couple of Kit Kats into an already-made bowl; it's about adding some pure dark chocolate into the mix. Health-wise, dark chocolate adds more antioxidants into your chili; taste-wise, it makes the recipe so much thicker and richer. If you wanna give chocolate chili a shot, click here for a "regular" recipe and here for a Mexican-style one.
6. Honey Butter
Now, if there is something that I can testify about, it's honey butter! If you want to know the difference between butter vs. margarine, Medical News Today has a good read on it here. Anyway, if you like to have a slice of toast or a bagel in the morning, putting a little honey butter on either one is about as good on the cinnamon toast that a lot of us adored as children. Not only does honey butter taste really good, honey has all kinds of health benefits. Some of them include the fact that it's also a food that is high in antioxidants (the kind that can help to keep your blood pressure low), and it can help to improve your cholesterol levels and suppress coughing; especially in children. As far as the kind of honey that's best, raw or manuka are your best bet because honey offers more nutrients whenever it is in its purest form.
7. Chickpea Crust (or Pinsa)
I don't know about y'all but, to me, it seems like the past couple of years, all I've been hearing about is cauliflower rice and crust (both ain't half bad either). Well, as we're easing into 2021, what is getting its time to shine is chickpea flour (which is how you can make chickpea crust). Chickpeas are good for you because they're a good source of protein and fiber, along with folate and manganese. If you're looking for something that will help to regular your blood sugar levels, keep your weight in check, support digestion and even help to fight against heart disease and cancer, chickpeas will do it.
The reason why it's on the list of fall food trends especially, is because another popular food for this season is pinsa. What's that? It's a kind of pizza that is lighter and healthier than more popular kinds. If nothing makes you happier than a slice of pizza on a cool autumn day, you can get a recipe on how to make traditional pinsa here and a recipe for how to make gluten-free chickpea pizza crust here.
8. Blue Tea
While I was checking out 2020 food trends, my something new for the day that I came across was blue tea. First, a part of the reason why it makes the list because Pantone's color of this year is blue. From a color psychology standpoint, I'm a fan of blue because it symbolizes things like calm, wisdom and tranquility so, already I'm down to give blue tea a shot.
From what I've read, it's a drink that is loaded with antioxidants and anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels, it helps to reduce anxiety and stress, it detoxifies your system and (get this) blue tea also can help to reduce a fever too. So clearly, you can see why a warm cup of it would be perfect during the autumn and winter seasons.
(A reportedly great brand is Wild Hibiscus Flower Co. Heart-Tee Blue Tee.)
Pretty much, no matter what article that I read on this year's food trends (including the ones that specifically referenced the fall season), lasagna kept on coming up. From what I researched, there's no real rhyme or reason for why this dish is such a fall fan favorite. It's simply a comfort food that restaurants and home-cooking folks alike are serving up quite a bit right now.
By the way, if you want to try a take on lasagna that doesn't include pasta noodles, I sometimes make mine with zucchini instead. You can use a vegetable peeler to remove the hard skin and then to create "noodles" with what's inside of it. Zucchini is an awesome alternative because, health-wise, it's low in fat while being high in Vitamin A and also containing a good amount of manganese, fiber, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamins C and K. Zucchini aids in health digestion, improves heart health, helps to keep your vision strong, lowers cholesterol levels and, thanks to the lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene that's also in zucchini, it's the kind of vegetable that helps to delay aging signs too. If you'd like to try this twist to traditional lasagna, you can check out a recipe here.
A lot of people in my world are flexitarians. Those are individuals who are vegetarians most of them time, but they do eat meat and/or fish from time to time. While veganism has been all the rage for the past few years, it's actually flexitarianism that is creeping its way onto the scene. It can consist of putting some meat on a salad sometimes, enjoying salmon with your grilled veggies or doing something like making homemade turkey burgers with vegetables like mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in them.
Flexitarianism is a great way to stay on top of your fruits and veggies without feeling guilty about enjoying a turkey leg, some pot roast or anything else your heart desires this holiday season. So, enjoy it and all of these fall food trends, sis. Fully.
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her. I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
"I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her."
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube
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Whoever coined the phrase, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” certainly was not referring to the state of our dating scene. Whether online or in real life, you don't have to go far to hear the grievances of singles calling for the immediate repair of all leaks, cracks, and fractures in the dating pool.
No matter the state you live in, your age, how much you earn for a living, or if you’re a chronic app dater, there’s a general consensus that something (anything) must be done to restore the hope of singles looking for long-term, fulfilling relationships. And as many of us hold on to the hope for an unexpected cross-encounter with our next love story, others are leaning on the side of giving up completely. But before throwing in the towel, it might be time to make a few adjustments.
Dating Apps Are In Their Flop Era, Making Connections IRL Is Where It's At
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Many singles agree that spending their leisure time swiping through dating apps is out. What’s in is stepping out of one's comfort zone to make connections in the real world. Scary. We know. But unless you were one of the lucky few to find love on dating apps before its flop era or made a love connection from home during the pandemic, going about your dating life the same way is bound to render the same results: being single with a headache. And we want better for you.
It’s safe to say that constantly meeting strangers off the internet for a chance to find love has lost its charm, leaving singles open to the train, farmer’s market, the gym, or a friend’s house party to be prime real estate for matching up with potential partners.
This shift, as Marissa Nelson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and BLK’s Relationship and Intimacy Expert tells xoNecole, is due in part to a growing concern about the authenticity of online profiles — in other words: is what you’re seeing, in fact, what you’re getting? “From their profile picture, what they say they do, the height they say they are; it’s this fear of, ‘Am I really talking to who I think I'm speaking to?'” she explains.
On our journey to finding “the one” out in the real world, a common question is, “Where do you find the available singles?” The short answer is, everywhere. The long answer is at the grocery store, on a plane, during happy hours, at work, at a conference, on a solo vacation, or, as Nelson puts it, anywhere you are showing up as your most open and vulnerable self.
“You never know where the connection is going to come from, which is why it's even more important to be receptive, to stay open, be curious, and lean into your vulnerability,” she says. In fact, Nelson encourages singles to release themselves of the rigidity around finding the perfect person at the “perfect” place, because, in essence, there isn’t one. “We have to let go of the constraints that we can only go to singles events to meet people,” she says. “We have to be open to however love shows up.”
"We have to let go of the constraints that we can only go to singles events to meet people. We have to be open to however love shows up."
We all can relate to the fact that the idea of shooting our shot in real life is a lot more exciting than the actual act. The relationship expert explains that one of the greatest hesitations to us putting ourselves out there and taking a chance on love is rooted in the fear of rejection. However, it’s important to keep in mind that “we’ve all been hurt” and most importantly, “we’re all afraid of rejection.”
That’s why Nelson suggests the following strategies to make the first move and find love in your everyday life.
1. Don't close yourself off.
“When you relax your expectations, you start to meet really cool people. Some of those cool people became friends and that makes your life richer because now, you have new friends and great people to hang out with. Even if it wasn't a love match, it can become a significant or meaningful friendship.”
2. Don't let your "type" hold you back.
“We all have a type. And a lot of women will say, ‘I like them tall. I like them like this or that.’ When we’re rigid about who we believe we ought to be with versus being open to people who might be more aligned with our values, we close ourselves off. Sure, you're not going to date somebody that you are absolutely not attracted to. But people have a lot of unwritten rules around who they will allow themselves to get to know, and I challenge people to challenge their rules because that can hold you back from expansive experiences.”
3. Make the first move.
“I think that if we can be bold, be brave, and if there's somebody that's good-looking, catches your eye, or just seems like they have a good vibe, we can approach them with curiosity. Ask them how they're doing. Introduce yourself. It doesn't have to lead to all these things; you can just have chemistry and flow from there.”
4. Ask better questions.
“When you meet someone for the first time, asking them ‘What do you do?’ is not the best first question because that only tells you what they do for money, not necessarily what they're passionate about. To get insight into who that person truly is, ask: What are you passionate about in your life right now? What lights you up? What excites you? What are you working towards?”
5. Shift your mindset.
“We've all been hurt. And we can be guarded because we don't want to get hurt again. The brain is a very complex and brilliant system designed to keep us safe, and emotional survival is a real thing. We become super protective, and in that, we come up with a lot of different rules, paradigms, [and] belief systems. The biggest mindset shift is: how can we do our own work to know and believe that we are worthy and deserving of love.”
Whether you’re on a dating app or roaming your local Trader Joe’s, love is everywhere — and the abundance of love is available to us once we remove limiting beliefs that make it feel scarce and out of reach. Vulnerability, shedding our walls, and openness just might be the tweaks we need to snitch up the dating streets and watch it heal for the better.
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