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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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
What Exactly Is Red Light Therapy?
Every so often, a new skincare trend surfaces on our social media feeds that seem equally as satisfying as it is promising. In this case, red light therapy has been gaining popularity due to its non-invasive and painless approach. With benefits like reduction in wrinkles, acne scars, and fine lines, it has us asking: Is red light therapy (RLT) the beauty secret that you should know, or just a passing fad?
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses low-level red light wavelengths to help promote skin health, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. The treatment is typically performed by exposing your skin to a red light lamp, device, or laser to your skin.
Within the cells of our skin are tiny powerhouses called mitochondria that soak up the red light and generate more energy. Experts say the benefits of red and near-infrared light therapy on a cellular level, include promoting the growth and function of mitochondria and promoting wound healing.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy works by penetrating the skin at a depth of around 5mm, where it stimulates the production of collagen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Collagen is a protein that gives skin its elasticity and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, while ATP is a molecule that provides energy to cells, which helps them to function more efficiently. So you can kiss those acne scars, and premature fine lines goodbye.
What Are The Benefits of Red Light Therapy?
One of the most significant benefits of RLT is its ability to improve skin health. It has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the texture and tone of the skin. It can also help to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and age spots.
RLT has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce pain and swelling in joints and muscles. This makes it an effective treatment for conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.
Beyond the enhancements it can make to your skin, RLT can also help to improve sleep quality. We know that getting our beauty rest is just as essential to our skin health as our skin routine, so using red light to stimulate the production of melatonin, can be an impactful way to regulate sleep patterns and reduce insomnia.
Is Red Light Therapy Worth Trying?
Although there is promising research and results around the usage of, according to experts, it is still uncertain whether red light therapy (RLT) is effective for all of its claimed uses. Despite this, the benefits that have been linked to this device are reason enough to test it out on your own.
If you’re looking to get try red light therapy for yourself, there are many at-home devices that you can use to test out the treatment. However, it’s always recommended that you consult a board-certified dermatologist prior to attempting red light therapy on your own.
Still, if red light therapy sounds like it could be the next best skincare treatment you need in your routine, we’ve provided a list of the best masks, wands, and devices to get your hands on.
Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite Dpl FaceWare Pro
SolaWave Advanced Skincare Wand
GYH LED Beauty Mask
HigherDOSE Red Light Therapy Face Mask
Skin Gym WrinkLit LED Mask
NEWKEY LED Light Therapy Face Mask
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