An (un)healthy Obsession

The internet has an unhealthy obsession with fall.

Fall is when the weather cools, the sweaters come out, and the leaves start bleeding their last glorious bits of colour, phoenixes making their last stand before the bareness of winter. Youtube beauty gurus start rocking their dark lip colours, Starbucks brings out its infamous PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte), and Tumblr explodes in frantic anticipation for Halloween.

The food blogosphere doesn’t get left out of this fall fever either – all the comfort foods of the colder months start popping up, with their squashes and tubers, stews and casseroles.

Now, my favourite time of year is the Christmas holidays. For starters, I get to go home (albeit for a measly two weeks). And home is where the food is. And home is where the mountains are. And home is where the friends are. Yes, home is definitely where the heart is. But I digress. Giving and receiving gifts, going to gatherings of friends and family – no other holiday can compare to Christmas.

But if you were to ask me which season is my favourite, I’m afraid I would have to say autumn. I’m not ashamed to admit my love for steaming mugs of tea and warm chunky sweaters and sweet kabocha squash, the glorious fall sun and the flaming fall colours.

And so when the temperature suddenly dropped a few weeks ago here in Toronto, I wrapped myself up in my favourite giant orange scarf and went grocery shopping.

And made myself a huge pot of moroccan stew.

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Moroccan-Style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
Recipe adapted from The First Mess

Ingredients
1 tbsp of cooking oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can chickpeas
salt
pepper
cilantro, chopped
cooked rice and quinoa

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Lower the heat and add the onions, and let them sizzle until they’re starting to get soft and translucent. Then toss in the spices – cinnamon, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes – and stir until the onions are really soft. Add the garlic and sauté until it starts smelling amazing. Now for the bulk: add the carrots and sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes, and stir again. Pour in the stock, and then let the soup boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Now stir in the yellow peppers and chickpeas. Season again to taste. Let the pot keep on simmering away until the peppers are tender and sweet potatoes are soft. If you like, add in some greens (spinach, kale, etc, your choice) and let them cook till just wilted. Right before serving, top with your grain and herbs.

And then wrap yourself in your softest blanket and enjoy.

On a side note, please excuse the photo quality. I’m stuck using my phone right now – a nice camera is still on the list of expensive things to buy.
-Helena

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