Fall Recipes

by Honolulu Mother

Moving through September and into October doesn’t make much of a difference in the weather here, but I still start to think of making more pumpkin or apple based recipes, perhaps inspired by the Halloween stuff appearing in stores. For those of you in temperate climes, I’m sure your cooking style changes more noticeably with the seasons. So, please share some of your favorite fall recipes!

Here’s a collection to get you started:

Fall Recipes

And, here’s a recipe for a simple apple bundt cake — I don’t have my copy on hand but I found a copy online:

Apple Dapple Cake


140 thoughts on “Fall Recipes

  1. Related: DW, her sister, and others are constantly mocking the “pumpkin spice everything” that becomes the seasonally prevalent flavor as fall approaches. e.g. http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer

    We did cook a pork roast for dinner this past weekend and had the leftovers a couple of days ago…perfect meal for a cooler day. Pork roast recipe from The Campus Survival Cookbook which DW had in grad school (still available)

  2. I love fall cooking, but loathe the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice”. They even put it in my hard cider!

  3. I finally had a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte for the first time the other day. It was surprisingly good! I say surprisingly because I usually find Starbucks fancy drinks too sweet, but this one was not.

    Another trendy combination has been salt and caramel. I made some salted caramel cookies that were a hit, and caramel apple pie is good.

  4. This post is pretty perfectly timed for me. When my parents come down in a couple weeks, I plan to bake a cake for Saac & Dad’s birthdays. Mom has lost her sweet tooth, which is good, because ‘saac & I don’t like super sweet, and she needs to stay on the lower end of sugar content. Neither she nor ‘saac like spicey gingerbread like I do, but I’m going to try to find a not-too-spicey spicecake that we can all enjoy. I know aspartame, etc exist, but I’d rather just not have so much sweet in the first place, or maybe use applesauce or something as a sweetener.

  5. Oh, yeah. This is when I am glad to turn the oven on again — braises, casseroles, and baked goods. Or stews. Even when it’s not actually cold out, it feels like it’s time to snuggle up and watch football and have something hearty and comforting. And pumpkin pie!!

    I actually tend to get more excited to cook in the fall and winter. Summer, man, don’t want to run the oven, and there are only so many times you can grill something and plop it next to a salad without getting bored. Plus it’s so hot that you don’t even want to go outside — it’s movie or mall or boring stuff. The best of summer is lazy — lounging at the beach, working in my berries, slow walks for ice cream cones.

    Fall is energy. It’s a relief: the heat breaks and you are newly invigorated, because now you want to go out and do stuff again. But you also know it won’t last — that little nip in the air reminds you of the long cold that will soon come, so better enjoy it while you can AND get ready for what’s coming. So it’s sort of two layers of excitement — the relief to be out and doing fun stuff again, together with the urgency to prepare for what’s to come. Whatever it is, as soon as the heat snaps every year, I am suddenly energized and almost overwhelmed by the desire both to go on long hikes/explore/etc. and to make baked goods and Big Pots O’Stuff.

    When winter actually arrives, there is just nothing more homey than being inside my nice warm house with warm, comforting foods simmering in the background and everyone around the table. It’s like a little primal inside glow of happy that we are all here and safe and snug. Fall is the foreshadowing. You can be out enjoying your gorgeous day, and then you get that cold breeze out of nowhere that reminds you of what is around the bend. I know for some people that is depressing, but for me it triggers the happy of soon we will be snuggled up and hibernating. So it’s a two-fer: I get have the immediate happy of heat relief and activity, together with periodic reminders that winter is around the corner and soon I will be making my family safe and snug.

    Did I mention I *love* fall??? Now if only it would stop being grey and drizzly and we could have some of those lovely crisp days with the clear blue sky.

    Oh, right, recipes: one of my favorites is a beef and Guinness stew — basically a bunch of onions, a little tomato paste, beef stock, Guinness, and a slow-cooked cut of beef; I serve it with blue cheese toast. Had it in a restaurant in Colorado Springs and had to re-create it. And pumpkin bread — I make it with extra pumpkin and some oat bran (which seems to help soak up the extra liquid but keept it all moist) and brown sugar instead of white.

  6. I love this post. However, it’s hard to get into the Fall spirit when it’s still 90 degrees outside. That said, I am buying our pumpkins and decorative gourds this weekend. : )

  7. Ugh, official Fall Recipes are my least favorite category. of food. I detest cooked apple, I detest pumpkin, and I completely agree with Anthony Bourdain on the subject of pumpkin spice http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anthony-bourdain-reddit-ama-pumpkin-spice_us_57e27cd8e4b0e28b2b512c68

    Happily, it has been a hot sunny summer, so my tomatoes, pole beans and cucumbers are still coming. I will just pretend it is summer for as long as I can, and then segue straight to Christmas

  8. Pumpkin does not belong in coffee. Pumpkin does not belong in beer. Pumpkin does not belong in chili. Pumpkin does not belong on a donut. And pumpkin really really really does not belong inside a ravioli.
    Pumpkin only belongs in one place: pie.

  9. Kate – I make that chicken in milk recipe a lot and it is great!

    It’s only going to be 78 today which makes my heart sing a little.:) It’s hard to get into fall when it has been so hot here. I’d really prefer it to be in the high 60s and be able to wear some sweaters once October comes.

    I made an apple crisp last weekend when we had dinner with some friends which was good. It was Ina Garten’s recipe and called for orange peel and lemon peel mixed in with the apples and sugar. It gave it an interesting but yummy taste.

    I’m probably going to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this afternoon because DS has been asking. No one else really likes pumpkin around here.

    I also made this pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving last year and it was really good (and I don’t usually like pumpkin pie). http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pumpkin-icebox-pie-with-snickerdoodle-crust-56390159

  10. I love all things fall, as well. And September and the early part of October are my absolute least favorite times in Houston. While all the commercials show cozy sweaters and boots, and college football is back on, like Houston said – it is still 90 here. Soul crushing.

    Here is a full recipe from my childhood that my sister and I have just started making again. My grandmother used to make this apple cake. It is not the exact same as my grandmothers recipe but it very close, and I don’t have to type this one. It is actually even better on the second day. https://www.google.com/amp/s/smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/moms-apple-cake/amp/?client=safari

    Some of my other favorite fall things are shepherds pie, enchilada casserole, and homemade soup’s. I also usually switch to red wine from white wine at this time of year, because it just seems more in tune with the fall.

    I am looking for a good chicken and dumplings, or chicken noodle-y type recipe if anyone has one you recommend.

  11. When my lunch places start offering soups I know it is fall. I love clam chowder but here it is reserved for the colder part of our winter. I have also tried to get used to gumbo and chili. But kind of iffy on those. I don’t care for turkey chili that much.

  12. I never understand how people can all be so cheery and wholesome in fall, when the season is really about dying plants and leaves…
    I hate football, and I hate tailgate picnics even more. Folks, if it is so cold that you need a jacket or heavy sweater, it is TOO FRICKING COLD to be eating outside!!!

    The Grinch Of The Fall

  13. And I make soup all summer. It is one of the best summer things to make because the slow cooker doesn’t make the kitchen hot, and the veggies are really good.

  14. I have an easy, semi-homemade chicken and dumplings recipe I’ve been making forever. I forgot who gave me this recipe. If you don’t like Bisquick, you can make biscuits from scratch.

    Chicken and dumplings

    12 thighs skinned with or without bones
    6 tablespoons butter
    6 tablespoons flour
    4 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 to 2 cups water and milk mixture
    Frozen peas and carrots and chopped onions
    Paprika, salt, pepper
    3 cups Bisquick
    1 cup milk

    Place chicken in 11 x 15″ roasting pan with 2 or 3 inch sides, leaving space between the pieces. Make gravy in a sauce pan by melting butter whisking in the flour and adding broth. Bring to a boil stirring. Pour this gravy (it will be rather thin) over chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Add onions and carrots. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 35 to 40 minutes

    Meanwhile make dumplings by stirring milk into Bisquick with a fork. Remove chicken from oven and with 2 tablespoons plop the dumplings dough here and there between the chicken pieces. Add peas. Baste dumplings and chicken with gravy in roasting pan. Cover with foil tightly but with a dome to allow dumplings to rise. Put covered pan back in oven and bake for another 20 minutes.

  15. I’ve never eaten chicken and dumplings, which is amazing because it is such an iconic dish. But I also just read that only 1 in 5 millenials has ever tried a Big Mac, which is even more amazing.

  16. Mooshi, pumpkin spice is not pumpkin flavored. It is the spice combo typically used with pumpkins, eg in a pie.

  17. Mooshi, you, of all people, plan to “just pretend it is summer for as long as I can, and then segue straight to Christmas”, skipping Halloween?

  18. Halloween isn’t really an eating holiday though, unless you count making yourself barf on candy corn and bite sized Three Musketeers

  19. I’ve never tried a Big Mac either – not that I didn’t frequent McDonalds as a kid, but I was more of a single cheeseburger gal and still am.

    LfB basically captured my feelings about fall/winter. It’s just so homey to cook these comforting foods, have a hot drink and be inside by a fire.

  20. I don’t believe the McDonalds statistic. It seems that it’s initially reported in the WSJ, and that article cites only a “memo” from a franchisee.


  21. I had a few Big Macs as a kid but I never liked them. The sauce is nasty. We only ate in McDonalds when I was a kid if we were travelling. I always stuck to the Filet O’ Fish or the nuggets, and I continue that practice even today.

  22. I just went to Target to buy Halloween decorations. My kids had been begging to decorate for Halloween after seeing everyone else’s yard and so I finally caved.

  23. I have never had a Big Mac. I always get a kid’s meal with hamburger. I was not pleased when they started giving apple slices and took away half the fries. I am not eating chemical laden apple slices when I could eat chemical laden fried potatoes, TYVM.

  24. It doesn’t suprise me, because the statistic is just about Big Macs. Millenials are in the age group most likely to have dined in McDonalds as kids, when they would typically have been eating chicken nuggets in a Happy Meal (I don’t think those have Big Macs as a choice). By the time they were old enough to be making their own food choices, the fast food market had expanded a lot. As late teens or twenty somethings, they are more likely to go to a Shake Shack or SmashBurger

  25. I remember when Big Maca came out, but they were too big for me, and we never ate at McD’s anyway. I used to occasionally get a fish sandwich there, in my 20s & 30s, and we occasionally enjoy their sundaes. I guess my son, born in 2002, is a Millenial. He has never eaten a Big Mac

  26. MM – I’ve ordered the Filet O Fish sandwich as an adult but the cheese on top is gross. We only go to McDonalds when we’re traveling and there are no other options but I do like the fries. My kids really like Wendy’s for some reason which I hate (because the fries are mushy) and around here if we do fast food, it’s Chik-fil-A.

  27. Speaking of millenial food, I had occassion to eat at a trendy millenial restaurant in Manhattan last week. It was a place that only sold trendy tacos. It featured every millenial restaurant trope you could think of : communal tables made out of industrial wood, a ping pong table in an industrial glassed off booth, portion sizes that made absolutely no sense at all so you had to quiz the server on every last d@mn item, cauliflower appearing in dishes that it should never appear in, $20 cocktails with ingredients like elderberry/bacon/ginger/artisinal rum, lights so dim we all had our cellphone flashlights on to see the food, and an utter lack of plates or concessions to the idea that one might want to conveniently eat the food.

    To add to the fun, I had DS2 and DD with me. We were meeting a couple of the Maker Faire organizers who are old family friends. DH had a cold and DS1 had too much homework so they were not there. The two kids with me were starving too.

    So we ended up with chips and guacamole, which were good, but there were only like 10 chips in the bowl so we were all fighting over them. But then the next problem was that the only food choices were these teeny small plate tacos, or entrees that were meant to be shared “by 3 people” according to the waiter. WTF? Who shares with 3 people? Anyway, I knew we were hungry, so I got the stewed pork shank with tortillas for myself and DS2, and lamb – roti tacos for DD (and sorry, but I don’t think you can call it a taco if it involves roti). This is where the fun began. The pork shank was literally an entire pork shank, a big hunk o’ meat, in a deep bowl, with one knife that was so small and dull that it had no impact on the hunk. And the bowl was so deep,you couldn’t get the knife in. And there were no plates. So DS and I took turns kind of sawing at the hunk. Finally, in desperation, because we were hungry, we just used our fingers and ripped at the dang thing. We managed to eat all of it, but it was a workout.

    ANd what is with the utter lack of starches in these millenial places??? Are they all on paleo diets?

    WHen I got home, I got out some bread and ate a sandwich because I was still hungry.

  28. S&M, I think our kids are too young to be milllenials. I think the term refers to 20-somethings

  29. “S&M, I think our kids are too young to be milllenials. I think the term refers to 20-somethings”

    Popularly, yes. They’re the ones living with their parents, not having any sex, etc.

    But the oldest Millenials, according to Pew, turned 36 this year. We’re middle-aged. And when we grew out of Happy Meals, Big Mac was it. There was no Five Guys or Shake Shack.

    Plus, McD’s is still very popular in terms of volume and market share. It’s always busy. Now, I have mentioned how they’ve quietly instituted a two-tier pricing system, and I’m sure that hurts Big Mac sales, but I don’t believe the 1 in 5.

  30. But they just aren’t, the same way that Obama is not a Baby Boomer despite having been born in 1961. Obama is far more typical of Gen X than the Baby Boom. I think the boundaries are always a bit fuzzy.
    I think Millenials are those born in the 80’s through mid 90’s

  31. Milo, I’ve never thought of you & my son as the same generation. Make me old, whydoncha
    But he does live with me, and does not have sex.
    A generation is usually considered to be 20 years, so all he bars in ha chart are of equal, 20 year, length b

  32. I like BK’s flame grilled Whopper. Not impressed by the Smashburger near us. We have local fancy burger chains that are popular but those are very much sit down restaurants with lots of burger options, ribs and hefty salads.

  33. I love soup and one of my favorites is Italian Beef Barley.

    3-4 lbs short ribs or beef back ribs – I started using the beef back ribs when the short ribs got to $7,29 per pound and the back ribs were $ 3.49 per pound (I found I like the back ribs a little better than the short ribs – have a little more flavor,
    1 to 2 onions chopped
    1-3 carrots chopped
    2-4 cloves of garlic chopped
    1 quart beef broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
    1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes (prefer Cento)
    1/2 cup red wine
    1-2 bay leaves
    1 – 2 tsp of italian seasoning depending on preference
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 cup pearled barley
    vegetables – fresh or frozen – If make it with vegetables I usually add a large bag of Hanover Gold mixed vegetables.

    Heat equal parts of olive oil and butter. Dredge ribs in flour and brown on all sides, Saute the onions, carrots and garlic until onions are soft. Add all the other ingredients except barley and vegetables. Let simmer for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Shut off and pull bones and any loose meat from pot and let cool until you can pull the meat off the bones, rough chop and put back in pot.

    At this point you can either de-fat the broth or put it in refrigerator for several hours or overnight, Take the fat off the top and heat the broth and meat. You might have to return a smidge of fat for flavor. Bring to a boil and then a simmer, Add the barley and vegetables and simmer until done, Adjust seasonings.

    Very favorite Gingersnap Cookie – very old recipe.


    3/4 cup shortening
    1 c. sugar
    4 tbsp Molasses
    1 egg, well beaten
    2 cups flour
    2 tsp, baking soda
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    1 tsp Ginger
    1 tsp Nutmeg

    Cream shortenubg and sugar together thoroughly. Add molasses and well beaten egg. Add sifted dry ingredients and stir until smooth, I use the mixer for this recipe, Roll into walnut sized balls. (I use a small cookie scoop). Roll in additional sugar., Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 9 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake Yield 3 dozen.

    Happy Fall to all who like this season.

  34. Count me with CoC — I adore Big Macs. Big Macs and fries and hash browns are basically the only three things worth a trip to McD’s. Although the fries just can’t ever be as good as I remember them in about 1972, when I’m sure they used all sorts of horrible things in the potatoes and oil.

  35. I have never understood the love for McD’s french fries. They taste like salty greasy cardboard to me. No sense that there ever was a potato in there. But what do I know? I like Belgian fries with mayonnaise

  36. LfB – Actually McDonalds used to cook their fries in beef tallow so they were a lot better for you back in the day.

  37. Also, the potatoes were fresh and prepared on-site. My Girl Scout troop did a tour of a McDonald’s in 1969 and we saw enormous sacks of potatoes in their storage room, waiting to be cleaned and cut into fries.

  38. CoC – I recently tried a Wahlburger burger – YUM! And I liked their fries. Much better than McD and BK. Close to a Bareburger burger.

  39. I worked at McDs in the lste 70’s and never saw a single fresh potato. The fries came frozen in huge bags. The burgers came frozen too, and the onions were dehydrated, in a huge box.

  40. Here’s my Scout troop outside the McD’s, back when little girls were well-behaved.

  41. Another trendy combination has been salt and caramel. </I

    I don't get this at all. I love caramel, but it stands on its own. It doesn't need salt.

  42. I agree that back in the 70s and 80s McD’s had the best fries around. Today, IMO, it’s Five Guys – just spectacular. And then give you a bucketload.

  43. And I’m solidly Gen X and I tried a big mac once in my life. The sauce is disgusting.

  44. Oh, how I looooooove Big Macs! I remember being a kid and thinking my brother was so amazing to be able to eat a Big Mac, and being determined to work up to that myself. Lofty goals.

    I love fall cooking. Love roasting vegetables, love making butternut squash soup (the #1 favorite meal for the littles), love making applesauce, love cooking things with apples, love getting the crock pot out after its summer holiday. Love having something amazing bubbling away on the stove or crockpot as we watch football.

    I have recently started eating vegan. Sigh. I call myself a gregan — a grumpy vegan — because this is not a moral conviction or a happy choice, but only a very desperate move to avoid taking osteoporosis medicine (long story and perhaps a future post – bucking western medicine is really not my jam, so this has been a novel experience). Not only that, but (for the same reason) I’ve cut out all grains but a few (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt – oh my).

    Anyway, because of that, I’m all about the plant-based meals, and I find fall to be the best time for those meals. Fall vegetables are so substantial and satisfying. Also, things like sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute if you’re dying for a piece of bread. I make super thick sweet potato fries with the skins on, and sometimes have those for breakfast if I’m not feeling the spelt toast (and who *is* feeling spelt toast?) Fall veggies are also great as leftovers, and you can mix so many together. Pretty much nightly, I toss a few cookie sheets of fall veggies into the oven to roast, changing up the combinations. They’re great hot or cold imho, so I take them for lunch to the office, eat them for snacks, etc.

    I have several enormous crockery bowls on the counter, one filled with butternut, acorn and spaghetti squashes, one filled with sweet potatoes, one with onions and shallots, one with garlic — makes me happy just looking at all of it. Must add some little pumpkins. Did you know pumpkin seeds are filled with bone-building nutrients? Shall be roasting tons of those guys this fall.

    Tonight, btw, I’m making vegan, gluten-free apple crisp while I watch a nighttime football game. Heaven! (and despite the descriptors, the recipe actually looks pretty tasty).

  45. “You can make biscuits from scratch”. Hahahahaha. My preferred cooking style is more assembly when possible. That recipe sounds great – thanks.

  46. Biscuits r from scratch use about two more ingredients then with Bisquick and bring all the self-satisfaction and self-back-patting rights of long hours of toil

  47. Than not then. New phone case with screen protector is like typing with a condom on so I’m trying to use talk to text

  48. I love fall and there were a few days in the last week that finally felt like fall. I am back in my flip flops today, but it is a perfect day. I almost felt guilty when I saw the weather because it is so dangerous in the south.

    I don’t eat big macs, but I do eat fries and the ice cream at McDonalds. We go there on road trips, but we don’t usually go there if we are local. We do occasionally eat at Wendys or BK if we are local.

    I recently tried a place that I really liked, and I found out that it is a chain. It is called b. good – real fast food. There aren’t a lot of locations, but it is real food that is sourced locally. It is just served quickly.

    I like Wahlburgers, but I still prefer Shake Shack if I have to choose between the two chains.

  49. Chicken and dumplings — my much-beloved recipe from “Cooking Texas Style,” slightly edited:

    Start with 4-5 lbs chicken, cut into pieces (note: sacrilege, but I frequently use boneless skinless chicken breasts just for ease of use). Dredge in flour mixed with salt and pepper and brown in oil. Do not skip this step. Remove, drain excess oil. Add:

    1 onion, chopped,
    2 stalks celery, chopped,
    1-2 carrots, sliced

    Saute until softened. Add 5 c. chicken stock and 1 t. salt (or to taste — I add some now and then adjust at the end). Add chicken back in and simmer until cooked through (for legs/thighs, there is a big margin of error and you can let this go for an hour or more; for boneless breasts, cook gently until just done through). After chicken is done, remove, bone, chop.

    While chicken is cooking, mix 1 1/2 c. flour, 2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. chopped parsley; cut in 3 T. shortening or butter (I use butter). Mix in @3/4 c. milk to form a soft dough.

    In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 c. milk and 5 T. flour together. Mix in some of the chicken stock slowly until smooth.

    When the chicken is done, remove the pot from the stove and whisk in the milk/flour mixture. (Note: if the broth is already thick from the dredging flour, sometimes I skip this step and just add milk at the finish — the sauce part will thicken a little more from the dumplings). Return to the stove and bring to simmer, stirring periodically to avoid clumping. Drop in dumplings by the spoonful. Simmer uncovered for 10 mins, periodically stirring gently and flipping dumplings. Add chicken pieces, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes until dumplings are cooked through.

    You can also add peas if you’re one of *those* people.

  50. I never heard of Wahlburgers, and darn I was just in Coney Island a few weeks ago. I’m sure they would have been better than the hot dogs we had.

    Rocky, those photos are precious. They bring back memories of wearing that uniform.

  51. I heard about Wahlburgers because it was a reality TV show, but there isn’t a location around here. They were supposed to open in/near Times Square, but it never happened. We’ve been to other locations when we were on vacation.

    My husband is very lucky that he has to travel so much to the west coast because he really likes In/Out burger and he can easily get his fix when he is in CA. They are just starting to expand to more states outside of the western US.

  52. Wahlburgers – I was actually in Canada, when I came across one. I had no idea they’d expanded beyond Massachusetts.

  53. I may have to get Shake Shack delivered tonight after all of this fast food talk.

  54. Anon,

    That’s awesome!

    The youngest child of Carroll Livingston Wainwright, a painter, and the former Edith Kingdon Gould, a granddaughter of Jay Gould, Carroll Livingston Wainwright Jr. was born on the streets of New York City, in a Pierce-Arrow, on Dec. 28, 1925.

    His arrival aboard a conveyance (his mother was returning from a party when she went into labor) was in keeping with family tradition: She herself had been born on her father’s yacht.

    A 1925 Pierce-Arrow:

  55. Off-topic but just want to thank everyone for yesterday’s post and comments on college. I have a high school junior so it’s very timely!

  56. Risley – DD went vegan a year ago so I’ve slowly been increasing my vegan repertoire. If I had to go vegan, I would be grumpy and a gregan also.

    My dad is also vegan. It’s a good thing that his favorite drinks (coffee and wine) are both vegan – otherwise I’m not sure he would stay vegan.

  57. SSM – Ben & Jerry’s vegan mocha caramel “ice cream” makes me slightly less grumpy. :)

  58. The Waffle House thing is so, so true. But I had no idea that the gov’t actually followed them! I especially like the tweets in response, like this one:

    “Purpose of a Waffle House:

    1) informally but decisively indicate whether the world is going to be destroyed by God’s wrath,
    2) waffles.”

  59. MooshiMooshi,

    When you make that soup in a slow cooker, do you skip the stir fry step and just dump everything in the slow cooker? Or stir fry first, then scrape into slow cooker and add the liquid?

  60. I have this fancy slow cooker that lets you saute right in it, so that is what I do.

  61. My normal one is ceramic, but my InstantPot in slowcooker mode lets me saute first, so it sounds like that’s the way to go. Thanks.

  62. RMS,
    I swear that I was in the Girl Scout photo, with the exact same uniform and the hair band.

    The only person in our family who has ever tried a Big Mac is DH. The rest of us just wanted the all-beef patties with lettuce on a sesame seed bun, hold everything else especially the Special Sauce and pickles. There is a special place in hell reserved for the person who wrote that jingle with the recipe for a Big Mac, which I still remember even though I cannot remember the things I actually need to remember.

  63. Scarlett – I’d forgotten about the jingle! We used to race to say it fastest. My sister (and others) could say it backwards.

  64. To me pumpkin is a vegetable and I cannot fathom pumpkin spice latte any more than I would zucchini spice latte. That goes for pumpkin pie too obviously.

    I feel the pull to fire up the oven and bake a cake etc, but no one in my little family of 3 is interested in actually consuming any baked sweet goods.
    I light up fall scented candles and thinking of cleaning out windows before sealing them for the season.
    My favorite fall recipe is simple. I slice sweet potatoes, slather some oil and butter and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar. Baked in a casserole, it tastes awesome.

  65. Risley, is your gregan diet accompanied by any other measures to improve your bone density, e.g., sun exposure or weightlifting?

  66. Finn – ohhhhhhh yes. I’m doing every single thing I can think of/have read about: CrossFit, walking w/ a weight vest, sun exposure, hot yoga, Pilates, aggressive stress reduction, a million supplements until I can get the vegan nutrition thing sorted out. Everything except the meds — and the $3000 Juvent 1000 vibration machine thingie, which I’m holding off on until I consult w/ the experts at a clinic here. But if they tell me the studies about it are accurate and there’s a shred of hope it will make a difference, I’m going to snap one up.

  67. Risley, I’m uneducated in this department but am also interested in avoiding osteoporosis. How does a vegan diet help? (that’s a real question of the “maybe I should try this” variety and not the “how can you possibly think that?” variety. Wishing for that “sincere” font right now.)

  68. HFN – Totally got the sincerity; no special font required. :) Apologies in advance for the crazy length of my response.

    I am by no means an expert here, and I find there is considerable conflict in the literature on this. I also find it impossible to find one person who knows about ALL of the moving pieces involved: bone architecture, endocrinological factors, nutritional factors, ideal exercise modes. It’s easy to get turned around many times with each new conversation with each new expert or each new study you find online or each new book you read. (Which is a huge stress–it’s so frustrating to feel you can’t get a straight answer about the precise things you need to do to improve your own health. And guess what? STRESS is bad for bone health!! FFS).

    Sticking to the vegan issue, the first thing I will say is that a vegan diet may or may *not* help stave off/level off/reverse osteoporosis. I could be completely wrong in my approach. My intention is to try this for two years and get another bone density reading, and see what it shows. If my scores get worse, I may have to reconsider the vegan thing. If they’re better, it’ll either be because of the veganism, the amped up bone-building workout regime or the vigilance about supplements (calcium is a key of course, but to absorb it, you also need to take a host of others, including magnesium, D3, zinc, K, omega-3) or a combination of the three approaches. If I had time and better bone density scores, I might introduce one approach each year, then get a bone scan, then introduce the next, to isolate which one has the most (or any) effect.

    There aren’t studies that show vegans have better bone health. There are some that show vegetarians do, but there are some scientific flaws (study size, etc) that make those studies questionable. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen reports of studies showing the opposite. I’m not sure any study has controlled for enough factors to be conclusive.

    There’s a lot of literature about plant-based diets, though, and a lot written on the theory about why a plant-based diet might be better for bones. I think it’s far from settled, but based on what appears to be settled thus far, I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s at least worth a shot, at least for me.

    Here is my understanding:

    Animal protein is acid-forming in the body*, so when you eat it, your body needs to buffer it. The body buffers acid with calcium. There are three sources of calcium from which the body can draw: (1) calcium you’ve ingested in your diet; (3) calcium stored in muscles, and; (3) calcium stored in bones.

    (Here is one of the many areas where the science is getting refined, showing that it’s not all settled: the thought for a long, long time was that your body leeches *all* needed calcium for buffering from your bones, so that each time you ate animal protein, you lost calcium from your bones. But, studies have now shown that the body actually first uses the calcium in your diet, and only takes it from muscles and/or bones (they appear uncertain which–or at least I haven’t found anything that nails it down) if you don’t have enough dietary calcium to do the job).

    But the takeaway (at least for some people) is this: no matter where the calcium is coming from to serve as a buffer–diet, bones, or muscles–if it’s being used as a buffer (after which it gets peed out) it’s not being absorbed into (or kept in) bone or muscle. And that’s a bad thing–we want to keep all the calcium we ingest, so it can be absorbed into muscle and bone. We don’t want to waste it by using it as a buffer and peeing it out. And if it’s already in our muscles and bones, we want it to stay there, and not be wasted in the buffer-the-food-then-get-peed-out function.

    Plant protein, in contrast, is alkaline, so your body doesn’t need to buffer it. Accordingly, any calcium you have ingested along with a plant-based diet isn’t required to be diverted to the job of buffering, and can instead be absorbed into your bones and muscles. And any calcium already in your bones and muscles can stay there. No wasting of calcium.

    Based on this, my feeling (and that of some experts, but not all) is that avoiding animal protein and sticking with plant protein is best for bones and muscles and, ultimately, for staving off, leveling off or even reversing osteoporosis (or osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis).

    So first, all of that is my understanding based on what I’ve read, and what I’ve discussed with various MD and PhD folks and some lesser-degreed osteoporosis experts. It’s entirely possible I’m missing something or not understanding something. And I’m not sure the scientists have it completely worked out yet. Like I said, the “leeching only from bones” theory was in place for a long time and was only fairly recently debunked, and there appears to still be uncertainty about whether, if more calcium is needed for buffering than is available in the diet, the body turns to bones for that, or to muscles, or to both. I don’t know that anyone has the entire picture clear yet.

    And second, even if my understanding is correct, going straight vegan is extreme. None of the MDs or PhDs I’ve spoken to has said, “You MUST go vegan.” They’ve all said, “Eh, maybe it’s necessary for you, maybe it’s not, but at least (assuming you get enough protein, calcium and all of the other requisite nutrients for bones) it’s not going to hurt you.” Many people (including some osteoporosis experts) think you can eat a mostly Paleo diet and simply balance out the animal protein and other acidic foods with alkaline foods like greens, so that you neutralize each meal yourself, and spare your body from having to use calcium (from any of the three sources) to do it.

    *Other foods are acidic too, and (to me) it’s not all that intuitive which ones are or aren’t. For example, oranges are NOT acidic (in terms of inside-your-body-chemical reactions), but most kinds of grains are, including ww bread. (There appear to be only 5 grains that aren’t acidic: the 5 ones I mentioned upthread). Peanut butter is acidic but almond butter isn’t (and I think cashew butter also isn’t); coffee is (no surprise there), but so is decaf; alcohol is; just about anything that’s processed is; regular table salt is, but Himalayan pink salt is not. (I’m using the term “acidic” here as a short hand. What I mean is “acid-forming,” because the issue is what the foods do once broken down in the body). Again, you could simply balance out all of these acidic foods–animal protein, coffee, ww bread + other grains, etc–with servings of something alkaline, rather than avoiding them completely.

    I have personally decided to go the more extreme route and avoid animal protein entirely, avoid as many other acidic foods as I can, and try to get as close as possible to a solely plant-based diet because (1) I already have bad bone density scores; (2) I am *desperate* to avoid taking osteoporosis drugs, and; (3) I suspect I have some as-yet-unnamed bone/endocrinological condition that interferes w/ my ability to absorb calcium, so that the general rules of, “Eh, just balance out the animal protein and ww bread with something alkaline,” may not be enough for me. On paper, given my history of nutritional vigilance and regular exercise and a few other factors, I shouldn’t have the bad bone density scores I have. I suspect that whatever weird twist of DNA I have that caused me to need artificial hips at a very young age has also interfered with normal calcium processing. I can’t be sure of this, but a few MDs have told me this is a likely possibility.

    So, it’s all very YMMV. And all to be taken with a grain of (Himalayan pink!) salt, since: I’m no medical or nutritional expert; I’ve done my best to sift through thousands of pages on this but might have missed or misinterpreted something along the way; even if I’ve properly understood the science, the science doesn’t appear to be fully settled yet, and; I’m coming at this from a position of someone with a wonky skeleton and perhaps more desperation than most about avoiding the drugs.

  69. RMS – alas, none of the cheap ones has been shown to improve bone density, and they have pretty much all been shown to be an issue for someone w/ artificial joints. (They SHAKE you, sometimes side to side, sometimes up and down, and that’s an issue for joints. The Juvent one sends waves through your skeleton – no shaking).

    Those shaking ones might do something for the lymphatic system, and for various other things, but they don’t help bone density — at least, none has been shown to do that. (And even if they did, it wouldn’t be worth the risk of having a joint implant shake loose!) The Juvent one was funded by NASA and the NIH to specifically improve bone density, and because there have been some studies showing it works, NASA is using it on astronauts. None of the others has that kind of cred.

    There seems to be one other that’s like Juvent and is actually a little cheaper. It was designed by some of the team who did the Juvent one. But that company was acquired recently and it looks like it might be hard to find product.

    In any event, I’m going to see what they say at the specialty clinic here about both models.

  70. “aggressive stress reduction”
    I understand what you mean, but the phrasing made me giggle.

  71. Risely – your explanation makes sense.

    I read somewhere, that if eating animal protein, do not discard the bones – because they have glucosamine which helps with joint health.
    The whole animal eating trend fits in with this.

    We are getting far more rain from Hurricane Matthew here, than was expected.

  72. Ris, I see the difference in the plates.

    I find it hard to understand that animal-based protein can be acid-producing but plant-based protein not, because protein is a bunch of amino acids and they’re the same amino acids no matter their source. But I didn’t take o.chem, so I’m not the one to talk. I’ve read some stuff about which foods create acid and which don’t, partly because druggies talk a lot about which foods/food combos will potentiate various drug responses. No, I’m not going to explain why I’m talking to druggies.

  73. Risley, how bad are your scores? I have had scans done recently which show the early signs of thinning bones, but the doctor only recommended upping my calcium supplement. It has taken me a very long time to even find a supplement I can get down – the pills are too big and most of the chewables make me gag to taste them. I know I am totally at risk as a slender white woman. My mother died so young that we will never know if she had it or not. My grandmother, suprisingly, did not show any real signs although I am sure she never had a bone scan done. She was extremely skinny, weighing under a 100 pounds, and never ate right (ex-dancer, occupational hazard). But her posture was dancer-straight right to the end, in her late 90’s. So who knows how it will go for me.

  74. I finally got through to Disney to cancel tonight’s reservation, chatted with the agent while she searched (email and phone # were both incorrect–but they got the card # right!). She’s happy not to have to argue about cancellation fees today, can’t believe they waited so long with the decision to close. Says it was so late into the storm that she rode it out at WDW, went home yesterday, cat still had food & water, & now she’s back at work.

  75. SM – ha! Yes, telling a Type A person to relax more tends to result in strategies called “aggressive stress reduction.” Not sure how well I’m doing at that …

    RMS – I get what you’re saying about amino acids, but of all the unsettled things, the fact that plant protein is NOT acid producing and animal protein IS, does not seem to be one of them. But I didn’t take O.C. either so am relying on studies versus my inherent knowledge here.

    MM – I’m in the osteoporosis range already.

  76. Risley, if you’ve ever had your DNA done by 23andMe or similar, you might invest the ~$5 to have it scanned against a database that flags “uniquenesses” in your genetic profile. I did that with promethease; livewello is another option. The information provided still has uncertainty (and so is controversial under FDA regulations) but I found it quite interesting and informative. Not sure how much information on bone density is in the database and the database is frequently updated (at least with Promethease) so your results will change slightly with time.

  77. Mooshi – I find the vegan calcium tablets to be far easier to digest than any of the non-vegan ones I’ve tried over the years. The vegan ones aren’t a lot smaller than the other kinds (you could likely cut them with a knife though) but they at least don’t have any of the calcium citrate that can be an issue for a lot of people. I found a brand called Garden of Earth at Whole Foods and gave it a try. It was good, so I’ve been ordering it from Amazon. I take one with each meal. Maybe try those? I’ve also been ordering other vegan supplements to complement the calcium: multi vitamins, potassium, omega 3, zinc, magnesium, and I spread those over 3 meals, too. The multi vitamin (also Garden of Earth, for women 40+) has a lot of the other stuff you need to absorb calcium (vitamin K, etc).

    WCE – thanks for the suggestion. It’s an interesting idea for sure, and I could see wanting to try it and see what comes up. I’ve read about the issues with those sites, and I have a few concerns. At this point, I’m suffering from information overload, and particularly from conflicting-information overload. I think if the specialty clinic here can run some kind of test panel and determine a specific endocrinological issue and then tell me how to overcome it/treat it, that will be great. But having a website give me a lot of data that I can’t interpret easily and that might not be medically accurate/complete might, at this point, pose a real challenge to my strategy of aggressive stress reduction! ;)

  78. Mooshi – also be sure to get enough D3, either from being in the sun 20 min/day w/o sunscreen on your arms, or from supplements. (You can get *tiny* D3 capsules btw. Smallest vitamins I’ve ever seen).

    My understanding is that all the calcium supplements in the world won’t do a thing for your bones if you’re not getting enough D3. My bone density scores were even worse a few years ago, and we discovered I was D deficient. I loaded up on D3 and my scores improved. I also started CrossFit in there, so I’m not sure which was the magic bullet, but I’d be sure to get enough D3. (Not just D, with which milk + things are fortified, but D3. I understand regular D is useless for calcium absorption — it has to be D3).

  79. Man, I’m hitting my posting record here!

    Houston – that recipe looks and sounds (from the ingredients) wonderful! Thank you! Will definitely try it!

  80. Risley, thanks for all this information. My bone density score was okay, but I’ve watched my mother shrink 6 inches in the last 5 years and break bones, so I want to do things differently.

  81. I already take the vitamin D. I try not to take too many vitamins because I don’t really trust the vitamin industry.
    I do a fair amount of weight bearing exercise – not sure if it really helps though. When it comes to this stuff, no one agrees on anything

  82. My calcium pill is combined with the D3, but I stopped taking it because the pill was so nasty. I really should start taking it again because I had a scan with just ok results for my age.

    S & M, why did you have to cancel? I saw Disney on the news, and the weather looks nice.

  83. Thank you, Risley. So much information, reminding me I’m way overdue on a bone scan.

    These Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels combine a couple of food trends. I’ll look for them next time I visit TJs.

  84. CoC, three of them – dark chocolate, pumpkin spice, and salted caramel. What a way to ruin chocolate!!

  85. Lauren, I was just noticing what a beautiful day it is outside and thinking I should go do something. But I don’t know what the situation at Disney will be–over a million people in Florida were without power this morning, including all of Flagler county, which makes me think that all those people who fled the storm might not have gone back home yet. The dinner show itself would probably be fine, but getting there could be a hassle, and if the hotels are full, we’d have to drive over an hour to get home, starting from the Disney parking lot with a throng of visitors after the 10:15 fireworks. Still not insurmountable, if birthday boy was into it, but he’s not. Plan A was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Fri night, leaving straight from school, Polynesian show tonight, Wet n Wild one day, and hang out at the resort the other. We’re still going to the waterpark tomorrow, but he wanted to chill at home today, so I didn’t push him. I won’t have presents for him until my parents are here in ten days. (The one they ordered for him is here, but nothing from me is). I’m going to the store in a bit & I’ll get him a little ice cream cake, and a sample-sized can of Gliddens Byzantine Blue, to see if he’d like his room that color. Seems like a weird birthday to me, but he’s happy with it.

  86. MM, I see I flubbed your name earlier. Sorry about that–autocorrect always wants to change it to “moonshine”, so there’s a suggestion for next time you change your name.
    I like dark chocolate. Even better, a glass of champagne with strawberries and dark chocolate actually delivers potassium and iron, two nutrients I’m perpetually low on. But pumpkin spice ought to be spicing up pumpkin, not chocolate.

  87. I forgot about all of the other people and Disney will always be there for another weekend.
    I like the color, and we have a similar color from Benjamin Moore in one room. happy Bday!

  88. RMS – no, I still use The Lady. For any given meal, you can choose on original, GF, Paleo or vegetarian option. I choose the Paleo option and make it for DH and DD, and then I veganize the vegetarian option for me and DSD. Or sometimes we all eat a vegan thing, and sometimes I make the vegan thing and serve it with chicken that DH has grilled. Then I add pasta or rice or cous cous or bread or whatever for the girls, as they aren’t the least bit Paleo. But I use her as a guide and for ideas.

  89. Hit “done” too soon. I now supplement The Lady though, because I now have this crazy list of specific veg that are either high in all the bone-building nutrients or are alkaline, or both. So I’ll sub one of those in for The Lady or will add a side of roasted veg or Swiss chard or whatever. I find making those additions to The Lady to be easier than coming up with the week of meal plans myself.

  90. The bday weekend sounds fine, saac.

    “what a beautiful day it is outside”

    Not here. It’s steadily raining all day. It became kids’-closet-seasonal-clothes-switch out-day. And maybe Carraba’s later.

    The Annapolis Sailboat Show is ruined! (Tomorrow should be better.)

  91. Rocky, he describes his age as “old enough not to have to lie to iTunes”. That’s 14 to you & me (not that I know of any iTunes-fibbing around here!)

    Milo, sounds like a good use of a rainy weekend.

  92. I am jealous of the seasonal clothes switch out – I am so ready for fall, but next week will still have highs in the upper 80’s every day. My daughter has moved into Hans Solo season (jeans tucked into boots, down vest, etc), weather be damned, and keeps turning up the AC rather than change clothes, which is making my DH insane. The Renaissance Festival opens here this weekend, which is a huge thing and runs through Thanksgiving weekend. I would like to go and enjoy a day outside, but I’m holding off for more fall-like weather.

    I plan on cooking some of the recipes here this week, so thanks all for sharing.

  93. I hear you, MBT! Nearly 6:00 and it’s 83 degrees here. On the upside–tomorrow we are going to the waterpark :)

  94. Risley, I am pretty sure cashews are highly acidic/acid forming. Stick to almond butter. For foods that are not acidic, and generally in how to treat body that is prone to be acidic and guidelines on what to eat, I would look to Ayurved! Its ancient medicinal practice that treats the whole body rather than symptoms. For you, it seems to be “pitta” type constitution. It’s slow but definitely worth it. It also combines yoga for optimal nutrition and fitness. I would suggest a certified Ayurvedic practitioner from Ayurvedic schools in India.

    Traditional Chinese medicine also might have some solutions for you.

  95. Risley–just like champagne, strawberries, & dark chocolate are my health food, pistachio ice cream is yours! Healthy nuts, cream to cut the acid,’and plenty of calcium :).

  96. Dell – thanks for the tips re: cashew butter and Ayurvedic studies. I’ll look up the latter.

  97. I saw Last Chance U. Very good series; wasn’t surprised. Had been around football players while in college. The biggest change I see from then and now is the prevelance of phones and social media. Then it was TV, I guess.

  98. Ugh. Just learned it it going to be a long time before our beach property is accessible enough to find out what happened to our house. Lark, are you out there? Any word on your houses?

  99. Both houses still standing. Beach came through fine, hit much less than expected. Primary town hit hard, residents not yet permitted to return, so don’t know extent of damage yet. Still evacuated & making the most of it.


  100. Lark, that’s a relief. I’m glad you have some info! Thanks for the update.

  101. HFN — Do you have any idea how much damage was sustained? IOW, do you even know if it’s still standing?
    Lark — good news, and I hope you’ll find minimal damage.

  102. Risley: Just wanted to let you know that you inspired me to order a weight vest and calcium/vitamin D tablets from Amazon. Thanks!

  103. Lark – great news. HFN – hope you will get to report back the same way.

    Houston – that’s awesome. Wish we lived closer – we could walk together in our crazy weight vests!

  104. Lark and HFN, I am happy to hear from both of you that you’re safe. I hope that your homes have minimal to no damage.

    I took one of the vitamins today….trying to get back on track.

  105. Does anyone here use Rubbermaid Freshworks containers? I bought a set that included a packet of filters. Cannot figure out how to put filter into lid. Rubbermaid’s website says filter in lid never needs replacing (but they package replacement filters with the containers). Amazon rabbit hole is also not helpful. Anyone? Hello?

    Whilst perusing the websites, I saw mention of OXO Greensavers, which are apparently similar. Can anyone compare or review these two products for me?

  106. Ridley – I’m skeptical of vegan being the answer, but you have clearly done a lot of homework. It seems like you have read a lot of peer-reviewed research. I would look at the university affiliations of the authors of good papers. I went to osteoporosis clinic for a week with an endocrinologist who was a prominent expert in the field. In fact, I think she had about 10 hours a week of clinic where she just saw osteoporosis patients – the rest of her time was research, etc. I was struck by the number of “normal” people in her clinic. It is not that hard to see many physicians, if you are willing to call and ask for an appointment. I might try to identify 3-4 researchers who work at facilities within a reasonable drive for you. The internet can probably tell you if they see patients. At least one of them will likely take you one, though possibly with a significant wait. They can answer your questions (including about the vibrating platform) better than anyone else. It’s what I would do in your situation (instead of giving up ice cream and butter – unfathomable!).

  107. Lark – good to hear that your homes are OK. HFN hoping for good news from you as well.

    Denver Dad – I started watching Friday Night Tykes. I consider myself a strict parent but wow that is just too much. And the hitting/fighting at such young ages. Considering what we know now about concussions, head and other types of injuries many of these kids are being set up for problems later in life.

  108. Ada – good advice, and thank you. I do have an appt at a specialty clinic here, though (like you said) it’s a long wait. I’m not sure if that will be my last stop though–amazingly (given where this clinic is), I’m not convinced they are *the* leaders in this field, and I’d like to see the people who are. I’m planning to ask at this clinic for a list of the people they would recommend I see (I’d have thought this was an offensive question, but a friend in the field assures me they’ll expect it and will be fine with it). Could you share the name of the person you’re talking about? If you’d rather do it privately, CofC knows how to reach me.

    Would be wonderful if I didn’t have to keep sucking down chalky protein powder made w/ pea protein and greens!

  109. “These Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels combine a couple of food trends.”

    Now all they need is bacon on top.

  110. LfB – don’t forget maple syrup with the bacon.
    And it better be pure maple syrup, you have tapped yourself ;-).

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