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If you watched the Disney movie Frozen 2, you are familiar with one of the opening songs, “Some Things Never Change.” My daughter is learning it for her virtual winter recital, so we sing it often in the car. Like all Frozen songs, it is super catchy, and there is a line in that song that holds so true for me, especially in 2020: “It’s time to count our blessings beneath an autumn sky…”

As I think about all the things 2020 is (and isn’t!), I am still looking forward to celebrating the holidays with my nuclear family. I’ll still decorate our kitchen table in warm autumn hues of gold and magenta, pull out my mom’s heirloom tablecloth, and place a cornucopia of (fake) fruits and vegetables in the center of the table. I’ll buy more cute and cozy décor than I need and hang the canvas sign that reminds us to be grateful. It is our prayer over every meal as we hold hands and say in unison, “Bless this food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.”

I’m excited to enjoy the bounty the fall harvest brings all season. Whether it’s crispy and savory roasted Brussel sprouts, creamy butternut squash bisque, or sticky caramel apples, our family uses food to celebrate the season! As a dietitian, I love the nutrient boost from produce as it’s the focus of all our dishes. As a mom, I love making my family’s favorite comfort foods. The weather is cool enough for me to really put my oven to work, so I’ll be roasting, baking, stewing, and sautéing a lot of our meals!

Fall always feels like a time to get back on schedule, and whether I’m making spicy three-bean chili or sweet potato pie, this time of year is my favorite. We’ll explore a pumpkin patch and go apple picking – mostly for apple cider and doughnuts – and revel in the familiarity of it all (plus masks).

I’m still making green bean casserole with homemade cream of mushroom soup; I’ll just use my smallest casserole dish. My daughter will help me make homemade tangy cranberry sauce with our families’ special seasoning blend (we add cloves and cardamom) and we’ll mash together red potatoes with buttermilk and horseradish until it’s creamy and delicious. Our family table won’t host as many as it has in previous years, but the food, celebration, and feelings of gratitude will be the same!

Check out some of my favorite fall recipes below. They are all fast, fresh, and easy, so add them to your weekly meal plan and your holiday table! What dishes are you most looking forward to?

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Green Bean Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

Buttermilk Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Acorn Squash with Herbs

Homestyle Cranberry Sauce

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