smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.

When faced with two leftover sweet potatoes and a smattering of cooked, chopped up bacon pieces, what’s a girl to do? Why, make an impromptu dish of mashed sweet potatoes, of course!

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In truth, I had an entirely different recipe planned for you today, but despite liking it, I still felt (and feel!) that something was missing, and it needs a bit more tweaking before it makes its way to you. Instead? I turned some leftover ingredients into a decadent yet relatively healthy (yes!) side dish.

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Now I know sweet potatoes are considered a staple on Thanksgiving holiday tables, but why regulate them to just that holiday? I love love love sweet potatoes, especially when they are paired with more savory ingredients – like the bacon, chipotle pepper in adobo here. Chipotles in adobo comes in little cans that you can typically find in the International foods aisle in your supermarket, but if you can’t find them or don’t want to purchase a whole can for this recipe, you can substitute one teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. However — the chipotles in adobo freeze really well, so I encourage you to buy the can! The leftover chiles are amazing in chili. Enjoy these – they are simple to make yet fancy enough for your holiday table!

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smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.
adapted from cooking light. 

ingredients
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 3-4)
1 tablespoon grassfed butter
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, minced
sea salt and black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and roast 60 minutes or until a fork would pierce the whole potato easily. Once cooked and cool enough to handle, remove the skins and place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl, mashing slightly.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towel and roughly chop.

Add the bacon, maple syrup, chopped chipotle chili, sea salt and pepper and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

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roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.

The sage love continues! I know fall means everyone goes crazy over pumpkins, apple, cider, and I love all those things too, but the thing I really love is sage. The woody, musky flavor it imparts on dishes… heavenly. Sage butter is where it’s at, everyone!

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This soup is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters: the sweet potato and squash impart not only a natural sweetness, but a velvety smooth texture without any cream! The addition of cayenne pepper offsets the sweetness so that the finished soup is rich and balanced, but not cloying.

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I garnish this with raw pumpkin seeds for some texture, but this is also wonderful with some toasted baguette or pita. I am SO glad soup season is back in full swing! This would also be a lovely second course for your holiday table!

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roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkle generously with the teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and light golden. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and put the sage in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sage leaves being to get dark and crinkly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring well to combine.

Add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes and broth. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a light simmer, and partially cover. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let cool for five minutes and either transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper.

Divide amongst 4 bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. This soup freezers great, too!

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving sides. I mean, the holiday is less than two weeks away (what??), and aren’t we all hyped about the dinner for the sides? Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey, smattered with cranberry sauce, but the sides always to tend to steal the show. If you serve this dressed-up-in-its-Sunday-best cornbread, you’ll steal the show, too!

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Cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes to make, and it’s so easy! It saddens me that it’s often regulated to buffets and as a throwaway to chili. Not so! There are so many ways to make it; Northern recipes often call for a bit of sugar, where Southerns would balk at such a thing. Or so I hear… you can find recipes with the inclusion of creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, jalapeños, peppers, you name it! And cheese. Mm. You do not need to ever reach for the boxed mix AGAIN.

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I took a decidedly autumn twist by the inclusion of sage butter (<– when is this ever a bad thing?), and cheddar cheese. Don’t like or have cheddar? Use anything you like! Parmesan? Fontina? Monterey Jack? Sure! I use a coarse ground cornmeal, I love the texture in the finished bread. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a fine ground cornmeal. Make sure to preheat your cast iron skillet – the sizzle and toasty/golden brown edges are not to be missed.

Serve this anytime you’d serve bread, and enjoy!

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sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.
adapted from Bobby Flay. 

ingredients
1.25 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 sage leaves
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a different skillet, combine the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and begins to darken, and the sage leaves are dark and crinkly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, removing the sage leaves.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and melted and cooled sage butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (carefully!), and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with additional butter. Scrape the batter into the hot pan (it will sizzle) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve.

ginger spiced apple-pear sauce.

I feel like applesauce is so underrated. It is not just for school lunch boxes. So, I’ve made you some! But not just any applesauce, a thick sauce full of not just apple chunks, but pears, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and lemon, too!

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This easy stovetop applesauce comes together in less than 30 minutes: just peel, core and chop the fruit, mince the ginger, and combine everything in a pan over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Once you stir everything together, the fruit will break down. For a smoother sauce, use a potato masher to thoroughly breakdown the fruit. I like to leave it chunky for some texture. I know the ginger probably seems like an odd addition, but trust me! It adds a slight spiciness that plays so well amongst the fruit and cinnamon.

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The sauce will thicken as it cools, the photos were taken right after I took it off the stove, so you’ll see pockets of liquid: these will be gone once the sauce is cooled. Store in an airtight jar, and it will keep well in refrigerator for 7-10 days. Look for my favorite way to serve this next week!

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ginger spiced apple pear sauce.
adapted from Food Network. 

ingredients
3 Macoun, Fuji, or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 pears (Bosc, or other firm pear), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (I like coconut palm sugar)
1/4 cup water

directions
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the peeled and cut apples, pears, minced ginger, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir together to get the spices evenly distributed, and then add the water.

Heat to a boil, stir, and then partially cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce comes together and the fruit begins to break down, turn the heat off.

Once cool enough to handle, transfer to an airtight container like a Mason jar, and refrigerate once completely cool. Keeps for 7-10 days.

Makes 3 cups.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

whole wheat pear cinnamon dutch baby.

Great for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert, you need a Dutch Baby in your life. Especially one topped with warm cinnamon pears!

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A dutch baby is essentially a slightly fluffy pancake that puffs up in the oven while it bakes with crisp, dark edges. The key to achieving the ‘pouf’ in the oven is room temperature eggs and milk, so set them out about 30 minutes before you plan to cook.

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The batter comes together quickly with just a bowl and a whisk, and you can make it while the pears are sizzling away in the skillet. I used pears because I had some in my fridge and I love their slight sweetness, enhanced by the cinnamon and vanilla, but go ahead and use apples if you prefer.

I topped the fruit with some powdered sugar, but that’s completely optional. Dutch babies are great for entertaining, especially for brunch because they actually require less effort than regular pancakes! Who doesn’t love that??

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pear dutch baby.
adapted from cooking light.

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk/non-dairy milk (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

directions
Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and lightly sizzling, add the sliced pears, cinnamon and teaspoon of sugar and stir together, cooking together for 3-4 minutes or until lightly softened and fragrant. Remove to a plate and set aside.

While the pears are cooking, mix together the milk, eggs, vanilla, remaining sugar and flour and whisk well to combine. In the same skillet you cooked the pears in, add the batter and place immediately in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven, top with pear mixture, cut into four pieces and serve immediately.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

apple cider sidecar (cidercar).

Let’s give the classic sidecar a decidedly fall twist!

A few weeks ago, my friend popped over one evening, and wanted a cocktail instead of wine. Since she came bearing fresh apple cider, I figured we had to incorporate that into the drink du jour: hello, apple cidercars!

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If you’ve never had a sidecar before, you’re in for a real treat! They are the French version of a margarita: a sour-based drink with cognac instead of tequila. Instead of lime juice, sidecars use lemon juice, but I am breaking the rules with the addition of apple cider. The cider really balances the drink, making it sweet, but not cloying, and it places perfectly with the rich flavor of the cognac. Because the cider mellows the drink out, this is great for those who don’t like an alcohol-forward cocktail. Try it, it’s delicious, and a wonderful, festive drink!

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apple cider-car.

ingredients
3 ounces apple cider
3 ounces cognac or brandy
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
ice

directions
Fill two coup glasses with ice. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and add the apple cider, cognac, triple sec and lemon juice. Shake 20-30 times, until shaker is ice cold.

Remove ice from glasses and pour the cocktail. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with agrodolce sauce.

As if roasted vegetables could even get any better, we are drizzling them with a sweet and spicy argodolce sauce. Mmmmmmmmm.

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You can use any vegetables you like for this: I used butternut squash and sweet potatoes with an onion because they were what I had hanging out in the fridge. Beets, cauliflower, white potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts; all would be fantastic. But let’s be honest: this is really all about the sauce.

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Argodolce is so versatile! I first had it spooned overtop pan fried pork chops, and have found many ways to serve it up since then. It’s simple to make: just balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary, garlic, and a hint of crushed red pepper flake. And butter, of course. Butter is the key to making sauces velvety smooth and luscious when you add it in at the end of the cooking process.

The argodolce will continue to thicken after you reduce it, so I like to drizzle it atop the roasted vegetables right away, but you can always serve alongside the vegetables and let everyone dip/drizzle to their liking.

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It’s hard not to eat the whole pan of these. Trust me!

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with argodolce.
agrodolce adapted from Everyday Italian. 

ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 butternut squash (about 1.5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper
chives, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

agrodolce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon butter

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, add the cut squash and potatoes, onions, sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir well to combine and then spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan, as the vegetables will steam, not roast.

Add to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until golden and tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the sauce: In a small saucier, add the vinegar, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat, allowing the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half. Once the sauce is reduced and will coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until it has incorporated.

Place the roasted vegetables to a platter and drizzle the argodolce overtop. Garnish with chives if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4 as a side. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sautéed butternut squash + spinach pasta.

I purchased a butternut squash about a week ago and it is the gift that keeps on giving!

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First I used it for butternut squash congee. Then I used some of the grated leftovers for butternut squash polenta when I had friends over for dinner. And I still had some leftover! Not one to let food to go waste, I knew I had to find a way to use up the last cup or so. It was already grated, so the classic roasting was out. I wanted something healthy yet comforting, so vegetable-heavy pasta it is!

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I sautéed the squash in a little mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the baby spinach until slightly wilted, and then toss with the hot cooked pasta. I do recommend whole wheat here; the nuttiness of it is an ideal accompaniment to the squash and spinach. You can top with grated parmesan if desired, but I left it sweet and simple (and dairy free!).

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butternut squash + spinach pasta. 

ingredients
4-5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or long pasta
sea salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons grassfed butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1.5 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
1/3 cup pasta water

directions
Heat a pot of water to boiling with a big pinch of sea salt, and add the pasta, cooking according to package directions for al dente.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted and the fats are lightly sizzling, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden but not burnt. Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, cayenne, sea salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is lightly golden and tender and add the baby spinach. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the squash/spinach mixture, and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss well for 1 minute, or until the spinach is just beginning to wilt.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 2. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

butternut squash congee with fried ginger.

This is congee dressed up in its autumnal finest. We’ve had our fair share of Indian summer weather here in NY, with temperatures in the high 80s for the majority of the past week. Luckily, the weekend has brought relief, by way of temperatures in the low 60s with a gentle breeze. PERFECT for this incredibly simple yet warming congee turned soup.

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Have you had congee? It is essentially a rice porridge that is commonplace in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. On it’s own, it is typically served as a side dish, dressed up with vegetables, meat or seafood, and it’s transformed into a main dish entree. This is very simple to make, and you’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients transform into a finished dish that is nuanced, fragrant and complex. The shredded squash will melt into the dish during the long, slow simmer. Finished with some brightness and freshness with the basil, cilantro and fried ginger and served with crusty bread on the side, this dish is perfect when you want cozy, comfort food that you can feel so good about.

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The pulsed rice will help release some of the starches and it will thicken the congee; the consistency is very similar to oatmeal once it’s finished.

butternut squash + ginger congee.
from cooking light magazine.

ingredients
12 ounces (weight) butternut squash, peeled and grated
1/3 cup long grain white rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
1 inch piece fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

directions
Add the rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand for ten minutes and then drain. Add the rice to a food processor and pulse until the rice is in small granules.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the rice and the grated butternut squash and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sea salt, stock and water. Increase heat to high until the mixture starts to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Let the mixture simmer for 75-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

When the mixture is almost done, heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the ginger slices and fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Turn the heat off and add the sugar and pepper to the congee. Split the congee amongst four bowls, and top with fried ginger, basil and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Makes four 1 cup servings. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

 

 

roasted pear + pomegranate salad.

Hi there! Are your Thanksgiving plans and preparation in full swing? Whether you are hosting, cooking, or tasked with bringing a dish, I have something for you today that definitely deserves a spot on your holiday table. This salad is rich yet healthy, and it’s remarkably simple to make!

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Now, I can probably guess what you’re thinking: a salad… really? It’s Thanksgiving! Turkey, potatoes, stuffing… it’s a meat and potato lovers dream meal! That may be true, but I love vegetables, so I’m always very excited when I’m asked to bring something vegetal and green to the table. This is bright and punchy, which is a refreshing contrast to all the heavy dishes. The roasted pears help add richness and make this salad feel holiday special.

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Arugula is spicy, and is complemented nicely by the bright pomegranates and my favorite lemon dressing. I used a raw sheep’s milk cheese, but crumbled goat cheese would be lovely in this salad. This will be on my holiday table, and I hope it’ll make on yours, too!

roasted pear + pomegranate salad.
adapted from Wegmans Menu Magazine, Fall 2016.

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ingredients
5 ounces (weight) baby arugula
2 large red pears, cored and quartered
2 ounces pomegranate seeds
2 ounces toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

lemon dressing 
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
few dashes of white wine vinegar (about a 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon wildflower honey
scant 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 small shallot, chopped
salt and pepper
dash dried thyme
* you will have leftover dressing; will keep up to 10 days

directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss pear quarters with tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper (1/4 teaspoon each, give or take). Toss well and spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Once lightly caramelized and tender but not soft, remove from oven and let cool completely.

While pears are cooking, add all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil into the blender. While the blender is on, slowly stream in the oil to emulsify.

In a large bowl, combine the pomegranate seeds, walnuts, cheese and arugula. Add 1/4-1/3 of the dressing and toss gently to combine. Plate onto a serving platter and top with roasted pears. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6. Easily doubled or tripled.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**