Fall So Far…

I know I have done a poor toenail painting job. Don’t judge. I can barely reach my (swollen) feet these days.

I love fall.

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Cauliflower Gratin

Okay guys, I know cauliflower is not chocolate. I know it’s not something that people sit around daydreaming about but I did crave it a whole lot  lately. You see, I didn’t grow up eating steamed vegetables so when I think of cauliflower I recall it crisply fried, zestily pickled, braised in a tagine with savory tomato sauce or gratineed with béchamel sauce and cheese. It always made its appearance on our table in some exciting, perfectly crave-able form.

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Pumpkin Butter Recipe

If you have never made the marvel that is pumpkin butter, you completely should. I used to see it around the holidays at the Williams-Sonoma store, its thick consistency so appetizing, its deep color so vibrant it almost popped out of the jar. I could almost smell the heady spice aroma even though the jar was so hermetically sealed there was no aroma emanating from it whatsoever. I never took the time to think about what I would do with it; I just knew I would love it if I ever got my hands on it.

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Baked Oatmeal Recipe

In breakfast I trust. In a baked oatmeal breakfast I trust very much. Here is why.

Reason 1: I wake up excited knowing that I’m having it for breakfast. It gets me rushing out of bed and to the kitchen in a flash.

Reason 2: my daughter who would not normally touch oatmeal devoured her serving and asked for more! Behold her how eagerly she gobbled it up.

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Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Potato Wedges with Harissa

This recipe is a true crowd pleaser, the filling and manly kind you’d serve on football night and everybody would race to have the last piece. Those of you who have been reading this blog know I don’t watch football but I totally, completely would sit through the madness if it meant I would have these potatoes. But luckily, I don’t have to; this recipe is also good for a quiet everyday meal. We had it for dinner with a warm bowl of soup. We couldn’t possibly complain; we got our meat and potatoes. What’s not to like?

 

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A Pregnant Girl’s Chocolate Fix

Seven falls ago I was pregnant with my first child and thought pregnancy was the easiest thing in the world. So easy I thought I could do it all the time. I actually never felt pregnant. I never had morning sickness or any of the uncomfortable symptoms you hear about. But that was then; I was a younger, fitter pregnant girl (And I didn’t wobble!!).

Being pregnant at 27 is definitely different than being pregnant at 34.

I’ve been spared again from morning sickness but this time has brought with it kinks, weird cravings (I mean, really weird), tiredness and a bluesy mood. All I want to do lately is eat or cry.

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Quick Chicken and Vegetable Stew with Grits

It’s starting to look and feel like stew season in Orlando. The weather has only been slightly cooler but it’s been raining every day making it look darker and far more like fall than summer. Finally! I’m ready for a change of seasons. Summers are way too long here.

As soon as fall starts announcing itself, my passion for baking is reignited. Apple desserts, pumpkin cakes and lots of maple syrup concoctions fill my kitchen with warm aromas this time of year. But this year, it’s stew to launch the season. Not only that, but stew with grits. Yes, grits! This is huge for me, people.

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Grilled Manouri and Arugula Salad

I will start by explaining what manouri is. I’m not assuming you don’t know but am a little bit thinking that unless you are a foodie or come from an Eastern Mediterranean country, you probably don’t—I didn’t know what it was in my pre-blogging days.  Manouri and halloumi (a similar cheese) are Greek goat or sheep’s milk cheeses that taste a little bit like goat cheese but are firmer and perfect for grilling as they do char beautifully without melting.

 

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Multigrain Rotini with Turkey Bacon, Peas and Basil

This is a wonderful, easy, plentiful weeknight dinner, and for the family of three that we are, it lasts a couple of days, providing enough leftovers for another dinner or at least a couple of lunches. Few dishes beat a pasta on a busy day, especially when it has vegetables and protein combined.

My favorite pasta is Barilla Plus Multigrain because it’s made from multiple grains and legumes like barley, spelt, lentils, chickpeas, oats and flax, and doesn’t taste heavy like some healthy pastas do.

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Flaxseed Blueberry Muffins

I’m tempted to call these power muffins but I’d rather talk about how delicious they are. I like to think of food in terms of enjoyment and pleasure more than anything else. With that said, don’t get me wrong, I do make sure my food is worth its calories but when it comes to the “power” part of these muffins, no explanation is necessary; the ingredients speak for themselves. Flaxseeds, oats, blueberries. Enough said.

 

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