Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary. (GF)

Red potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted together with rosemary make a simple, easy side dish perfect for any meal.

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I recently fell in love with the flavor combination of rosemary and sweet potatoes. There’s something so earth-y and wonderful about the two that make them go together so well. It’s a simple combination, really, but not one that I made at home before, and this dish lived up to all of my expectations. It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes though, am I right?

Even though I 110% adore sweet potatoes, for whatever reason I equally wanted red potatoes when I made this dish, hence the decision to mix them together. This also made my husband happy since he typically prefers red potatoes over sweet any day. All that to say, every potato lover in your family will be happy when you serve them these! You can also use regular white potatoes if you prefer, or even use only sweet potatoes!

Reason #274 why I love this dish: I love any excuse to gather fresh rosemary from our back yard. If you’ve ever wondered if you should plant a rosemary bush, the answer is a resounding yes! It’s so convenient to never worry about running out.

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These potatoes roast low and slow in the oven, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on the main dish while they do their thing in the oven. It’s brutally cold and windy out, and this side dish screams warm and cozy, which is exactly what I want in my life right now! I hope you enjoy it!

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary (GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (or olive oil for dairy-free/vegan)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a 9×13 pan and put it in the oven for a couple minutes to melt the butter. Remove from oven and add the remaining ingredients, tossing well to ensure even seasoning.

2). Roast for about an hour, stirring 2-3 times, until the potatoes are golden and tender.

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 159 Carbs: 26g Fat: 5g Protein: 3g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g Points+: 4. Recipe adapted from here.

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Thanksgiving Feast Recipe Round-Up

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes to get you through the big day tomorrow! Since turkey is the main star of the show, I included the top 20 recipes in the following categories: breakfast, sides, and desserts!

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Hope you all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Breakfast:
Pumpkin Spice Muffins (GF if using all-purpose GF flour)

IMG_20131012_100504These muffins are soft, full of pumpkin flavor, and not overly sweet. I included ways to make them a tad bit healthier in case you want to save your indulging for the dessert table!

Apple Crisp Muffins

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All the flavors of an apple crisp, in muffin form! These are really good and taste like eating dessert for breakfast!

Pumpkin Spice Latte (GF, use non-dairy milk for vegan)

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Skip the Starbucks line–this is the best way to start Thanksgiving morning! Double the recipe for a bigger crowd.

Homemade Sausage Balls (No-Bisquick!)

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Flour, baking powder and salt replace the bisquick in these homemade sausage balls. They’ll be gone quick!

Sides:

100% Whole Wheat Soft Dinner Rolls (vegetarian)

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These do take a little bit of time to assemble but they are so worth it! Soft, fluffy dinner rolls always have a place on the Thanksgiving table, right? Right.

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes (GF, vegetarian, vegan)

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One of the most popular recipes on the blog! Super easy, and super delicious.

Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes (GF, vegetarian option)

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Garlic transforms these mashed potatoes in a major way while milk, light sour cream, and broth keep the potatoes soft and smooth. Again, this recipe is great if you want to save your calories for another side or dessert.

Autumn Chopped Salad (GF, optional vegetarian/vegan)

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LOVE this salad! It is always a hit. Apples, pears, peanuts, dried cranberries, feta, bacon, and a poppyseed dressing–you’ll want to leave a little bit of room for this on your plate!

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale (GF, vegan)

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This salad is tangy, savory, and filling. Lots of textures make this dish really interesting!

Roasted Green Beans (GF, vegan)

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Hands-down, the best way to prepare green beans. Sprinkle a bit of shredded parmesan on the top and these are to die for!

Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes (GF)

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A more savory option for sweet potatoes (as opposed to the spiced version above which is sweeter). Easy and delicious!

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, DF, vegan, paleo)

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A small ramekin of this soup would be an awesome side dish for Thanksgiving! It has a little bit of a kick (if you want it!) and caters to every family member’s dietary restrictions.

Parmesan Upside-Down Baked Potatoes (GF, vegetarian)

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Last year’s top recipe–and for good reason! These are awesome!

Farro with Roasted Green Beans, Cranberries, and Feta (vegetarian, omit cheese for vegan)

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Farro has an awesome texture and this combination just screams fall!

Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese (GF if using corn starch)

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This casserole tastes super rich thanks to a butter/flour roux and cheddar cheese! One of my favorites.

Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash (GF, vegetarian)

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My favorite way to prepare butternut squash. Parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper transform this butternut squash into something special. Not too soft, not too firm–just perfect!

Desserts:

The Best Apple Pie Ever. (vegetarian)

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The title says it all! This is literally THE BEST apple pie I’ve ever made, and it’s the only dessert I’m bringing to Thanksgiving this year! I make it with my one minute home-made pie crust.

Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream (Vegetarian)

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If you want a show-stopping, mouth-watering, completely unique dessert, you should make these. They look and taste gourmet!

Perfectly Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream Frosting (Vegetarian)

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This one is for all the chocolate lovers out there! This is the only chocolate cake recipe I use now! It truly is perfect, and the nutella buttercream is an awesome flavor combination.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies (vegetarian)

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Umm yeah. Just look at that! I don’t think I need to convince you how awesome these are!

 

 

 

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili. (GF)

A cozy fall chili recipe made in the crock pot that your whole family will love!

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Oh October.

I love you.

You’re the month of bonfires, football, plaid, boots, and scarves.

And ever-changing brightly colored leaves.

And, of course, #pumpkinallthethings! Yes, even chili!

You know what’s awesome about putting pumpkin in chili? You can’t taste it, but it thickens the chili up (yay texture!) and you get all kinds of important vitamins and nutrients (yay health!).

Did you know pumpkins have a large amount of vitamin A, fiber, beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant), potassium, vitamin C, and more? Now we can all feel good about our pumpkin-obsessions because they’re so good for us! Yes yes yes.

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If you have non-pumpkin loving friends and family, you should definitely still make this chili. I promise you really can’t taste the pumpkin! Pumpkin alone does not have a very strong flavor; it’s all of those strong fall spices that are usually added to pumpkin baked goods that make it stand out. Since this is a savory recipe, none of those spices are present. What does that mean for us? Nice, even flavored chili.

This recipe comes together very quickly. After you cook your meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer!), add all the other ingredients together in the crock pot. Let it cook all day, and when you come home you’ll be greeted with piping hot chili and a wonderful aroma.

Sound perfect? It pretty much is.

Then all that’s left to do is light a pumpkin candle (tell me I’m not alone), cozy up on the couch with a big bowl of this hearty stuff, and revel in autumn’s arrival!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin

1). Cook the ground meat and chopped onion in a large skillet until the meat is cooked through and the onion is soft.

2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Add the cooked meat and all the other ingredients. Stir to combine.

3). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 434 Carbs: 57g Fat: 8g Protein: 37g Fiber: 14g Points+: 11 Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

The Best Apple Pie EVER.

*Edited November 2014-Got a new camera and updated pictures!

First of all, I am so sorry for the lack of posts!! The past month has been a whirlwind, and I have so many recipes to share with you. Since Christmas is next week, I’m going to post some of my favorite sweet treats in the next few days. Get ready!

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Here is the first installment of such posts: the best apple pie ever. Declaring a recipe as “the best ever” is a bold statement. I don’t take it lightly or use it often. I’ve made this pie over and over again, and each time the friends and family I share it with agree that it is the best apple pie. So, dear readers, today I’m going to share how to make this holiday staple!

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So, what makes this apple pie so special? Let’s take a look at some key ingredients. The type of apple you use does make a difference. I use granny smith, but I’ve successfully made it with other varieties. As long as you choose a hard, tart apple, the end result will be delicious. Honeycrisp apples are great for baking as well.

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The apples are tossed in an incredible mixture of butter and sugar which you boil on the stove, creating a caramel-like sauce. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla flavor this filling as well. I like to reserve about 1/3 of a cup of this filling to brush on top of the pie crust. With this trick, the top layer of pie crust becomes flavorful, sweet, and turns a beautiful golden-brown color.

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Making homemade pie crust, in my opinion, is non-negotiable. I made two batches of my one minute homemade pie crust in the food processor. It only takes a few extra minutes to make your own, but the difference in flavor is undeniable.

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No, this is not a “healthified” recipe. Yes, there is a LOT of butter and sugar. It’s a recipe I only make once, maybe twice, a year to share with family and friends on holidays, and I don’t cut any corners on it. Look no further for the best apple pie recipe ever–this is it!

The Best Apple Pie Ever

Ingredients:

  • 2 batches of my one minute homemade pie crust (or 1 if you roll it out very thinly!)
  • 7-8 small granny smith apples, peeled, sliced, and cored
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1). Place the peeled, cored, and sliced apples in a large bowl. Set aside.

2). Preheat oven to 425F.

3). In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the 3 tbsp of flour and mix well, forming a paste. Add the water, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and mix well. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to a simmer for an additional minute.

4). Remove from heat and reserve about 1/3 cup of filling for pie crust. Add remaining filling to apples. Toss well.

5). Pour apples into prepared pie crust, mounding slightly. Top with second pie crust (lattice design, etc). Brush the remaining 1/3 cup caramel filling over the crust.

6). Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil. I lightly spray the foil so it does not stick to the pie. Place the pie on top of a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 50 minutes (remove the foil the last 10 minutes to let the crust brown), or until done.  The pie is done when the crust is golden-brown and the apples are soft when pierced with a fork.

7). Allow the pie to cool before serving. Enjoy!

Serves: 8-10 people.

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Pie-by-Grandma-Ople/. 

Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Apple Crisp Muffins

If you love the flavors of apple crisp, you will love these muffins. They are very sweet, with a warm autumnal flavor thanks to the combination of apples and cinnamon. The crumb topping is to die for and really makes these look and taste like bakery style muffins!

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Thanksgiving is next week and these would be a delicious recipe to share with your family for breakfast, or dessert. They are soo moist (thanks to apple sauce and a little bit of oil and butter) and by far the best apple muffins I have ever made. But, just for the record: these are not healthy muffins. They do have white whole wheat flour and fruit in them, though. : )

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I almost went ahead and declared them cupcakes because they are more dessert than breakfast fare, but I then considered the absence of frosting and decided to leave them as muffins. Let’s be honest, though, there’s not THAT much of a  difference between muffins and cupcakes, right? Calling them muffins just makes it acceptable to eat one for breakfast!

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I used my handy apple peeler/corer/slicer machine to make these apple slices thin. Each muffin has layers of apple slices throughout, making each bite tasty and the overall appearance beautiful! I actually do not think the photos do them justice; these muffins are seriously yummy and will also make your home smell delicious!

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Apple Crisp Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped apple (about 2 medium-sized apples. I typically use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)

For the crisp topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with foil liners.

2). In a large bowl, mix together the butter, oil, sugars, and apple sauce with an electric mixer until very well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat another minute.

3). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove 2 tablespoons of this flour mixture and toss well with the apples in a small bowl.

4). Using a spatula, add half remaining flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing just to combine. Add remaining half of flour and apples. Fold the apples into the batter until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.

5). Prepare the crisp topping. In a small bowl, combine all of the crisp topping ingredients until very well combined. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon over each muffin.

6). Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Servings: 12. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 275 Carbs: 36 Fat: 13g Protein: 3g Sugar: 23g Fiber: 3g WW Points+:7 

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2013/09/20/apple-crisp-muffins/ 

 

Autumn Chopped Salad

I love salads that you get at restaurants; they always include a variety of ingredients, textures, and flavors. Somehow I always have a hard time mustering up the energy to create fancy salads at home. Until this salad. This salad is awesome!

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From the picture you can’t even see all the ingredients because some are tucked away, but let me tell you about everything going on here. In addition to the chopped romaine, you add a chopped apple, pear, a handful of peanuts, a sprinkle of cooked bacon or prosciutto, crumbled feta, and some dried cranberries. What makes this combination even more unique is the dressing. I had never previously combined poppy seed dressing with balsamic vinegar, and turns out it is amazing! I used Panera’s fat-free poppy seed dressing (which apparently they sell in the stores now…woot!) and loved the result. Definitely tangy from the balsamic vinegar but there’s still a hint of sweetness from the poppy seed dressing. I’ve already made this salad 3 times, each time for guests, and everyone has raved over it (even my husband!). I’m a huge fan myself!

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As always, feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your needs. The bacon is completely optional and I still thought the salad was delicious without it. If you have a peanut allergy, feel free to omit those as well. If you love fruit in salads as much as I do, though, you’ll want to make sure to include both the apple and pear. So, so good!

I am honestly considering using this recipe as our salad for Thanksgiving this year. Yes, it is THAT GOOD! And, it makes about 8 servings from the recipe, so it is perfect for feeding a crowd.

Go make this salad!

Autumn Chopped Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2-3 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (or more or less. I used Panera’s fat free dressing)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more or less)
  1. Cook bacon according to preferred method (microwave, stove top, or oven). Allow it to cool and then chop up.
  2. Add cooled bacon, romaine lettuce, pear, apple, peanuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese into a very large bowl, then add salad dressing and balsamic vinegar to taste. Toss well then serve immediately.

Servings: about 8. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 75 Carbs: 11g Fat: 3g Protein: 4g Fiber: 2g WW Points+=2

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2012/09/24/autumn-chopped-salad/

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Mmm…pumpkin spice muffins! How appropriate for the season! These are my favorite pumpkin muffins I have ever made. I recently made the mistake of deviating from this recipe and was so disappointed that I had to make these to redeem myself. I stumbled upon this particular recipe a few years ago and it remains a favorite to this day. I’m so excited to share it with you!

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Just look at those beautiful specks of sugar and cinnamon on top! Don’t skip that step–the cinnamon sugar adds flavor, texture, and really makes these muffins gorgeous. The recipe calls for combining a tablespoon of sugar with cinnamon, but if you have a spice container of pre-made cinnamon sugar, by all means use that!

The pumpkin flavor in each muffin is subtle and no one flavor stands out. I actually like to increase the amount of pumpkin pie spice included to elevate the fall flavors a little more than the original recipe stated. My husband does not love pumpkin flavored things, but he loves these muffins. One big advantage of this recipe is how quick and easy these come together; all you need is a bowl and a whisk! With no special equipment necessary and little clean-up, these are perfect to whip up on a whim for breakfast.

IMG_20131012_100504This recipe is very adaptable. To keep these muffins on the healthy side, I substituted apple sauce for the vegetable oil and white whole wheat flour for all-purpose, but you can use whatever you prefer. If you’re feeling creative, try adding some fun mix-ins at the end! I think dried cranberries or chocolate chips could be delicious! If you try it, let me know!

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups white-whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (I like to use 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • CInnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 tbsp sugar)

1) Put oven racks in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners in muffin cups. Whisk together pumpkin, applesauce or oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking powder/baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour with mixture until just combined.

2) Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

3). Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. (Mine were done before 25)

4). Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool. Enjoy!

Servings: 15. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 114 Carbs: 24g Fat: 1g Protein: 3g Sugar: 15g Fiber: 2g  WW PointsPlus: 3

Adapted from: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/10/promise-keeper-pumpkin-eater/