butternut squash and goat cheese crostini with cranberries

butternut squash crostini with goat cheese

Turkey day is right around the corner and I can’t wait to stuff my face with the delicious goodness of all those side dishes and the big bird.  If you are hosting for the first time or cooking for a crowd, enjoy yourself and this holiday entirely devoted to food!  Now if you’re like me and looking to add one more dish to the table, this simple, sweet, and savory finger food is perfect appetizer to serve before the full spread.  This appetizer will give a taste of the flavors of Thanksgiving in one bite to prep your palate for the rest of the meal!

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ginger and pumpkin cheesecake bars

ginger and pumpkin cheesecake bar with whipped cream and almonds

Pumpkin spice has been blowing up my taste buds for a good two months already, but I couldn’t resist stirring up another recipe to taste those oh so yummy flavors of Fall!  Although I do love the traditional pumpkin pie on turkey day, this year I have decided to stir up something with a bit more zing.  With a touch of crystallized ginger and a buttery crisp gingersnap crust, this pumpkin cheesecake is a decadent spin on the classic Thanksgiving day dessert. A bit of whipped cream and crunchy almond slivers help to offset the zesty ginger notes while keeping you ready to try the next bite.  Stir up this dessert in advance and save some room in your stomach after the bird on Thursday!

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roasted farro and mushroom stuffed acorn squash

stuffed acorn squash with farro and mushrooms

Spending this past week back on the East Coast, I got a chance to see the final colorful foliage hanging on the trees and feel a chill in the air which has inspired me to continue my exploration of the flavors of Fall.  For this stuffed squash feast, a combination of earthy vegetables and salty cheese contrasts perfectly with the sweet roasted acorn squash that acts as your bowl!  No guilt needed if you finish up the entire half in one sitting, but you can also save these squash to fill your fridge before the Polar Vortex makes an early winter appearance!  Or if you are on the West Coast and are in need of a dose of the Autumn season, the aroma of thyme and mushrooms with a splash of white wine should fill your home with the smells of this great season, enjoy! Continue reading

black valentine bean and roasted tomato chili with quinoa

black bean and quinoa chili topped with avocado

Football season has always equated chili season in my mind.  Growing up, my mom made chili and cornbread for every Super Bowl, so I guess football and chili have always seemed to go together like PB& J for me!  With endless possibilities and flavors to explore, chili is a great vehicle to try out new spices, peppers, and beans.  For a vegan version of the spicy stew, I have teamed up with Farm Fresh to You to step out of the can to cook up my own black beans; Black Valentine beans to be exact!  With these California grown artisan beans from Community Grains as the heart of this chili, a base of roasted peppers and tomatoes add another dimension of smoky and spicy flavors to the mix.  Packed with plenty of protein, you don’t have to worry about missing the beef when you dip your spoon into this bowl!

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apple and sausage risotto

apple and sausage risotto

So even though I love eating a fresh crisp apple, for some reason cooking and baking with them have never been my cup of tea.  Well that is until my mom discovered a delicious way to combine cooked apples and sausage in this creamy risotto.  Not only is this one of my favorite comfort food dishes for Fall, but it is a great way to use up apples in a savory dish!  With a splash of apple cider at the end, the Arborio rice soaks up a little extra sweetness that is a great contrast to the pork and parmesan in the mix.  Take some time to stir a batch up this week and enjoy! Continue reading

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