Nov
18

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

The Holiday season provides an opportunity to share time with the ones you love and to create and share beautiful meals with friends and family. I won’t be with family this year, but I will be with a few girlfriends and a couple cutie dogs, celebrating my first ever Friendsgiving. i.am.so.excited

We have so many plans, so much food to cook including Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie with marshmallows on top, a Butternut Squash Crisp, a Brussels Sprouts Gratin, a colorful Quinoa Salad (recipe below!), some Stuffing, a Green Bean Casserole, a Winter Squash PieCranberry Apple Sauce, and potentially even a Vegducken.

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year to gather and develop recipes because of all the beautiful colors and flavors that are associated with the fall season. As excited as I am to cook, I’m equally as excited to devour my friends’ home-cookin as well.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

Most people that I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with are traditional meat-eaters and haven’t shown much interest in my plant-based dishes so every year in the prior years, I’ve created an extraordinary plant-based Thanksgiving meal on Black Friday for myself and whoever was willing to share it with me. This year, I’m going to share my plant-based meals with my friends ON THANKSGIVING. // another reason I am SO excited.

TruToots Quinoa

This beautiful Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad will be one of the dishes I craft and share at my Friendsgiving Celebration this year. The salad combines a healthful Sprouted Quinoa, colorful pistachios and pomegranate seeds, and a ginger-citrus vinaigrette that offers an unexpected flavor and scent.

I take pride in the dishes I serve, especially around the Holiday season, I will only use the finest of ingredients to create the biggest shared feast of the year.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

The construction of this salad is quite simple, it can be done in just a few minutes. First, you start with the quinoa. I prefer to use truRoots Sprouted Quinoa because it is moist, fluffy, and sweet. Color is provided by the pomegranate seeds, orange slices, and roasted pistachios. The most labor-intensive part of crafting this salad is making the dressing, although once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients it’s simple to blend them all together (and can be done in advance!).

I love the idea of having truRoots products on my Thanksgiving table because their mission statement mirrors my Thanksgiving goals: “We are passionate about offering the best organic food while doing our part to better the world around us. In doing so, we help bring more families together for memorable meals and moments.” 

With jewel-toned colors, irresistible fragrances, delectable foods, amazing friends, belly laughs, shared stories, belly rubs (the dogs, not us silly!), classic movies, and coexistence, I look forward to the memorable meals and moments that will be made.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad
5.0 from 1 reviews
a Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad w/a Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups truRoots Sprouted Quinoa, cooked
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (use only the seeds)
  • 5-6 clementines, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios
  • ¼ tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar or a citrus vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Make the vinaigrette first and toss all ingredients together just before serving.
  2. To make the vinaigrette blend the ginger, garlic, orange juice, vinegar, and honey together in a food processor or blender. After all the ingredients are fully blended, add the olive oil and blend again. Set aside while you construct the salad.
  3. Toss together the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and clementines. Drizzle with the citrus ginger vinaigrette just before serving // you may or may not use all of the vinaigrette depending on your taste: use discretion.
  4. This salad can be served at room temperature or chilled (I prefer room temperature).
Transparency: truRoots collaborated on this post with me, supplying the quinoa and moderate compensation. I would not have accepted the collaboration had I not believed in the company’s products and philosophy.

Love

Crista


Nov
12

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Friends. I cherish them and hold them all at high regard.
A few of my friends, I can tell ANYTHING to (seriously, ANYTHING) without fear of judgement or ill repute, they are my favorite people on earth.
I have friends that fill what would otherwise be empty spaces in my life.
I have friends that make me laugh, keep me smiling.
My friends give me advice, build me up, and they tell me when I’m crazy.

Green Tomato

Among so many other things, one of the best parts of having awesome friends is that I learn a lot from my them….. 

Through a mutual friend in Florida, I got connected with a now-friend of mine who is chef-trained (score!). I tend to forget that she is chef-trained on most days that I see her because we get wrapped up in talking about life events, family, relationships, and other “deep” stuff, gossip.

The last time I saw Jordan, we rapped about gardening, the restaurant that she manages (they maintain their own garden), and the late-harvest green tomatoes that I’d recently picked. Besides making fried green tomatoes, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with the heap of green tomatoes I’d had (and still have!!) and I shared that. I let Jordan tell me what she makes for dinner on any given night, I know she eats good.

Green Tomatoes

Effortlessly, Jordan taught me something simple and useful, she taught me a new way to prepare green tomatoes, which is where this instructive recipe comes from. Here is what I learned:

Quarter the green tomatoes and douse them in olive oil. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10ish minutes, just long enough to soften them slightly. DO NOT add salt (and pepper) prior to roasting, the salt would pull the moisture out of the tomatoes, keep those babies juicy! // Add the salt and pepper AFTER roasting. If the tomatoes aren’t already rich enough for your taste,  add a small amount of barrel aged balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes after they come out of the oven.

I made a larger batch of these roasted tomatoes than I should have, I didn’t realize how rich and ambrosial the roasted greens would be. Less is more when you are serving roasted green tomatoes, and I prefer to eat them with a meal rather than independently.

As I type this out, I realize that I made a mistake last night. I SHOULD HAVE roasted the remainder of the green tomatoes I have on hand and served them with the mahi mahi and mashed potatoes I made for dinner last night. I knew my meal was missing something green but I didn’t want to leave the house, it was too chilly.

 

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes are little gems as far as I’m concerned, they are hard to come by. Can you buy them at the grocery store? I don’t really think so…. If you want green tomatoes, you almost have to grow them yourself.

Thank you, Jordan, for contributing to the reduction of waste in my garden and thanks for being my friend.

Love

Crista


Nov
08

Heirloom Tomato Chutney

People deserve second chances, right?

I haven’t always been the person to honor second chances, I can be kind of bitchy like that, but I am a changed person as of late. Recently, I’ve made the decision to give a loved one a second chance, an opportunity he asked for several times before I agreed. Blindsided by frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty, I didn’t realize how much damage I was doing to him, myself, our relationship, our well-being, and our future by being a hard ass. Luckily, his humbleness and faith in me/us has allowed him to give me a second chance as well.  

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

heirloom tomato

The recipe I am sharing with you today has been shared on my blog once before. I almost linked back to the post in a more recent post but I decided not to because IT WAS EMBARRASSING. My photos sucked and I didn’t have much of anything interesting to say back then. So I decided to give this recipe, this post, a second chance.

(( I realize that my photography skills aren’t much better than they used to be but I’d like to think I’ve improved a few points. When I photographed the photos for this post, I used my 50mm lens that DOES NOT auto focus…. that’s tricky for me because I am BLIND, literally, my world is a blur. I uploaded these photos and laughed, because there is a slight blur to them. Bear with me, I’m shopping around for a 50mm lens that will auto focus and may some day take advantage of a third opportunity. ))

Heirloom Tomatoes

My sudden desire to make this fragrant chutney came after speaking with a girlfriend about the late-season heirloom tomatoes that unexpectedly popped up out of nowhere in my garden. My tomato bushes got BIG this year, mainly due to my lack of attention and pruning so the green, bushy stems concealed the juicy, ripe fruits underneath it all. My girlfriend suggested a chutney, which prompted me to find the recipe in my archives and make a big batch. 

Heirloom Tomato Chutney

I’ve had several dinner sessions with this Spiced Heirloom Tomato Chutney, and have already finished off several small mason jars worth of it. 

This spiced chutney pairs well with a bottle of wine and a variety of cheeses and crackers, and I’ve spent several nights curled up in blankets on the couch with those exact items.

It can be alternated with dijon mustard as a dipping sauce for fried green tomatoes (you can see in the photos, I’ve got enough green tomatoes from the garden to feed a small village fried greens) to offer the taste buds variety. I’ve already made friend greens three times this season and I’ve got enough green tomatoes for one or two more sessions.

I have used this sweet/savory chutney as a condiment atop a baked white, flaky fish, the same way that I’ve seen chef’s use mango salsa atop fish. I like to allow the chutney to warm up to room temperature prior to serving atop a warm dish.

For Thanksgiving, I plan to serve this chutney aside a sweet cornbread instead of the traditional butter and honey. Uncommon, I realize, but colorful and ambrosial. For cool points, I’ve jarred some of the chutney up for the in-laws to enjoy with their Thanksgiving dinner as well. M favorite part about gifting food items to that family is knowing that they’ll use in a way I’d never think of and they’ll enjoy it.

Tomato Chutney
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. assorted tomatoes (of choice)
  • 1 large onion, chopped into eights
  • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch of sea salt
  • large pot of boiling water
  • large pot of ice cold water
Instructions
  1. Cut a large “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Working in batches, place the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water.
  2. Blanch for 30-60 seconds or until skins start peeling off. With tongs, pull the tomatoes out of the boiling water and immediately drop in to ice cold water; drain.
  3. Remove the skins of the tomatoes and discard. Remove the core and discard. Quarter the tomatoes and set aside.
  4. Pulse the onions in a food processor until chopped. Add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices and continue pulsing until the tomatoes are chopped.
  5. Pour the mixture in to a large pot along with all other ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour or until mixture is thick and reduced, stirring often.
Heirloom Tomato Chutney

I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: a fragrant kitchen, this versatile chutney, new perspectives, and a fresh start.

Love

Crista


Sep
23

I’m in slight denial that summer has come to an end but I know it’s real. The leaves have begun to change (the mountains are BEAUTIFUL right now) and each morning seems to be slightly chillier than the previous. When I’m out watering the garden in the morning, I’m bundled up in a small blanket or a hooded sweater instead of bare skinned, flip flops, and tank tops. 

Although I mourn the loss of a summer that could have, should have, would have packed more activities and experiences had I had more time but I’m ready, ready to move on. Ready for new beginnings. Ready to hunker down, cozy under blankets, drink wine, lots of wine, and eat warm, comforting foods.

As I scroll through the archives in this blog, each recipe stirs up a memory of what was happening in my life at the time I was preparing and serving that dish. I share with you the recipes that comforted me this morning, and brought warm thoughts, the dishes that I’ll prepare this season to stir nostalgia and create new memories.

Happy fall, ya’ll.

thyme-tea-cough-buster
Thyme Tea

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili
Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

Apple, Carrot, Quinoa Hash
a Carrot, Apple Quinoa Hash

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait
Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pit
Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pie

indian spiced smashed potatoes
Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal // peace. love. quinoa
Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Love

Crista


Dec
05

Modern Love

Although it’s been a few weeks since my dinner date with BFF, Doug, I’m still reliving that glorious day – the day that I got to visit Isa Chandra’s very first vegan restaurant, located in Omaha, NE.

IT. WAS. BOMMMMB.

Modern Love

Although Doug is not a vegan, he agreed to escort me to the restaurant (I use the word escort because it’s funny). In the few years that I’ve known Doug, he’s allowed me to feed him foods that he thinks are “exotic” (like Brussels Sprouts and Bloody Mary’s). The dude is lucky to have me as a friend – COULD YOU IMAGINE A LIFE WITHOUT BRUSSELS AND BLOODY’S?? The boy is from the midwest and he likes fast food – I’m trying to hook him up.

Anyway, he GLADLY visited Modern Love with me because he trusts me and knows that I won’t steer him in the wrong direction. SPOILER ALERT: I am about to give you information that was meant to be shared at the end of this post: Doug ate his entire meal at Modern Love (even though he though he might not like it)!!! That’s a BIG DEAL!!!!

Modern Love

Modern Love

I’m pretty confident that we all the right choices, food-wise at the restaurant. I ordered the Chili and PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS – yes, we should re-visit what I just said in a moment – and Doug ordered the Seitan Schnitzel. We also ordered a side of kale – probably the best kale I’ve ever, ever, ever had. Modesty aside, it was DEFINITELY the best kale I’ve ever had. 

Modern Love

So, about that Chili served with a Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll AND – AND coconut whipped cream. Apparently, the chili/cinnamon roll combination is a “midwest thing” – they’ve been serving those two side-by-side for YEARS I’m told. I’m pissed because I’m from the midwest and no one ever told me about this remarkable combination. Doug’s all like “we’ve been eating cinnamon rolls with our chili forever and ever” and I’m all like “shut up….”

Regardless, I’m grateful to finally be “in-the-know”

So, when my mom came to Denver this past week to help me move, I made chili & cinnamon rolls. The night Patrick’s (boyfriend) parents met my mother, I made chili and cinnamon rolls. Football this weekend? I’ll probably make chili and cinnamon rolls.

Thanks, Isa.

Modern Love

Below is Doug – master vegan eater. He loved Modern Love so much that he took his carnivores parents there for his birthday. They won’t admit how much they loved the place, but I bet they cleaned their plates/bowls just like Dougy did.

Modern Love

 

On another note, I got to meet Isa while I was at Modern Love – I almost died but tried to remain calm. I didn’t take her photo, didn’t want to bother. Anyway, I idolize the chick because she is a badass vegan recipe creator. And her books are badass and her restaurant is badass. I begged her to open up in Denver but she’s not going to (boo) – she’s looking at LA though…. Anyway, Isa, if you’re reading this – I beg once more for some Modern Love in Denver. Kthanks.

Love

Crista


Dec
03

ahhhhhh.
finally, i can breathe.
not only did i just come off of the busiest work travel season i’ve had in a long time, i also shopped for, purchased, and moved into my new home.
buying a home may be the single most stressful situation i have been a part of-
people kept telling me it’d be worth it in the end. i was skeptical during the process, but now, while i sit on my couch, with my feet kicked up, in MY home, i realize that they were right – it was TOTALLY worth it!
…and every time i step foot in to my home, i fall in love all over again.

just a few days (4 days!) after moving in to my new home, i hosted my boyfriends family for Thanksgiving.
i cooked, although modestly. i made homemade hummus & veggies, cranberry whiskey applesauce, pumpkin cornbread, and a killer kale salad. we ate plenty.

so, this is my new life. in Colorado
in my new home.
with my amazing bearded Colorado boyfriend by my side.

as i sit here alone, i know that i am not alone – there is an entire team of people out there who have helped shape my being. people who have encouraged me, and hugged me, and pushed me to keep on keeping on even in the most difficult of times.

my heart is filled with love and gratitude. my life is filled with love and gratitude.
i’m ready to get back to life as it once was – as a foodie and a blogger.

let’s get this party started, again!

xox

Love

Crista


Nov
05

pumpkins 

Doods. So I went to Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and they were on pumpkin-overload. I swear to you that every single item in the store was pumpkinized. I wasn’t mad about it however I did end up spending a lot more money that day than I normally do. (I mean, hellloooooo pumpkin cinnamon rolls that aren’t even vegan but I’ll buy anyway because: pumpkin)

I walked in to the store yesterday to find that the shelf that was once pumpkinized had been reverted back to the same ole “new items in stock” that… I’m still not mad about. BUT, what the hell happened to all the pumpkin stuff?? Halloween is over but Thanksgiving is not. I have very high standards on how long you need to keep pumpkin goodies in stock and I’m pissed when you reduce inventory after Halloween.  Can ya dig?

To make up for the lack of pumpkin goodies on shelves of TJ’s across the country, I bring you this post that is chock-full of vegan pumpkin recipes. You may want to bookmark it and refer back to it every year between Halloween & Thanksgiving when grocery stores assume it time to remove the pumpkin and introduce the Christmas candy. No one is ready for Christmas candy, anyway. We’re still trying to eat up that Halloween candy… 

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait

The Pumpkin Spice Cake from Vegan Yumminess looks super moist and full of fragrant spices. Put this cake in the oven, and I bet you’d have the entire house smelling like heaven. Pumpkin heaven, that is.

This Pumpkin Chai Shake from real kids eat spinach recommends you freeze pumpkin in ice cube trays and blend it with awesome ingredients like chai tea and fragrant spices. (who would have thought to blend pumpkin into a shake, let alone freeze it in ice cube trays?? – GENIUS)

Larabars. We’ve all had them. Every time I empty my purse, I find a beat up Larabar at the bottom. I always keep (at least) one on hand to ensure I never starve. Although I’ve got a lot of experience eating these vegan, raw, healthful bars, I’ve never made them. Not until I found this genius Pumpkin Pie Larabars recipe by eat, live, burp.

I thought myself to be a genius when I made a Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait inspired by something Martha Stewart did. It’s goooooood.

Pumpkin Pie without the crust? I’m down. Check out this Pumpkin Pie Pudding from meadows cooks.

Isa Did It, just like she promised she would with this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl recipe in her book. I could hardly stand to photograph that meal – get.in.my.belly.

My favorite vegan grocery store, NOOCH is selling vegan pumpkin ice cream made by Sweet Action (a local Denver thing) but if they weren’t I’d make an attempt at the Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe from Minimalist Baker. Every recipe I have ever made from Minimalist Baker (SEVERAL!) has been flawless, and I’m sure this one would be no exception – they topped that ice cream with roasted pecans and coconut whipped cream (I mean, does it get any better than that??)

We’re not done yet.

I’m kind of obsessed with baking ingredients IN a pumpkin, then eating the entire thing. I’ve never done it but I will. Check out these Holiday Stuffed Pumpkins from Deliciously Ella. (and, actually – I’m putting the Green Kitchen Stories book on my wishlist)

Pumpkin juice? Yes, it’s a thing: a Glowing Pumpkin Juice recipe from Fettle Vegan.

“The BEST Pancakes I’ve ever had” says my boyfriend about the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes I made him. Recipe by Minimalist Baker (duh, flawless) Don’t top these with fake syrup – you better use pure maple syrup, it’s the only way to go. And anyway, GO, go make these now!

I could go on and on and on. But you must stop reading now and go make one of these recipes. 

For the record, I made a triple batch of those Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and I put them in the freezer for “later” …which means I’ll have eaten three batches of Pumpkin Spice Pancakes in a 2-3 day time frame. Psh, my life doesn’t suck.

Do you have any vegan pumpkin recipes to share? Please do.

Love

Crista


Oct
28

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Tis the season for pumpkin EVERYTHING. Have you been to Trader Joe’s lately? They seriously have EVERYTHING pumpkin. I have to stay away from the place this time of year. Pumpkin cornbread mix, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pop tarts, pumpkin scones, pumpkin ravioli, pumping this, pumpkin that. Almost non of it vegan. Sigh.

For the first time last year, I learned to bake my pumpkins and gather my own puree versus purchasing pumpkin puree in a can. I’m stepping up my game in the kitchen. Watch out November, I’m hot.

I recently purchased a new cookbook, Isa Does It
It’s a book I’ve wanted for quite some time and I finally broke down and got it! I was stoked when I found a pumpkin recipe in the cookbook, it’s the first thing I made. I’m going to give you this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl/Plate recipe in this post but then you HAVE to buy this book for the other recipes. The Mushroom Hot Pot, the Baked Garlic Curry Fries, and the Jerk Sloppy Joes are among some of my favorite recipes. 

Isa does not know me (yet) but I’m hoping to introduce myself to her next month when I visit her brand new vegan restaurant in Omaha, called Modern Love. Uhm, she’s serving a dish of chili & cinnamon rolls at Modern Love (genius!). I guess that’s an “Omaha” thing (cinnamon rolls paired with chili, that is). I’m down. Sounds like it could be a “Crista” thing. Don’t be surprised when I dedicate an entire blog to chili and cinnamon rolls – pumpkin cinnamon rolls, duh.

Isa Does It

So anyway, about this pumpkin bowl (that I plated). I love that it has several different elements and flavors, all reminiscent of autumn. Instead of turning the pumpkin into some fancy baked good, it is baked and eaten as is (seriously, who does that?? it’s GOOD). Along with herbs (that I got out of the garden), the pumpkin seeds are used to make the chimichurri sauce and spread atop the entire dish. Soba noodles are recommended as the starch in this dish, but QUINOA could be used as well. Look, I love noodles AND I love quinoa – it’s a hard choice to make. (good luck to you)

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Author: 
 
Ingredients
For the pumpkin and noodles:
  • 1 (3 pound) sugar pumpkin, sliced in half and seeded
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
For the chimichurri:
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 2 cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For serving:
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup pepitas
Instructions
Prepare the pumpkin & noodles:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain, place back in the pot, and set aside.
Prepare the chimichurri:
  1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse to get it chopped up. Add the pepitas and pulse into fine crumbs.
  2. Add the rest of the chimichurri ingredients and puree.
To assemble:
  1. Toss the noodles with about ¼ of the chimichurri sauce and divide among bowls.
  2. Scoop cooked pumpkin into each bowl, and add some black beans.
  3. Top with the additional chimichurri and pepitas.

Chimichurri Pumpkin Plate

Love

Crista


Oct
12

homemade apple butter

 This time last year, we were picking apples off the apple tree that grew right in the front yard. It was a luxury to have an apple tree, stemming, and producing fruit although the apples weren’t “perfect” like most of most of the apples available for purchase in the store. Our apples were disfigured and some of them were wormy – they required some “cleaning up” before being able to use them. But look, I’m not complaining.

Every year, I forget to get out to an apple orchard in late August or early September for apple picking – I always show up right at the end of apple picking season (mid-October) just in time for picking pumpkins. I love, love picking pumpkins, I’m going to go out next weekend to pick up a few, but I want the apples too! Do I need to set a reminder for myself next year??

Random: Someone once told me that if you plant the seeds from an apple, chances are it will grow in to a crab apple tree, even if the seeds came from a different variety. I guess most varieties are “clones” – it sounds like a complicated/unpredictable process to create those clones, I don’t even want to think about it or talk about it – I’ll leave it to the experts.

Back to last year: After picking the apples, coring, and cleaning them, we made several batches of apple butter. I wish I still had some – all of a sudden, I’m craving it again. I may make a 2014 batch, however it will be a small batch because I don’t have the space to can the excess AND it would have to be made with store-bought apples… which just wouldn’t be the same…. especially here in Colorado. I still haven’t figured out the best apples to buy in Colorado…. I miss Honeycrisp, we have them available here but they aren’t as great as they are in the Midwest…..

I don’t recall the Apple Butter recipe that we used last year but I found several recipes via Pinterest that caught my attention for this year:

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

Apple Butter (no sugar added)

Cranberry-Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Ginger Spiced Apple Butter (no sugar added)

I love all the different variations of “apple butter.”  I’m especially liking the idea of the Cranberry-Apple Butter, maybe I’ll make a batch for Thanksgiving and serve it with warm biscuits! (Yes, I AM ready to start thinking about Thanksgiving.)
Which version catches YOUR attention? 

apple tree

Love

Crista


Sep
30

delicata squash

My birthday has come and gone which means that fall is officially here. This time of year is bittersweet for me – I love the fall and all of the beautiful colors that come along with it but I’m never quite ready to let go of summer. Last week, we had 85 degree weather here in Colorado but today I’m snuggled under a blanket because I can’t quite seem to warm up. The weaner has definitely changed over the last 24 hours or so. 

Here in Colorado, everyone talks about getting up to the mountains in September and early October to see the leaves change. I’ve gotten up there twice – it was right as the leaves were changing, and everyone is right – it’s beautiful… quite the sight to see.

Everyone is talking about pumpkin too, so I went to Trader Joe’s and bought almost every single limited-edition pumpkin item they had in the store. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon! During that trip, I picked up some Delicata Squash because I’d never had it before. I think…… it’s in the running to become my new favorite squash. I’m liking it even better than I like butternut squash! Cut in half length-wise, I roasted it in the oven for 15ish minutes and it was perfectly tender and sweet – it ALMOST doesn’t even need any seasonings (I did add one secret ingredient – find it in the recipe below)

Because I just recently started eating squash on a regular basis, I looked to Amanda Paa’s book, Smitten With Squash for recipe inspiration and here is what I found: a Warm Delicata and Kale Jewel Salad recipe, a recipe for Brown Butter Delicata Donuts, and a Sweet Delicata Pie with Pecan Praline recipe. Uhm, YUM. I can hardly wait to try these recipes! 

Meanwhile, my super simple Roasted Delicata Squash recipe with a secret ingredient allows for a tasty main dish and/or side that’s quick to prepare.

Roasted Delicata Squash
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 - 3 Delicata Squash *see recipe note
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil per squash
  • a few pinches of sea salt
  • a few pinches of black pepper
  • a few pinches of nutmeg (secret ingredient!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut each squash in half, length-wish. (this may require a big knife and a strong arm - BE CAREFUL!)
  3. De-seed the squash. **see recipe note
  4. Add a half-teaspoon of olive oil to each squash half, use a spoon to spread the olive oil and coat the inside of the squash.
  5. Sprinkle a pinch of black pepper, sea salt, and nutmeg to each squash halve.
  6. Roast for 15-20 minutes, use a fork to check tenderness.
  7. Allow the squash to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Notes
*1 squash will serve 2 people as a side dish and will serve 1 person as a main dish)
**You can save the seeds for roasting or pitch them.

 I may get off the couch for a few minutes tonight to roast up some squash…. but I’ll probably take my blankie with me. (brrrrr it’s chilly here!!)

Love

Crista