• Cherry Almond Cookies

  • Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

  • Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers

  • Berry Pom Smoothies

  • Kale and Lentil Soup

  • Toasted Almond and Farro Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • Bourbon Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Lasagna Bolognese

Grilled Autumn Salad

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Moving into the new house is going really well! We’re finally feeling settled, and there are only a few pesky boxes left in the basement. Yes, there are projects we’d like to do. Yes, we’d like to paint. Sure, we want to cut down a few trees around the yard. But really, those things will happen over time. One thing we love about our new house is the back deck. We love sitting out there in our table for two under the big maple tree, catching up on our day while sipping a glass of red wine.

We love cooking outside. Ahhem… let me clarify. Neil loves cooking outside. I love to watch and prep things as he needs. Neil is the master griller in our small family of two.  A lot of people associate grilling with summer, but Neil uses the grill just as much when the weather cools down. There are a lot of autumn and winter recipes that could easily be transferred to the grill. We used to make a similar recipe in the oven, but this one really shines on the grill. The aromatic thyme paired with the spicy parsnip and smokey flavors of the grill has made this salad our fall go-to.

I love the color this salad adds to my plate each time we serve it. Enjoy!

Grilled Autumn Salad
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 17 min.

3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 onion, sliced into half moon pieces
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Preparation:

Toss the carrots, onion, parsnip, salt, and pepper together in a cast iron skillet on the grill. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, thyme, and balsamic and toss to combine. Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Serve warm.

Serves 2

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust

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Another pumpkin post! I have never been a fan of cheesecake (I know, I know…), so last year I began creating my own recipe that even I would enjoy. What turns me away from  cheesecake is the dense texture and overly cream cheesy flavor, so in this new recipe I incorporated ricotta and greek yogurt to sub for some of the cream cheese. I don’t think it’s really any healthier, but the texture is light and fluffy. These are so easy to make.

Simply plop one gingersnap cookie in the bottom of each lined muffin tin, and your crust is done. I don’t often recommend against using Trader Joe’s brand, but since I learned the hard way, I have to: their cookies are just too small. I used Target’s gingersnaps and they were perfect for this recipe.

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Just whip up the filling and pour into each cup. Bake, cool, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. These individual cheesecakes are bursting with the spicy sweet flavors of fall. Enjoy!

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust

Prep Time: 12 hours (includes overnight chill) Cook Time: 24 min.

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecakes:

24 gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
8-oz. plain cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/2 can pumpkin purée
2 eggs
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon to sprinkle

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Using an electric mixer, whip the ricotta and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add the greek yogurt and pumpkin and continue to whip. Add the eggs and continue to whip. Finally, add the brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and blend until well incorporated. Set aside.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Place one gingersnap cookie in each muffin liner and press to the bottom. Top the cookie with the cheesecake filling, almost all the way to the top. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until inside of the filling jiggles a little, but when touched the batter gently bounces off your finger. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before topping with whipped cream.

To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until stiff peaks form. Use a piping back or decorating tool to top each cheesecake. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon as desired.

Chill overnight and enjoy the next day. Makes 24 individual cheesecakes.

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Pumpkin Scones

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The other day, I went to Starbucks to get my seasonal favorite #PSL, (I have to use the hashtag, right?), and decided to order a scrumptious fall baked good to compliment my beverage: a pumpkin scone. I was shocked when the barista explained to me that they have “temporarily discontinued” the pumpkin scones because “stores can’t keep up with such high demand.” …Wha??! Anyhow, still craving a pumpkin scone, and with a free afternoon in our new kitchen, I was determined to make my own.

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These turned out even better than the original. Not dry (yes, you could use the M word here- my least favorite word that rhymes with “hoist”), sweet, with the right amount of fall spice and covered in frosting. Your day is sure to start off right with one of these and a coffee in hand.

Simply mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, and add wet to dry.

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Then, form the dough into a one inch-thick rectangle, keeping the dough as cold as possible. If you have a marble pastry board, now would be a great time to use it. If not, do what I did and work on your counter.

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Next, divide that dough with a sharp knife or pastry blade into thirds.

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Next, cut the thirds in half, creating six large scones.

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Pop these babies in the oven and when they’re done cover in as much vanilla frosting as you’d like. The warm scones will soak some of the frosting into their nooks and crannies, still with plenty on top. Really go for it here, folks… check out the little puddles of goodness that formed underneath. At this point in the baking process, Neil just happened to arrive in the kitchen and graciously volunteered to take the parchment with the extra frosting. We wouldn’t want it to go to waste, after all.

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The easiest (and prettiest) way to drizzle the spiced frosting is to use a squeeze bottle, but you could always use a whisk. You might have some frosting left over, but you can save it for future dunking and drizzling.

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There is nothing like baking on a cool fall day. Happy fall, my dear friends!

 

Pumpkin Scones
Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 14 min.
Adapted from: Top Secret Recipes

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground clove
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Vanilla Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

For the Spiced Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground clove

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Dice the butter and cut it into the flour using a pastry blade until the flour and butter resemble small peas. Set aside.

In a separate smaller bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, vanilla, and egg. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. At this point, pick up the dough and knead on a floured surface about 5 times until well combined. Don’t work the dough too much, though.

Form dough into a long rectangle, about an inch thick. With a sharp knife or pastry blade, cut the dough into three pieces, then cut each of those pieces in half. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat and bake for 14-16 minutes.

While scones are baking, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, combine all ingredients of the vanilla frosting together until smooth. Taste to make sure you like the frosting. Using a spatula, slather each scone in the vanilla frosting. The more the better, and it’s best to do this while the scones are still warm. Allow to cool while you made the spiced frosting.

In the same bowl, use an electric mixer to combine all ingredients of the spiced frosting together. Again, taste and make sure you like it! Transfer to a squeeze bottle and drizzle over each scone.

Enjoy! Makes 6 large scones.

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