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Pumpkin Curry (Paleo Friendly)

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Woah! It’s Halloween! Man, October flew by and here we are on the threshold of another holiday season. Being a new homeowner, I am attempting to add more and more personal touches to make our house feel like a home. One of my favorite Halloween decorations I made were these luminaries to light the path of the trick or treaters in our neighborhood. Super easy, super cute. Thanks, Southern Living, you’re a pal.

As tempting as it was to post a sweet dish on here for Halloween, I figure you’ll get enough of them in the upcoming holiday season. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to come back here in December. We have big plans, folks, big plans. Anyhow, we’ll continue with a mouth watering seasonal savory dish today!

We posted a version of this recipe long ago, but after rereading it, all I wanted to do was revise it. Now, the cooking time is shortened, the ingredient list is shorter, and the culinary skills are way more logical. It’s like a new, healthier, tastier version of what you may have seen previously on this site.

This is a great recipe for using those darling little pie pumpkins you are decorating with for fall. A bonus: this recipe is paleo friendly, vegan, and sugar free! It only takes a few hours in the crock pot, so it’s perfect if you get home in the afternoons (like me) from work. Enjoy, Happy Halloween, and we’ll chat again real soon!

Pumpkin Curry
Prep Time: 60 min. (includes roasting the pumpkin) Cook Time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients:

2 whole pie pumpkins
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 onion, sliced in half moons
2 cups baby carrots, halved
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
14-oz. lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lime, juiced

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

On a sturdy cutting board, remove the stem of two pumpkins, and slice pumpkins lengthwise. Dispose of pumpkin seeds and strings. Cut each half again lengthwise, and place the eight pieces of pumpkin on two baking sheets. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast pumpkin in the oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool and peel off the pumpkin skin using a knife. Cut pumpkin into 1″ cubes. Place cubed roasted pumpkin pieces in the crock pot.

Meanwhile, prepare the curry. In a medium sized skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Once hot, add onion and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Then, add garlic and red curry paste. Simmer for another minute.

Transfer vegetable mixture to crock pot on “low” setting. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cover crock pot with lid and cook for 3-4 hours on low.

Serve curry over cauliflower rice (one head of cauliflower, food processed and sauteed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper), and top with fresh cilantro.

Serves 8

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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