Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

I don’t know about you, but I’m a snack-a-holic.

I’m one of those people who has to have snacks on hand — in the purse, in my desk at work,etc — because if emergency hits, snacks are essential. And by emergency, I mean it’s been more than 2 hours since I’ve eaten. 

I kid, I kid.

But I do keep snacks on hand because while I can go more than 2 hours without eating, when the hunger monster does strike it’s really not pretty. Plus, without healthy snacks at the ready, being hangry can do some crazy things to the brain, such as forcing you to down an entire bag of Goldfish crackers without stopping to breathe. Not that I know from personal experience.

On this token though, keeping healthy snacks on hand can be a challenge in and of itself! Many prepackaged bars and other convenience foods, whether labeled “healthy” or not, often include tons of sugar, preservatives, or ingredients that just don’t belong in my body on a daily basis. While there are a handful of bars and pre made snacks out there that I have come to love due to their short, natural ingredient lists, sometimes it’s nice to make your own. Am I right?

Today’s recipe can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, and will give you enough energy bites to last the week. Unless you fall so in love with them that you down them by the handful. Be careful — you’ve been warned!

I made these last week on a whim–  I just threw a bunch of ingredients together in my kitchen and ended up loving the flavor combination. Not only did I love them, but so did Will, and trust me when I say that he’s the biggest critic of bars/snacks/etc.

And because of this, I decided to throw them together again this weekend, only this time I actually measured everything so that I could share them with all of you!

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As the recipe states, these will make about 16-18 bites. Due to the combination of ground almonds (I just pulsed mine in my Vitamix about 6-10 times) and peanut butter, these are calorie and energy dense!! Just 2 make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, or as a pick me up before a workout. A great mix of protein, healthy fats, and a small amount of carbohydrates, these are sure to give you just the energy boost you need when hunger strikes.

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*Note: I use crunch peanut butter because that’s my preference — I’m a texture gal! Of course you could substitute creamy here. Also, if you are using unsalted peanut butter, I would add a pinch of salt to really bring out all of the flavors.

Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Salad: Massaged Kale with Farro

I don’t know about you guys, but when the summer temps start creeping up into the 90s, the last thing I want for lunch is a hot meal.

I find myself turning to salads a lot more, and sometimes even just a snack plate. Just a couple of days ago for lunch I had 2 rice cakes with peanut butter, some sharp cheddar cheese, and some homemade pickles. Weird combo? Yes, but snack-lunch is the best lunch!

But when I’m feeling a little bit more civilized and don’t want a random collection of snacks to make up my meal, I do enjoy a good, hearty salad as a meal option, for lunch or dinner. This latest creation was a huge hit, and was inspired by a Saturday trip to the farmer’s market here in town.

I came home with a huge bundle of kale, with absolutely no plans what to do with it, so it was time to get creative. I ended up deciding to make a massaged kale salad, but I knew I wanted to include some delicious grains in there to make it a little bit heartier, so that it could be a full meal instead of just a side dish if we wanted.

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The first question you may be asking yourself is “what the heck are you doing massaging your kale?” But trust me, it helps this coarse, bitter green turn into a softer, sweeter version of itself in just 5 minutes of massaging. All you have to do is drizzle a little bit of olive oil, a dash of salt, and some lemon juice to really bring out those sweet notes in the kale, and get your hands in there. Massage it like you love it, and it will love you back. 😉

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After about 5 minutes, my kale was softer, brighter, and ready for the rest of the salad. And this is where you get introduced to my creation:

Sweet and Savory Kale and Farro Salad

Forgive me for the lack of stellar food pictures — I am not usually patient enough to wait for the right lighting, nor do I have any kind of know-how when it comes to food photography. So please let the recipe speak for itself, and give this a try!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

3 cups cooked farro (more on this below)

3/4 C chopped cashews

3/4 C dried cranberries

3/4 C crumbled feta

And for the Lemon Vinaigrette: (Adapted from this vinaigrette recipe)

1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 C Olive Oil

Juice from 1-1.5 lemons (start with one, add to taste)

1.5 tsp honey

Instructions:

With your kale already massaged (as described above with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice), place kale in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Prepare farro (I prepared about 1.5 C dry faro to produce the 3 C cooked grain). Add farro, cranberries, pecans, and feta to kale, stir to evenly distribute salad toppings. Mix together ingredients for vinaigrette, whisk or shake in a mason jar, and pour amount desired over salad. (I ended up using almost all of it because I made a massive salad). Serve immediately.

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This dish is also great to make ahead if you are going to a potluck or preparing lunches for the week — many greens will not last once already dressed, but kale is hearty enough to stay structured for a few days in the fridge even with dressing already added. The flavors might have even been better the next day with this one — letting the farro soak up the other flavors made for a very tasty grain!

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With this recipe, I ended up making a massive salad. It was enough to be had as a side dish (for 2) at two separate dinners, and lunch for 1 as well. And at one of those dinners, Will had seconds of the salad so it actually made 6+ servings! (I add the + because we had pretty large servings — can’t get enough kale, so with smaller serving sizes, it could feed a larger dinner party as a side no problem).

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So now, why farro? 

You might be asking yourself why I decided to use farro, the reason is quite simple. I wanted to add something to this salad that would make it hearty enough to be a meal on it’s own, and farro is a wonderfully hearty, nutritious ancient grain.

Not only does it have a wonderfully nutty flavor and provide a satisfying chewiness, but it is also packed with protein, B vitamins, and zinc. There are several different ways to prepare this grain, and it all depends on what type you have bought (whole, pearled, or semi-pearled).

I won’t go into all of those here, but if you do give farro a try (and I recommend you do!), a quick Google search will help you out. I used the “whole” variety, but you could use any for this salad.

Readers: Do you tend to eat more salads in the warmer months? Have you ever tried massaging your kale? Do you enjoy cooking with farro or other ancient grains?

Is Sugar The Devil?

Hi all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, I’ve been in vacation-brain mode since I was away! I have a couple of full recap posts coming for ya soon, but they’re not quite ready yet. Since it’s been a little too long since my last post, I wanted to jump in today with these thoughts on diet and nutrition.

For the past few years on this blog, I’ve been fighting the good fight when it comes to dietary restrictions. I’ve put my foot down many times in the defense of fat, and even saturated fat and the necessity of these things in your diet. It’s been a very long time since I’ve jumped on the “low-fat” or “no-fat” train, as I’m very well aware that the research backs up the positives of including fats in your diet. Thankfully, it seems that the “no-fat” craze of the 90s has officially fizzled out, save for a few chemical monstrosities masquerading as food here and there.

As the media and general public finally catch on to the ideas that fat and cholesterol aren’t actually the devil, there has been another victim of fear mongering to replace these two. Sugar. I’m not here to break down research studies and tell you what exactly sugar is doing to every cell of your body, rather I just want to have kind of a philosophical conversation about all of this today. Now that fat and cholesterol are “okay”, is sugar really the poison that’s going to bring down the human race? Should we really be demonizing sugar and removing it completely from our diets, or looking at the bigger picture?

There have been a few articles that have come out over the past several months detailing the new food guidelines and the changes between fat, cholesterol, and sugar. I read this one a while ago, and although I’m very happy about the changes, I can’t help but wonder are we just going on another witch hunt?

Again, devil’s advocate here.

I agree that sugar needs to be controlled, I’m all about moderation — but is this really the singular key to a healthier society? Or should we be looking more at “bigger picture” — sedentary lifestyle, posture, time spent outdoors, working too much, etc. I just have a really hard time believing that sugar is everything that is wrong with our society’s health as a whole. I went completely sugar free last year, and stayed very low sugar up until my wedding in July. But do you want to know what happened when I became a little bit more lax with my sugar intake in the months following the wedding? I lost weight. In fact, I lost about 8 pounds which is pretty significant on my frame. And believe it or not, that weight is still off. I kid you not when I say that I even thought something was wrong with my health because I couldn’t figure out why weight was just falling off of me.

Do I think that eating more sugar than I had been previously is what made me lose this weight? Of course not– I think there were a lot of other factors at play– less stress, for example. But the point is, it was the bigger picture that lead to this, not my sugar intake.

Scientific research this is not, in fact it’s hardly even anecdotal evidence of anything at all, but my point is that when I stopped being the sugar police, I saw improvements in my body that I had been striving for until then– and failing. So yes, I agree that as a whole, our society consumes far too much sugar. From sodas to juices to sugary coffee drinks, it’s pretty out of control. But what I don’t want to happen is for people to place more value on sugar than is necessary, and miss the importance of other big changes that may be necessary.

Reducing sugar but still sitting hunched over at a desk for 8-10 hours a day is not going to make you that much healthier, in my opinion. Reducing sugar but remaining sedentary and spending 90% of your time indoors is not going to make that big of a difference in your health. Yes, reducing sugar from an extremely high level of consumption is important, but it’s just one small piece of the health puzzle. There is so much more that we need to focus on, so much more that we need to be conscious of in order to make true strides in our health.

So am I saying that we should all eat all of the sugar that we want? No, of course not, I just don’t think we need to become fanatical about eliminating sugar from our diets. A little sweetness in life is not a bad thing, and as long as sugar is treated as a treat, and not a constant component of your meals, it’s not something to stress about.

Besides, I like cupcakes, and a life without cupcakes is no life at all.

Readers: How do you treat sugar in your diet? Do you eat it without abandon? Do you limit it or restrict consumption completely? How do you feel about the newer dietary recommendations? 

On Food: Letting Go Of Shouldn’t

This weekend was full of great times with friends, but it was also full of decadent foods. Will and I went out to dinner with friends on Friday night at Bondir, a lovely restaurant in Concord, MA. It was an amazing 4-course meal, including dessert. Granted, each of the plates/courses was quite small, but it was 4 courses nonetheless. The entire meal was absolutely delicious, full of rich flavors and interesting pairings, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave a morsel of food on any of my plates. It was a wonderful dinner, but with great conversation flowing and a few cocktails, I probably consumed more than I should have at one meal.

The following morning, I went out with some girlfriends to the Langham Hotel’s Chocolate Bar for a birthday brunch. Yes, you read that right — a Chocolate Bar. There was basically a whole room full of all of the chocolate and desserts that you can imagine. From truffles and cookies, to mousse and pastries, to crepes and a chocolate fountain — it was like a chocolate lover’s dream. And even for someone with an impressive sweet tooth like myself,  it was almost a little bit too much.

I ended up filling my plate with lots of yumminess (although the pictures I took didn’t come out great, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one), and took a few bites of each selection. Since there was so much to choose from, I really just had a little bit more of the things I loved, and passing on those that I didn’t love as much. Even with this strategy, I ended up eating more chocolate and sweets than one should eat before noon on a Saturday. Trust me, I paid for it in the “sugar shakes”, and it’s not something that I’d do regularly every weekend. But for a treat once per year or so? Chocolate me up.

As a “healthy blogger”, is this something I should have done? Should I have followed up a 4 course meal with a chocolate bar the next morning? Probably not. But would I do it again? Probably, with the right circumstances. As I mentioned above, this is not a typical weekend of eating for me; I would not do this on a regular basis, because honestly it didn’t leave me feeling great. But the experiences with friends made it worth it, and the way that life works means that I can’t always control timing when it comes to dinners out, birthday brunches, etc. Sometimes, schedules only match up so that we end up over-doing it for a few days.

What if after dinner on Friday night, I had called my friend and told her that I would no longer be going to her birthday brunch because I had had a big dinner the night before and I “shouldn’t” go to the chocolate buffet? No, we don’t always have to eat cake when it’s offered to us, but missing out on experiences with friends just because you “shouldn’t” do this or that seems pretty sad to me.

On the flip side, there are those times when we’re offered a treat that we know won’t make us feel great, or maybe we’re doing really well with healthier eating and don’t want to be de-railed by a mediocre cupcake. These are the times when “shouldn’t” tends to escape our mouths, but might that be doing us a disservice?  IMG_0018

If you’re constantly telling yourself that you shouldn’t have something, you’re putting an awful lot of negative connotations around certain foods. That tells your brain that the next time you do have a delicious cupcake or slice of birthday cake, that you’re breaking the rules and doing something bad. We’re conditioned to think that when one breaks the rules, punishments are necessary.

Congratulations, you’ve just entered yourself into a damaging negative feedback-loop with food, all because you told yourself you “shouldn’t eat that”.

So how can we go about changing this mindset? How can we avoid the negativity, the punishments, the self-berating for eating something that you “shouldn’t”? The answer, simplistically, is that it’s all about perspective.

If you are offered a treat that you don’t think will be amazing and worth every bite (because those are the ones that are worth splurging on, in my opinion), instead of the “S” word, try using a phrase that puts you in control, instead of letting some set of arbitrary rules control you.

“I choose not to”

Yes, giving yourself the control over what you do and do not eat will help you to believe that you are not allowing/disallowing foods because of rules, rather you are doing what is best for you. You are choosing to eat what makes you feel good, you are choosing to treat yourself to those things that you feel are truly worthy of your splurge. But more importantly, you’re choosing not to shame yourself out of eating certain foods, and you’re choosing not to shame yourself when you do indulge.

So let go of “shouldn’t”. Take it out of your food vocabulary, and take back control of what you choose to eat (or not). Your choices are up to you, what you put into your body and how you treat yourself are under your control and your control only. The only thing you shouldn’t do is shame yourself for the choices you make.

Healthy While Honeymooning

I’m just going to start this off by saying that the best way to ruin a perfectly good vacation is by stressing about staying healthy during your vacation. It’s pretty simple. I am a strong believer that vacation is a time to relax and enjoy yourself, sample local cuisine, and “refresh” mentally, and I can’t think of a better way to ruin all of that than to worry the entire time about calories, macros, and diets. I recently read a blog post, which I won’t link to, where the author described her latest trip to Italy, and how strictly she counted (and restricted) carbs during her time there.

I’m sorry, what?

I’m pretty sure that when I was in Italy years ago, I ate almost exclusively bread, pasta, pizza and gelato. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with that — who goes to Italy and skips out on the home made pasta, anyway? My point being, vacation is not a time to restrict and to stress about all of that. That’s not to say that it’s a time to be a glutton and stuff yourself to the gills every day, but there’s a lot of wiggle room between those two ends of the health spectrum.

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As I mentioned last week, Will and I just recently got back from our Honeymoon in Mexico (hence the blog absence lately). We were just outside of Playa del Carmen, at the gorgeous Valentin Imperial Maya resort, and it was true paradise. The grounds of the resort were beautiful, the beach and pool were incredible, and the food/drinks/entertainment at the resort were great– I would go back there in a heartbeat!

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Going into the trip, I had no strict plan on how to “eat healthy” or how to keep up my healthy lifestyle. Sure, I brought workout clothes, but I didn’t have a set of rules about what types of foods I would stick to, or how many times I would work out. I just wanted to go and enjoy myself.

As it turned out, I ate a lot. I ate a lot of carbs, a lot of chips and guacamole, a lot of delicious desserts, and I also had my fair share of adult beverages (because… tequila). And you know what I didn’t think, not even once? About how many carbs I had been eating.  I was able to get in about 3 pretty good (but quick) workouts, and just because of the nature of the resort and how we spent our days, was taking upwards of 15,000-20,000 steps most days (these get tracked on my phone automatically).

But if we’re here to talk about staying healthy, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Despite all that I ate and drank, I did not gain any weight on this vacation. I attribute this to a couple of things: I’m pretty good at knowing my limits, and lack of stress, baby.

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As far as limits go, sure, there were a few times where I stuffed myself silly — for instance, the night that we stopped at this amazing little restaurant in Playa for just a drink, and ended up having several drinks, tons of chips and guacamole, and the most amazing thing ever — roasted grasshoppers! (More on that later). When we got back to the resort that night, I was so full it was uncomfortable, and that’s something I generally try to avoid in my daily life (usually a good goal). However, that day we had walked a ton, and I had kept my breakfast and lunch pretty light. I’m sure it didn’t balance out perfectly, but there was a constant ebb and flow of indulgence throughout the week instead of stuffing myself every time I sat down to eat.

Breakfasts were usually yogurt with fruit and granola, lunch at the resort was usually a salad or a couple of chicken fajitas. Dinner was where I had my splurges, and trust me, there were plenty. Desserts were plentiful, multiple glasses of wine were had every night, and there were usually multiple courses involved in meals. But like I said before, I know my limits when it comes to food, and was so invested in enjoying food, drinks, and experiences, that I wasn’t eating just to eat. I was trying new foods, eating the ones that I truly loved, and leaving the ones that were just so-so. I was moving a lot, but I think more importantly, I wasn’t stressing out about, well, anything.

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Mmmmmm Sangria… 

Stress affects your body in a lot of ways, some good, but too much stress can be severely detrimental when it comes to your body’s natural homeostasis and metabolism.  Not only does stress affect us mentally, but it is also a physical bully. Sleep problems, metabolism problems, blood sugar problems — when it comes to health, too much stress is never your friend. So please tell me why I would ruin my perfectly good vacation by stressing out both mentally and physically about carbs, calories, and macros? By focusing on just being free and enjoying every moment of our trip, I was able to stay in a healthy place. And I really believe that the lack of stress played a huge part of that, despite my food and drink indulgences.

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And besides, even if I had gained a couple of pounds on the trip, every thing would still be worth it. Every morsel I ate, every ounce of tropical cocktails and tequila, every moment spent basking in the sun aside the Caribbean Sea. Life is about experiences and joy, not just about calories and diets.

For instance, lets talk about those grasshoppers that I mentioned above. That was an experience I’ll never forget — and let me tell you, despite how they look, they were absolutely delicious. We actually went back the very next night for more roasted grasshoppers, that’s how good they were! And besides that tasty new food, I also ate a ton of guacamole on the trip (the best guac I’ve ever had in my life), endless tortilla chips, and some absolutely amazing pork and chorizo tacos.

I love to try local cuisine when I travel, and when doing that, any food “rules” or guidelines go straight out the window for me. If I had tried to stick to salads and “healthy” foods all week, I would have missed out on so much deliciousness, and also so much of the culture, in my opinion. To each his own when it comes to travel, but I’l take experiences and culture over diet rules any day. Soon I’ll be putting together a post with a lot of the amazing food we ate and also the workouts I did while there. I was going to include that today, but it’s just too much for one post! Here’s a few more pictures though, just because I can’t help sharing 🙂

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This was taken while wandering around Playa del Carmen 

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Ahhh Paradise… when can I go back? 

Readers: Do you follow strict health guidelines while on vacation? Do you have any tips or tricks to staying healthy on vacation? Do you prefer relaxing trips or exploring trips? 

Recipe: Almond Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe I came up with for my new obsession: baked oatmeal.

I have heard a lot about it, but had never had it before until this weekend. The day after Thanksgiving, Will and I headed out to a local place for brunch. After all that I had eaten the day before, I honestly wasn’t too hungry and really wasn’t in the mood for my typical brunch choice of juevos rancheros or something similarly heavy. The small cafe that we went to, CafeMantic in Willimantic, CT, was having a special “Black Friday Brunch”, with lots of delicious options to choose from. As soon as I looked at the menu, the baked oatmeal option caught my eye, and then I couldn’t get my mind off of it. It seemed like the perfect warm breakfast on a cold morning, without being too much after the previous day’s feast.

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The baked oatmeal from CafeMantic. My inspiration!

And boy was I right! It was absolutely delicious with flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar, and walnuts to add a little heartiness. Whenever I had heard of baked oatmeal in the past, I always just assumed that people ate it by itself, but this was served in warm steamed milk, which was absolutely delicious. I knew I must make this, and did as soon as we got back to Boston later in the weekend.

I searched the internet and read through several different recipes to start thinking about ratios of ingredients. Through my internet search, I saw that traditional baked oatmeal is made with a mix of milk and butter, but I knew that I wanted to use almond milk for mine, since we don’t often have cow’s milk in the house. I also wanted to make mine a bit less sweet than the restaurant version; it was a wonderful treat at the time, but I didn’t want to have something as sweet as theirs every day. I traditionally make my own oatmeal with just banana cooked in, no extra sugar, so I wanted this to be a similar level of sweetness.

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Ingredients

2 C Organic Old Fashioned Oats

1/3 C brown sugar

1/4 C almond slivers

1/4 C walnut pieces

1/4 C raisins

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon (+ extra for serving)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

2 C Almond Milk (unsweetened)

1 large egg

2 Tbs unsalted butter (melted)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 large apple, chopped into small cubes (I used Gala, Honeycrisp would also be great here)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking dish OR a deep dish pie plate.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together almond milk, vanilla, and egg. Add in melted butter at the end, mixing constantly until fully incorporated.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add in chopped nuts and dried fruit and mix until incorporated. Fold in apple pieces, and spread mixture into baking dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the oats feel “set”. The final consistency of the middle will be similar to a bread pudding. Keep watch after 35 minutes to make sure that the top doesn’t get too crispy (unless that’s what you’re going for)!

Cool on a wire rack to desirable temperature.

Serve warm in a bowl with warm almond milk, sprinkled with a little bit of additional cinnamon on top.

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Notes

This is also delicious straight out of the refrigerator, so it’s perfect for a quick breakfast during the week that can be made ahead of time. A serving heats up in about 30 seconds in the microwave, and one batch will make about 6-8 servings — perfect for Sunday meal prep for all of you folks who are too busy to make breakfast each morning.

As I’ve mentioned before, we make our own almond milk, which I prefer over most store-bought varieties. For instructions on this, please read here. Also note that making your own almond milk is extremely easy, and I definitely recommend trying it at least once if you’re an almond milk fan!

Simply use certified gluten free oats to make this gluten free, and you could probably substitute coconut oil for the butter if you wanted to make it dairy free.

 

Enjoy!

A Mini Thanksgiving

This past weekend Will and I had some of my family down for a nice meal before Thanksgiving. For the past few years, Will and I have spend Thanksgiving day with his family, and then Christmas Day with my family. It is a trade off that has worked well for us, but I also want to make sure to get in some quality time with my mom and grandmother at Thanksgiving time! We didn’t do a full turkey dinner, in fact we didn’t do a turkey at all, but we just wanted to invite them down for a nice meal and a nice day together before the craziness of the holiday season goes into full swing. We wanted to make it a delicious meal, but still stay true to the types of ingredients and foods we enjoy in our daily lives.

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This was the biggest meal we’ve ever prepped together (not sure what that says about us), so planning and timing was a bit up in the air — we did end up serving about 45 minutes later than planned, but I guess that will help us learn for next time!

Our menu for the day was a perfect medley of fall flavors:

Roasted Chicken – This was delicious, a locally raised (giant) chicken that we bought a couple of weeks ago. We bought two at the time and did a test run last week — I must say, that this one turned out even better!

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Butternut Squash Soup – This is something that Will makes throughout the fall, but I think this was his best batch yet. He followed this recipe, and we actually “cooked” it in our Vitamix. That thing really is a miracle! The soup was delicious and extremely flavorful, it was a huge hit with my family.

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Green Beans with Caramalized Onions and Almonds — For this I followed Tyler Florence’s recipe, and it was my first time cooking green beans this way. If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional (and very heavy) green bean casserole, this is absolutely wonderful! Also a huge hit with my family, we’ll definitely be making these again. Next time, I’d probably use yellow onions instead of red, and would make sure to slice them thinner.

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Mashed Potatoes — An old classic, nothing special about this dish. Boy were they good though! We used both white and red potatoes, and kept the skin on as usual. That’s the way that I grew up having them, and I really love the texture of the skins mashed into the flesh of the potatoes.

Cranberry Sauce — Will made this, and the great thing about this recipe is that it’s made with honey, not a ton of refined sugar. Yes, honey is still sugar, but we also use organic, pure honey so it makes me feel a little better about eating it. This was not your traditional super-sweet cranberry sauce, so if you like something a little more tart, this is a great option! We ended up adding in a little bit more honey at the end, and it was perfect.

Apple Crisp – I always follow the classic Betty Crocker recipe when I make this, and it has never failed me. I like to use a mixture of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples in crisp, which I did here (4 honey crisp and 2 granny smith). The recipe only calls for 4 apples total, but I decided to plump it up a little bit more! This was served with vanilla ice cream, of course!

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 Readers: What’s a unique item on your Thanksgiving Menu? Do you host or do you travel elsewhere? Happy Thanksgiving! For my non-US readers, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be away with family and won’t be posting again until next week.