Cranberry-pear-apple sauce

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Goodness knows that Thanksgiving, my favorite American holiday, would not be complete without cranberry sauce! Unfortunately, most conventional cranberry sauce recipes contain unholy amounts of refined sugar (often to the tune of a whole cup or more per batch!)…well it turns out that really isn’t necessary if you take advantage of the natural sweetness of pears and apples, and the help of some healthier sweeteners such as stevia and/or agave nectar. This sauce has a beautiful magenta color and tart cranberry flavor, mellowed by the vanillla, pear and apple, along with some wonderful classic holiday spices. Serves 6 -8 easily for a holiday meal. Can easily be made several days ahead. Goes great with greek yogurt or cottage cheese, or served alongside your favorite breakfast treated (waffles, pancakes, french toast…). Leftovers can be frozen – keeps up to about 10 days in the fridge.

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English peas with fava beans

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This is a simple yet delicious side dish. Fresh young peas and fava beans pair so well together, a real taste of springtime, surprisingly easy to find around here even in the fall and winter. Keeping the seasonings to a minimum allows their delicate green flavor to be the star. Use a high quality vegan buttery spread like Earth Balance (as someone who loves the taste of butter, I think it’s a very respectable stand-in) for best results.  Serves 2-3 as a side, scales up easily.

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Red greens and berry smoothie

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What do I mean by red greens, you ask? Well, during my most recent TJ’s trip I noticed something new in the salad greens section: heirloom red spinach. My first thought: you are destined for my blender! As you know, I love green smoothies, but I am always loath to add berries to them because the result is a very unappealing brown sludge. So, red greens + berries = a match made in heaven! The red spinach has a very delicate flavor, less chalky than regular spinach. I just can’t get enough of this purply-red (or is it dark magenta? or mauve?) otherworldly delicious, antioxidant-packed beverage.

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Easy roasted winter squash soup

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As promised, a recipe for your leftovers from my last post, roasted winter squash. This silky, comforting soup whips up super-fast and is the perfect bowl of soup to curl up with on a chilly fall day, or to serve with a festive meal. The caramelized onion, thyme, paprika and cinnamon  flavors from the squash mingle beautifully in this soup, and the addition of coconut milk gives it a wonderful rich flavor. If you don’t have a stick blender (a super handy kitchen tool!) then puree in a blender. Serves 3-4, more like 2 if you’re having seconds!

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Savory roasted winter squash

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Here is an easy seasonal side fit for a Thanksgiving feast – or just a regular dinner! or maybe even a stand-in for home fried potatoes at your next fall brunch?  Delicious bright orange, earthy-sweet winter squash oven roasted with purple onion, seasoned with wonderful savory notes of cinnamon, paprika and fresh thyme. Serves 5-6 as a side dish. Plus, a bonus recipe for roasting those delightful pumpkin-like seeds, which make a wonderful snack or garnish! And that’s not all folks – stay tuned for my next post, which will feature a handy recipe for using the leftovers, if you have any!

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Oaty chocolate chip coconut cookies (gluten free)

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My husband is a bit of a cookie monster when it comes to chocolate chip cookies…to the point that instead of wedding cake, the dessert at our wedding was a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich bar! So here is an easy, gluten free friendly version of an old classic, with a coconutty twist. Makes about 36 small cookies.

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Roasted veggie ratatouille pasta

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Well, I found some gorgeous veggies at my favorite produce wonder-market last weekend (check out these variegated squash and mini-eggplants!), and they were just begging to be made into something delicious! I hope you’ll agree this recipe is worthy of them. I’m a big fan of ratatouille (a traditional Provencal vegetable stew), but I realized when I started experimenting that oven-roasting the veggies brings their flavor to a whole new level compared to the conventional stovetop method. It takes just a teeny bit of extra effort but it’s well worth it in the end! The hearty roasted veggies in a tomato sauce combine beautifully with pasta. This recipe makes enough for 4 generous servings, or plenty of leftovers for lunches.

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