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cream cheese

Healthy Spiced Butternut Squash Crostini

Spiced Butternut Squash Crostini

“You must really like sauces,” said my sister as I aimed the ketchup onto my plate next to the Ranch, hot sauce and salsa. She was serving bean burgers that night, and while I’m sure only one condiment was really needed to moisten the buns, I just couldn’t help myself. I am known to be indecisive with the little things in life, especially when it comes to food.

Of course after the burger topping episode came a salad dressing decision. With a husband and three kids, my sister had FAR more dressing options than I ever keep in my fridge. I settled for balsamic on one half and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette on the other. The looks I would’ve gotten for that one…luckily my sister already seated herself at the dinner table in the next room over.

I like options. And taste-testing. And creamy dips and sauces. Guacamole? Yes please. Hummus? I could easily eat it by the spoon. And peanut butter, too.

As I think about all of the different options, I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in holding this affinity. Which is why this past New Year’s Eve, it wasn’t hard for me to decide what I wanted to bring to my friends’ dinner party. I was going to bring some kind of dip – even if my boyfriend wasn’t all too sold on the idea. Fast forward to the taste-testing, and he didn’t question me again.

Spiced Butternut Squash Crostini

I chose to use up some roasted butternut squash and immediately thought to make this on the sweet and spiced side.  Given the occasion, NYE, I wanted to send a healthy option to dinner, hence where the beans and low-fat cream cheese came in. Combined with the butternut, they delivered a classic creamy dip with some surprising nutritional power behind it. Placed on lightly buttered, toasted baguette slices, this was a HUGE hit at the party.

Make sure to include the toasted pecans and drizzle of honey. It really completes the crostini. This recipe wouldn’t be the same without its toppings, so no indecision here

Click here for recipe…

The Perfect Smoked Salmon Sandwich


Sometimes (well, actually, a lot of times) a satisfying meal can be made without much effort simply by having the right combination of ingredients on hand. For me, the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese is one of those meals.

If I’m eating in at a bagel joint, time and time again I’m bound to order the smoked salmon or lox option. It’s creamy. It’s chewy. It’s salty. It’s satisfying. It’s also a combination that’s easy to recreate at home, and by purchasing a few extra add-ons, like capers and arugula, you can essentially make yourself the “perfect” bagel sandwich.

There’s really not much to it. Just make sure you start with quality bagels. The better the bagel, the more sinful chewing you’ll get to do. “Everything” are my favorite because not only do you get to have the best of so many bagel worlds, but the sesame and onion are ideal compliments of salmon. For the cream cheese, I go with whipped because the airiness works well with the dense salmon. Chive cream cheese is also a nice choice. The arugula helps to cut the saltiness while adding flavor without any of the wateriness that lettuce might add. Dill also keeps things fresh, while the onions and capers keep on packing in the flavor. And there you have the perfect sandwich, requiring nothing more than a few ingredients and some novice positioning skills.

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