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spiced

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Butter

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Butter

I prefer pumpkin spice in my nut butter, not my coffee.

I’ve been using this batch of the creamy spread to slather on bread, spoon into oatmeal, and drizzle on breakfast sweet potatoes.

Breakfast Sweet Potato with Pumpkin Seed Butter

The recipe is simple, but you’ll need a solid food processor. And a little patience. As you watch the butter swirl round and round, achieving a creamy butter may at first seem impossible. But eventually, the seeds begin to slowly release their oils. This turns the consistency of the butter from chalky to velvety smooth.

Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking. You can also play around with toasting the seeds. Sometimes I’ll also add a few walnuts to the food processor, too.

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Butter

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Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Happy first Monday of 2015! If that doesn’t sound so cheery, happy first FFF recipe of the year instead. Can we raise our spoons to that? This one is one of my favorites, so whether your with me or not, my soup-destined silverware will be flying high.

Please don’t leave me hanging.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

This recipe’s actually a simpler rendition of one of my top picks from 2014. A hint of sweetness from the carrots, a touch of not-too-overbearing smokiness from paprika, and a toasty spiciness from the cumin, this velvety soup hits all the right areas. And the tahini on top really seals the deal.

Spicy carrot soup + tahini = heavenly combination. Perhaps the top “omg I need to get healthy” combination of the New Year.

Its tagline? Making resolutions easy, since 2015. Put this Creamy Carrot Soup on your January recipe list, and you’ll soon realize there’s truth in that statement. My recommendation? Pair it with a slice of crusty whole wheat sourdough, and you’re all set. Cheers.

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Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

Yesterday I had my first omg-are-you-sure-this-isn’t-child-birth moment to announce the coming season. Okay, okay so that’s probably (definitely) a bit dramatic.

However, after running through burst after burst of frigid winds, it did feel as though I just experienced a 45-minute tattoo session. There’s nothing like inking your legs with icy, sunsetting winter temps. Those winds stung.

Red Lentils

Luckily, on the other end of that run, I had these spiced and warming, Ethiopian-styled lentils waiting for me. What I did not have was much sun to take their beautiful, natural-lit glam shots.

So begins the rough season for all food bloggers, sans studio space. Good thing I like challenges. I really like red lentils, too.

Full of protein, and creamy once cooked, red lentils make for the perfect topping to smear across flatbreads. They are a staple in Ethiopian cooking, often found accompanying the unleavened bread, known as injera, that most Ethiopian recipes use to replace both fork and spoon.

With this recipe, I’ve tried to replicate a go-to lentil dish that I often order at my neighborhood’s Ethiopian spot. I wanted that buttery, spice-infused dish that they create, and through research, called upon my spice cabinet to help me execute this properly. The only spice I was missing seemed to be allspice. However, I can’t say I noticed its absence.

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Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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Pickled Spiced Beets

Pickled Beets

Beets and I have a love-hate relationship.

Love when they add a hint of sweetness to my bitter arugula and goat cheese. Hate when they turn my t-shirt from pretty-in-white to pajama-only appropriate.

Love when they transform my tabbouleh into a beautiful party in pink. Hate when they permanently make my cutting boards appear as though I have a serious wine addiction.

Love when roasted. Hate when boiled.

Love when pickled. Hate when that pickling includes hard-boiled eggs.

Pickled Beets

I could go on, but I’ll save you and get straight to the point. One more love profession first though, which is for this pickled beet recipe. I assure you it’s worth every bit of stain and messiness inevitably involved in its preparation. The recipe comes from Saving the Seasons, a book given to me by my farm family when I started mentioning a desire to start canning. I must’ve been dreaming big because not one tomato, peach or beet for that matter ever made it to the canner. I actually somehow did manage to get a canner to my house this summer. It sits untouched on my living room floor…

Pickled Beets

I didn’t let the mason jars that came with it go to waste though. A few of them got filled up with these beets, a refrigerator staple you can munch on for a couple weeks after preparing — canned or not. These make for a great salad topper of all kinds. From lettuce to grains, they’re simply born for salads.

Pickled Beets

If you do decide to finish out the recipe and actually put the beets through the boiling process, they’ll last much longer. It’s one of those dream big ideas I still plan on carrying out before my beet supply runs short. We’ll see. That part of the recipe’s up to you.

P.S. I’ll be in Vermont for the next week! Expect a possible delay in blogging while I eat nothing but maple syrup for a few.

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