Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Blackberry Icing

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I love fall, but I’ve been a little bummed that summer seemed to come and go so quickly this year — it rained almost every day in July and we really only had about two weeks of really nice weather before it started to get cold outside. I decided that even though they aren’t exactly season-appropriate, I would bake some lemon and blackberry cupcakes to remind myself of the warmer days. I may have spent the past few weeks bundled up in a winter coat and eating apples and squash, but one bite of these cupcakes will transported me right back to summer. [....]

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza

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Salad with pizza is a pretty standard combination, but have you ever had salad on your pizza? This is one of my favorite things to do – even when we get take-out, I’ll toss some lettuce in balsamic and throw it on top of my slice. The crisp bitterness of the greens and vinegar cuts through the richness of the cheese and makes the pizza seem less heavy. It also forces you to eat slower (you don’t want to make a mess by dropping lettuce everywhere!) which I find helps me to eat less, since it gives me stomach a chance to signal that it’s full. It’s also a great way to sneak in some extra veggies!

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Roasted Chestnuts

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I’ve wanted to try making my own gnocchi for a while now, but until now I hadn’t gotten around to doing it. I don’t know what took me so long! It really isn’t as time-consuming or tedious as I thought it would be and the resulting dumplings were soft, pillowy bites of deliciousness. I decided to make pumpkin gnocchi a few weeks ago but I was originally going to pair it with a béchamel sauce. I wasn’t’ really feeling it – it just seemed so heavy – so I kept putting it off. I never feel like cooking things that I don’t want to eat! Anyway, I saw that they had fresh, local chestnuts at the co-op and I wanted an excuse to buy them. I thought they would pair nicely with the pumpkin, and I decided that some mushrooms cooked in brown butter would lighten the plate a little as well as add another layer of flavor. While I was preparing the gnocchi, I remembered that I had some leftover prosciutto so I decided to throw that in too. The resulting dish was an amazing display of rich fall flavors that was extremely rich, without feeling too heavy. [....]

Butternut Squash Hash

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I owe you all an apology – meat-free Fridays seems to have gotten away from me a little bit. I know that a lot of you really like that series and a few have asked where it’s gone. I didn’t meat for it to disappear, I just haven’t been good at remembering to plan a post for it. I PROMISE a new meat-free recipe will be posted next Friday – and it won’t be a dessert either.

This butternut squash hash was initially supposed to be my meat-free meal for this week. But you see, I had bacon. And when I have bacon, it seems to fin it’s way into everything I make, until its gone. As I was chopping the vegetables for this, I thought to myself “you know what would make this better? Bacon.” And there went my meatless meal. BUT in its place I got an amazing meal that I will be making again as soon as possible. I really liked the bacon in this – the crispiness and saltiness contrasted really nicely with the soft, sweet squash. But if you really want, you can leave it out.

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Hot Sandwich: Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Brie

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Today’s post was brought to you by Nature’s Pride, cheese, the letter “P”, and the number “7”. Ok, maybe not the letter “P” or the number “7.” Foodbuzz recently sent me two loaves of Nature’s Pride bread to try out. I used the 12 Grain to make these delicious open-faced sandwiches full of prosciutto, asparagus, and melty cheese.

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Daring Cooks: Quick and Easy Chicken Pho (Pho Ba)

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The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I’ll be honest here – I wasn’t particularly excited about this challenge. I’ve made pho before, and I love it, but I didn’t want to do a second post on it. Plus, the main recipe presented to us was for chicken pho, and I don’t usually care for chicken soups. So I dragged my feet on completing this challenge and didn’t make it until last night. I’m glad I did though, because it was really good, and really EASY. Crazy easy. 90% of the ingredients are things that I generally have on hand (and the other 10% could be omitted or swapped) so this is a great recipe to keep in the back of your mind for when dinner hasn’t been planned. And the best part is that it makes very few dishes, so cleanup is a breeze![....]