...based on the traditional Thanksgiving side that is often shaped like a can.
Don't get me wrong—I grew up on cranberry sauce shaped like a can. I have fond memories of it, from childhood through college. In fact one of my most embarrassing (but amusing) moments of all time involve Thanksgiving cranberry sauce shaped like a can. This sounds like a total lie, but it's not. (I just tried to summarize the story in a sentence or two, though, and it can't be done...you'll just have to trust me.) 

But! This recipe is so simple, so easy, and takes hardly any time or work—which is always a bonus during the holidays.

The pears do a lovely job of sweetening the ever-so-tart cranberries naturally, and then honey does the rest of the work. Plus a hint of cinnamon, my all-time favorite secret ingredient.


 
 
...based on some of my favorite fall staples—butternut squash, ginger, and soup.
This soup is incredibly simple, yet remarkably satisfying. If you've ever seen the movie "The Switch", remember how Jason Bateman's character would unintentionally make "mmm" noises when he was eating? Yeah, I have a tendency to do that too when something is really, really good. It happened a lot when I made this soup. So. So. Good.

As always, this recipe was based on several different recipes that I'd seen. And as often happens, I either forgot to write down what I put in it, or I misplaced whatever I may have written down, and the second time it wasn't the same. So sad! Thankfully, third time was the charm. This is it.
Butternut squash, carrots, garlic, fresh ginger—so many healthy ingredients in this soup, and just in time for cold season! Garlic and ginger are both great for fighting illness and boosting your immune system. And the beta-carotene in the carrots and squash give the soup this beautiful orange hue. 

 
 
...based on two of my favorite things—oats and peanut butter.
I think I've already admitted to the internet world that oatmeal is at the very, very top of my list of favorite foods. Sometimes the basics are the best! And when you add natural peanut butter and honey to this particular basic, it makes it even more amazing. Try it!*
Lately, though, I've been on a bit of a granola kick.

Sun coming up  much later + morning run +  extra busy at work = not enough time to cook oatmeal in the morning, apparently.

But granola and yogurt with my coffee at my desk? 

That I can manage. Searching through all the options of store-bought granola—even the varieties you can find in the bulk/natural foods section—are usually loaded with sugar and fat and it's just not worth it.
*unless you have a peanut allergy, then ignore my advice. It sucks, I swear. 

So I decided to try making my own granola. I looked at many, many recipes, and combined various ideas and measurements. Mostly, I wanted to avoid unnecessary oils and sugars, and keep it as raw as possible. 

 
 
...based on your (my?) typical autumn kitchen experiment with pumpkin, maple, and all things delightfully comforting.
I based this recipe on a few different recipes I found while I was lost in a Pinterest vortex last week. I just bought a mini muffin pan (somehow my old one got abandoned during a move! How sad) and wanted to use it. During my recipe search, I was intrigued by the use of molasses and maple as natural sweeteners in the same recipe, so I made sure to include them!
Baking is always more difficult than cooking when it comes to experimenting and combining recipes. You can taste as you go with most cooking, but if you taste uncooked muffin batter you'll probably just come to the conclusion that it'll taste like raw egg and a stalk of wheat. Probably not what you're going for, so instead, you cross your fingers and hope it turns out edible.
Thankfully, I had the forethought to make notes as I went (I don't always—many recipes have been lost for this reason...some for better, some for worse, I'm sure), because these turned out exactly as I'd hoped they would. I paired them with this harvest spice tea and was in heaven. 

They're also great to take along to work or school for a midday snack, or if you're the type of person who forgets to eat breakfast (ahem, my husband! Ha). 

 
 
...based on a flourless recipe that combines pumpkin and TWO kinds of chocolate.
Did I have you at "two kinds of chocolate"?

Or "flourless"? (No white flour, that is.) Did I also mention there's no oil or butter in the recipe? And it doesn't call for an excessive amount of sugar, either. These are all winning points in my book!
As far as sweet treats go, I'd say these fall on the healthier end of the spectrum.

And they taste amazing. They have a warm, comforting spiced pumpkin flavor, and the chocolate makes them feel decadent. They're at a nice crossroads of chewy and cakey—altogether, so delicious that I'm pretty sure the husband and I both had one or two before I finished taking photos of them.