...based on autumn's star flavors, plus healthy additions like spinach, kale, garlic, and ginger, and a little bit of spice.
I'm all for the sweet pumpkin treats during this time of the year. Pumpkin muffins, cookies, pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course, pumpkin pie. But savory pumpkin dishes are equally delicious, because—you know, it's a squash.

And if you can mix the pumpkin with savory and sweet, it is heaven. For real.

This is one of my favorite soups to make. It's full of so much healthy goodness, it all cooks in one lovely pot, and it makes your house smell amazing. Take that, Yankee Candle. I have pumpkin spice with a hint of cranberry on my stove.

 
 
...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 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.

 
 
...based on a simple recipe my dad made up once upon a time during my childhood.

Growing up, we always knew it was Sunday when we could smell pinto beans cooking on the stove all afternoon. My dad threw together this one-pot dish at some point while I was young, and it became a staple in our family. 
My husband was a little confused the first time I said I was making "pinto beans" for dinner ("Uh...just...pinto beans?"), but that's what my brothers and I always called this meal. I suppose, to be more descriptive, you might call it pinto bean soup

Served with some crusty French bread, it makes an easy, wholesome (not to mention inexpensive!) dinner that takes hardly any time to prepare.

 
 
...based on a classic whole wheat pancake recipe, plus the addition of Greek yogurt to complement the essential elements of a comforting, wholesome pancake. 
These pancakes are delightful. I made them once by combining a few recipes (as you do), jotting down the ingredients as I went. They turned out so delicious and flavorful that I decided to remake them this weekend for ze blog, and I was happily surprised to remember—I didn't have to add any sugar to them. 

(Sure, they got topped with maple syrup, but hey. Good start.)

The yogurt and pecans pack them with protein, and the whole wheat flour and sprinkled wheat germ make them deliciously hearty. 
I'm not sure how to describe these pancakes—they're rich and buttery and pancakey, and I want to say the yogurt adds a little tang to them, but I'm not sure if tang is an adjective people usually look for in a pancake description. 

So if that doesn't entice you, pretend I didn't just write that and make them anyway! I promise you won't be disappointed. 

 
 
...based on these insane waffles I saw posted a while back by Epicurious—which is a super dangerous (read: awesome) food blog to follow, let me tell ya.
OK, so the above picture is of these crunchy waffles that are perfection for a weekend morning. I spiced them up by doubling the cinnamon and adding pecans.

The below picture is of another moment of baking insanity for which I hold Epicurious responsible:
Picture
Husband's wicked birthday cake...
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made with all things MAGIC.

(I will find an excuse to make this cake again.)


Alright, back to these incredible cornmeal waffles.
They have a comforting, full flavor, thanks to whole grain cornmeal, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, and hearty, old-fashioned rolled oats. 

A generous amount of cinnamon adds warmth to the taste, and pecans enhance the crunch effect you already get with the coarse cornmeal.

You should know, I had to eat a waffle in the middle of the day in order to get this post ready for you guys. Oh, the sacrifices I make...


 
 
...based on the time I ate meat several times in one weekend and just.needed.veggies.


I'm a fan of the "Meatless Mondays" trend around the interwebs. The kitchen in our house, though, tends to be Meatless Mostdays.

And why not, when dinner is this colorful?
I have long been what you might call an accidental vegetarian. I get protein from so many other things (dairy, legumes, nuts, etc.) that occasionally a few weeks will go by before I realize I haven't had meat on the menu in a while.

Since getting married, I do find myself using meat a lot more often. The time it takes to prepare it is a lot more rewarding when there's someone sharing it. (Let's be honest---a busy, single girl living alone has little reason to cook a pot roast every Sunday, amiright?) 

This Meatless Mondays/Meatless Mostdays dish is hearty and delicious. Full of fiber and protein, it includes wheatberries, kale, feta cheese, plenty of veggies, and just the right blend of sweet and tart flavors in the light dressing.  
For anyone wondering what the heck a wheatberry (also called a red winter wheat berry) is, it's the whole grain form of wheat, unprocessed and loaded with fiber. It has a nutty taste and a chewy texture. 

Wheatberries are also super versatile and work well both in savory dishes like this or as a sweet, warm breakfast cereal (or even baked into bread). 

They're pretty tough, so they take about an hour to cook. To save time, cook them the night before and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to throw your salad together. 

To get the recipe, click below!