Category Archives: Food

Hosting The Perfect Brunch Party

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Hosting The Perfect Brunch Party

Brunch parties are an excellent way to bring your friends together for any type of social event, whether it is a bachelorette party, baby shower, or just a general get together. When it comes to brunch, you do not have to plan an elaborate setup for a fun gathering because it’s a much more laid back event. Here, we look at how to host the perfect brunch party:

Think about who you are inviting and your budget:

It is important to work out the kinks in the plan before inviting everyone to your brunch of the century via group text. Decide how many people you can comfortably seat and go from there because this will help you plan your budget accordingly. Figuring out the amount of money you intend to spend on food for a brunch is your next task. Having a rough idea of your spending limit in advance will help you plan a menu with a reasonable budget.

Plan your menu:

It is time to start thinking about brunch menus after you have a guest list and a ballpark budget in mind. In order to please everyone in attendance, it is critical to include a variety of foods, both sweet and savory, on your menu. Creating your meal can be accomplished in many different ways including:

  • The first alternative is to prepare a number of little plates, similar to those served at a tapas restaurant. This allows you to experiment with all of the recipes you have saved on Instagram and Pinterest throughout the years.
  • Traditional meals can also be served with just one main dish and a few side dishes. With this method, you do not need as many components, which saves time and money.
  • In order to make a brunch truly memorable, you will want to serve dishes that highlight your culinary prowess and leave your guests clamoring for the recipe, such as this shrimp and grits recipe.

Don’t forget the cocktails:

Brunch drinks like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and sangria go well with the meal. Offering a selection of alcoholic beverages will help your guests relax and unwind. The longer a drink like sangria sits, the better it tastes. You do not have to worry about being a bartender because you can make them a few days ahead of time.

Nonalcoholic components can still be mixed in advance if you are making bubbly drinks like mimosas. All you will need to do is pour the champagne and mix it well before guests arrive. Make sure you have a selection of virgin mocktails for guests who would like a nonalcoholic option.

Lay the table the night before:

If you are hosting a brunch for a large group, it is a good idea to set up the table the night before. Putting out food and decorations may not seem like a big deal, but if you are a perfectionist, you could spend hours nitpicking. Take your time and create the party layout you have envisioned. The mood can be ruined if you are not thrilled with your setting because you had to rush.

Good food, yummy drinks, and great company will make your next brunch get together the best ever!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

 

*Super Yummy* Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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*Super Yummy* Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Hello! One of my best girlfriends, Danielle, was kind enough to bring Johnny and I some of her amazing homemade vegetarian chili this past holiday week. She is one of my favorite people in the world and concocted this recipe all by herself. It was SO good that I just had to share it with all of you to get warmed up during those chilly (See what I did there!) winter evenings. Let’s get to it:

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 cans of beans (kidney, pinto, or navy)
  • 1 package of vegetarian crumblers
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 to 5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 C water

Prep (About 10 minutes):

Dice onion and poblano
“top” and halve the tomatoes
Peel and halve the garlic

Cook (Between 45 and 60 minutes):

Heat oil in a sauce pan (4 Qt or larger) and add onions, garlic, and poblano. Cook 5 minutes
or so, then add water followed by the tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to just above medium,
and let simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to cook, but at this point the tomato skins can be
easily peeled from the tomatoes, so using a pair of tongs remove the skins and squish the
tomatoes as they cook. (Throw away the skins.)

Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely cooked. Using
tongs remove any of the hard cores that might remain. Put the tomato liquid into a blender and add the spices. Blend on low at first, then high until the mixture is a smooth liquid; about 5 minutes.

Return the liquid to the sauce pan, add beans and crumblers. Heat over low heat for 15 to 30
minutes. (This lets the crumblers heat through and allows the spices to really take over.)

Options:

If I want to have some extra heat I’ll dice two or three jalapenos and add them with the
poblano and onions. You can always add more Cayenne pepper too.

Before adding the beans and crumblers the sauce is a good burrito topping. I’ve also used a
cup or two of crumblers to make taco filling.

Of course, you can always add in extra chunky things (onion, peppers, etc) to the sauce if you
like some “crunch.”

* I prefer a can of kidney or pinto and a can of navy beans. I’ve also used chick peas in a
pinch.

** I like Boca crumblers (keeps it vegan) and have used Morningstar Farms and impossible
crumblers all of which work well.

Not only is Danielle one of my A-1s but she is, obviously, a master chef too! I cannot wait to make her recipe and hope that all of you enjoy it as much as I did. ❤

What is your favorite cold weather food? How about warm weather? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

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3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

Tis the season of going home for the holidays, staying close to those you hold dearest, and decorating everything with a sprinkle of joy. Most importantly, tis the season to experiment in the kitchen. Yes, most people have enough extra hours at work, renovating with a Renewal by Andersen Windows, or being a full time parent. But, you’ve seen the films of families getting together and baking a splendid dessert. There’s no reason for you to miss out!

This article will teach you baking is for everyone and give you the chance to impress your loved ones. It’s time to get creative, throw on an apron, and decide what type of dessert calls out to you:

Gingerbread Cookies:

Gingerbread cookies are a holiday tradition and for a good reason. They are a taste of holiday possibility best accompanied by hot cocoa with marshmallows. Baking gingerbread cookies is a fantastic activity for young children to participate in and feel included in the festivity preparations.

Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Molasses
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter

Prepare: For this recipe, you will have to whisk the following ingredients together in a bowl: baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and flour. Next, you will beat the dough and add the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Finally, add the previous flour mixture to the dough and beat until combined.

Then, you must chill the dough, first dividing it into two parts and rolling them into a ball. Next, flatten the ball and wrap it in plastic wrap inside the fridge for close to an hour. Once chilled, unwrap the dough, place it on a floured surface, and use a cookie cutter of your preference.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to ten minutes. Finally, take your cookies out of the oven and let them sit for five minutes. Eat them with a glass of milk, coffee, hot chocolate, or start decorating to enjoy at a later time.

^^^ Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Linzer Cookies:

Nothing like some good Linzer cookies to dip into milk

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Almond flour
  • White sugar
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raspberry Jam

Prepare: Like most baking recipes in this article, you’ll prepare the dough. Have the butter, white sugar, and cinnamon ready to beat in a bowl. Carefully add the yolk and vanilla to combine them. Whisk the salt, flour, and almond butter together in another bowl. Combine both of the mixtures.

Just like the gingerbread cookie recipe, repeat the process of dividing and refrigerating the dough. Take out the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften for five minutes. Roll one disk on a floured surface and use the desired cutter to give shape to the cookies.

Bake the cookies for fifteen minutes and then let them cool for a few minutes. Powder your cookies with powdered sugar and add jam to their center. Cut a hole on top of other cookies and place those on the first ones.

Picture By: Devanath on Pixabay

Cinnamon Rolls:

The smell of cinnamon rolls is truly enchanting. Ask anyone within reach of a bakery and they’ll tell you how cinnamon rolls bewitch the heart. 

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Instant yeast
  • Two percent or Whole milk
  • Salted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla

Prepare: You’ll have the perfect cinnamon rolls to dig into in six easy steps. First, you will add salted butter, yeast, milk, egg, salt, brown sugar, and water in a bowl. When you’re done with the mixture, heat water, butter, and milk together to add it to the butter mixture.

Time to knead the dough! Don’t be afraid to make a mess. With your hands, knead the dough. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and prepare the ingredients for your filling: sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Get your dough, roll it out, spread some butter, add cinnamon, and sprinkle some sugar. Roll the dough and cut it into even pieces. Grease a round pan and place your rolls inside. Allow the rolls to rise for sixty minutes.

Finally, bake the cinnamon rolls until they look golden brown. The only problem left is resisting the temptation to eat them all in one sitting!

Picture By: Monika on Pixabay

Call a friend, bake with family members, or spend this time with whoever makes your day. You will have amazing memories and treats to show for it!

Featured Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

4 Foods That Clean Your Teeth

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4 Foods That Clean Your Teeth

Did you know that there are foods that clean your teeth when you eat them? While many foods get a bad rap for sticking to your teeth and causing cavities, there are others that are nutritious and actually help your teeth. If you find the concept of getting healthy nutrients for your body while preserving your teeth appealing then take a look at these foods:

Apples:

Apples not only clean your teeth but will also help to ward off bad breath. Apples contain a lot of fiber and when you eat them, they act the same way that your toothbrush would. This means that they scrub away plaque and remove other food particles.

The acids that are present in apples will help you remove bacteria that cause bad breath. The best way to get the most benefit out of apples is to leave the skin on them. The skin of the apple is actually the part that has the most fiber to help clean your teeth.

Munch On Carrots:

Carrots work in much the same way that apples do to clean your teeth. Since apples are loaded with fiber, they scrub off plaque and other substances that are sticking to your teeth. When you eat carrots, it stimulates the production of the saliva in your mouth and this also helps to clean your teeth.

Green Vegetables:

Green vegetables are excellent for cleaning your teeth. While you are crunching on the leafy vegetables, they go to work to remove food particles. There are also some vegetables, such as kale, that have calcium that will help to strengthen your enamel.

Cucumbers:

Cucumbers are good for your teeth because they are also high in fiber. Cucumbers also have a lot of water, which helps to ensure that your mouth doesn’t dry out. When you chew on cucumber a lot of saliva is produced and it helps to wash away bacteria from your mouth. You can eat cucumbers by themselves or you can put them in a sandwich or salad to make them easier to consume.

Whatever foods you consume to clean away plaque, always remember to visit a dentist such as those at tri-state dental care to keep your teeth looking their best.

Now that you know some foods that clean your teeth while you eat them, you should try to incorporate them into your diet more often. Adding them into your diet will assist you with keeping your teeth looking as healthy as they possibly can. This means that there is a greater chance that you will protect your enamel and prevent cavities. An apple a day, right?!

Featured Image By: Tom Swinnen from Pexels

Easy Tips For Improved Cooking Skills 

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Easy Tips For Improved Cooking Skills 

Knowing how to cook is a basic, fundamental skill that we all need to have. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but many people have gone out of their way to get creative. Some have headed outside and created a garden packed with new flowers and veggies. Others have turned their hand to DIY and revamped their entire houses.

Then, there are those who turned to cooking. With the pandemic ending and lock downs lifting, people are choosing to Google ‘bakery course near me’ to improve their cooking skills that they learned while they were unable to go out and see people. Cooking is an amazing skill to have – it’s science and a little bit of magic all rolled together. Learning to bake a beautiful loaf of bread or cook the perfect roast chicken dinner? It’s all part of the fun.

If you want to improve your cooking skills, you can, and we’ve got some tips for you below to continue building your skill set:

Shop Well:

You can’t cook delicious meals without delicious ingredients, right? Ingredients that are fresh and vibrant in taste and color can help you to make transformative foods. Even the most basic dishes can become five star meals when you choose the right ingredients, and that’s the best place to start.

Get Equipped:

Can you cook the perfect fried egg if your pans are scratched to pieces? Of course not. If you want to make cooking a hobby of yours, then you need to equip yourself with the right tools. The right pans, the best knives, new kitchen scales, and the right cutlery can ensure that your cooking becomes something better than you ever thought it could be. The best quality equipment will help you to bring those recipes out properly.

Prepare Beforehand:

Be prepared. You need to get yourself set up by weighing and measuring all of your ingredients before you even get started. Warm up the oven early, and get into the habit of preparing your ingredients before you do anything else. This will make the whole process easier on you when you want to improve the current skills you have.

Have A Tasting Spoon:

When you cook, you need to taste. You’ll see the best chefs tasting as they go and they do this for a good reason. Tasting will help you to tell whether you have seasoned enough and it can help you to avoid plating up a dish that really doesn’t taste great. Of course, you need to keep this spoon separate from the rest of the cooking utensils you use!

Use the tips above to make the next meal you prepare even better. Happy cooking!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen

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Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen

Hello!!! The day after mine and Johnny’s wedding, we were incredibly hungover and spent the entire day in bed watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives a la Guy Fieri. We freaking love him so when we learned that he had a restaurant in the Poconos we just had to go! Check it out:

Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen was located in the Mount Airy Casino so Johnny and I decided to have lunch and try our luck at a few slot machines afterwards. While we didn’t win big during our gambling experience, lunch was a raging success!

Johnny ordered a bacon cheeseburger with mac n’ cheese on it and I went with the Trash Can Nachos. When I read the name of my selection I assumed it just meant that these nachos had everything on them but assume makes an ass out of U and Me.

Our meals came out surprisingly fast and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when my nachos came out in a literal trash can lol! Our waitress advised us to take a video of her shaking the can onto my plate and it was the craziest thing we have ever seen!

Our lunch from Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen was so delicious and insanely filling! I was also tickled that the restaurant had plenty of vegetarian options including being able to get fried cauliflower in place of chicken wings. That was a nice touch that I had never seen offered before.

Although we didn’t walk away from the casino with full wallets, we did leave very full of carbs which is just as good. I highly recommend this restaurant if you ever get the chance to go. I LOVE YOU, GUY FIERI!!!

Who is your favorite celebrity? What is your favorite restaurant? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Kicking Off A Keto Lifestyle   

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Kicking Off A Keto Lifestyle   

If you’re looking to start a keto diet, then you had better be prepared to commit to it. It can take some time for the effects to start showing but, once they do, you will be surprised at how much you might lose. However, before you jump into it head first, it’s best to plan your approach and make sure that you’re not inadvertently setting yourself up for a harder journey than you should. Here are some tips on how to start:

What is a keto diet?

Keto diets are all about keeping your food intake low in carbs, high in fat, and with good protein content to better control your blood sugar levels. This is to encourage the body to switch from burning glucose to burning fat as fuel. When your body starts to rely on burning fat for fuel primarily, you can reach weight loss goals more easily.

Get tracking:

One of the better things about keto diets is that you don’t need to necessarily track calories. You can if you want, but what you want, instead, is to focus on your macros. These are the nutrients themselves that are in the food you eat, with carbs, protein, sugar, and fat being those that are tracked primarily. There are keto macro trackers that can help you track those macros and see what foods might push you over the balance you’re aiming to maintain.

Find keto recipes:

As mentioned, a keto diet will involve you eating fewer carbs, eating more fats, and maintaining a moderate amount of proteins. It’s not like a carnivore diet, in that vegetables and certain grain based foods are still allowed. However, you want to find low carb varieties of foods, like this recipe for keto pancakes available here. There are plenty of keto recipe sites on the net. You should do some scouring, find enough to get you through a week’s worth of meals, and experiment to see what you like.

Learn to love keto snacks:

When it comes to snacks, we tend to reach for the high sugar or high carb things first and foremost. Clearly, this isn’t possible on a keto diet. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut out snacking entirely. While it’s always smart to keep it to a managed level, being unable to indulge cravings at all makes it a lot easier to quit out on a diet early, so you can look at these low-carb snacks featured here for some ideas of what you can have instead.

Keep up with water:

When you’re in a state of ketosis, burning through fat for fuel, you will find that you excrete fluids a lot more. You will sweat more during exercise and are also more likely to go to the bathroom more often. As such, you can easily find yourself dehydrated and feeling awful if you aren’t also increasing your water intake.

With the tips above, starting a keto diet can be a lot easier. It’s not “easy”, but it can definitely be more manageable.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Fall Is In The Air

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Fall Is In The Air

Hi! I am not the biggest coffee drinker any more and prefer my morning Diet Coke to give me a caffeine jolt before my work day. However, when Starbucks introduces their fall flavors back on the menu, I always just have to treat myself to at least one of them per year! I can take or leave their Pumpkin Spice Latte because apple is my all time favorite fall flavor. So, when I learned that there was an Apple Crisp Iced Macchiato available I couldn’t wait to give it a shot:

Nothing feels more fall than a seasonal drink from Starbucks and I decided to have my yearly fall beverage during my break at work. I was ready for all things caramel apple but, unfortunately, I wasn’t too blown away by the Apple Crisp Macchiato. It was tasty, yes. Sadly, it just wasn’t apple-y enough! I think I talked it up so much in my head and with my sister that anything less than a super apple coffee drink just wouldn’t cut it. -_-

I will say, though, that the last few sips of the drink were magnificent because it tasted exactly like my favorite fall candy – the caramel apple suckers. It was just getting to that point that was the problem, lol! I am also going to be the first one to admit that I definitely could have done with getting a Grande sized drink rather than the Venti. All of that caffeine made me so jittery and HOT at work and I am normally freezing all of the time. Such a rookie mistake!

Was this my favorite drink ever? No. But it was pretty good. Now, I will just be eagerly awaiting my yearly Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks during the Christmas season. 😀

What is your favorite drink from Starbucks? What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

My Favorite Easy Dinners

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My Favorite Easy Dinners

Hi! I have so enjoyed cooking lots of delicious homemade meals this past month and I am proud of the mental health one eighty that was accomplished by my new job. It has turned cooking back into something that I love to do rather than a chore and I can’t wait for a lifetime of meals with my husband. ❤

It has been a while since I have gone grocery shopping because I will buy a lot at one time which eliminates the need for time consuming, weekly trips to the store. When this happens, Johnny and I default to “easy” dinners to use up the rest of what we have in the freezer and pantry. While a home cooked meal is amazing, a big pot of spaghetti or an oven pizza just hits different! Here are some of my favorite easy peasy dinners:

Spaghetti:

I actually just made a spaghetti and garlic bread dinner last night and it was SO good! Spaghetti has been one of my favorite foods since I was little and I love how versatile it is. I always remember my dad preparing spaghetti for dinner when my mom would return home from work back in the day and it is still one of the sweetest things to me. While Alfredo and red sauce are delicious, my perfect plate of spaghetti is angel hair covered with my favorite: Pesto! And, also, who doesn’t love hella leftovers? 😀

Grilled Cheese:

In my household, you cannot go wrong with grilled cheese and it is one of mine and Johnny’s go to weekend lunches. I hate to brag, but I make a mean grilled cheese. However, it pales in comparison to when my mom makes it with her homemade bread! Johnny doesn’t like anything but cheese on his sandwich but I really like honey or brown mustard on mine. We are also partial to mac n’ cheese grilled cheeses for the ultimate comfort food.

Oven Pizza:

I don’t care what anyone says, oven pizza is the bomb lol. Johnny and I are obsessed with the Digiorno croissant and stuffed crust pizzas and I always have to get at least one of each when I go shopping. Sometimes I’ll doctor my portion of the pizza up with chopped veggies but they are so good as is. And, of course, you can’t forget the ranch dressing to dip it in! 🙂

Air Fried Commodities:

Although our air fryer is on the fritz, Johnny and I still love it dearly and the novelty of using it has yet to wear off. Appetizer food like mozzarella sticks, cheese curds, and French fries air fried are the absolute best and it feels like such a treat whenever we have apps as the main course. When we got our air fryer for Christmas, we went to the store so we could try air frying all of the things and I think about that every time we break it out. ❤

Quesadillas:

If you can’t tell by now, Johnny and I love cheesy food! Quesadillas are so easy to make as well as improve upon and I make them often when we are running low on dinner options. I usually will try out a different kind of salsa or two whenever I do shopping and quesadilla night is the perfect time to test them out!

The best part of my evening is having dinner while watching a show with Johnny. It also is the sweetest thing because whether I spend an hour or five minutes on a meal, he will always compliment and thank me for it. ANGEL! ❤

What is your favorite easy dinner? What are some of your favorite recipes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Eating For The Season

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Eating For The Season

As summer is starting to come to an end, so is the harvesting of all our summer vegetables. Finding joy in eating seasonally is something that your family can experience – all it takes is a little creativity at dinner time! As fall begins, explore the following in your meals:

Root vegetables:

Root vegetables are coming into the season, which means an abundance of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. All the good stodgy veggies that are best stewed or cooked into wholesome foods. There are so many lovely recipes out there for the autumn and winter months that allow you to just sink into and enjoy.

We all live a busy life and finding the time to cook those proper homely meals can seem like an inconvenience after a full day at work. So, what’s a better time than to dust off the old slow cooker and put it to good use.

Pumpkins:

Lots of cuisines use pumpkin because of the sweetness so to add a kick of it to your curries why not add pumpkin? A tasty Japanese alternative is pumpkin Kuroki, which is a pumpkin patty covered in panko breadcrumbs and fried. It’s delicious. However, you can just put pumpkin in your stews, it’s a healthy colorful vegetable that can’t be forgotten about. You can pick pumpkins up everywhere in the autumn and for extremely low prices… so when you are pumpkin picking don’t forget to eat the inside before you carve the outside!

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Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is such an underrated vegetable. It is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is a great source of nutrients. This funny-looking vegetable is so versatile. It can be used in the same way as a pumpkin but has become much more popular in soups and curries.

Butternut squash and apple soup is one to try this season, the contrasting flavors of the savory and sweet makes the perfect warming meal. Butternut squash can also be used as a lower carb option for spaghetti in pasta dishes as its form stays solid when spiraling it. It can also be added to stews but is equally as good as the main star of a meal.

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Potatoes:

The king of root vegetables, the potato is one of the worlds’ favorite foods due to its versatility. There are hundreds of ways to cook potatoes that are warming and hearty and just make you feel good. Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese or cold fillings are a quick meal. You can cook a jacket potato in the oven or microwave and you can add whatever toppings you like. This is a staple food for the whole family in the autumn.

Have you ever thought about widening your repertoire of cooking potatoes? What about crispy roast potatoes, where you parboil them and then shake the pan to fluff them up before roasting. Or creating dauphinoise potatoes, which can be achieved very quickly. Hasselback potatoes, with lots of cuts on one side with spices and fillings melted into the slots? There are so many ways to use potatoes through the autumn and winter months to create gorgeous additions to your recipes.

Carrots:

The only real way to eat carrots at this time of year is roasted with honey. They are divine and, of course, that is not the only way to eat carrots, but they certainly should become a household staple. Honey glazed carrots with any meal is a sweet addition to offset any savory flavors. The color adds a pop to what can be an otherwise muted plate of food. During the autumn and winter months, if you are eating seasonally, there isn’t usually a lot of colors to foods so carrots are a great way to brighten your plate.

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There are far too many recipes to list in one simple blog post so it is great to research and find some different recipes to spice up your autumn/winter menus for the family. Bon Appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels