Harvest + Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.


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Autumn Squash Chili

Autumnal Squash ChiliAutumnal Squash Chili
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“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” – Harry James

 

RECIPE

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1/2 of a large one should be enough for this recipe, if that’s all you can find)
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 teaspoons cumin
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup beer
1/2 cup brewed coffee
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 – 4 cups beef stock.
Toppings of your choice (tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado, cilantro, scallions, etc.)

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash with a couple tablespoons of oil and spread out evenly on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Roast for 25 minutes, or until softened and slightly golden brown, turning halfway through. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef. Once it’s nice and brown, drain the fat off and transfer the ground beef to a separate container/plate while you cook the aromatics and toast the spices.

Reduce the heat under the pot to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot followed by the diced onion, garlic, and the next 7 ingredients. (Note: you don’t have to stick to the amounts I have listed for the spices. If you like, feel free to add more or less of each one to suit your preferences). Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 – 8 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste and pumpkin and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the beer to the pot to deglaze, stirring to loosen any bits on the bottom. Add the coffee and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the beef back into the pan, followed by the tomatoes and roasted squash.

Stir the contents of the pot to combine everything and add the stock, starting with two cups and adding more if the chili appears too thick (this step can be done to your preference. If you like very thick chili, you can skip the stock altogether).

Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chili for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. The longer it sits the better!

Ladle into bowls and top as desired.

 


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Chocolate + Apple Fritters

Chocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple Fritters

Cocoa and apples

Have come together as one

What took them so long?

 

What’s that, you ask? Oh you know, just a little original Haiku. (You’re welcome!) I’m confident that this little number might win me acceptance into some secretive and highly coveted poetry society.  If the haiku doesn’t do it, then at LEAST the fritters will.

 

They

are

 

SO

Good.

 

 

RECIPE

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 apples, peeled/diced

Powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)

 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk, butter, and vanilla.

Fold the dry and wet ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter.

Heat a couple of inches of canola or vegetable oil to 360 degrees F.

Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t get too brown and flip them once during cooking. Cook them long enough to make sure they are done in the centers (about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes).

Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust liberally with powdered sugar,

(These are great heated up the next day or two in a 350 degree oven for 5 – 6 minutes. Crisps ‘em right back up)

 


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Fig + Walnut Energy Bars

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The recipe for my incredibly easy, healthy and delicious 3-ingredient energy bars (plus a little story) is up on Bastion & Co. today. These bars are the perfect grab-and-go snack and they taste like dessert (without the guilt, clearly). Swap out the figs and walnuts for your favorite dried fruits and nuts and add spices and seeds such as cinnamon and chia seeds (pictured) to help you stay alert, focused, full, and free of guilt.

 

Happy Friday, y’all!


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Pumpkin-Maple Apple Crisp and a Day at the Orchard

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Bean finds the best apple in our tree and hands it up to me. “You know what this tastes like when you first bite into it?” she asks. 
“No, what?” 
“Blue sky.” 
“You’re zoomed.” 
“You ever eat blue sky?”
“No,” I admit. 
“Try it sometime,” she says. “It’s apple-flavored.” 

― Rodman Philbrick, The Last Book in the Universe

 

I have a feeling, even though there is quite a bit more Fall left to enjoy this year, that I’ve already experienced what will live on to be one of my favorite Fall moments. The fact that I’m having a baby in a few weeks, as well as celebrating my first baby’s second birthday soon are obvious Fall memory winners, so I’m not counting them. In this case I’m referring to the types of experiences that would most likely be insignificant or totally forgettable 99% of the time, but for some reason, just happen to stand out every once in a blue moon, imprinting themselves on your memory with zero intentions of going anywhere any time soon.

I recently enjoyed a trip to a local apple orchard with my family and, after watching my little one delight in the apple-picking festivities, I ducked in the orchard’s small market to grab some of their cider to take home with us. Waiting in line and growing more pregnant by the minute, I confess to having taken a quick, “I’m-pregnant-and-super-thirsty-so-I’ll-drink-it-in-the-store sip” (okay fine, it was more like a chug) of this really, really delicious cider.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. I really did. I literally exclaimed out loud, to no one in particular in the store. But it was just so, so good. It was one split second of pure refreshing Fall flavor and I think it actually caught me off guard how good it was. Maybe I had forgotten how nice cider can be in all of its icy cold and satisfying simplicity. As I stood there in this adorably charming country market, watching people pick and choose their autumnally inspired purchases, I couldn’t help but smile. This time of year just does that to me. We take plenty of sips of all kinds of things every day, most of them understandably forgettable. Maybe it was the setting, the gorgeous Fall day, or the pregnant that did it. But I will remember that particular sip of cider and how easily and effortlessly it managed to win me over. To reference the quote above, I will admit to having never tasted blue sky before, nor have I ever tasted sunshine. But I will wager a guess that at least one of those two things tastes a little something like this cider.

 

Pumpkin Maple Apple Crisp RECIPE

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (about 4 cups)

1 cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

¾ stick butter, softened

1/2 cup canned, unsweetened pumpkin

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons apple pie spice (you could use pumpkin pie spice as well, or a mixture of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)

 

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch pan (circular or square or whatever you like) with butter or non-stick spray.

Spread out the sliced apples in the pan. In a medium bowl, stir the remaining ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until your topping is golden brown and the apples are tender (test with a fork if you like). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

 


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Little Moments and a Coffee Fit For Kings

Imperial coffee Imperial coffee1 Imperial coffee2When you are pregnant and only allowed one cup of caffeine, er, coffee each day, sometimes you’ve really just gotta make it count. Go for the gusto, you know? If you down multiple pots of coffee a day, then you’re probably not as likely to view each cup as an opportunity to take a minute to yourself and relax. Ever since I found out I was pregnant last winter, I’ve started taking my one cup of coffee each day as a time-out for myself – a time to stop and wrap my head around the day ahead and to just enjoy the solace that the morning brings. Granted, this little time out doesn’t ever last too long. But it’s there, each and every day, and I make sure of that. In a day that is full of plenty of little unpredictable moments – some stressful, some blissful – and everything in between, this little coffee moment is one I know I can look forward to every day, and it never disappoints. I appreciate and value its predictability.

As such, I have a couple of recipes for drinks that help make the most of this single cup of coffee and while I definitely do not have or take the time to make them every morning, I try to whip one up when I can. My favorite at this particular moment? Coffee Imperial. I’m not totally sure where the name comes from, but I like to think it’s because this is such a fine and upstanding beverage that it will invade your typical coffee routine and turn it into something entirely different. At least that what it does for me. I probably put too much pressure on my coffee, now that I think about it …

I’m a total sucker for cinnamon and the combination of the warm spice and the dark, earthy coffee together in this drink is so, so, soooooooooo so so good. Plus, it’s great served hot or cold and you can prepare it the day/night before so all you have to do in the AM is pour and enjoy.

 

RECIPE

adapted from Food.com

 

4 cinnamon sticks

cups strong coffee, freshly brewed

1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half also works really well)

Sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste

Ice

Whipped cream

Cinnamon

 

Add cinnamon sticks to hot coffee and let stand for 1 hour, then remove cinnamon.

To coffee add sugar/sweetener (to taste) and the heavy cream or half and half, then chill.

For iced coffees, pour this mixture into tall glasses and fill with ice, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For a hot version, simply re-heat the mixture in a saucepan set over medium heat and pour into mugs/serving vessels of your choice. Garnish as you like :)

 

 

 


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Go-to Granola

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I have a fairy godmother, her name is Sally, and she loves granola just like me.

I was recently treated to a wonderful visit from said godmother (perhaps I’ll save the “fairy” explanation for another time), prior to which I whipped up a batch of my very favorite granola. A little bird told me that Sally was a fan of granola (okay fine, it was my Mom), so I thought it would be nice to have some fresh stuff at the ready for breakfasts and snacking while she was in town. At one point during her stay, as Sally and I were crunching away on the granola in my kitchen, she made a very good point about this particular genre of homemade foods (the granola genre), with which I wholeheartedly agree. “You know,” she said. “Granola is one of those foods whose store-bought version can’t really compare to the real deal.”

Funny thing is, I had the exact same thought as I took my first bite of this batch. I buy granola all the time from the store, from master granola-ists (made that up) both large and small who all profess to offer the world’s best. A lot of store bought granola is pretty good, I’ll admit. But truth be told, after you take one bite of this homemade stuff, you might think long and hard about ever buying a pre-made version again. Trust me on this. It’s just too, too good.

Regarding store-bought vs. homemade foods, Sally also pointed out that the same truth applies to salad dressing; another point with which I completely concur. There is nary a pre-bottled salad dressing in all the land that can stand up to one you concoct yourself from scratch. That Sally sure does spit the truth! I am so lucky to have a fellow food loving fairy godmother with so much kitchen wisdom up her sleeves.

Thanks for the visit Sal! XOXO

 

RECIPE

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice!)

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
 (canola or grapeseed oils are fine as well)

2/3 cup PURE maple syrup

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 cup dried blueberries

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, almonds, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir until everything is evenly coated and mixed.

Spread the granola evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Place back in the oven for another 12 – 15 minutes. You’re looking for a golden brown color here, so just be sure to keep an eye on it because it can burn quickly at the end.

Take the granola out of the oven and press it evenly with a spatula. Let it cool and then stir in the dried fruit. Allow your granola to cool completely before storing it at room temperature.

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