autumn

Sweet Widdle Punkin'

LASDI©

LASDI©

This perfect crown jewel of the Autumn Season turned out BEYOND!! Look, even if you’re not a super-huge cheesecake fan OR if you hate all things pumpkin, I cannot tell you how much you need to try this recipe!! TRUST ME - no matter what - you will love this. You. Will. LOVE THIS……It looks daunting at first, but I promise it’s a cake walk! (No pun intended!!)

1 and 1/3 cups graham crackers crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

2- 8 oz okgs cream cheese , softened

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 cup (or one can) pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

The very important part here is to preheat your oven; HOWEVER COMMA, you must preheat it lower than standard ovens start, which is typically at 350. YOU MUST PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 300 FOR THIS RECIPE SO AS TO SLOW COOK HIS BABY TO ITS RIGHTFUL BEAUTY.

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, including up the sides as much as possible. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in the 9x 13-inch pan prepared pan, and press to the bottom evenly. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, but do not over-blend. Spoon half of the mixture over the crust and carefully spread evenly. Add the pumpkin puree and all spices to the remaining cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Carefully spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake 45 minutes minutes or until just set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Turn off the oven and leave the door barely open to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, for about 45 minutes or until oven has cooled. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into desired shapes. They can be cut into bars, but in my case, I use a circular cutter. I whip some heavy whipping cream and freshly-grated nutmeg together and top the pumpkin cheesecake with a dollup. These SCREAM autumn!!!! (The DAUGHTS just informed me that it is actually National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day at the time of this blog post! How ya like them punkins??)

PLAYING SQUASH

turkeytenderloinandsquash

All year long I wait in anticipation for October to get here.  For my family, it means our annual Fall Family Day, the start of the Renaissance Festival, and all things autumn eating!!  For October, and considering my obsessive compulsivité, I cook orange-colored things or autumn-inspired foods.  So this night I had a turkey tenderloin that I cooked up with clove, sea salt and pepper, served in its own juices, and I paired it with the butternut squash and dried cranberries I had in the fridge.  The squash was AH-MAHZ.  Like, the stuff dreams are made of.  So that's the recipe you have here.  Happy Autumn, Everyone!  Be blessed in abundance!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES

1 butternut squash, halved and seeded

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 tbs sea salt

1 tbs pepper

1 tbs pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup parsley, chopped finely

Sprinkle the two halves of the squash with evoo, place flesh-side-down on a prepared baking sheet, and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool for five minutes.  Scoop out the flesh from the inside of the squash into a pan sprinkled lightly with evoo.  Add seasonings and smash with a potato masher while it cooks on medium heat for about one minute and to desired consistency.  Remove from heat and gently fold cranberries in.  Sprinkle with parsley before serving.  This is SHEtox Week Three -friendly and low-carb!

Squash It!

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Like many of you, autumn is my most-absolute favorite time of year.  Part of our Annual Fall Family Day consists of vegetable picking as a family, and boy did I get a TON of squash!  So, for this particular dish, I cooked it up with some chicken thighs and the green-and-purple beans we picked wrapped in bacon (let's just say The Hubster was HAPPY!!)

CHICKEN THIGHS AND SQUASH

2 pkgs chicken thighs

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

3 cups squash, any kind, peeled and cubed

 1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tbs dried rosemary

3 tbs dried sage

2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp pepper

2 cups vegetable (or chicken works here, too) stock or broth

1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine

In a large, heavy oven-safe skillet (I use my cast-iron, of course!), pour enough evoo to cover the bottom and heat on medium.  Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper to your taste.  Place thighs top-side-down first into the heated pan.  Let sear and brown well before turning, about four-to-five minutes and the same on the other side.  Remove from heat and let rest on a plate covered in paper towel.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  To the same pan and on the same medium heat, add your squash, onion, garlic, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, sea salt, and pepper and stir.  Let cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add your vegetable stock and scrape the bottom of your pan for all those goodie-brown-bits with a wooden spoon.  Turn off the heat and return the thighs to the pan, nestling them in between the squash mixture.  Cover and place the entire pan in the oven and let it braise by continuing to cook it for another 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley, and cover and let rest for five minutes.  Lift the lid.  Smell the wonder of autumn.  Then, eat the MESS out of it!

NOTES  I served this over brown rice and with the side of bacon-wrapped green bean stacks, but if you want low-carb, simply omit the rice.  

 

Stew In It

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Yes, People.  Autumn is upon us.  Much like you - it's my most favorite time of year  So even though it is still a bit warm outside, I couldn't wait to get my beef and vegetable stew into my Menu Planner.  Super-duper easy, and SUPREME as far as flavor!  I served it to The Hubster with some leftover garlic flatbread I had from the meal the night before.  Come on in, Autumn!  You are welcome here.

BEEF & VEGETABLE STEW

1 pkg beef stew meat

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 turnip, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

4 carrots, washed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 pkg frozen green beans

2 cups favorite broth (beef works best here)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 can tomato paste

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

2 tbs garlic powder

2 tbs cumin

2 tbs coriander

2 tbs Italian seasoning

2 bay leaves

fresh parsley, chopped coarse, for garnish

Now watch this: throw everything (minus the parsley garnish) into your crockpot.  Set on lowest setting and just let it cook.  Remove bay leaves and sprinkle with parsley.  Eat it up.  THAT'S IT!!

NOTES:  You may want to re-season a little prior to serving, as crockpots can tend to mute the seasoning level.  I use organic ingredients whenever I can, including the balsamic vinegar, and I would add that in this particular case, organic beef or beef without hormones or additives will definitely help in flavor here.  You want the liquid to reduce, but add a little more broth if you like it soupier.  You can throw some chunks of potato in, if you like, but I leave it out for low-carb, and it is just as hearty and filling.