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A mostly healthy cooking blog for people who love to eat

October 31, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Outspoken October: Monthly Favorites

Happy Halloween! Let’s enjoy this opportunity to eat our favorite candy without regret (Twix, Almond Joy, and all the Milky Way Midnights please), wear something ridiculous in public on a day when it’s both socially acceptable and encouraged, and take one giant, spirit-clearing breath before the holiday madness begins in earnest. Ready or not, here it comes.

Katie Daisy-FallDesign by Katie Daisy

To end this month of fall colors and Frankenstein, pumpkins and poltergeists, a few of my favorite finds: Continue Reading →

October 29, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Pear Muffins with Ginger

Pear Muffins with Ginger are that beautiful moment when you find five dollars in your washing machine or rediscover a forgotten shirt lurking in the back of your closet: freebie jackpot! The old is new again.

Pear Muffins with GingerFear not—I’m not walking around with pear muffins stuffed into my jeans, Napoleon Dynamite style. I also don’t intend to tuck a muffin behind my rack of plaid shirts for a midnight snack. Rather, these moist, healthy muffins are the result of a recent jackpot (re)discovery in my life, pears.

I have Ben’s Nonna to thank for reintroducing me to the sweet, juicy fruit at breakfast, when Ben and I were visiting a few weeks ago. I took a bite of the most sublime Bosc pear and realized that I’d been unconsciously overlooking one of fall’s loveliest offerings for the past several seasons. Every year, I go ape on apples—apple bars, apple cake, apple soup, apple dip, apple meatballs (I could go on)—to the extent that I’d all but forgotten the poor pears. Shame on me. Continue Reading →

October 27, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Healthy Ham and Cheese Casserole with Apples and Sage

What dish, to you, defines “comfort food”? My pick: healthy Ham and Cheese Casserole with Apples and Sage.

Healthy Ham and Cheese Casserole with Apples and SageWell that’s not entirely true—my actual answer is a hybrid between my Grammy’s homemade ham macaroni and cheese and my Grandma’s “party ham casserole.” The first is categorically cheesy; the second smothered in crispy, buttery breadcrumbs; both involve chunks of salty ham and unapologetic levels of heavy cream.

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October 26, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Halloween Sangria

Forget being the big candy bar house—I want to establish myself as the Halloween Sangria house.

Halloween Sangria. Blood red sangria with frozen grape eyeballs. Perfect Halloween drink for a party!Trick-or-treating for my sisters and me was an Olympic sport. We knew which houses had the most elaborate decorations, which refused to answer the door, and most importantly, which handed out the king-sized candy bars. Maximizing our Halloween haul took strategy, dedication, and a father who patiently escorted us through multiple neighborhoods, all in the name of MORE CANDY.
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October 24, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Snickerdoodle Bagels with Cinnamon Crunch Topping {GIVEAWAY!}

At one point, I was going to be a high-powered journalist. My pencil would be ever-sharp, mob bosses would confess their guilt before my waiting tape recorder, and I’d eat a giant Snickedoodle Bagel with Cinnamon Crunch Topping every morning for breakfast.

Snickerdoodle Bagels with Cinnamon Crunch Topping. Homemade bages that taste just like a snickerdoodle cookie!

I will admit that this mental picture has a few snags. Actual journalists probably haven’t used tape recorders since Home Alone days (shout out to the Talkboy!), and I’m about as likely to confront a mob boss as give up chocolate (ahem, never). The Snickedoodle Bagel, however, is non-negotiable.

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October 22, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars

How to make an impression at your first neighborhood party: bring a pan of bars loaded with booze, browned butter, brown sugar, and Grade A Wisconsin maple syrup. Nice to meet you. May I offer you a Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bar?

Maple Bourbon Blondies with Brown Butter and Maple GlazeAs much as I love to cook and bake, bringing food to parties—especially parties where I’m meeting people for the first time—completely stresses me. When people hear that I’m a food blogger, I assume their expectation is that a beam of heavenly light will shine from above upon first bite. It’s the sort of pressure that causes me to speak unnaturally loudly when stating the name of the recipe (“BOURBON BARS!”), forget the name of my own blog, or even overbake my most perfect and foolproof batch of chocolate chip cookies. Continue Reading →

October 20, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos

I am now epically, exhaustingly, and grammatically acquainted with the term, “fall.” It’s in the crispness of the air, the flavor of these Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos, and it’s really really in the 140 bags of leaves that Ben and I raked this weekend.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos. Easy, healthy and perfect for fall!When we bought Ben’s childhood home from his parents, I vaguely recall a bit of commentary about the leaves. A few neighbors advised me to, “get ready.” Ben’s mom (who, God bless her, came over to help us rake all day Sunday, along with Ben’s dad) gifted me a pair of gardening gloves. I grew up raking leaves with my dad watching my dad rake leaves, then jumping into them, and it seemed like a romantic outdoor activity, at least to my eight-year-old self.

Let me tell you, shredding the equivalent of 140 bags of leaves, stuffing those leaves into yard bags, then cramming them into your garage because the dump isn’t open until Tuesday is not romantic. I imagine the dumping process (which involves two trips and a borrowed SUV) won’t be especially romantic either. The semi-disheartening/totally insane part? Not even a quarter of our leaves have fallen. We have to do this again! And again! Then one or six more times! I’m going to have some serious calluses character by the time fall ends.

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