Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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Thanksgiving dinner is the best meal of the year for many of us. The turkey gets a lot of hype, but I'd be happy to just feast on the sides. Thanksgiving side dishes are comforting, savory and sweet, and full of fall produce. It's hard to save room for dessert when there's so much good stuff for the main course. This collection of Thanksgiving side dish recipes from around the web highlights the many colors and flavors that are typically part of this annual feast. Let me know in the comments which one you'd like to try first. It's a tough decision! Sweet Thanksgiving Side Dishes Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Cranberry Squash Quinoa Salad Mango Pear Salad Greens with … [Read more...]

Cranberry Squash Quinoa Salad

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Quinoa salad is one of my favorite easy lunches to have on hand. I make a big batch at the beginning of the week, and I don’t have to think about what to make for lunch during the days ahead. Quinoa is a high-protein grain, so it helps to keep me full well into the afternoon. This Cranberry Squash Quinoa Salad showcases some of the best flavors of fall. Cranberries and winter squash are classic fall fare here in New England, and the sweetness of this dish tastes almost decadent. This salad would make a delicious side dish on Thanksgiving. It’s also a great way to use up extra cranberry sauce after the big feast is over. Taste this dish as you go and adjust the salt as … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 37

Real Food Meal Plan Week 37

Halloween week is an exciting time in our house. The kids’ anticipation has been building for weeks. We have lots of parties leading up to the big event on Friday, so I’m trying to moderate all the junk food with some healthy dinners. I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of pita pizza mummies with olives or tomatoes for eyes peeking out through the mozzarella mummy cloth. This will make a cute dinner before trick-or-treating on Friday. I’m also working on a few recipes this week for the new Little House on the Prairie website that will be launching soon. This t.v. show was one of my childhood favorites, so I’m having fun channeling my inner Ma Ingalls as I work on recipe posts for the new … [Read more...]

Homemade Pumpkin Bread Mix

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Homemade gifts are the best kind, especially when food is involved. With all the social events during the holiday season, it’s nice to have easy, non-perishable gifts on hand for whenever you need them. This pumpkin bread mix makes a wonderful hostess gift during the fall. If you’re a guest at someone’s house for Thanksgiving, give them this bread mix along with a can of pumpkin puree. After the whirlwind of Thanksgiving is over, they can enjoy a flavorful, home-baked loaf of pumpkin bread without much effort on their part. It's the perfect thank you gift. Fill a pint-sized mason jar with the dry ingredients for this pumpkin bread, and package it with a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree. … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Smoothie

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This month’s Recipe Redux is all about “spooky spices.” We all have spices in our cabinets that we’re not quite sure how to use, so they just sit there. The great thing about spices is that they can add flavor without adding unnecessary sugar, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable using them. For me, ginger used to be a spooky spice. I avoided it because it has such a strong flavor. I like ginger, but it can be overpowering. So it just sat there in my cabinet. As I’ve gotten more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen over the years, I’ve embraced my bottle of ground ginger. A little bit goes a long way, so I always start with just a pinch. This pumpkin smoothie recipe illustrates … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 36

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I’m not sure how I’ll be able to beat last week’s meal plan. I cooked all five weeknight dinners in 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon. It was a tiring process, but I loved not having to cook during the week. I will definitely use that approach again soon. Turning to the week ahead, I’m looking forward to trying a few new recipes from my fellow bloggers. I love the idea of this oven-baked risotto from Food Done Light because I don’t like all the stirring that’s normally associated with risotto. And these shredded Brussels sprouts with roasted veggies and bacon from the Vintage Mom look fantastic. I’ve always been a sucker for Brussels sprouts. :) With soccer and basketball seasons … [Read more...]

Make-Ahead Meals: 5 Dinners in 90 Minutes

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Cooking dinner night after night can be overwhelming. For those of us with late work days or busy evening schedules, it can seem impossible to get homemade food on the table for our families. With my children’s various commitments, I often find myself on a sports field instead of at my dinner table when 6:00 rolls around. On other evenings, we get home right at dinnertime and there’s no time to prep the food. I used to settle for ordering out or opening a package on these evenings. I didn’t think I had a choice. But we always have a choice. If homemade food is a priority, you can always find a way. Five Make-Ahead Meals in 90 Minutes I’ve been hearing over and over from busy … [Read more...]

Chicken Chili

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Chili is one of my favorite meals. It’s just so cozy and flavorful. I love to eat chili for lunch or dinner, and I always put aside some leftovers in the freezer. When I look to the freezer to save me on a night when I just can't cook, I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that chili. I have several different versions I like to make, including vegetarian squash chili and chili con carne. This chicken chili is a mild version to accommodate my children’s palates. If you prefer a stronger chili flavor, you can double the chili powder and cumin, and add diced hot peppers or cayenne pepper. This is a simple recipe to put together when you have leftover shredded chicken … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 35

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I’m trying a little experiment with my meal plan this week. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for ages. On Sunday afternoon, I’m prepping all the meals for the week. I’ll chop, dice, cook, and freeze according to what’s on the menu for each weeknight. I picked meals with ingredients that will keep well in the fridge or freezer until they’re needed. If all goes well, I’ll only need 15 minutes or so of active time to put the food together each night. How great does this sound? I’m so excited to see if it actually works. I really don’t like to cook at dinnertime, so this could be the perfect week. :) Real Food Meal Plan Week 35 Saturday: Out for anniversary dinner Sunday: Vanilla … [Read more...]

Organizing Kitchen Cabinets with OXO

Organizing Kitchen Cabinets with OXO | Real Food Real Deals #POPtober

I’m frugal. Even if this is your first time here, you probably could have guessed that by reading the title of my blog. I keep a price chart that tracks where I can get the least expensive version of everything on my shopping list. I shop the sales and make lots of my family’s food from scratch. I love clearance racks and church tag sales. But being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap. I firmly believe in investing in high-quality kitchen supplies that will last a long time. If you buy cheap kitchen tools, they'll break before long and you’ll need to replace them. That’s why I’m happy to work with OXO. Their quality is fantastic, and everything they sell comes with a lifetime … [Read more...]