Smoked Sausage and Pinto Bean Stew



Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to a gusty, rainy, cold morning outside my front door. What the heck happened, Mother Nature? Seriously, we were at the park and wearing shorts just the day before. On Monday afternoon, while my kids were playing, I was sitting on a park bench with rolled up sleeves trying to catch some rays on my face and arms. Monday afternoon was sun-drenched, cloudless, 66° and perfect.

Not too long after we were surprised by the drastic weather change on Tuesday morning, I ushered my oldest off to school. When I got home, I finally checked the forecast. It read: "overcast, breezy and cooler with occasional rain". That would have been nice to know before we had to scramble away from the front door, desperately looking for the one, elusive umbrella we own. 

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Cranberry-Orange Pound Cake with Butter Rum Glaze


The only appropriate way to describe this post is a mega-cheat day post. My cheat days will be happening on a weekly basis. And, yes, they do have to exist to ensure my sanity. I bake for a living, I love what I do and it's undeniable that I have big love for all things sugary and sweet. But, I've done pretty well lately with keeping my raging sweet tooth in check.  
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Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Vegetable Stuffing

So, I've had a pretty serious, little, love-affair going on with zucchini and yellow squash for years now and I've even talked about it in a couple of previous posts. Late last year, I expanded my veggie-eating boundaries and tried both the butternut and acorn squash varieties for the first time. I really enjoyed eating them both and they swiftly became regular items on my grocery list.

Nowadays, and above all other types I've tried to the present date, acorn squash has stolen my heart. Not only because of it's sweet, mild flavor and soft texture, but because of it's petite size. Once an acorn squash is cut in half, it's a perfect, compact vehicle for lots of delicious fillings and an ideal serving size for one. If you know me, you know I'm am all about dual purposes!    
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Spicy Sweet Potato Hash with Collard Greens



This recipe was born out of ingredients I bought to use for holiday meals and never did. Apparently, I went a little overboard with meal planning and grocery shopping for both our Christmas Day and New Year's Day feasts. As of this morning, I had one large sweet potato, a couple of jalapeños, and a whole bunch of collard greens that need to be used while they were still fresh. 
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A New Year's Resolution and a Green Smoothie Too.

Judging from this New Year's Day post, maybe you can tell what my resolution is for 2016? Well, along with thousands of other people in the world, I've resolved to start eating a bit "cleaner" and exercising more. I actually enjoy eating healthily and my hope is to finally drop these extra pounds that have lingered with me since our daughter was born three years ago. 

Okay, nobody panic, please. You will still see all kinds of baked goodies and recipes involving lots of chocolate, frosting and cheese here too. This is me you're dealing with after all, and a tiger can't change it's stripes. But, I do hope to reduce the mass that my stripes cover and squeeze them into a smaller dress size by June. So expect to see a few more salads, soups, grilled meats and, yes, smoothies thrown in to the mix here. I think it goes without saying it that every healthy, new recipe will be taste-tested and guaranteed delicious.
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