First Official Training Run

The marathon is exactly 18 weeks from today! Most of the time I’m a mix of excited and sheer disbelief that I’m actually doing it. On occasion I have a moment of complete panic that I just won’t be able to do it. But I am.

The first run calls for 3 miles. It was kind of misting and lightly raining. I was tired. And I wasn’t really looking forward to it.

Apparently it’s one of those things that once you get started, it isn’t so bad. And by the time you’re done, you’re surprised it over and could keep going. Twenty four minutes after starting I felt a lot better.

I’d done some weights at the gym in the morning and left stuff there. So after the run, I went back to the gym for a yoga class. Great decision. My muscles felt more relaxed and less stiff. And I, in turn, felt more relaxed.

Then I went to Staten Island to see my brother’s future mother in law and to pick up my bridesmaids dress for his wedding. I’d overestimated my size. Luckily his fiancé didn’t believe me and ordered it several sizes smaller. It fits well but no pictures until the wedding!

Ready. Set. Run.

Welcome back to the blog! (Ok, I’m really welcoming myself back.) Its been well over a year since I’ve blogged. I’ve eaten healthy. I’ve cooked some new things. I’ve gotten lazy and made a lot of salads rather than cooking. I’ve found ways to eat healthy without cooking. And of course, I’ve made a ton of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Its time for the blog to come back. This time with a little less of a focus on cooking (because, lets be honest, I spent most of this blog baking and not cooking) and a little more focus on health in general. Because:

I’m running the Boston Marathon!

Yup. I’ve got lots of future posts to tell you about why I want to do it, how I’m planning to train, and how my training is going. I’m sure I’ll slip in a few posts with training tips, healthy eating tips, and some interesting things that I end up making myself.

Today I officially signed up. Tomorrow is 18 weeks until race day. Which means tomorrow officially starts my training. I’m running with Newton Wellesley Hospital’s charity team. (Which means in January I’ll start fundraising.)

So far I’ve done 4 unofficial runs. I did 4 miles on Monday. 3.5 miles Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday, and 6.5 on Saturday. I did some other cardio on some of those days and some cardio today for cross training.

Tomorrow I officially start my training plan with a 3 mile run. Wish me luck!

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Christmas Eve

Ok, I’m a Jew. But I love Christmas. I love the feeling around the holiday. I think what I really love is the opportunity to tell people that you appreciate them. We don’t often think to thank the people in our lives and the holidays are a great time to do it.

I don’t send out holiday cards because I can never write the things I want to for everyone. This year I made praline pecans for my office and peppermint rice crispy treats for my friends. (posts will be coming for both of those.)

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Peppermint rice crispies

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Praline pecans

I did gifts for my family. I’m on the ferry now heading to Staten Island where my brother’s girlfriend is from. Of course, with presents. I really love wrapping presents.

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Sorry, no spoilers as to what’s inside. Not until after they’ve opened them!

Let me know if you want the recipe for either of those tomorrow and I’ll give it to you before I get the posts together.

Also, to those who dislike Staten Island:

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I’d say that’s not a bad view!

I’m just about here. So excited. My brother is picking me up and I’m meeting my mom and sister there. Almost there!!!!

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy holidays!

Roasted Brussels Spouts

Hello friends! I’m testing out this WordPress app on my new iPhone. So far, it’s working well.

I just made something really simple and really delicious.

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Roasted brussel sprouts. They’re so simple to make. Thy make a really great side or meal on their own.

I started with 2 lbs of brussel sprouts. Cut of the end and remove any yellow leaves. That part is bitter and will make your brussel sprouts yucky. Cut the sprouts in half or quarters.

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Toss with salt, pepper, garlic and a little olive oil. Spread the brussel sprouts evenly on a baking sheet.

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Bake for 30-ish minutes at 400 degrees. Serve warm.

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That’s it. Easy enough, right?

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients
-2 lbs. brussel spouts, ends cut off and sliced into halves or quarters
-1 tsp salt (or to taste)
-black pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic or a small amount of garlic powder

Directions
-preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray
-Rinse brussel sprouts. Chop off the ends and it into halves or quarters. Remove any yellow leaves.
-Toss brussel sprouts with the salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.
-Spread out on the cookie sheet
-Place in the oven for approximate 30 min.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

So I might be a little obsessed with this recipe. The pumpkin makes it nice and hearty but that, and the chocolate chips gives it just the right amount of sweetness.

I made it first for our post-Thanksgiving brunch. Then I made it again after I came back to New York. Its delicious. I made it two ways. One following the recipe complete with all of the sugar and other things, and one in a slightly healthier version. I’ll be honest, I didn’t taste the difference.

 

I found the original recipe here from myrecipes.com. The recipe originally came from Cooking Light. I love that the nutritional info is given on the website. Of course, the way I changed the recipe, it’d be a little different. It turns out to be around 150 calories a slice (assuming you’re getting 16 slices). As far as muffins go, its pretty healthy.

Did I mention you could also make it into muffins?

 

Oh, before I get into the recipe… When I was making these in my apartment, I was gchatting with a friend. The conversation:

me: sorry that bit of conversation was so disjointed, i was getting the last of mybaking into the oven
 Kyle: watcha bakin?
  muffins? I bet it’s muffins.
me: and bread
  i’m doing both right now
  i made a double batch but how did you know?
 Kyle: fancy schmancy
  because you always make muffins
  you love muffins
  it was an educated guess – a high-probability hypothesis, if you will.
I think I’m getting to predictable. I’m going to need to change the name of the blog so you know its all muffins all the time… Or you know, start cooking.
Anyway, these muffins/bread, whichever. Or both. This recipe is actually a double recipe. If you only want one loaf or one set of muffins, just cut each ingredient in half.
Also, this little guy, loved the muffins. He kept trying to steal them off the table.
And that face… he looks so innocent…
Ok, I know this is pumpkin, but the pictures all have a little of an off color. Its because I used my ipod to take the pictures. I need to learn to charge my camera!
(For the full recipe, see below)
To make these, start with the pumpkin.
Add in the sugar, vanilla yogurt, egg whites, apple sauce (or oil) and flax seeds (optional) and whisk together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture into the the pumpkin mixture until moist.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Spread into a greased pan or muffin tins.
Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) on top so its look pretty.
Pop in the oven. Remove when it looks like this. And then complete the cooling on a wire rack.
Serve. And watch out for that pesky dog who is going to try to steal it.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yield: two loaves or 24 muffins. (or 12 muffins and 1 loaf)
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup Apple sauce (or canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt (I used fat free vanilla greek yogurt)
  • 4 Large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional, if you do, leave out 1 egg white)
  • 1.5 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (you can use All Purpose Flour for this as well. 3 cups of flour total)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.25 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line muffin tins or spray muffin tins/loaf pans with cooking spray. (8 x 4 in loaf pans are recommended)
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, apple sauce, yogurt, egg whites and flax. Whisk together.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda together.
  • Add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and continue whisking until moist.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Spoon into loaf pans or muffin tins.
  • Bake. If you are baking loafs, bake for approximate 1 hour- 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you are baking muffins, bake approximately 15-20 minutes. In either case, bake until a tooth pick can be inserted and can come out clean from the center.
  • Cool for 5-10 minutes in pans, and then remove to a wire rack. Continue cooling.
  • Enjoy!

If you bake extra, who do you like to share yours with?

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Hello friends!

Sorry for the seriously overdue post! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to post. I’ve had lots of time to cook… and bake.

I’ve cooked and baked a lot! Now I just need some time to be posting without cooking. If only my fridge wasn’t empty right now…

 

Anyway, the Saturday after Thanksgiving we had a huge brunch at my house. All of the kids my brother and sister went to high school with (and a few parents) came by the house. We had bagels, waffles, bacon, eggs, and of course, muffins.

I decided to make two kinds of muffins. I knew one was going to be something pumpkin-ish because it was Thanksgiving weekend (we’ll get there soon) and the other would be my mom’s favorite… lemon poppy muffins.

My mom always complains that I make my food to healthy. She says it tastes good, but its not the buttery goodness she gets at a bakery. So I was determined to make the butteriest muffins, the most unhealthy but delicious muffins I could find.

 

And thats exactly what I did…

I googled “Martha Stewart Lemon Poppy Muffins,” which led me to this, a recipe brought to Martha Stewart Radio by Amy’s Bread.

I followed the directions almost completely. No healthy flours. Used every last drop of sugar. My only substitution was yogurt for the sour cream and that was only because I didn’t buy it.

 

The recipe recommends using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. I did it by hand. It worked, but it was tiring.

You start by creaming the butter and sugar together. 

Action shot:

Really get it creamy. Then add the eggs, and keep beating.

My mom tasted this. She thought it was delicious. It had better be. Its only butter, sugar and eggs.

In a separate small bowl, mix lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and poppy seeds. Then add that into the butter, sugar, eggs fluffiness.

Tip 1: Lemon Zest: You can use a grater. Just don’t press too hard. When you get to the white of the lemon, stop. Thats where it gets bitter and gross.

Tip 2: Lemon juice: Put the lemon in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. It should feel a little warm to the touch. You’ll get more juice out of it.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate small bowl. Add half of the flour into the buttery mix. Add the sour cream. Continue mixing. Add the rest of the flour in. Don’t over mix it.

Add into a greased muffin tin.

Bake. While its baking, whisk together more lemon juice and sugar.

Remove from the oven and brush muffins with lemon juice and sugar.

Serve!

I’d say my mom approved. Although she wasn’t so happy that I made her stay up until 1 am to try one fresh out of the oven… Such a trooper!

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Time: 30-45 minutes?

Cook Time: Less than 20 minutes

Yeilds: 12 Large overflowing muffins or 24 smaller (but still full) muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1.5 cups (+1 Tablespoon) sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3.25 cups all Purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice for Glaze
  • 1/4 cup Sugar for Glaze

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with one rack in the middle of the over. Grease the muffin tin.
  • In a mixer with the whisk attachment or with a whisk, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs until extremely fluffy. (and according to my mom… delicious)
  • In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add into the batter. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Add half of this into the batter and mix until combined.
  • Add the yogurt into the batter and continue mixing. Add in the remaining dry ingredients. Do not over mix. (One day, I’ll define this.)
  • Scoop the batter into the muffin tin.
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the muffin tin front to bake (so that it bakes evenly.) Continue baking for 8 minutes. Check after 3-4 minutes. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin.
  • While the muffins are baking combine the lemon juice and sugar for the glaze.
  • When the muffins are done baking, brush or spoon lemon juice mixture over each muffin to moisten.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or wrap up muffins to keep them moist.

Mom approved!

(She always does…)

Thanksgiving Deliciousness

I had the most amazing Thanksgiving meal(s).

 

I had an early Thanksgiving with my dad and his family. It was nice to sit around the table and enjoy their company. I don’t see them often. We always pause in the meal and everyone says something they are thankful for. Its really nice. My dad’s sister in law made a ton of food and I tasted everything. It was so delicious. My cousin made this delicious butternut squash apple soup. I’m definitely getting that recipe.

 

And then we went with my mom to another Thanksgiving with a family we’ve been friends with forever. I call their mom my godmother. She’s not really, but for all intents and purposes she is. They aren’t biologically family, but for all intents and purpose they are family.

 

My brother and their second son were in day care together as babies. Like six months old. And our families have grown really close over the years. They have a son about my age and a daughter about the same age as my other siblings. They’ve been there for every major event in my life. Through a series of fortunate (and unfortunate) events, our families are forever entwined.

And my godmother is the best cook in the whole world. Her turkey is great. The cranberry sauce is delicious. I even look forward to her salad. But what I really love is her apple sauce. Totally homemade with chunks of real apple. So good. And the brownies. Delicious.

 

But of course, I’m an idiot. a) I forgot to bring my camera charger when I came home. b) I didn’t charge my camera before I left.

I couldn’t take pictures. I have NO pictures. I’m officially a terrible blogger. I failed.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

A quick note: I had some difficulty with the photos Addi sent me. I want to make sure I’m able to get that sorted out before I publish her post. It’ll come soon. A post Thanksgiving post I’m sure will be in order this Friday and then I’ll get Addi’s post here. Also, I apologize for any typos in this post. wordpress is a little funky right now and I can’t see what I’m typing.

I’m kind of a creature of habit. (Which, let me tell you, does not make for an easy blog. If you eat the same thing every day for breakfast, its barely interesting to me. No one wants to read that every day.)

Seriously though, when I find something I like, I have a tendency to stick with it until I discover something different or until I decide I don’t actually like it any more.

I’ve been a big fan of oatmeal for a while now. When I woke up last weekend, I was craving something warm, hearty, healthy, and appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving. The night before I’d gone to bed excited about the prospect of an omlete and coffee with out the rush or needing to leave my apartment. Saturday morning, I wanted something more holiday-ish. And then I found a can of pumpkin in my cabinet.

And now I’ve been eating pumpkin oatmeal (with some small variations) this entire week. I’ve tried honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, and milk as sweeteners. (Interestingly, I think milk is the best. Then maybe maple syrup if you like really sweet things.) I’ve added pecans some mornings for a little bit of crunch. My constants are the oatmeal, the pumpkin and the cinnamon and nutmeg. I love cinnamon.

Saturday I had it with some crushed pecans mixed in and a little bit of maple syrup and a delicious cup of coffee. So nice to just relax and enjoy the morning without having to rush to get ready for work.

Sunday I woke up after coming home from a Thanksgiving dinner and was craving more of this delicious treat.

I made another batch of oatmeal but used some brown sugar in place of the maple syrup. Better. More cinnamon. Even better. Add some chai tea, cantaloupe and the ending to a good book. Awesome Sunday morning.

This is really easy to make. So far, I’ve made it on the stove. I typically microwave my oatmeal in the morning, but I’ve been doing it on the stove. I’d imagine the microwave would work also.

The oatmeal I’ve been using is Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal from Trader Joes. Its great, but I’ve always added something to it.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Cook time: 10 minutes (probably an exaggeration)
Yeilds: 1 bowl of oatmeal

Ingredients:
• Oatmeal (I recommend either ⅓ up or ½ cup)
• Water (2 parts water to 1 part oatmeal. i.e. ½ cup oatmeal needs 1 cup of water)
• A pinch of salt
• ½ cup pumpkin (I use Libby’s canned pumpkin)
• 2 Tbsp Milk
• Cinnamon—maybe 1 tsp, I don’t measure, I just add a lot
• Nutmeg – a few shakes

Directions
• Make oatmeal as following directions on packaging. Typically, heat oatmeal, water and salt until most of the water has cooked out.
• Slightly before the oatmeal has finished cooking, add in the pumpkin, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.
• Continue stirring until the pumpkin is heated as well.
• Add additional cinnamon and nutmeg (and any other maple syrup, brown sugar, etc, you want… but don’t necessarily need) to taste

Whats your favorite thing to put in oatmeal?

Pecan lemon rosemary stuffed mushrooms

I just got home from an insane day at work. Its cold and rainy outside. I still have to clean up my apartment and pack for Thanksgiving. I seriously cannot wait to be on the train headed home for the weekend. I want to head to the gym in a bit but I need a break from my day. I’ve got my hot water with lemon (sounds weird, so good) and I’m taking a break to write a blog post. Stuffed mushroom.

 

Let me start by apologizing. I failed to take even half way decent pictures of these. Seriously. I mean, you’ll see. I meant to take pictures when I put them on a serving plate at Megan’s but I totally forgot. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they were good.

 

Or… OR!!!!… Addi, Ken, Megan, Caitlin or someone else who had one could comment…

 

I decided to make these after I saw this over at KathEats. They looked so good and seemed really easy to make. (Haha, and I usually say I don’t like mushrooms. They’re growing on me though.) I had to amend the ingredients based on what I have. I used rosemary and pecans instead of sage and almonds. I also decided not to make the bacon ones because I wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of the bacon. Thanks to Kath for the inspiration.

Here they are precooking:

Here they are post oven:

 

Pecan Lemon Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yields: about 20 mushrooms (however many fits in 2 pints)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints of Mushrooms, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Goat Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 grinds of pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Rinse and dry mushrooms.
  • Coat mushrooms in olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
  • Soften goat cheese either on the counter or in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • Mix goat cheese with rosemary, pecans, honey, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper.
  • Scoop goat cheese mixture onto mushrooms
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Serve warm.

 

And I swear, they will look more appetizing than my pictures make them look. :(

These are really easy and would make a super great appetizer for any Thanksgiving meal, if you’re looking for last minute ideas.

 

Also, check back in tomorrow. My friend, Addi, had a recipe she wanted to share with me. I asked if she wanted to do a guest post. Tomorrow will be “Roasted Veggies in a Foil Pouch a la the Bronx” brought to you by Addi.

 

Get ready for Thanksgiving!!!!!!

A Thanksgiving Feast including Upside Apple Pie

Today is my friend Megan’s birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGAN!

To celebrate her birthday, Megan and her roommate hosted a Thanksgiving Potluck.

 

This was kind of amazing. These two lovely ladies managed to have at least 30 people in a New York City apartment. That in and of itself was impressive. They also made a lot of the bigger foods that would be difficult to transport, like the turkey and the mashed potatoes. 12 lbs of mash potatoes actually.

What is really amazing is that they did it in this kitchen:

That was one of the few moments where there weren’t tons of people filling the kitchen.

Thats the whole kitchen. There is that table and then that’s it. There is also no dishwasher.

Megan and Stephanie, I’m truly impressed.

 

And the food was amazing.

I had some turkey with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, a little stuffing, broccoli casserole, and some tomato. I also had some delicious home made cornbread. So delicious. Every part of it.

I brought two things. I bought stuffed mushrooms (recipe coming soon!) and an upside down apple pie.

What makes it upside down? On the top of this pie, it has pecans, which almost makes it taste like a combination of apple and pecan pie. When you make it, you hide the pecan layer at the bottom of the pan, and then cover it with crust.

It comes out looking like a regular apple pie.

And then you flip it out of the pan to get this:

Thats not a great picture. I’m actually really disappointed I didn’t get a great picture of it completed. The key to this was baking it until it was almost complete. Then letting it cool so I could take it to Megan’s where I reheated it so I that the pecan could drip down the sides and I could peel the wax paper off.

 

I love making this pie. I got the recipe from an old friend that I don’t really get to see any more. I had so much fun the first time she and I made this pie together. I love baking but I really love baking with friends.

When we did it the first time, I didn’t have a great apple peeler, so it took forever. Luckily I had great company. I recently got an amazing peeler that fits in the palm of your hand. Peeling five apples took no time.

 

This pie turned out really well. And looked pretty. I’m not even kidding, two people came walking through Megan’s apartment searching for me to tell me that the pie was good. (Thats why I love baking.)

I also took the peels and baked them with cinnamon and nutmeg. That way they don’t go to waste.

 

Upside Down Apple Pie

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 1 hour-15 minutes approximately

Yields: 1 pie

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided (4 T and 2 T) and melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of all purpose flower
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 large granny smith apples

Directions:

  • Peel the apples and slice into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Coat a pie tin with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with wax paper or parchment paper. Coat the wax paper with additional cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine 4 T melted butter, brown sugar and chopped pecans. Mix well and put in the bottom of the pie pan. Spread evenly and press it into the pie pan.
  • Layer one pie crust over this, pressing into the pan.
  • In small bowl, combine 2 T butter, cinnamon, flower and granulated sugar. Pour over the apples and toss gently to coat the apples.
  • Spoon the apple mixture into the pie crust.
  • Add the second pie crust over the mixture. Seal the two crusts together by pressing down. Remove any extra after it has been sealed. Cut a few slits in the pie crust to allow for venting.
  • Bake 1-1.25 horus or until the crust is golden brown. (I do 1 hour in my apartment and then 15 minutes before I’m ready to serve it.)
  • If you’ve baked it straight through, let the pie cool for five minutes.
  • Place a serving plate that is larger than the pie over the pie and flip it over. (The pan and the pie will still be hot.) Remove the pie tin and gently lift the wax paper.
  • Serve warm or cool.

 

This is one of my favorite holiday treats.

 

Check back soon. Upcoming: stuffed mushrooms and pumpkin oatmeal. I’m heading out now though so those will have to get posted later.