pumpkin pie spice

pumpkin pie spice

Holidays are almost upon us. Everything has been exploding with pumpkin all around me. Pumpkin lates, pumpkin bread, muffins, cakes, etc. You know where I'm going with this. I realized one of the most utilized spices for all this pumpkin stuff is your good old basic pumpkin pie spice. The trouble is that everyone is buying it this time of year and two of my local stores were sold out of it. So instead of wasting time and energy chasing down a tub of spice, I decided to make my own. 

I happen to be a spice lover/insane hoarder and have a lot of them. If I need to make any spice combination from scratch, chances are I can. 

Having a wide array of spices on hand is always a good idea, in my humble opinion. And the beauty is that they last and last. The truth is, not all spices will be utilized at the same rate but having them on hand in case of emergencies always pays off. 

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roasted root vegetables

roasted root vegetables

Not long ago, it dawned on me that some of my favorite holidays happen to be in the fall. Maybe it's that growing up, we didn't have as many holidays as we do here or maybe it's the whole getting two days off work for Turkey day thing or maybe it's the beautiful season itself. Either way, fall holidays, yeah!

Thanksgiving was the second holiday I celebrated upon moving to the US (after Halloween). I was clueless what it actually represented and only knew that there was a whole lot of eating involved. Big feasts were not uncommon, since my family gathered nearly every Sunday for a big meal. But unclear of the details, since I spoke little to no english, I distinctly recall eating a funny looking round vegetable that looked like a shrunken cabbage.

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roasted cinnamon butternut squash

roasted cinnamon butternut squash

Here's a funny thing. Growing up in Romania, I never ate butternut squash! Yes, I know it sounds odd but there are actually lots of foods I'd never been exposed to before moving here. I don't even think I tried it for years after starting to eat "American Food". That's probably because I was busy gorging on Lucky Charms. Oh the horror (but you know you did too).

I saw the funny looking vegetable in passing but never knew what it was about. I'm fairly certain my mom was in the same boat as it didn't enter the house. At least not for a long while after establishing roots. 

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spinach and fig salad

spinach and fig salad

When it comes to cooking, I would call myself an intuitive cook. I'm pretty awful at planning just the right ingredients for what I'm going to make. I work a little backwards if you will. I prefer going to the market, finding one or two ingredients that stand out and trying to figure out what I can do with them. 

This week it was figs...figs for everything! I used them for my most recent magnesium post and decided while I was at it, that I would make a magnesium salad. What? By that I mean, after eating this salad, you can be fairly certain that you're meeting your magnesium daily value intake.  If you care about that sort of thing, of course. 

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paleo pumpkin bars

paleo pumpkin bars

When I first began blogging, I honestly had no idea where I was going to end up. I didn't have a roadmap and didn't have a clear vision of what it even meant to have a blog. I just knew I needed to get my thoughts out into the world and hope that some may resonate with other people. 

It can be lonely making a lifestyle change, having most people question your sanity. Things like: "Why? And don't you miss bread and cheese? How can you live like that?" have come up. Yes, everything is a little more complicated (if you let it be). Going out to eat is different, holidays are a tad challenging and you have to be on your toes when it comes to most packaged food. But making this shift sparked more than just changing the way I eat and feel....

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