For the Love of Fall {and all things pumpkin!}

My most favorite time of the year is fall, especially here in New England! I live for anything pumpkin, hearty, and warm, so as we wind down this season, and transition into winter, let's celebrate with food!

Here are a few recipes I made recently that I hope will inspire you in your menu planning, just in time for Thanksgiving! It's all super fun, yummy, easy, and with ingredients that are readily on hand.

A quick search on pinterest to get me in the mood for Halloween, and I discovered paleo friendly, healthy inspired recipes from these sweet blogs: the whole smiths, my whole food life, and little spice jar

PUMPKIN CHAI LATTE

I thoroughly enjoyed the pumpkin latte recipe from the whole smiths that I revised into a pumpkin chai latte! I steeped a cup of chai tea and then whisked it together with 1/2C (warmed) almond milk, 3TBS pumpkin puree, 2TBS maple syrup, 1TBS coconut oil, and 1tsp pumpkin pie spice in a blender. It was so fun to have for an afternoon treat!

AUTUMN {BARLEY} SALAD WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

What is better than roasted veggies in a salad I ask you? Especially when it's squash...or pumpkin...or golden beets!

I improvised here because I didn't have the pearl couscous that the recipe called for, but any cracked / whole grain will do...so I combined millet and barley - both quick cooking grains, which worked perfectly I must say!

Preheat oven to 425 and cube 1 butternut squash (or any squash or pumpkin), toss together with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes - tossing half way through. While it roasts, start cooking your grain - 1 1/2C dry of your choice, cooked according to package directions. Then make your dressing.

It's all about the dressing with this one...and a great dressing to have on hand for any salads/grains throughout the week! In a mason jar, shake 3TBS orange juice (I used apple cider), 1TBS dijon mustard, 1/4tsp garlic powder, 3TBS honey, 2TBS acv (I used lemon juice), 1/3C olive oil and salt and pepper. 

In a large bowl, toss together the salad ingredients: 3C baby spinach (or any green - we used baby kale), 1/2C sliced red onions, 1/2C dried cranberries, 1/2C toasted (or dry roasted) pecans, the roasted squash, cooked grain and dress to your liking. Such a great dinner option!

PALEO, RAW, VEGAN PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE BARS

These were fun to make! They weren't too sweet and were totally guilt-free! 

For the pumpkin bar layer: In a food processor, place 2 1/2C raw pecans, 1/2C pumpkin puree, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp nutmeg, 1/4tsp ginger, with a pinch of sea salt and blend. Then add in 10 medjool dates, adding a little water to help combine. Then pat down half of the amount in a 8x8 glass baking dish and place in freezer.

For the chocolate ganache: Melt 1/2C coconut oil in a saucepan on low heat. Then, add 1/2C cacao powder and 3TBS maple syrup. Stir to combine and pour over first layer of pumpkin/pecan layer and place in freezer for another 5-10 minutes. Then, very gently, pat down the remaining pumpkin/pecan mixture on top of chocolate and place in freezer for 35 minutes. Once chilled, cut into bars and enjoy!

I hope you all have lots of exciting Thanksgiving Day recipes prepared to make! If you're in need of some inspiration, check out my Healthy Holidays category.

Happy Cooking!