Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I recently found the cooking blog Alexandra’s Kitchen through Pinterest, and instantly became obsessed with the gorgeous images and mostly vegetarian recipes. I was inspired to make this Butternut Squash Gnocchi right away, and had the best afternoon roasting the squash, milling the potatoes, shaping the gnocchi, and waiting for everything to come together.

If you make these, take Alexandra’s advice and read the recipe all the way through. I thought I had done this, only to have dinnertime be upon us and realize that the gnocchi needed to be chilled for an hour. Although it is a time-consuming process, it is actually very easy and so worth it to make. The butternut squash, brown butter, and sage are perfect flavors for this time of year, and this recipe is sure to impress your guests!

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Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower is such a fun vegetable to work with – you can mash it as a substitute for mashed potatoes, it’s absolutely amazing roasted, and I even like it raw from those grocery store veggie trays with cheap Ranch dip.  After doing a quick search, I realized I have never put cauliflower on Sweet Life Laur! So here is the first of what will someday be many recipes for broccoli’s cousin.

I had a lovely cauliflower soup at Buona Tavola in Paso Robles a few weeks ago. It was their special soup of the night, and I went home wanting to make it for myself. I gave it a try for lunch yesterday, and Tim and I both really enjoyed it. For the liquid, I used just a touch of chicken broth, but mostly water so the cauliflower’s flavor would shine though.

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Roasted Tomato Soup

The calendar is telling me that Fall has officially arrived, though (as usual) the Paso Robles weather begs to differ – it’s been in the 80′s and 90′s! Despite the heat, I needed to use up some tomatoes (I’ve picked about 6 pounds from our plants in the past couple weeks) and decided to combine two of my favorite things: roasted tomatoes and soup.

I served this with an awesome grilled cheese made with Bravo Sage Cheddar – it was a classy take on the grilled cheese that surprised me with its mild sage flavor (I was worried the sage would be overwhelming, but it was just right).

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Pumpkin Muffins

Holy November. When did you get here?

October was birthday/harvest/promotion/family and more, but there is no excuse for me neglecting my little piece of the internet.

If you’re reading, thank you for still being here. I missed you.

These muffins will make your hands smell like cinnamon and your house smell like fall. It takes about 5 minutes to whisk them together, and although they are not the most healthy thing to eat, they are also not terrible. Pumpkin has tons of vitamins and antioxidants, and it adds moisture to the muffins that other baked goods might get from butter or more oil. You could add some flax seed or pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) on top for a little extra fiber and crunch, but I went the cinnamon sugar route…and it is oh-so-delicious!

Is there anything you’d like to see me make? Looking for a particular holiday recipe but not sure where to start? Leave a comment and let me know!


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Oven Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds close up

While I was in college, I worked at a preschool. Come Halloween time, we would play “Spooky Walk,” go pumpkin picking, and carve a class Jack-o-Lantern.  The class would vote on whether they wanted a happy or scary face and we would get to work…making sure to save the seeds.

Shetland Sheepdog Sheltie Pumpkin Jack o Lantern

Dolan on a Pumpkin!

It was in this wonderful little preschool that I first discovered roasted pumpkin seeds, and I’ve had to carve a pumpkin every year since so that I can have this special treat once a year.

For my birthday, Brian took me pumpkin picking at K Family Farm in Paso Robles (what can I say…I like fall things!), and for Halloween, we carved our pumpkins!  Brian made a SCUBA diver, and I paid homage to my Sheltie, Dolan…what do you think?

When we carved our pumpkins, I made sure that we both saved the seeds to roast. The hardest part of this recipe is carving the pumpkin, and the results are worth the slimy work!!

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