Bean Dip 3 Ways

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Bean dips. Bean spreads. Hummuses. Staples of our fridge. Easiest things to make and best hanger-rescues there are. I could just keep going: they are cheap, packed with nutrients, easy to adapt based on season. Yesterday, we finished an entire tub as a mid-morning snack (actually, it was the butternut squash version you’ll see below that we dug into – it might very well be our favorite bean spread ever). Best afternoon-pick-me-up is a slice of bread, a thick layer of bean spread and a crispy vegetable on top. If we’re feeling fancy, we’ll go all in with a sprinkle of sesame seeds as well. Ah, the small things in life. Throw in some spring sun, which would mean snacking takes place while sitting on our deck, and we couldn’t ask for more! Appreciating those glorious moments in the day-to-day is key to contentment, we think. Taking the time to stop for a second, take in your surroundings, look up from the screens, notice the weather and the seasonal changes… to us, those are all crucial aspects of a life in harmony. And apparently, bean spreads can be a great help along the way!

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Chocolate Winter Squash Muffins

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This past summer, we made about a gazillion of these Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, using up the zucchinis that had grown waaaayyy too big for “normal” eating. We (obviously) ate a lot of muffins then, preferably when soaking up the sun somewhere, but we could also put many in the freezer for later. We literally just finished the last ones from the summer – which can serve as an indication of exactly how many we actually made – and so, it was time to make new muffins. Because really, isn’t it just unbeatable to have chocolate muffins in the freezer that you can defrost in no time and fend off any blood sugar dips with? It is to us, at least. But with no zucchinis on hand now, during the winter, what to do? Introducing: winter squash. With essentially endless storage possibilities, winter squashes can be used throughout the whole dark and cold season, all the way until the garden is back to former glory. By making a puree using butternut squash, you’ll end up with the most moist, borderline sticky, muffins ever. No dry crumbs here, be sure of it. I was, after all, raised by my mother – a fan of all things sweet and dessert-like, and with a strong preference for stickiness and gooeyness.

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Easy Squash and Nut Bread

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We mentioned a month or so ago that we had been hit by a big storm, which knocked out our power for a week and left 30+ giant trees down just in and around our immediate property. Now, we’re busy cleaning up the mess Alfrida (as she was named) created, which involves a lot of schlepping, pushing, lifting, dragging, moving, hauling and chopping, as well as a decent amount of grunting – but that’s of course just for show. We had a neighbor help us sort out the situation initially, when the scene looked quite treacherous – some trees were fallen but resting on others still (sort of caught halfway), some had roots attached, holding a dangerous amount of tension. And some were simply too wide for our chainsaw to work through, so these trunks we got help sawing up into the 30 cm/1 ft pieces (or round blocks) we’ll eventually chop into firewood. Needless to say, the amount of stuff we have to take care of is… mind-blowing (at least for just two people). In order to not get overwhelmed, we’re tapping into “a little bit at a time”-mode. Yes, we’re all like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” out there, as we’re moving the blocks, one by one, and creating a giant brush pile with all the branches. By glancing at the pile of blocks we’ve currently moved into one and the same place though… we have firewood for 15 years to come.

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Loaded Veggie Tacos

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When I moved to New York, I learned a whole lot about tacos right from the start. The shredded lettuce, canned corn kernels and chopped tomato add ins of my childhood were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen – instead, the most elaborate combinations were served up and a food concept I had felt sort of “meh” about for a while became a new favorite. I recall this one conversation I had with Mike early on, where I sort of “explained” to him that in Sweden, we approach tacos in a much different way. I went on and on about the standard concept of ground beef, the aforementioned vegetables, the taco sauce or salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese – only to have Mike tell me afterwards that that’s how tacos are normally eaten in America too. Little did I know, back then, that I’d only been taken to these contemporary, trendy Mexican food places, where pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and habanero relish had just recently risen to the sky as the “new black” of taco toppings.

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Butternut Squash with Curried Chickpeas

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It happened again – the phenomenon where Mike disappears into the kitchen without really saying much, and then delicious food appears as if out of the blue. In all honesty though, this was the first time the end product was a savory dish and not something sweet (or a bread). He’s got his priorities straight, my husband!

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Black Bean, Butternut Squash and Kale Enchiladas

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Ah, Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas – flavorful fillings, soft tortilla breads, endless variations. What’s not to like? (Maybe those overly greasy concoctions, I guess). Whenever we make enchiladas at home, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more often. It’s the perfect meal all those days when your training load is heavy and you need to seriously reload – it packs both lots of protein and carbohydrates and will send you to bed feeling comfortably filled up and ready for the next day’s session(s). With both butternut squash, black beans, kale and walnuts in the filling, each enchilada also holds plenty of vitamins and minerals, and you can choose whichever type of tortilla bread suits your fancy.

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Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin

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Ah, pumpkin season! It always sneaks up on you – one day you’re sitting in a reclined chair, soaking up the last few rays of sun as the leaves are slowly starting to turn yellow, and then boom – temperatures drop to right around freezing, trees stand naked all around and dinners have quickly transformed from cooling salads and grill nights to hearty bowls of stews and soups. Somewhere in there, berry crumbles and ice creams are waving goodbye and retreating back, only to be giving way for apple pies and… pumpkin everything. To be honest though, we’re no pumpkin pie fans. I think the consistency is our problem – yes, it can be smooth and decadent and not too wobbly at all, but we just… don’t like it all that much. This sure isn’t the time to present such opinions, I understand that. But hear me out, will you? 

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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Tahini Dressing

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Does the world really need another kale salad, you might wonder? Well, that can indeed be debated. But it seems we just have to share the one that we return to time upon time – the one that manages to satisfy all (ok, most) food cravings, whether you’re longing for greens and vegetables or something filling, scrumptious and creamy. Making this salad will get all those boxes checked! Green curly kale is a staple around here, and I must say it’s our favorite kale variety for this type of salad. When we lived in NYC, we bought all of our produce at the Union Square Farmers Market and the one thing that ALWAYS found its way into my backpack (yep, I packed up everything in my backpack because schlepping a whole week’s worth of fruit and veggies 12 street blocks and 5 avenues would literally make my arms fall off) was green curly kale. In the midst of winter and crazy storms (fellow New Yorkers, you know what I’m talking about), I’d dig out the bunches from underneath the snow and they’d be as tasty as ever. I know there’s a lot of kale talk (heck, even kale sweaters), but I do love it. How could you not adore something so pretty, easy to grow (well, if you keep checking for cabbage worms) and mind-blowingly nutritious? While declaring your love for kale has ‘pretentious’ written all over it… I just can’t help myself. It’s awesome.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Chickpeas

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Few things feel more quintessentially fall than a blended winter squash soup, wouldn’t you agree? The color mimics that of the foliage outside the door, the warming flavors seem just right when coming in from the cold, the silky smooth consistency feels wonderfully comforting. Butternut squash is our go-to soup squash, and rightfully so – it makes for a creamy soup without adding any cream, the flavor is sweet and nutty AND it’s very versatile when it comes to toppings. Combinations are endless! 

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