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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Roasted Delicata Squash

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I may already have hinted at this one particular meal Michael cooked me way back when we had just started dating, but it deserves another mentioning. Swedish as I was (and still am – but I honestly think we’re turning each other into a mix of us both), this whole winter squash concept was quite new – and very exotic. Don’t get me wrong – people in Sweden were definitely familiar with butternut squash six years ago, and you could find it in any well stocked grocery store. But that was kind of it. So when the Union Square farmers market (my go-to) went all in fall-mode and presented crate after crate of these uniquely looking ‘fruits’, I was in awe. Some were full of craggy dimples, some felt velvety smooth. A few showcased pretty stripes and cute speckles, one looked like a big acorn (and is thus named ‘acorn squash’). They were big and small and medium, came in all sorts of colors and… tasted amazing. At least many of them. The delicata variety is our favorite. The flavor is nutty and a little sweet, and the peel is perfectly edible. That means not only no peeling needed, but also that the consistency gets more interesting, with the soft flesh contrasting the tender yet chewy skin. It’s mentioned in the instructions below, but it can’t hurt to remind you here as well – if you use another type of squash than delicata, make sure the peel is edible before you start cooking. Or edible is a misnomer – all peels are edible, but some won’t be enjoyable to eat.

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Kale and winter squash salad

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If someone would ask me about any particular food items I came across and fell in love with while in New York (I don’t know why anyone would, but that’s not the point ok?), I would say winter squash every day of the week. Besides the fact that there are so many different varieties and they’re thereby endlessly versatile, they’re just so freaking good. Actually, one the first meals Michael cooked for me featured delicata squash (which happens to be the star of the show in this recipe too), and he had roasted slices of it in the oven – but not just any slices. They had been brushed with butter, drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg. I was already madly in love at this point, but if I hadn’t been, I’m pretty sure Michael would have won my heart right there and then (never underestimate the power of the combination of butter, sweetness and cinnamon).

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