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Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

The weekend that Nate and I went up to beautiful Mohonk Mountain to rock scramble, we also attempted to pick some apples.

Unfortunately neither of us realized that apple season is September til early October and that the apples are pretty much gone by late October (at least in NY). Although it wasn’t quite as fun, they had barrels of apples for purchase. Since I already had my heart set on making some tasty apple treats, we grabbed a huge bag that probably had 2-3 dozen apples.

We also grabbed some hot cider and cider donuts while we were there, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Anyway, I’m not exactly sure what I thought I’d be making with all those apples, but this recipe is one that I made last year and it was so good I knew I wanted to make it again.

The cake is super moist and not too sweet. It could seriously be one of my favorite desserts. So if you still have some apples left from your apple picking, or you just want to make this since it’s so good, head on over to Smitten Kitchen’s website where I got the recipe.

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Even without a reason to cook squash (like the #squashlove! bloghop I partook in over the weekend!), I can’t help but put one of those beautiful winter vegetables in my shopping cart every time I go food shopping in the fall. I honestly think I could eat them for the next two seasons without getting sick of them.

I think this is partially because there are so many things you can do with with them. Since my last recipe was a savory squash dish, I thought this next one could be a little sweeter.

Squashes have a natural sweetness that makes them pair really well with fruits. I keep seeing mashed sweet potato recipes coming up all over the food blogs lately (with Thanksgiving on the way), but I wanted a way to lighten up the typical dish.

While squash is a starchy vegetable, it has less calories than sweet potatoes, so I decided to mash it up and add sweetness with some apples too. Roasted squash and apples pair together really well.

In addition to the natural sweetness from the fruit and vegetables, I added some maple syrup (during the roasting) and orange juice, along with fresh ginger for a little spice and orange zest for flavor.

While this dish may not be very pretty, I hope that you’ll look past it’s disgusting exterior and trust me when I say that this may be one of my favorite side-dishes I’ve ever made.


Chunky Orange Maple Ginger Squash and Apples

Recipe by Me

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Serves 6 

Ingredients:

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and then into 1/2″ thick slices (keep peel on)
3 small apples, cored and then cut into 1/8ths
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
zest and juice of 1 orange

Preparation:

Spread squash and apples on a large baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle them with the olive oil thru salt and pepper.

Roast squash and apples at 425 for 25-30 min or until squash is soft.

Remove from oven. After cooling slightly, scoop squash meat from skin and put into a medium bowl. Add apples (I left skin on). Add ginger and orange zest/juice.

Mash squash mixture until it reaches desired consistency.  Add additional syrup if desired. Serve warm.

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The weather in NYC is finally starting to feel like it should for this time of year. I’ve had to wear long sleeves AND a jacket, when I only needed one or the other up til now. And I’m loving it!

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and it smells so good out! Nate and I went up to New Paltz this past weekend to go rock scrambling and the leaves were totally gorgeous. It was quite a hike up to the top, but when we got there, the view was absolutely worth it…

…don’t you think?

Despite working up a sweat during the climb, as soon as we got back to normal walking I was chilled to the bone. Weather like this makes me crave a thick, steaming bowl of something comforting. I’ve been wanting to make chili but Nate doesn’t like beef and we both love vegetables so much that I decided to go vegetarian all the way 🙂

I have to say that this came out a bit less “meaty” than I typically think of chili, but it was good none-the-less. I think perhaps adding more beans would have bulked it up and improved on the lack of meat, but I’m not a huge fan of beans.

You can totally customize this by adding whatever veggies you want. I bet anything would be delicious! I served mine over pasta because Nate needs something besides veggies to fill up his belly…and I happened to have some pasta in the fridge. Over rice would be great too.

*Disclaimer: if you live in a teeny apartment like mine, your whole place will smell like chili for the next week.

Smoky Vegetarian Chili

Recipe by Me

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Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (or red if unavailable)
2 yellow summer squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated but both chopped
10 oz. frozen corn kernels, thawed
1.5-2 cups vegetable stock (i actually used chicken but that obviously would make it non-vegetarian)
Three 15-oz cans diced tomatoes with chiles
One 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 bottle dark Mexican bear
2 tsp liquid smoke (can be found in all supermarkets)
Sour Cream, shredded cheese, limes, avocado as desired for garnish

Preparation:

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and saute until they’re beginning to caramelize, about 8 min.

Add squash and garlic, and saute til tender, about 5 min.

Add cilantro stems and tomatoes to pot and bring to a simmer. Add beans, salt, chili powder, cumin, beer and the stock (start with 1.5 cups and add more if you like your chili thinner). Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the chili thickens and the vegetables soften, about 30 min.

Garnish as desired, and dig in!

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Well, that’s what they say. I’m not sure how true it is, though, because I eat an apple almost every single day and I get sick way more than Nate. Although, come to think of it, Nate eats an apple every.single.day with his lunch (I told he he’s a creature of habit!). So maybe the old saying IS true 🙂

Regardless, I think apples are pretty tasty. As soon as fall comes and the air starts gettin chilly, I do a lot of apple-eating. So when October’s #lovebloghop got announced with the ingredient-of-the-month as apple, I was pretty pleased.

Since I’ve been on a flatbread kick, I decided to do a little experimenting. I don’t how this zany little idea got in my head, but I wanted to make a dough out of sweet potato that wouldn’t require yeast.

Because the dough would hopefully have a nice sweetness to it, I wanted a topping that would complement it. I settled on sauteed onions and apples with rosemary. I just felt that those flavors would all meld so well together.

And then, I added cheese. Cheese? Yes, please.

You know what else they say about apples? An apple pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze.

Ok, so I’ve never actually had apple pie with cheese, but I’m told that putting a little cheddar in the crust or on top is just delightful.

I’m not usually a recipe-creator, but I thought I did a pretty good time this time around.

October is #applelove month!  Hosted by:

Baker Street http://bakerstreet.tv/
Bloc de recetas http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/
Bon a croquer http://www.bonacroquer.com
CafeTerraBlog http://www.cafeterrablog.com
Cake Duchess http://www.cakeduchess.com
Elephant Eats http://www.elephanteats.com
Hobby And More http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/
Knitstamatic http://knitstamatic.wordpress.com
Mike’s Baking http://www.mikesbaking.co.uk
Mis Pensamientos http://juniakk.blogspot.com
My Twisted Recipes http://www.mytwistedrecipes.blogspot.com
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives http://lisamichele.wordpress.com
Queen’s Notebook http://www.queensnotebook.com
Skip to Malou http://www.skiptomalou.net/
Teaspoon of Spice http://www.teaspoonofspice.com
The Daily Palette http://www.thedailypalette.com
The Spicy RD http://www.eastewart.com/blog
Vegan Miam http://www.veganmiam.com
Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen http://versatilekitchen.blogspot.com

Please join in on the #applelove fun by linking up any apple recipe from the month of October 2011.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #applelove event. The twitter hashtag is #applelove :). 

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Yeast-Free Sweet Potato Flatbread with Apples, Carmelized Onions, Cheddar and Rosemary

Recipe by Me

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Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
s+p to taste
1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1-2 small potatoes)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded cheddar (or more if you like things cheesy)

Heat oil in saucepan over med-hi heat.

Add onion and cook 10 min or until soft.

Add 1 tsp vinegar to deglaze, scraping up all stuck bits, and add apples and rosemary.

Cook 5 min or until soft. Add rest of vinegar and sugar and cook 5-10 min more.

Bake (or microwave) sweet potato until soft. Remove skin and mash. Combine sweet potato, flour and baking soda in a small bowl and combine well. Add more flour as needed. Knead until dough forms into a ball. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (or desired shape) until 1/4 inch thick. It should fit on 1/2 of a baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with more olive oild and spread apple mixture and cheese on top. Bake 5 more minutes at 350 or until cheese melts.

Cut into squares and serve immediately.

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For those of you who don’t know, later in this week is Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year.

The traditional food that one eats at Rosh Hashannah is honey, for a “sweet” New Year. So in honor of the holiday, I made this honey cake that my mom recommended.

Honey cakes are very often  made on Rosh Hashannah so there are a lot of recipes going around out there, but most of them are pretty average. I have to say that all the spices in this one made it really flavorful.

I can’t write too much more because this has been a long day…I got engaged!!!! What a sweet way to start off the new year!

So this short post will have to do. I hope you enjoy this, while I go admire my ring 🙂

Levana Kirschenbaum’s Honey Cake

Taken from Levana

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Makes one 10-inch tube/bundt pan

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup honey (see note)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup very strong warm tea (2 tea bags steeped in 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup ground almonds, optional
3 tablespoons sliced almonds (add only if using the ground almonds)

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon an set aside.

In a food processor, process the eggs with the sugar, honey, and oil, just until combined. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the tea. Pulse 2 to 3 times after each addition, just to incorporate. Add the ground almonds, if desired.

Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch springform pan or tube pan. Top with the sliced almonds, if using. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool. Turn right side up to serve.

Note: If you measure the oil for the recipe first, then use the same measuring cup to measure the honey, the honey will slide out easily.

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I’m such a sucker for the impulse buy items in the checkout line at the supermarket. It’s not the candy and gum, but every register in nyc has little packs of granola or nuts hanging enticingly in front of my eyes.

I try not to shop hungry, but when I need to grab groceries on the way home from work, I sometimes have no choice.

So a few weeks ago, I happened to see an orange-cranberry candied nuts mix. Being that I love that combination and I was famished, I fell into the very trap they had planted and shoved them in my shopping basket.

I opened them the second I got outside and ate half the bag on the way home. They were so good. I was really surprised by how much orange flavor came through and the cranberry added the perfect touch of sour and sweet. Needless to say I had no appetite for dinner that evening.

Ever since that night, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of cranberry and orange. Remember my Cranberry Orange Rice Salad I made a couple weeks ago?

Anyway, I didn’t want to get suckered into the total rip-off that is the checkout line impulse items again, so I promplty made it my mission to recreate these nuts at home.

I did a little searching and found an orange spiced nut recipe which I then added dried cranberries too. This one had the addition of cinnamon, which I was skeptical about, but after tasting the finished product I think it wouldn’t have been as good without it.

With cold weather coming, you should definitely make these. They’re perfect for fall!

But the best part about this recipe? I actually got to make it on a weekend and take the pics in daylight..YAY for natural light photos!


Cranberry Orange Spiced Nuts
Adapted from Taste of Home

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Makes 20 servings

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine egg whites and orange juice. Add nuts and cranberries and toss to coat; drain.

In another large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add nuts/cranberries and toss to coat.

Spread in a single layer in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 250° for 30-45 minutes or until dry and lightly browned.

Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

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While Nate was enjoying his birthday cake leftovers for days, I was feeling kind of left out on the dessert-front. It’s not that Nate wouldn’t share his leftovers with me, it’s more that I didn’t think I needed to be eating such a high calorie dessert every night…at least until I start working out regularly again 😦

But I’m the kind of person that needs a little something sweet after meals. I’m pretty sure I can thank my dad for that nasty little habit.

Anyway, I figured if I made a dessert on the heatlhy side, it would satisfy me plenty while Nate chowed down on cake.

As you know, I still have lots of cider in my fridge, so I thought I’d put it to good use. In my search for cider recipes, I came across one for Cider Poached Pears with a Yogurt sauce. I altered it slightly, based on ingredients I had available, and the result was totally delicious.

And the best part is that when Nate walked into the apartment, he said that it smelled “like cider.” What an awesome natural air freshener! And it even made it feel a little closer to fall 🙂


Cider-Poached Pears with Honey Yogurt Sauce
Adapted from Curtis Stone

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Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider (non-alcoholic!)
2 oranges, juice (approx 1 cup), one zested and one peeled, peels reserved
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 pears, peeled, halved and cores removed with Parisian scoop (melon baller)
1 containter 2% Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinammon or more as desired

Preparation:

Put first 3 ingredients in large pot. Scrape seeds out of vanilla bean and add seeds and bean to pot. Bring ingredients to a boil.

Add the pears and cook at a gentle simmer for 10-20 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into the pears meets a little resistance. Cooking time will be determined by the ripeness of the pears.

Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid.

Once cool, remove pears from liquid and set aside.

Return poaching liquid to medium heat and reduce to a glaze.

In small bowl, combine yogurt, honey and cinnamon.

To serve, slice the pears in quarters from top to bottom, place in the center of four serving plates, spoon over some yogurt and drizzle with glaze.

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Thank goodness the weather has been in the 80s lately instead of 90s. Unfortunately, I’m pretty tired of sweating within 5 minutes of stepping foot outdoors. I hate to say it, but I’m so ready for sweater weather.

Both Nate and my favorite season is fall. We love the crisp air, beautiful leaves, earthy smells and cooler temperatures! Plus, I love wearing sweaters.

So it would only seem appropriate that to celebrate our 1 year dating anniversary on Friday, we had a Cider Cake.

This actually came about because we had this bottle of TJ’s Cranberry Cider laying around for a while, and with the cold weather long gone, Nate had no desire to drink it. He also said that he had had it before and didn’t love it.

I hate wasting things or throwing them out, so I figured the cider would have to get used in some other form that we’d both enjoy. I scoured the internet for recipes that use cider and found quite a few, but I wanted our anniversary dessert to be something special.

So when I came across a recipe for a 3 layer cake with cider cake, cider filling and cider frosting, I knew that had to be it. Luckily, altogether it used 3+ cups of cider, but unfortunately that still leaves me with over half the bottle.

Next up I’m thinking of cider roasted pears, and maybe a cider vinaigrette.

This cake is part of the #cakelove bloghop!

you can see it here.


October Cider Cake
Taken from Oxmoor House

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Makes one 3-layer cake 

3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cider Filling (recipe below)
Creamy Cider Frosting (recipe below)
Chopped pecans (optional)

Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves; add to creamed mixture alternately with cider, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lemon juice.

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove layers from pans, and cool completely in fridge.

Put a thin band of icing along the perimeter of each later, and then pool the Cider Filling inside. Put back in fridge to let it set completely or the filling will ooze out from the weight of the cake (trust me).

Spread top and sides with Creamy Cider Frosting. Garnish top of cake with pecans, if desired.


Cider Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan; gradually stir in cider. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and butter; cool in fridge.


Creamy Cider Frosting

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; cool. Gradually add sugar until spreading consistency; beat until smooth.

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So I know it’s winter now, but like I said I need to backtrack a bit to catch you up on the cooking/baking I’ve done. This also fills the voids of the weeks I don’t always bake, since my bf is the only one eating it and the boy can only eat so much! Let’s go back to my favorite time of year…autumn!

Central Park in the Fall...my favorite time of year!

When fall hits, I have the urge to bake all things apple, pumpkin and cinnamon. Not only does it make my apartment smell like autumnal heaven, but it’s *almost guaranteed to taste amazing.

Me and a big ole pumpkin

Fall is about when I started discovering the world of food blogs, so most of my recipes around this time came from them. I stumbled across this recipe for Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze and knew I had to test it out. When I make new recipes in the future, I’ll document the whole process in photos, but since these next few postrecipes were all made before my blog, I’ll mainly only show the finished product…sorry 😦

fresh outta the oven

The cake was a bit of a pain to make because I decided to double it so I could bring one to work. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal in a bigger kitchen, but there was so much batter and so little counter space that I did the patented dump-half-the-batter-on-the-floor Amy move. Ok, maybe it wasn’t totally half, but it was a good amount. After cursing under my breath I got back to work and finished up. Glazing was the most fun part.

Yummers

I used the recipe as it was on the site, but if I were to redo it, I think I would replace some of the butter with oil since it came out a tad bit dry…but overall, a tasty combo.

pardon my crappo lighting

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

taken from BacktotheCuttingBoard.com which was adapted from Myrecipes.com

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened*
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour, divided
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk, divided

*You can increase this if you don’t mind the extra calories for a moister cake, and as I said, I’d probably replace some of the butter with oil the next time around. Maybe 50/50

Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) regular or low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk (or more if you want a thinner glaze)

Process

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Rub a 10 inch tube pan or 12-cup bundt pan with butter (or spritz with cooking spray) and dust with 1 tbsp. flour until the interior is covered. Tap lightly to shake loose extra flour. Set aside.

2. Spread pumpkin puree over two layers of paper towels and press two more layers on top. Let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large mixer bowl cream butter until light. Add both sugars in a steady stream and mix on medium for about 5 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at time, mixing well after each. Add in vanilla.

5. Transfer half of the mixture into another large bowl (another mixer bowl would be helpful, but any large bowl will work). Set aside.

6. Scape the pumpkin off of the paper towel and add it to the first bowl. Mix well.

7. In a smaller bowl combine 1 3/4 cup flour, pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.

8. Add half of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Mix in 1/3 cup buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined. Set aside.

9. In the smaller bowl combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.

10. Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture to the other large bowl and mix well with a whisk or your mixer. Mix in 1 cup of buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined.

11. Spoon 1/3 of the pumpkin batter into your prepared pan. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the chocolate batter around the pan (not completely covering all the pumpkin). Spoon in the remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters. Gently swirl a knife around the pan several times.

12. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (make sure you’re checking in both the pumpkin and chocolate parts, I noticed large chocolate sections needed a few additional minutes). Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool for another 10 minutes on a rack.

13. Meanwhile, to make the glaze, mix powdered sugar and cream cheese until well blended. Beat in vanilla and milk, 1 tbsp. at time. Drizzle on the warm cake. Let cake cool completely.

12-16 servings

We Freak for Fall!

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