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Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins with Walnut Oat Streusel

This past weekend was tough! I was in the midst of a juice cleanse and could not stop thinking about how much I wanted a salad the size of my face. Or grilled fish with a glass of wine followed by some Fro Yo with major amounts of sprinkles and pink-frosted animal crackers.

Then to make matters worse, I watched The Food Network again. They were playing Red Lobster commercials which nearly caused me to drool on myself. I guess you could say my cravings were pretty ridiculous; then again it was probably my own fault for watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

There is good news though: I truly feel incredible and since I enjoy sharing my discoveries with you, I journaled  my experience with the cleanse. I plan on posting it sometime this week. Perhaps it will inspire you, too!

Healthy Blueberry Oat Applesauce Muffins with Struesel

Okay enough chatting, can we get to the muffins?

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Coconut Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

Is it normal that I sleep with my iPhone under my pillow? Or that when I immediately wake up I check all of my SEVEN email accounts? Um, probably not.

I need to figure out a way to unplug from all of the communication sometimes. Or just find a balance. When I’m not working on my site, I’m constantly plugged in for my other job. As much as I tell myself that I need to take a break and relax, it’s hard to step away from the chaos of work and the busyness of life; I’m sure many of you can relate!

Usually the only thing that gets me away from all of it is the chaos of my own kitchen — my own little sweet happy spot. As soon as I put on a little music and begin to dice and chop, my creative energy pours into pots and pans, creating good food for loved ones.

This stew was made during an evening when my mind was cluttered and I needed a release. I had a busy day full of meetings. Okay and I was also dreaming about when I would actually get those girl scout cookies I ordered — like how long it would take for me to destroy 5 boxes this year? Whattttttt? Girl scout cookies are stressful to think about.

Anyway there was a jar of lentils that had been sitting in my cupboard along with gorgeous organic sweet potatoes from Whole Foods. It was time to put the iPhone down. A lovely pot of stew was an adventure I was ready to take on.

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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brown Butter Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Gingersnap Cookie Streusel

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Why is it that I feel like pumpkin recipes are only okay to post from October-December? It’s as though January is a big reset button, where we all go on juice cleanses seen on Dr. Oz.

Whatever! I’m a huge fan of pumpkin year round. So yes it’s January, but baking this pumpkin coffee cake won’t disappoint.

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This cake! Oh did it fill my home with a wonderful aroma that I’ve never experienced before. I wanted the inviting warmth of it to linger until someone special showed up and wondered what cozy concoction was in the oven. To which of course I would reply, “A melt-in-your-mouth brown butter pumpkin coffee cake… with a pecan gingersnap cookie streusel!”

Sounds dreamy… and I can assure you, it is.

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Maple Butternut Squash + Apple Soup

Soup is one of my favorite things during the cold winter months. I literally dream about the days where I can sit with a good book, a cup of soup, and a slice of crusty bread to soak up  all that warm comfort left on the bottom of my bowl.

And of course in between eating pie for breakfast (there were leftovers!) and shoveling Christmas cookies in my mouth; my soul craves soup. Perhaps because it’s the only thing that isn’t made up of purely sugar and butter. Goodness, my body needs a break from that. And this soup? Well, it leaves me full, warm, and richly satisfied.

The butternut squash is roasted in the oven to bring out it’s natural sweetness. Meanwhile the apples, carrots and onions are sauteed with a bit of cinnamon. Lastly the maple and milk are added. The soup is easily pureed into a fairly thick and creamy delight which ends up being quite delicious paired with croutons, or a warm crusty bread for dipping.

It’s really quite perfect in between those overindulgent family get-togethers, cookies exchanges, and peppermint lattes.
Enjoy!