Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce

I don’t know what to be more excited about — the fact that we got our first snow fall of the season this past weekend or that this week is Thanksgiving! So much excitement I can hardly handle it all. :) I’m torn between wanting to put up all of our Christmas decorations to compliment the blanket of snow outside or to hold my ground and wait until after Thanksgiving.

Since we’re hosting a small Thanksgiving with my parents this year, my fall decorations have made it yet another week. But come next weekend, Christmas is in full force in the Hoerr household! This snow has really made the fall leaves and pumpkins seem a little out of place.

It doesn’t help that yesterday Philip and I made it outdoors with some friends and went sledding down a large hill at a park close to us. It was so much fun and what a thrill! We probably should have stopped while we were ahead and before our “one last time” because somehow I found myself thrown off, hat flying, and a little sore afterwards. I’m realizing more and more frequently that I’m no longer the little kid who was once indestructible. *sigh* Ah, but the hot chocolate and tea afterwards warmed us right up. :)

But enough about snow and Christmas (see, I can’t help myself!), it’s the week of Thanksgiving, folks!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?


Are you still looking for one extra side dish to add to the table? How about a twist on the traditional dishes? For me, I’m all about switching things up and making the good ol’ classics even better. That’s why, for our small group’s potluck Thanksgiving meal this past week, I opted to bring Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce. You’re really hitting two classics (sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce) at once with this new twist. #doublewin

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What We Ate Today: What a dietitian’s husband eats

While I was out galavanting around NW Iowa this weekend with my two closest girlfriends from college (what a fun weekend I had!), my husband was back home working the whole weekend on house projects, cleaning up our kitchen from our kitchen demo project (sorry, no pictures…yet! It’s almost done!), and even taking care of my blog for me. Isn’t he great?!

While I was exhausted each night from chatting late into the night (well past my bedtime), my husband was exhausted from working late into the evenings. To add even more to his work list, I asked if he’d be willing to write the majority of today’s blog post for you all. You’re in luck, he said yes!

I’m starting a new series entitled: What We Ate Today. As a dietitian, people often think I must eat perfectly all the time. And this means my family (husband) is roped into eating “health foods,” too. Let’s be honest, this is real life. Our meals and snacks are not always the picture-perfect diet. While we try to eat healthy most of the time, we follow my rules/guidelines I base my blog off of.

So, without further ado, my husband, Philip, is first to show you what he ate one day last week (I’ll be up next, don’t worry):

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Farro Winter Salad

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash & Farro Winter Salad

Welcome to another work week, friends! I can’t believe we’re less than three weeks away from Thanksgiving and all the festivities that come after that! I don’t think I’ve fully come to terms that it’s November yet either. Is it okay that I still keep thinking it’s September?

I think every weekend from now until, uhhh…February (?!) is filled up with something on my calendar. So it was nice this weekend to just take it easy — no real plans whatsoever.

Philip and I wandered through a bookstore in downtown Madison, picked up Mad Libs and played a few rounds (for some reason, this game was really fun and hilarious when I was ten. I think we gave half-hearted chuckles and moved on…), played Rummikub in front of our fireplace (a family favorite game on both sides of our families and what we bonded over from the very beginning of our relationship), and watched a few several episodes of Downtown Abbey to cap off our evenings. I know, we’re behind the times with the TV show selection. Besides the fact that I can only catch 75% of what they’re saying and I had to keep asking Philip for a synopsis after almost every episode during the first season, I’m totally hooked.


A completely unproductive weekend, but just what I needed. This lack of productivity may be partly because I was forced out of our kitchen for the weekend. What may have consumed my time normally — like baking or cooking — was not an option due to a slight demo project currently going on. Hopefully by next week my kitchen will be up and open for business again (pictures included)!

In the meantime, I’m sharing my Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Farro Salad paired with grilled salmon that we had awhile back when we had some unseasonably warm weather in our area. This salad would also be perfect with baked chicken or as a side dish with your Thanksgiving meal! Serve it warm or cold, this will be one of your most versatile dishes. The best part (besides its delicious flavors) is the easy prep. Because it can be served cold, you can make it ahead of time — especially nice if you’re serving it for Turkey Day.


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Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pine Nuts

Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pine Nuts

How was everybody’s Halloween weekend?! Besides the rain and dreary weather (which is only fitting for Halloween, I guess, right?), it was a great weekend for us here in Madison.


Since I had Friday off from work, Philip and I made a whole day of it. What a treat! Normally my days off consist of chores and errands — certainly not casual coffee dates chatting about life, hiking through the leaves and bluffs in Wisconsin, or capping off the day with sushi and ice cream.


Our hiking trip was at same place we went a month ago, but this time the crowds had drastically declined and the weather was slightly chillier. It was peaceful, beautiful seeing the trails covered in leaves (and the off trails…we I may have lost the trail for a bit…), and just plain fun to explore nature.


On Halloween, I could sense the excitement in the air while at work. I was excited as well since Philip had given me an early birthday gift for us to go see Wicked, the musical about how the Wicked Witch of the West became wicked from the Wizard of Oz. Absolutely incredible. I highly recommend it. It was my third time seeing it and it never gets old.

From work to passing out candy to all our cute trick-or-treaters to the musical, time was short with little of it left for preparing dinner. This Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts was the perfect solution. Besides being able to use up the last of the spaghetti squash from our garden, it was so simple it was almost ridiculous. It was a delicious vegetable side to pair with other leftovers we already had in the fridge.


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Why I’m a dietitian who’s handing out (real) candy for Halloween

Handing out Candy for Halloween

Can you believe this weekend is already Halloween?! What happened to October? I feel like Philip and I have been so busy, both during the week and the weekend, that somehow the fall is slipping past us. While part of me is eager to start thinking about Christmas (I know, I know, I’m jumping past a few holidays) and to decorate for the season (we missed last year since we were moving into our house right before Christmas), the other part of me is wanting this great in-between time to stick around just a tiny bit longer.


Case in point: This past weekend Philip and I were able to squeeze in a run on a trail that is right outside our door and it. was. beautiful. I’m so glad we could get out on the trail and enjoy the remaining fall colors before it gets completely covered with snow.


We also celebrated another couple’s marriage this weekend – the last of the season. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I just love weddings! Such a fun time we had!


While I may already be thinking ahead about how I’m going to decorate our mantle for Christmas, don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to our first Halloween in a house where trick-or-treaters will be knocking at our door. Growing up in the country where the closest neighbor was a mile away, the thought of having little witches, super heroes, or princesses come to our door was unheard of. And every year since, I’ve been in an apartment where I didn’t have to worry about what to have as a treat for the little trick-or-treaters.

But this year. This year is different. I scoured the grocery store for my favorite candy and chocolate, bought them without a flinch (okay, maybe just a little one), and am ready to hand out candy this year.

Yes, I’m a dietitian who is handing out candy.

I can see both sides of whether or not we should pass out candy to children, and I fully respect whatever individual choice you have made, but here are my reasons for why I chose to pass out candy this year:

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Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage

Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage

Fall is in the air, folks! This past weekend Philip and I made a long over-due road trip to Iowa — my home state and where I still call “home” out of habit — and there was a crisp, briskness in the air. It was actually the perfect weather for tailgating and football.

Iowa State collage

Being that my entire family are Iowa State graduates and that my parents are die-hard fans, it was almost a sin that Philip has been in our family for two years and didn’t have any Iowa State apparel yet. This weekend, Philip got a full dose of Iowa State starting with getting mandatory new Iowa State gear, tailgating with the “regulars,” and witnessing his first Iowa State football game. While the game didn’t end quite how we would have preferred (re: we lost), it was a great time being back and showing Philip around my alma mater. So many memories from the six years I was there!


The weather was great during the day, but boy, did it get cold once the sun went down. Breaking out the winter coat, hat, and gloves just seemed a little too premature and almost saddening.


You know what isn’t saddening, wrong, or premature, though? This Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage is comforting, perfectly right, and is just in time for this fall weather. While it may be a mouthful to say, it is so easy to whip together on any weeknight. I don’t even know if I should really call it a recipe.

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Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats + Weddings, Colorado, & Family Time

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Whew! What a whirlwind of a week I had last week and we’re already moving into the start of another week. Things need to sloooow down! Yesterday I mistakenly checked out REI (that store gets the best of me every time I walk inside…it all goes back to help my membership dividend, right?) and walked out with a new winter coat and boots. While exciting to purchase when it’s 80 degrees outside, I’m not looking forward to when I actually need to wear them.

This past week seemed like a catch up week after having a blast in Colorado last weekend. Philip’s brother found himself a beautiful girl and got hitched last weekend at a venue nestled in the mountains outside of Boulder. Everything about the wedding was gorgeous and perfectly planned. So happy for the new couple! (photo creds go to Jenna, Philip’s sister)

Wedding Collage

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Cherry-Apple Strudel with Cider Glaze

Cherry-Apple Strudel with Cider Glaze

Welcome to another work week, friends! After a restful two days off from work, I’m feeling pretty good about today! It may also have helped that I had this Cherry-Apple Strudel with Cider Glaze to wake up to this morning. Mmm…So. good. I’ll get to it in a second (because there is seriously so much to rave about with this wonderful, little breakfast treat), but first let me fill you in on my weekend adventures…


The weather has been too nice around here lately not to take advantage of it — mostly because I know what’s coming and I’m not looking forward to it. So, Philip and I made last minute plans to visit Devil’s Lake State Park outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin. It’s a popular place for camping, hiking, picnics, and more. Several people had the same idea as we did, because it was a happening place!


Even though the leaves hadn’t completely changed colors yet, it was still beautiful to see all the foliage and to witness the start of the changing seasons. Gosh, I love fall.


After a busy few weeks for the both of us with work, it was so nice to spend the entire day hiking, taking pictures, enjoying a packed lunch by the lake, and just enjoying being with each other. All in all, it was a great day. I’m so glad I finally was able to see this place I hear about all the time! I’m already looking forward to when I can go back.


Sunday was a much more low-key day, but a very delicious day because it involved making this bakery-worthy strudel. I originally planned on sharing a different recipe with you today, but one bite of this cherry-apple strudel with the cider glaze and I knew I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I was practically giddy with how well it turned out. Last night Philip even asked if he could have another piece. While I was flattered he wanted more, I was slightly concerned he felt the need to ask me permission. Problems of a dietitian’s husband, I guess…


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Spaghetti alla Melanzane

Spaghetti alla Melanzane

The fall spirit is still going strong around here! The weather, once again, was gorgeous this weekend, so I hightailed it out of work on Saturday and made it just in time to spend the late afternoon apple picking at one of the many orchards in the Madison area.


We walked away with far more apples than we probably needed, but we couldn’t not fill up the whole bag! Yesterday we spent time in the kitchen together making and canning enough applesauce to last us a year…no, I’m serious, it’ll most likely last us until next summer.


We also picked up some pumpkins this weekend and glanced at all the gourds and winter squash at the apple orchard. Thanks to our garden this summer, we bypassed the winter squash. While our community garden plot was a little highly neglected this summer, we were still able to come away with a bunch of delicious produce, including a few spaghetti squash. Yay!


While I have nothing against pasta (whole grain is what I usually choose), spaghetti squash is so fun and is a great way to get some added vegetables onto your plate without even really realizing it. If you’re not familiar with spaghetti squash, it’s a winter squash that looks like spaghetti noodles when it’s cooked. Just running a fork through it creates lots of tiny spaghetti-like strands. Not only is it loaded with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, it’s also extremely low in calories (40 calories for a cup!). Spaghetti squash for the win!

Since I had small little spaghetti squash from our garden sitting on our kitchen counter, I decided to make a twist on spaghetti — Spaghetti alla Melanzane in a spaghetti squash boat. Isn’t it adorable?


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Smoked Sausage & Kale Alfredo

Smoked Sausage & Kale Alfredo

I’m starting to embrace fall and everything it has to offer. I have decided I’m fully ready to put away my shorts and summer tops and bring out the cozy sweaters (let’s be real, my sweats are what’re really calling my name). Of course, it helps that the weather has been gorgeous, the sun shining, and I’m not yet hustling to and from my car due to the sharp chill in the air. Nevertheless, fall is at its finest here in the Midwest.

In fact, on my day off this week, for some reason I woke up with this great need and desire to make my life surrounded with all things fall. So, our house has been switched for the seasons with fall colors, pinecones, and fall leaves positioned decoratively throughout…never mind the trees with green leaves still prospering and doing well outside…

Fall Decor

Naturally, no fall is complete without the smell of pumpkin in the air, so to top it all off, I made up a few mini loaves of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread from Erin at Well Plated (amazing!) to send off to our new neighbors. If I enjoyed PSLs, I’m sure one of those would be in my hand as well.


The one thing I really love about the change of seasons, though? The change in food! Fall, to me, is when comfort food starts coming out, pots of hearty soup are simmering on the stove again, and all things pumpkin and apple abound. This Smoked Sausage & Kale Alfredo is right up there with the best comfort food. It’s creamy, rich, and warms you right up — both from its warmth and the little bit of kick it has.


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