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by Sarah Steimer

Gluten-free oat waffles

These waffles were honestly better than many gluten-full waffles I’ve eaten. They’re going straight to the top of my, “Hey, still a splurge but not too bad for you in the long run” list.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut with skin-on mashed potatoes

I love when I’m home and Mom puts on a CrockPot of kielbasa and kraut for dinner — it’s a Saniga family favorite. The longer it cooks, the better the taste, with both components swapping some of their signature flavors. And no plate of kielbasa and kraut is complete without a small mountain of mashed potatoes. No frills here, just a simple, beloved meal.

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by Sarah Steimer

Houston kitchen

Our tidy kitchen table on one of our first days. In the month ahead, this became the centerpiece of numerous meals, homework sessions and epiphanies of all types. The kitchen and its table truly was the heart and soul of our home away from home.

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by Sarah Steimer

Spicy-sweet curry popcorn

I’ve never had a sweet-and-salty curry combination, but this was pretty rad. Once again, I gobbled through this bowl of popcorn in no time and mentally added this to my list of movie-watching snacks. Spicy-sweet curry popcorn and maybe a bottle of dark winter ale? Absolutely.

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Maple pumpkin cornbread

by Caitlin Saniga

Maple pumpkin cornbroad

Baking is one area where I’m frightened about making substitutions and getting creative, so I took baby steps with this New York Times recipe. Instead of honey, I used maple syrup (and was curious about using molasses), and I added a dash of cinnamon. I considered adding zest from a mandarin orange but then chickened out. Maybe next time …

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and place a 2-quart baking dish on a rack in the middle of the oven.

Whisk together the pumpkin puree, milk, olive oil, maple syrup and eggs.

Place the cornmeal in a large bowl, and sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together without overworking.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, and add the butter. When it is melted completely, brush the sides of the pan with the pastry brush; tip the excess melted butter into the batter, and quickly mix it in. Scrape the batter into the hot pan, and return it to the oven. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before serving. Slather warm pieces with butter, and drizzle them with more maple syrup.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe adapted from: nytimes.com

by Sarah Steimer

Butter-nutty squash soup

Great name, right? It comes from the nutty flavor that tahini adds to the soup. Sure, sesame seeds aren’t nuts, but they have an amazing earthy, nutty flavor that need not be reserved just for hummus.

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by Sarah Steimer

Maple-cayenne popcorn

This popcorn was gone in a flash. If you’d like to slow yourself down, try offering this up with a bowl of nuts and dried cranberries on the side. Or just try not to be a snack monster like I am.

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