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These tasty appetizers require a little bit of a time commitment, but the result is worth it. I like to boil and peel the eggs ahead of time, and even sometimes make the filling early but not fill the eggs until just before serving. Let me know what other varieties you have made or have in mind — I’d love to try them!

From top left: avocado, traditional, smoked salmon, and wasabi-Srirach deviled eggs.

Clockwise from top right: traditional, smoked salmon, wasabi-Sriracha, and avocado deviled eggs.

  • 9 hard-boiled eggs (see note)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Cut the eggs in half. Combine the egg yolks and mayonnaise (I like using an immersion blender) until it is a smooth consistency. Choose from one of these flavors, or create your own!

Traditional

  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika, plus some for garnish
  • 18 pieces cooked bacon

Combine the mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp paprika with the mayo-yolk mixture. Put the filling into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe the filling into each egg white half. Garnish with a piece of cooked bacon and a small dash of paprika.

Smoked salmon

  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried dill, plus some for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 18 slices smoked salmon
  • 18 capers

Combine the lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper with the mayo-yolk mixture. Put the filling into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe the filling into each egg white half. Garnish with a slice of the smoked salmon, a caper, and a small dash of dill.

Wasabi-Sriracha

  • 1 – 2 tsp. wasabi paste, plus some for garnish
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbs. Sriracha, plus some for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the wasabi paste, Sriracha, salt, and pepper with the mayo-yolk mixture. Taste and add more of the wasabi and Sriracha if you want a stronger flavor. Put the filling into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe the filling into each egg white half. Garnish with a dot each of wasabi paste and Sriracha.

Avocado

  • 1/2 small avocado
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 18 slices jalapeño or serrano pepper
  • 18 sprigs fresh cilantro

Combine the avocado, lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper with the mayo-yolk mixture. Put the filling into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe the filling into each egg white half. Garnish with a slice of pepper and a sprig of cilantro.

NOTE: We’ve found the best method for boiling eggs is to bring a large pot of water to boil, then add room-temperature eggs. Bring back to a boil for one minute, then turn off and cover for another 12 minutes. Drain the eggs, immediately put them into an ice bath until cold. They should peel easily and have fully-cooked but not overdone yolks.
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I had a surprisingly large harvest of jalapeño peppers when I cleaned out the garden this weekend, so we decided to make some poppers. They are a little time consuming to prepare, but I did a large batch and am freezing some of the stuffed peppers (not wrapped in bacon yet). We will see if they thaw and cook as well as the fresh when we do them up for a Lions-Packers halftime snack on Thanksgiving.

Hot, cheesy, wrapped in bacon, with a little kick.

Hot, cheesy, wrapped in bacon, with a little kick.

  • 36 jalapeño peppers
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 18 strips bacon

Wash the peppers. Using a paring knife, cut off the stems and make a long slice down one side of the pepper. Take the tip of the knife and carefully clean out the insides of the pepper. Leave more of the pith if you want a hotter pepper. Discard the insides and be very careful — your hands are full of the jalapeño oils at this point. Do not rub your eyes, put in your contacts, or let your dog lick your fingers. Please.

Mix the cream cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic. With a butter knife, stuff the peppers with the cream cheese mixture. (You can be creative here, mix in some chives, basil, or other herbs if you’d like.)

Cut the strips of bacon in half and wrap one half strip around each stuffed pepper. Secure with a toothpick. If you have a grill going, you can line them up on a skewer.

Bake on a slotted pan at 375 until bacon is fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Or put on the grill and cook until done. You might want to put them under the broiler for a moment to get a good crisp. Let cool slightly before eating.

Adapted from P.B. Alehouse (Rattlesnakes)

We got some apples from Julian, CA, and had enough left over from our pie that we added it to this baked squash dish. Double the recipe and eat it all week — we did!

It sure feels like autumn with savory butternut squash on my plate.

  • 1 large butternut squash, rind removed and cubed
  • 4 medium apples, cored and cubed (you can leave the peel on)
  • 8-10 slices peppered bacon
  • A drizzle of honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the apples and squash into a baking dish. Drizzle with honey and top with the bacon, so the fat mixes with the squash as it renders. Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is baked to your preferred softness, stirring gently every 10 minutes.

Kale is a pretty darn good food. It’s full of nutrients like vitamins K, A, and C (among others). It’s also anti-inflammatory and easy to incorporate into meals. Making kale into chips is a tasty way to get some of these nutrients and satisfy a craving for a salty, crunchy snack.

Bet you can't eat just one!

  • 3 bunches organic kale, washed, spun or pat dry, and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the kale in a large bowl. Add the kale and gently toss with rubber-tipped tongs or your hands.

Once all the leaves are evenly coated, place in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 135 degrees for a few hours, until the chips are dry and crispy. If you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven set to a very low temperature will do the trick. Just keep an eye on them if your oven is warmer than 135 degrees so they don’t burn.

Corn is one of those ‘tweener’ foods for us when it comes to being paleo or primal. It’s gluten-free, so we allow it into our diets on special occasions, just like rice. With Thanksgiving approaching, we wanted to try a cornbread stuffing recipe. Many of the boxed cornbread mixes have wheat flour in them, though. So I found this quick, easy recipe and did a test run. I can’t believe how wonderful the bread turned out! I’ll be making some for the stuffing (recipe to come) and some just to eat with butter.

Almost as easy as the box but without any of the bad stuff!

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal or corn flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. butter or coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbs. local honey (optional)
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a cast iron skillet or glass pie dish, place 1 Tbs. butter or coconut oil. Put the dish into the oven and let the butter/oil melt.

Sift together the cornmeal, rice flour, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter/oil, and honey (if using). Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined.

Pour into the hot greased pan and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Adapted from Gluten-Free Mommy

If I’m going to eat cooked carrots, I need to give them a little help, or else they’re just not that exciting to me. This recipe does the trick.

Dress up your carrots with honey, lemon and raisins.

  • 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1-2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil or butter
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Boil the carrots for about five minutes. Turn off the burner, drain them and put them back in the warm pot. Add the lemon juice, honey and butter/coconut oil to the pot and turn the heat on low. Stir gently for a few minutes, until the carrots are coated and the liquid has reduced a little bit. Remove from heat, stir in the raisins. Salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Miranda Valentine

The unique flavor of fennel makes this simple side dish a little more impressive.

Aromatic and flavorful! A great side dish for any meat-based main course.

  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan rind
Arrange the fennel and onion in alternating, slightly-overlapping layers in a 9 X 13 -inch greased pan. Drizzle olive oil on top; season with salt and pepper. Grate the parmesan rind over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I love grapefruit. The flavor and aroma just make my taste buds water. So I was pleased to see that it’s one of many fruits that comes with benefits beyond being just delicious; it might just give your fat-burning metabolism the same boost as fasting does (IF you eat one each day for a number of weeks and yadda yadda yadda…). Grapefruit also contains a chemical called nookatone that is completely safe while being a fantastic mosquito repellant.

A juicy treat with great health benefits.

Back to eating grapefruit: I have always eaten them plain. With my spring allergies giving me a bit of a runny, sneezy nose these days, I’ve started savoring a spoonful of raw, local, unfiltered honey as a way to boost my immunity to some of these allergens. So today I combined the two, drizzling a bit of the honey over my grapefruit before digging in. While either is delightful on its own, together there is a layering of the sweet and bitter flavors that is nothing short of awesome.

So visit a local grocer or farmers’ market and pick up some honey made in your area, put a touch on a grapefruit and enjoy a delicious breakfast, post-workout snack or dessert.

This salsa goes well with a lot of dishes: seared tuna, coconut-crusted fried fish, pork tenderloin… or it’s even great by itself.

This salsa is great with fish, seafood, grilled meat, or alone as a cool salad.

  • 1 ripe mango, diced small
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados

Combine everything except the avocados in a medium serving bowl. Chill at least two hours. Just before serving, chop the avocado flesh into 1/4″ pieces and gently mix into the salsa.

The cocoa powder adds a touch of flavor and the honey, just a bit of sweetness.

Acorn squash and cocoa powder are a surprisingly good combination.

  • 1 medium acorn squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened 100 percent cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus a bit more, if desired
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ancho chili powder or ground chipotle pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.

Slice acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Brush the flesh with olive oil and place flesh side down on baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended. It’s OK if it’s a little bumpy. If you want it completely smooth, puree it in a blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Recipe adapted from NPR’s kitchen window