Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad

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It’s official, we’ve entered squash season! All kinds of squash are popping up in the grocery stores and my blog feed and Pinterest seems to be overflowing with squash recipes.

Personally, butternut is my favorite of the Fall squashes. I recently heard that it was given it’s name because of it’s buttery softness and taste, I’m not sure if this is true, but it certainly is fitting.

A simple vinaigrette is all this salad needs to top it. I made a quick mixture of olive oil, chili herb vinegar, honey and a tiny bit of chili powder to add just the tiniest kick to offset the sweetness of the squash and the apricots.

Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad
2 cups roasted butternut squash cubes (see below)
1 bunch baby kale
1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces goat cheese

To make the roasted butternut squash cubes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and chop into 1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil and whatever spices you prefer. I like to add salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon to mine but use whatever flavors you like best. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until they’ve softened.

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To prepare the salad just wash and dry the kale, top it with the roasted squash, the apricots, red onion slices and crumble the goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Caramel Donuts

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‘Tis the season..Fall that is! The season of cinnamon, apples, soups and stews is upon us and I have to say it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I willingly embrace the change from sandals to boots, iced tea to warm cider and humidity to a warm blanket.

One change that always signifies the beginning of Fall to me is the opening of the cider mill just outside my hometown. The excitement of waiting in line for a freshly made donut while watching the cider being made has not waned since childhood. Unfortunately, since moving six hours away, I don’t always make it home while they’re open. You can imagine my jealousy this weekend when my best friend back home instagramed a video of those freshly made cinnamon donuts being churned out.

In an attempt to curb my craving (and my jealousy) I set out to make my own donuts. Last year I brought you my Mini Apple Donuts but I think these cinnamon donuts with a caramel topping are even better. Don’t have a donut pan? I impulse bought one like this a few weeks ago and I’m already dreaming up plenty of other ideas for it!

Since I’ve been gone for so long I think I owe it to my amazing fellow bloggers to bring two treats to our Fiesta Friday get together today! Hope they like these!

Cinnamon Caramel Donuts
Makes about 12 donuts
Donuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/4 cup honey

Caramel Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your donut pan. Combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until combined, the mix should resemble a cake batter.

2. Pour about 1/3 of the batter into a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, a zip loc bag with the tip cut off works just as well. Carefully pipe the mixture to fill about 3/4 of the donut pan. Bake at 350 for about 13-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean.

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3. Allow the donuts to cool a but then carefully remove them from the pan.

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4. To make the caramel add the sugar, cream and butter to a pan on low heat. Whisk the mixture for a a few minutes until the sugar melts and it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.

5. Allow the caramel to col for a few minutes, then dip the cooled donuts in the caramel or drizzle it over the top, enjoy!

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