Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Garlicky Aioli

I will be the first to admit that I was an incredibly picky eater growing up. The only vegetables I would eat without complaint were carrots and iceberg lettuce (and potatoes if you count those).

Most of the vegetables we ate were frozen or canned, but considering two picky kids and busy schedules, it’s no wonder my parents didn’t insist on us trying more variety and went with the tried and true.

With my own kids, I’ve tried to foster an appreciation of, if not love for, a wide range of vegetables. The little one loves to chew on broccoli, while the big one will ask for peas along with dinner. But while they enjoy those veggies, there are always a few that need a little more coaxing.

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Coconut-Pecan Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

This time of year we eat a lot of sweet potatoes at our house. Since the weather turned and the leaves started falling, we’ve been enjoying Sweet Potato Quinoa Tacos, Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili, and even a few Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes here and there.

We also normally include a Sweet Potato dish in our Thanksgiving meal line-up. We don’t, however, have a favorite family recipe that we rely on every year.

Thinking back on recent holidays, I’m noticing the tradition that is evolving is one that includes trying a new sweet potato recipe every year. Over the past few years we’ve tried everything from the classic casserole to sweet potato tamales.

coconut pecan sweet potatoes 2This year’s Thanksgiving menu is definitely going to include these Coconut-Pecan Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes. Not only are they delicious, they are also incredibly easy.

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Butternut Squash Wild Rice

It’s been raining here, steadily, for days. We need it, so I shouldn’t complain, but the temperatures have finally started to release their grip on us, and we are aching to spend more time outside.

While my kindergartener could happily splash around in the rain, the baby doesn’t get to experience that for a while yet, unless I want to introduce him to his first cold.

So that means I retreat to the kitchen, cooking up things that try to balance out the gloom. Soup is often a go-to, but when you have kids, there’s only so many meals per week that you can serve just soup. Instead, I try to change out our side dishes to match the season.

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Creamy New Potatoes with Bacon and Chives

If you want to feel good about your gardening skills, you should grow potatoes. They don’t give you any trouble, don’t need staking or thinning, and yield a good crop at the end of the summer – or earlier.

My boys grow our potatoes, taking care of everything from cutting the seed potatoes and placing them in the earth – ‘eyes at the sky’- to weeding and occasionally hilling around the plants. Undoubtedly, though, the best fun is at harvest, when they climb into the raised beds with their toy shovels and fling dirt everywhere like a couple of pirates searching for treasure.

When they’ve collected a small bucketful of potatoes and hosed them off, we always head for the kitchen, especially if these are the first spuds of the summer. A freshly-dug potato, boiled and buttered, is one of life’s little pleasures.

Mateo is already wondering aloud when it will be time to dig for potatoes, but with all of our rain and cool temperatures, the garden is slow to mature this summer. In the meantime, we’re enjoying new, locally grown spuds and I have a favorite new side dish that’s made with them.

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