Harvest Dinner of Champions

Nothing says fall like some harvest dinner goodness.

Like cheddar cheese and crackers and some squash and apple soup? And don't forget the kale, of course.

Get a feeling of groundedness from the squash (it grows in the ground, get it?) and the sweetness of the roasted butternut plus the apple will totally satisfy your sweet tooth. Choose locally-made cheddar if possible. Making this meal definitely made me miss living in Vermont where I was this time last year but I'm grateful for all the good memories.

Here's a fall-tastic meal that's easy, convenient and delicious. What more can you ask for?

Harvest Dinner of Champions

Harvest Dinner of Champions Dillan DiGiovanni

Roasted butternut squash and apple soup:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 medium apple (like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Use parchment paper to line a baking dish or cookie sheet.

3) Add butternut squash cut lengthwise into quarters. Remove seeds and rub exposed squash flesh with extra virgin olive oil (oh my!)

4) Bake in the oven for 35-50 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Cut into cubes and keep the skin on.

5) In a large pot, melt 1 TBSP butter over low heat and brown onion.

6) Add chopped apple and cook 2 mins. Add 1 cup water. Add cubed squash.

7) Add 1/2 cup more water if needed and cook contents down until soft. Add small pinch of salt. USe hand blender to combine all ingredients until smooth. Serve warm in a bowl.


Sauteed kale with sliced garlic:

  • 3-4 big kale leaves, trimmed off stem and chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced very thin
  • 1 TBSP coconut or olive oil

1) Warm oil in a frying pan over medium heat

2) Add garlic and cook 3 minutes until it begins to brown

3) Add chopped kale and cook down until soft

4) Serve hot and sprinkle with pinch of sea salt


Cheese and crackers

Buy good quality cheese and crackers to complement this meal. I enjoy CABOT Cheddar and Carr's Crackers.


I'd love to hear comments if you make this! What is your favorite part? I can't choose, I love every aspect. That's why I posted it as a package deal.



Harvest Green Smoothie

It's Fall! Fall is my favorite. The leaves. The cooler temps. The food! Oh yes, the food.

I also get that little flutter of fear that I associate with all the eating that happens starting with the candy fest called Halloween. From here on out, it's a few months of straight celebratin' and feastin'.

Good thing I've done so much work on my relationship to food. Old habits die hard, that's for sure. But I definitely notice my old habits have changed from four years of practice!

Starting with this beauty.


I call this my Harvest Green Smoothie because it was a combo of some local and seasonal foods and had a massive dose of fresh, local green kale--two varieties!

Everyone is all over kale these days because it's probably one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. You can pack in tons of vitamins and minerals with a serving of these tasty and versatile leafy greens. 

I used lacinato and green kale in this smoothie. Why two varieties? Well, like people, food has unique properties and qualities. The wider the range of diverse foods in your diet, the more you benefit from everything all those different foods have to offer. Same goes for people. Think about it. ;)

Lacinato kale is often called DINOSAUR kale. Do I have to tell you why?


And then plain old green kale. Those aren't my hands.


OK, so here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy!



2 frozen bananas, in chunks

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups kale leaves, washed and removed from center spine

1/2 cup fresh, local apple cider

1/4 cup fresh, cool water

1 pinch ground cardamom

1 pinch ground cinnamon

Instructions 1) Blend and drink, first thing in the morning!

 **cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar. Helps with those nasty energy dips around 10am and 3pm**

Between this drink, my morning 2-mile run and some coffee around 11am, my energy levels were through the ROOF until 10:30pm last night.

Enjoy--and try to make a new friend today.

Indian-Spiced Turkey Burgers


This recipe is one of my most successful experiences of fearlessness in the kitchen. I had no plan. I had no idea what I was doing. And the results ROCKED!!!!

Indian-Spiced Turkey Burgers over Portabella "Buns" with Kale and Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips (did I mention the homemade ginger/apple/raisin chutney?)

Ferociously good.

for the chips:

6 cups kale, removed from stem and finely chopped 1 REALLY large sweet potato, sliced very thin (1/8 in. thick) 3 Tbsp coconut oil or butter 3-4 Portabella caps (one per person)

for the burgers:

2 lbs freshly ground turkey 1 tsp coriander 1 tsp cardamom 1 tsp curry 1 tsp cumin 1 pinch nutmeg 1/4 tsp chili powder

for the chutney:

1 medium apple, sliced 1/4 ginger root, sliced thin 1 cup water 2 tsp cane sugar 1 Tbsp raisins



1) Preheat over to 425.

2) In a small saucepan, combine all the chutney ingredients except raisins. Simmer over low low/med heat until ingredients are reduced to a thick sauce and ginger is softened. Stir often. Add more water as needed as it boils off. Add raisins when finished and stir in.

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine spices. Add turkey meat and knead the spices and meat together, incorporating the spices throughout. Form into small patties, about 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Set aside.

4) Cover  a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 Tbsp (melted) coconut oil or butter and toss with sliced sweet potatoes. Line cookie sheet with potato slices. Bake in oven until browned and crispy (check and turn after 10 mins).

5) In a saute pan over medium heat, add turkey burgers and cook until browned. Turn and repeat. Remove and place on a plate. Add more oil to pan and cook mushroom caps until they are soft and dark.

6) Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil or butter in saute pan over medium heat. Add kale and cook to taste.


The timing to coordinate this meal may take some practice. I got lucky. Use your judgment with cooking times.