"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall" F.Scott Fitzgerald

I have long been a believer in the magic in fall. Yes, winter, spring, and summer all have their merits (skiing! cherry blossoms! extended breaks!) but fall? Mmm, oh yes. Fall.

Layers and football and boots and maple. Pumpkin and hayrides and bonfires and cable knit scarves. Find me one person who doesn't look forward to a nice apple crisp with a hot cup of apple cider. Fall is filled with some pretty amazing flavors, and there is so much lovely produce that starts emerging as the leaves start to fall and the air turns crisp. Farmer's Markets are lively in summer, yes, but fall has all the best to offer.

3 years ago, my family decided to take a trip to commemorate autumn. We would go to New Hampshire and Vermont, and drive up from a central meeting point in Boston. We would stay at a B&B, go hiking during the day, and explore these two beautiful states that we just quite given our attention to yet. We went on our first trip in 2012, and I just came back from our third year in a row for a trip which we have now named "The Annual Fall Foliage Trip". Leaf peepers indeed.

We try to schedule our trip around the peak of leaves, when there are the most vibrant and diverse of colors. This can be a little tricky, as the changing colors of the leaves vary by week, sometimes even days, depending on longitude, temperatures, rainfall, etc. the preceding summer as well as that specific autumn. Luckily, there are a plethora of websites that provide leaf maps and photo updates of the leaves daily to help leaf peepers like us time their trip precisely.

Our annual trip has turned into something I look forward to for months; a long weekend full of family and friends, hiking, fresh air, laughter, no cell service, and gorgeous scenery; all of these things, both in isolation and in combination, are truly good for the soul. After returning from this trip in particular, I always feel incredibly relaxed and well rested; there is something about staying in a cabin in New England's woods that bring a tremendous amount of clarity and reflection. If you have been thinking about taking a similar trip, specifically for reflection, I highly suggest you look into it.

In particular, I have fallen in love with New Hampshire. Although not far from Boston city limits, central and upstate New Hampshire are like different worlds. It is romantic and rustic in the best way; Bon Iver would fit in well here. The food is also similarly excellent. New Hampshire's seacoast provides a plethora of seafood to most of the state. Lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams, and mussels. Oysters from Prince Edward Island. (Relatively, not far.) Fresh lobster rolls. Crabs.  My personal favorite is a traditional New Hampshire seafood casserole: scallops, lobster, shrimp, and crab in a white cream sauce, topped with crushed Ritz Crackers, and baked in a ramekin until fiercely hot, aromatic, and ethereal. Oh. My.  It sounds a little strange, with the Ritz Crackers and all, but no. It. Is. Amazing. Paleo or not, this is the cheat meal you absolutely need. Need.

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Similarly, our fall foliage trip makes me fall (ha!) head over heels in love with autumn and fall foods all over again; its like a secret affair that sparks every year in October. Fall is the best time to start experimenting with foods that are too heavy for summer, and to break out those savory flavors that just don't meld well with warm weather, with sticky hot nights. Cinnamon, sage, curries, and tarragon are some of my favorites. As some of you may have noticed, I am a big fan of mixing sweet and savory (check out my recent spicy and sweet dates recipe and this savory and sweet acorn squash recipe), and I truly feel that fall lends itself well to this job: the sweetness of summer is fading and the seriousness of winter is slowing settling in. To celebrate this perfect pairing, I give you now, not one, but TWO perfect fall recipes that are the right kind of sweet and the best kind of savory. Why am I giving you two? Because I love you. Also because I couldn’t decide which one was better. The Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Sweet Potatoes are, as you may have guessed, sweeter. The Cinnamon-Sage Sweet Potatoes have the lovely, seasonal flavor of sage, and tend to be savorier than the former. Really, though, both are lovely, and both definitely have a place at your table this fall.


cinnamon-sage sweet potatoes

Serves 3-4

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  • 2 large sweet potatoes or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 6 whole sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground sage  
  • 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 slices of already cooked bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Dice sweet potatoes into small, 1-inch sized pieces.
  3. Cut cooked bacon slices into very small pieces.
  4. Placed diced potatoes, olive oil, cinnamon sticks, and spices into a large bowl and stir to coat all potato pieces evenly with flavors.
  5. Place mixture on a baking pan (with raised sides to avoid oil drips) and roast in the oven on the bottom rack for 25 minutes. Place potatoes on baking pan so there is no overlap and all pieces are evenly spread.
  6. At about halfway through roasting time, remove potatoes from oven and stir potatoes to turn. Place back in oven and continue to roast.

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cinnamon-sugar sweet potatoes

Serves 3-4

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  • 2 large sweet potatoes, or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 8 whole sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. bacon fat
  • 3 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Dice sweet potatoes into small, 1-inch sized pieces.
  3. Placed diced potatoes, ghee, bacon fat, cinnamon sticks, and spices into a large bowl and stir to coat all potato pieces evenly with flavors.
  4. Place mixture on a baking pan (with raised sides to avoid oil drips) and roast in the oven on the bottom rack for 25 minutes. Place potatoes on baking pan so there is no overlap and all pieces are evenly spread.
  5. At about halfway through roasting time, remove potatoes from oven and stir potatoes to turn. Place back in oven and continue to roast.

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