Autumn Salad with Maple & Spiced Pear Vinaigrette

 

I know, I know… Two maple recipes in one week? Yes, I do like maple in the fall! This salad is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or as a quick lunch option. The vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge to quickly use when assembling salad for just one meal at a time. The blue cheese can be swapped for feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, aged cheddar, or whatever sounds good to you (or whatever is about to get moldy in the fridge, let’s be honest!) Regular balsamic vinegar would be a good swap for the spiced pear version, though I’d highly recommend a flavored vinegar for the extra pizzaz.

 

Autumn Salad with Maple & Spiced Pear Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup spiced pear flavored balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Salad ingredients:

  • About 6-8 cups of mixed lettuce
  • 2 pears, chopped and peeled, if you prefer
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 dried cranberries
  • 3 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Instruction:

  1. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a bowl and whisk together, or add to a dressing mixer and shake to combine.
  2. Put salad into a bowl and top with pears, pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. Do not mix or all the toppings will fall to the bottom.
  3. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Maple Cheesecake Pumpkin Bars

 

Oh boy are these fall treats tasty! The maple syrup adds a great rich touch to the cheesecake layer while the pumpkin is spiced to perfection. The bars would be the perfect snack for a crisp fall day or served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. We didn’t top these with pecans, but that certainly would be a nice finishing touch. The pumpkin base is like moist cake and rises pretty high, so plan to eat with a fork.

 

Maple Cheesecake Pumpkin Bars

Cheesecake topping ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Pumpkin cake ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together cheesecake topping ingredients until completely smooth and no clumps remain. Set aside.
  2. Stir pumpkin cake dry ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together all wet pumpkin cake ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour wet pumpkin cake ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Pour pumpkin cake mixture into a 9×9 baking pan. I used a coated USA Pan so I didn’t need to grease the pan. If your pan does not have a non-stick coating, spray with oil or coat with butter.
  6. Spoon cheesecake mixture into pan, on top of the pumpkin cake mixture. Take a knife/spreader (plastic or wood is best to avoid scratching your pan) and swirl through the layers to create a marbled effect.
  7. Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving, so the cheesecake layer can firm up.