• 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 cups unsalted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or mixed nuts
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves with stems detached
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of my Spiced Nuts
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced
  • Dressing
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, optional
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper

A few months ago I was blessed to be a part of a fundraiser called Wheels for Samantha. A group of individuals got together to raise funds for a new wheelchair and handicapped accessible van needed for Samantha Dispirito, daughter of Sharon Dispirito.

An auction was held in Samantha’s honor. I had the opportunity to donate a cooking class/dinner for four. Karen, a woman who had been participated in my cooking classes before, bid on the item and won! This week I had the pleasure of having Karen and her dear friends over for a time of sweet fellowship and fun in my kitchen!

Because Karen’s class took place in November, I created a wonderful autumn-inspired menu which included this fall harvest salad, a delicious butternut squash apple soup with homemade croutons and crispy bacon and individual apple cakes.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Individual Apple Cakes

Fall Harvest Salad

This salad is the perfect choice for autumn when pears are in season. Apples would be a great choice as well.

Make the spice nuts:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat egg whites lightly with salt. Sift together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice and mix well. Add pecans to egg whites and coat completely. Transfer pecans to cinnamon sugar mixture. Coat pecans completely and place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until sugar coating on nuts is crisp. Cool and serve or store in an airtight container.

Mix the dressing up well. Assemble salad on plates and drizzle dressing over when ready to serve. All that’s left to do is to enjoy the flavors of autumn!