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Time to #GetCrackin on Deliciously Festive Holiday Recipes

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I am not a chef. Like, it’s a miracle that I get dinner on my children’s plate each night. And if I’m being totally honest, it’s usually one of three options: pasta with red sauce, chicken nuggets and broccoli, or, um, PB&J sandwiches.

I have two kids, a job, and a million demands—a complex homemade meal (my children will inevitably refuse to eat anyway!) is just not a priority most nights of the week.

Despite this fact, the truth is: I actually really do enjoy cooking… It just rarely happens. But give me a glass of wine, a freshly sharpened knife, and a quiet kitchen (AKA drop the kids off at my parents’ house!), and making something from scratch can feel both incredibly relaxing and entirely rewarding. (It won’t necessarily taste amazing, but, you know, practice makes perfect... And I need a whole lot more.)

Needless to say, I was super excited to “get crackin” and start cooking at the Momtrends Wonderful Pistachios event this past week with a bunch of awesome NYC bloggers.

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After a brief tutorial by the professionals at My Cooking Party, we were entrusted with extremely sharp knives(!!!!) as we set off to create our own appetizers, main course, side dishes, and dessert. Of course, all the recipes featured Wonderful Pistachios.

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I got to make sweet-and-salty popcorn balls. I chopped pistachios and warm cherries and added them to large bowl of popcorn. Then we drizzled on warm caramel sauce (made by BonBon Rose Girls friend!). We mixed everything and then shaped our concoction into balls. This was THE easiest activity ever. I’m definitely gonna make these with my son. It’s like shaping Play-Doh, but this time I won’t yell at him for eating the final product!

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After our immersive culinary experience, we all sat down at a stunning table dressed by Minted (those foil-dipped tree centerpieces!), and enjoyed our homemade meal (um, turkey roulade with pistachio pesto! yummy!)... Everything was beautiful, delicious, and chock-full of Wonderful Pistachios.

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This festive scene will definitely inspire my own holiday celebration this year. And I’ll be using one or two of these recipes for sure... I’m sharing my faves below, so get in the kitchen and get crackin’—even if you’re a novice! You might just have a "wonderful" time.

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Spicy Roasted Squash with Wonderful Pistachios
Delicata and butternut squash are roasted together with warm spices and a bit of cayenne to heat things up. Crunchy Wonderful Pistachios and maple syrup are just the right additions for texture and sweetness. Garnished with pomegranate arils this dish is a celebration of flavors.
Prep: 18 minutes / Time to Table: 38 minutes / Serves: 8 (about 10 pieces of squash/person; about a cup/person)

1 ½ pounds butternut squash (4 ½ cups prepped)
2 ½ pounds delicata squash
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup POM Wonderful pomegranate arils
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
2. Peel and seed butternut squash. Cut in half lengthwise and slice into ½ inch thick pieces. Cut in half again for quarters.
3. Cut delicata in half lengthwise and seed. Cut into ½ inch thick slices. Combine all the squash in a large mixing bowl.
4. Sprinkle the cinnamon, allspice, cayenne and salt over the squash. Mix thoroughly.
5. Melt the butter and stir into the olive oil. Drizzle over the spiced squash and mix thoroughly.
6. Transfer the squash to the baking sheets, arranging in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. Stir and flip squash. Sprinkle with Wonderful Pistachios and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until pistachios are just toasted. Remove from the oven.
8. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle pomegranate arils over the squash. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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Wonderful Pistachio Holiday Palettes
A chic version of chocolate bark! The french call these little treats Palettes and they are simply fine chocolate with artfully arranged nuts and fruit. Stick to Wonderful Pistachios and add some holiday sprinkles to make them your own.
Prep: 10 minutes / Time to Table: 1 hour / Makes: 12 palettes (6 semi-sweet, 6 white chocolate)

¾ cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chocolate bar
¾ cup good quality white chocolate chips
¼ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted
Dried fruit such as apricots, ginger, blueberries, bananas, plums, peaches, cranberries and cherries
Sprinkles and silver dragees

1. Melt chocolates in separate bowls. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spoon 1 tablespoon chocolate onto baking sheet for each palette. Chocolate will settle into a circle.
2. Decorate each palette with Wonderful Pistachios, dried fruit and sprinkles, cutting fruit into slivers or pieces as needed. Chill palettes for 30 minutes. If packaging, package while cold. Serve.

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