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From the time I was a little girl, December 1st meant one thing…the start of the advent calendar. Opening those little doors everyday to reveal a story or fun fact or a piece of chocolate made the countdown to Christmas even more exciting. The part I remember the most about the calendars was deciding (read: fighting) over who would get to open the first door. We always took turns opening a door every other day. Because my brother and I are 6 years apart, I had the slight advantage of figuring out very quickly that there are only 24 doors and 24 was an even number, therefore if I let him open the first day (which is always what he wanted) then I got the honor of opening the last door on Christmas Eve. He usually didn’t realize what I was doing until we had only a few doors left and he vowed that next year I would have to open door 1. He always forgot…#sorrynotsorry!

Now that we are older my mom sends us both our very own advent calendars. We are probably a little too old at this point for such nonsense, but it’s tradition. And I’ll admit I get a little too excited when it comes in the mail. So now we both get to open the first day and the last!! #thanksmom

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With Christmas Season upon us, there are tons of craft/holiday shows popping up all over the place. Last weekend I went to Craftacular with my friend Kristen to see if I could get some of my Christmas shopping done. As always, I ended up getting more for myself than others. One of my purchases was Ariel’s Hot Pepper Infused Honey. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and hot. As soon as I tasted it, I knew exactly what I was going to use it for…Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese!  The recipe called for Balsamic reduction, which I’m not a huge fan of, but I thought a “spicy” honey would be perfect. I was right, it was absolutely delicious.

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Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese (Adapted from: Two Peas & Their Pod)

Yield: 2 sandwiches
Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 small red onion, sliced
4 slices whole grain bread
4 ounces Brie, sliced
2 leaves kale, torn into pieces
Ariel’s Hot Pepper Infused Honey

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potato rounds in a small bowl and drizzle with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, caramelize the onion. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the onion slices in the pan and cook over medium heat with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 8 minutes. Remove onions from pan and set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. To make the grilled cheese, butter the outsides of the bread slices. Spread honey on inside of bread, layer the cheese, sweet potatoes, kale, and caramelized onions.

4. Place the sandwiches, butter side down, on the hot skillet pan or griddle. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.

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