Browsing Tag


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

November 28, 2010

After this past weekend, are you in need of something to lighten you up?

Would you rather just be eating pumpkin pie?

Yeah, I’m with you on that one. I don’t care how many times I’ve had it, I love pumpkin pie and I wish it stuck around longer than just two months.

What keeps my cravings at bay these days? Pumpkin Pie Smoothies.

If you follow any health blogs, you’ve probably seen a recipe or two similar to this sometime in the last couple of months, for good reason.

Though it may sound a little strange, it tastes totally delicious and is completely healthy and safe for every day consumption. One of these smoothies has less than 300 calories per serving, over 1,000 mg of potassium, 388% vitamin A, 40% vitamin B6, and over 25% vitamin C. Of course, this depends on the type of protein powder you use, but it’s a nutrient powerhouse no matter what type of protein you choose.

Give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Printable Recipe)

*1 medium banana
*1/2 cup milk
*1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
*2 tsp. Stevia, Splenda, or honey
*1/2 cup canned pumpkin
*5-7 ice cubes
*1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

*Place all the above ingredients in a blender and blend or process until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Happy Cooking


Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread

October 28, 2010

Having candy on hand in my apartment is a rarity. In fact, I rarely even have chocolate chips lying around. Some baker I am. Thankfully, I live within walking distance of Target, making it easy to go grab supplies and a whole lot less tempting than having chocolate in the house. But last week while Joey (yes, I’ve decided to start calling him by his real name!) and I were up in Minneapolis, his mom sent us all home with a giant bag of Halloween candy.

Knowing I needed to get that candy out of my apartment fast, I saved a few pieces for my secret stash and got to baking with the rest. A majority of said candy was mini Butterfinger candy bars, which I think really go well with the flavors of classic fall baking. And by fall baking, I mean pumpkin treats. For a few weeks now, pumpkin bread has been on my list of things to bake and those extra Butterfingers were just the push I needed.

Adapted from Baking in America by Greg Patent, this recipe is killer. Crispy on the outside, sweet, dense and moist on the inside.  And the Butterfingers? It seems that pumpkin and Butterfinger were meant to be together. Give it a try and I think you’ll agree.

I’m off to get ready for the weekend. My mom and Joey are coming to stay with me and I’ve got cleaning to do! Do any of you have Halloween plans?

Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Baking In America by Greg Patent 
(Printable Recipe)

*1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 tsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. ground ginger
*1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
*1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfingers (about 14 mini candy bars)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cardamom, and ginger. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat the eggs for about 1 minute, until frothy. Add both sugars and beat until creamy and thick, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until smooth. Stir in the Butterfingers. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
*Bake for 50 to 60 (it was more like 65 minutes for me) until the loaf is well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and turn the loaf right side up on the rack to cool completely. Cut with a serrated knife.

Happy Baking!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 15, 2010

You all had to know another pumpkin recipe was waiting in the wings. After the great pumpkin hunt last week I could hardly wait to start cooking and baking up all sorts of pumpkin-related goodness. Not long after the pumpkin pasta, three days to be exact, I baked up a batch of these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. And since I like to send J on his way back home with a treat for the car ride, I packed theses babies up and sent them on their merry way to Illinois. Portion control at its very best, my friends.

These cookies are a little different than others I put up on the site. Adding pumpkin into the mix makes them of the cakey variety rather than crispy-chewy. A bit of ground cinnamon and nutmeg play up the pumpkin-pie vibe without being overpowering. And the chocolate? Well, why wouldn’t you put chocolate in a cookie? Though now that I’m thinking about it, butterscotch chips would be absolutely divine.

Shoot, I wish I would have thought of that sooner…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Printable Recipe)

If you’re like me and prefer your cookies on the slightly underdone side, shoot for baking them 12 minutes, or just slightly under that. And if you’re more like my mom, who loves her cookies well-done, aim for the high end at 15 minutes.

*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1 large egg
*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup instant oats
*1 cup milk chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, Add in the sugars and mix until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and baking soda until just combined.
*Beat in the egg and stir until just combined. Add in the flour and mix until just combined, followed by the oats and chocolate chips.
*Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden around the edges and puffed in the center. Remove and transfer to wire racks to cool.

Happy Baking!


Rigatoni with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

September 10, 2010

Wednesday night a craving for pumpkin hit me hard. It had been creeping up slowly, after weeks of seeing recipes for pumpkin french toast and pumpkin oatmeal pop up on some of my favorite blogs. And then there was the incessant talk about the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte that rang throughout the Twitter universe. Seems like I wasn’t the only one who had pumpkin on the brain.

So when Wednesday’s pumpkin craving hit me like a Mack truck, I figured satisfying it would be pretty simple, right? Run to the store, pick up some pumpkin, make something yummy. Not a chance.

When Target was out, I drove over to our midwestern grocery store chain, Hy-Vee, where I demanded to speak to the manager to inquire about why there was a large OUT OF STOCK sign where the canned pumpkin was supposed to be. Turns out, they were having a tough time getting pumpkin in the store and weren’t sure when the next shipment would come in.

I made calls that night to WalMart Supercenters and a few other specialty grocers until I found a store that had Libby’s canned pumpkin. Not wanting to risk missing out, I threw on presentable clothes and rushed over to retrieve seven 30-oz. cans of pumpkin, wet hair and all.

It was so worth the trip, if just to enjoy this pumpkin pasta. With a bit of tomato soup, ricotta cheese, and plenty of pumpkin puree, it proves pasta dishes can be creamy, delicious and healthy. If the combination sounds strange to you, you’re in good company. Most of those I’ve fed pumpkin pasta to have balked at the thought, only to fall it love with it upon first bite.

Rigatoni with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
(Printable Recipe)

*8 oz. rigatoni pasta
*1 Tbsp. butter
*3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
*3/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. black pepper
*1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
*1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
*1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
*1/4 cup tomato soup
*14.5 oz. can diced southwestern-style tomatoes, rinsed and drained
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

*Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.
*In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the milk, salt, black pepper and sage. Cook, stirring often, until milk is warm but not hot, about 2 to 3 minutes.
*Add in the pumpkin and ricotta cheese, stirring until all ingredients are well-combined and the mixture is creamy. Stir in the tomato soup and continue to cook until mixture is hot but not boiling, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the diced tomatoes.
*Add pumpkin cream sauce mixture to pasta and toss to coat evenly. Divide among four bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Happy Cooking!


Open-faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

February 4, 2010

 My two absolute favorite ingredients are peanut butter and pumpkin. Impressive, exclusive, gourmet? No. Delicious and versatile? Most certainly. Because they are both so versatile, and can star in dishes both sweet and savory, I never run out of ways to use them, and if at all possible, together.

If you take a seat at my breakfast table during the winter months, which here in Iowa the term ‘winter months’ can mean any time between October and April, you will probably be served a slice of whole wheat bread from Great Harvest, spread with a bit of creamy peanut butter and topped with a mixture of canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and a bit of brown sugar.

But I’m not here to talk about ways to use peanut butter and pumpkin at breakfast. No, I’m posting to share my newly discovered way to combine the two – in a cake-like cookie topped with fluffy peanut butter cream. I’ve been showing a lot of healthy, veggie-centric dishes lately, so to balance it out, I give you Open-faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies.

Open-Faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies 
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

*2 large eggs
*1/2 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

*2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

*1 tsp. baking soda

*2 1/2 cups flour

*3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
*1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
*1/3 cup milk
*4-5 cups powdered sugar

*Preheat oven to 350*F. With electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the sugar; beat 1-2 minutes, until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Add in pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Beat until well-combined. Slowly add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined.
*Scoop dough by heaping teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are browned on the bottom, puffed up, and the cookie springs back when lightly touched with your finger. Cool on wire racks. Yields about 32 cookies.
*For the icing, with an electric mixer (preferably fitted with a whisk attachment), combine peanut butter and butter, beating until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add in milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until the cream is fluffy. (I will be honest, I didn’t really measure the amount of powdered sugar I added. I just kept adding until it was creamy, slightly firm, but still spreadable. I think it was around 4-5 cups, but by adding it in a cup at a time you can control the consistency as you go. If you add too much powdered sugar, just add in a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency.)
*Pipe or spread the icing onto each cooled cookie. Don’t be shy. Spread it on thick. It’s truly the best part of this cookie.

Happy Baking!


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