Posts tagged ‘pumpkin’

It’s Fall Y’all: Pumpkin

Fall is definitely my favorite season. This was confirmed so many times this week: making fall snacks rich with cinnamon, taking a walk through Beacon Hill in the crisp chill of autumn with smells of fireplaces and fall leaves in the air, seeing all of the rich reds and oranges and yellows that fill the trees on my way to work. I love this season! This past weekend, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making some fall treats to last me for the upcoming weeks. So look forward to some fall themed posts coming your way! Unfortunately, finding time to write about what I have been creating has been my limiting step as of late…

First up: pumpkin! It is all over the blog world right now – pumpkin in every baked good, breakfast treat, soup, and stew… wherever you can think to look, you can find pumpkin! I decided to be adventurous this year and roast my own pumpkin…from scratch! I did this once before I was blogging, and thought it was a fun process… boy, did I forget how much extra work it is! The beauty of thick-skinned pumpkins and squashes is that you can buy them, keep them as a centerpiece for a few weeks, and then roast them when you have time! Small, sugar pumpkins make the best for roasting, but the seeds of carving pumpkins are delicious too!

To roast a pumpkin, slice the top off, scoop out the seeds and strings, and then season with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. Roast it until it is soft at 350F – about an hour and a half. Then, peel the skin off and use the flesh for soups, stews, or puree to make your own un-canned pumpkin! The interesting thing about pumpkin is that the flavor is very mild. Most people associate pumpkin flavor with pumpkin pie, but the pie is made by the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Take that away and pumpkin itself is pretty mild. That also makes it very versatile if you have an open mind about what it should taste like!

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For a great pumpkin soup, try this spiced up version: Coconut Pumpkin Soup. This was my first pumpkin soup adventure and I would make it again! I am not quite sure what the equivalent of canned pumpkin would be since I used the whole pumpkin method. It has a great Thai flavor profile, thanks to the coconut milk (I used the lighter, boxed kind, 4 cups, in place of cans), coriander, and ginger. You can adjust the spice level by using less chilis. Use vegan margarine or oil instead of butter and it is vegan as well! Also, if you aren’t a soy sauce fan, I’d suggest adding a pinch or two of salt to the soup while cooking! This is a great alternative for a fall soup with great homestyle bread, or as an appetizer.

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While you have the oven going, why not roast the seeds? Rinse them and shake them in some olive oil, salt and paprika. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast them at 350F for 20 minutes, stirring them once. This is easier than most people thing, and make for a great fall snack!

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Another great fall snack is pumpkin pie roasted almonds. I made them this weekend and seriously cannot stop eating them. If you are an almond fan, this is a healthier (and cheaper) way to have a sweet and salty snack than most of the pre-packaged varieties!

In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some pumpkin recipes I tried out last year…

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Brownie Pie

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Almond Oatmeal

…and some recipes I have my eye on!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Pumpkin Scones

Question: What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

A Lonely Can of Pumpkin

Along with the rest of the blog world, I was on a huge pumpkin kick in the early fall. I was loving pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin pancakes, and stocked up on canned pumpkin whenever my grocery store had it on sale. As I was searching for an idea for a vegan muffin to bring to my Bible study last week, I stumbled upon the last lonely can of pumpkin in my cabinet. I decided on making pumpkin muffins, knowing that pumpkin and banana based quick breads are the easiest to make vegan! After a quick Google search and a lot of recipe comparisons, I decided to try out a recipe from Post Punk Vegan Kitchen. After being the self-proclaimed best, it was a no brainer! I made some adaptations from the original recipe: using some whole wheat flour, less sugar, subbing some of the oil with applesauce. The result – a really flavorful, dense vegan muffin! I was really happy with how these turned out, so give them a try! The recipe is pretty fool-proof.

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The only problem: it doesn’t use up a full can of pumpkin! Maybe there is a pumpkin quinoa breakfast bake in my future…

Question: Where do you find most of your new recipes?

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Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

adapted from Post Punk Kitchen, makes 16 muffins

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup soy milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup apple sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

In two bowls, mix wet and dry ingredients together; then combine. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in pan, then use a knife to loosen the edges. Remove from pan to cool completely.

January 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm 8 comments

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Since most of our family lives in Florida, we usually find friends to share Thanksgiving with. Our camping family friends often join us for Thanksgiving dessert, and their daughter is an excellent baker. However, their plans changed last minute this year, and so we were left to recreate her beloved Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle on our own! I did not plan ahead for this dessert and had to improvise, but it came out pretty well! It has all of the traditional pumpkin pie flavors, but is a fun and beautiful way to showcase your dessert. This trifle has three layers: pumpkin gingerbread, pumpkin mousse, and a whipped cream layer. The pumpkin gingerbread is super simple to make, and the recipe I used is at the end of this post. You could also make this bread on its own, serving it for weekend brunch or frosted or with ice cream for dessert. To make the pumpkin mousse, I whipped pumpkin, evaporated milk, and brown sugar together with pumpkin pie spice. However, my mousse never took on the pudding consistency I wanted. This pumpkin mousse recipe is a safer bet if you are going to make this for friends and family! Lastly is the whipped cream layer. You may have figured this out when I substituted evaporated milk for cream in the mousse, but I forgot to buy cream! Instead, I mixed together greek yogurt and the rest of the evaporated milk with vanilla and honey to create a sweet yogurt layer. I really enjoyed this, but my sister missed the sweet whipped cream. Depending on your preferences, choose the creamy layer that works best for you!

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To assemble the trifle, choose a large, clear dessert bowl. Cut the pumpkin gingerbread into cubes, and then layer half of it in the bottom of the dessert bowl. Top with half of your pumpkin mousse, and then half of your whipped cream or sweetened yogurt. Repeat these layers, then top with chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It is best to assemble this dessert close to the time you will be serving it, since the layers stand out best and make this dessert look really elegant!

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Question: What dessert did you enjoy most this Thanksgiving?

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Vegan Pumpkin Gingerbread

adapted from the Happy Herbivore and All Recipes

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup milk of your choice

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Combine wet into dry ingredients until well combined. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour batter into pan. Cook for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven, or until knife comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan, slicing, and serving. Serve as is for breakfast, with ice cream or whipped cream for dessert, or use in a pumpkin gingerbread trifle.

November 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm 4 comments

WIA… on Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your day was filled with good food, friends, family, and words of thanks for all of the many blessings we have in our lives. My family is being a bit non-traditional this year… we postponed Thanksgiving! My sister is splitting the holiday with her boyfriend this year, so we agreed to have dinner a day late in order to share her. Plus, I didn’t arrive home until Wednesday evening, and my mom and I wanted plenty of time to prepare a proper Thanksgiving feast together! So my Thanksgiving Day eats might not be what you expect…

Morning workout 8:30am

I went for a quick 2.5 mi run through my neighborhood this morning, just to get my legs moving again from the long car ride yesterday. I wanted to stay out for longer, but forgot my gloves and my tingly hands told me to give up early!

Breakfast: 9:30am

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I enjoyed this lovely bowl of oatmeal over a few cups with my mom as we sat and “solved the problems of the world.” No better time to discuss weighty issues like medical ethics, politics, and family drama like than pre-caffeine, right? This oatmeal was another fall special: apple sauce, cubed apples, cinnamon, sliced almonds and dried cranberries. So good!

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A preview of our lightened up mashed potatoes for tomorrow!

The rest of our day was spent cooking for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, making as much ahead as possible. We have a lot of great things on our table this year, and I can’t wait to share pictures and a new recipe or two that we came up with! I couldn’t help but steal nibbles of the roasting potatoes, veggies, and bread cubes, so I wasn’t too hungry for lunch. I had of this morning’s breakfast leftovers and a crumble of cookie, but was too full for a real meal. After finishing our cooking, we took advantage of the warm weather to put up some of the outdoor Christmas lights. Can’t help but sing some Christmas songs when that happens…

Afternoon workout 5:30pm

My mom is trying to incorporate some stretching and weight lifting into her daily routine, so we tried out a 10 minute beginner’s yoga routine (free on Exercise TV on my parent’s cable) and I taught her a simple free weights routine that included high knees, tricep extensions, bicep curls, shoulder presses, and a few more fun exercises. It is simple and takes only 10 minutes, so hopefully it is something she can use on a daily basis!

Dinner: 6:30pm

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Roasted squash before making the soup - love the bright orange color!

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More great colors from the beets and carrots before mixing the salad.

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My mom made some wonderful fall treats, trying out some vegetarian recipes that she found. She has a Whole Foods app on her iPad and bookmarks any veggie recipe that reminds her of me so she has a full arsenal of things to try out whenever I come home! Tonight, she made a fall salad with apple, carrot, beet, turnip and a citrus dressing. We ate that along with a butternut and acorn squash soup, a real treat since she made it with cream cheese! I enjoyed it with some pumpkin ale and bread for a perfect fall meal with my parents.

Dessert: 9pm

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We were entrenched in a tough came of cards (anyone else play Canasta?), and needed a mid-game treat to pull us through. Good thing my friend and I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last night! The recipe is at the end of the post in case you need anymore post-Thanksgiving pumpkin! I went from losing at cards badly to winning the game by a tiny margin – cookies for the win? I think so!

Question: What are you thankful for this year?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 tsp milk

2 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips

Mix together wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in other. Stir dry into wet mixture until well combined. Add chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Store in a sealed container.

November 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm 4 comments

Surprise!

I am a bad liar… Some say it is because I am “innocent at heart” or too nice, but really I am just not creative enough to cover my tracks. It is hard for me to keep surprises a secret but, hopefully, I have just pulled off one of the most epic of birthday surprises! I caught a ride with friends to Pennsylvania, and hitchhiked my way to Philly with my sister’s boyfriend (and my co-conspirator) all to do two things…

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Give my sister a birthday hug in person!

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Share a 21st birthday drink with her!

I will be back with updates of our Philly adventures on Sunday, but until then, surprise someone you love with this bowl of pumpkin pie for breakfast this weekend. I have been playing around with some oatmeal flavors, and have found a way to eat pie for breakfast! Even oatmeal haters should try this recipe – who wouldn’t want pie for breakfast?

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Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used vanilla coconut, but usually use almond milk)

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup oatmeal

1/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp agave

dash nutmeg

dash ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 graham cracker, crumbled

In a small pot, bring milk and water to boil. Add oats and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the pumpkin before the oats are fully cooked. Add agave nectar and spices and allow to cook fully until oats turn from liquid to pudding consistency. Serve in a bowl with a graham cracker “crust” sprinkled on top.

November 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm 3 comments

WIAW Protein Packed Edition

Time for another What I Ate Wednesday! Finding a healthy balance keeps getting harder as school keeps picking up. We have three exams before Thanksgiving (one is tomorrow!) and I have several other deadlines approaching for clinical shadowing, student groups, and volunteer commitments. Just taking one day at a time though, and trying to eat well for energy for my long days! Monday was not a good energy day. I was hungry almost all day despite eating normal meals, found myself reaching for coffee more often than usual, and was sluggish for much of the day. After putting together this post and comparing the two days, I realized why! Protein! Monday’s meals were significantly lacking in protein, and therefore I got hungry pretty quickly between meals. I sure made up for that on Tuesday!

Breakfast: 7:30am

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My friend sent me a Facebook message describing a delicious breakfast porridge made with leftover quinoa. She simply let it soak in milk, added sliced apples and cinnamon, and enjoyed a wonderful fall breakfast. I chose to add pumpkin to mine instead, and the results were fantastic! I used 1/2 cup quinoa leftover from cooking, soaked in 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup pumpkin with a dash of cinnamon overnight (or 2 nights in my case). In the morning, I re-heated it and served it with cinnamon and raisins for a great, filling breakfast. This kept me full through a long exam review session and a morning meeting or two!

Lunch and snacks: 12pm

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I snacked on the clementine during my first meeting, and then finally got a real lunch break. I enjoyed leftover cranberry quinoa, with this portion being pretty heavy on the delicata squash! Didn’t plan too well to have quinoa two meals in a row, but again I was full and happy from this lunch! I enjoyed the apple for dessert, and saved my clementine for a mid-afternoon pick me up between scheduled clinical classes.

Dinner: 5pm

black bean soup

I forgot to take a picture, but luckily other food bloggers are more diligent than I! Photo cred to http://www.the-new-healthy.com/2010/09/peanut-butter-jelly-time.html

Panera is often my study spot of choice because of their free WiFi and bottomless cups of coffee. (Lesser known fact: I worked at Panera through my senior year and for the summer before medical school, and will always have a special spot in my heart for this place!) I have bought enough cups of coffee this year to get a free bowl of soup with my rewards card, so dinner was on Panera tonight! I love the black bean soup and enjoyed it with a piece of baguette for dipping. Told you my day was protein packed!

Dessert: 8pm

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I must admit that I wasn’t hungry for dessert, but was craving something when I finally made it home from my long day. I made this in a similar way to my sugar-free apple crisp. I used up some leftover canned peaches sprinkled with cinnamon for the base, and then mixed some oats, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and walnuts with the sweet peach juice. I let it all bake and enjoyed a single serve peach crisp in just a half hour! Followed by a handful or three of honey roasted peanuts and a lot more studying, I think I sure made up for my previous day’s protein deficit!

Question: What was the “theme” of your meals today?

October 26, 2011 at 8:00 am 5 comments

Pumpkin Baking

I have recently done the opposite of what most of the healthy food blogging world attempts to do. Bake with pumpkin, twice? No, that’s still pretty much everywhere. I un-veganized a recipe, twice. Why, you might ask? (after wondering if that is a real word…) I made plans to bake with friends, and both times ended up traveling to their apartments. Since most of my friends do not regularly stock almond milk, flax/chia seeds, Earth Balance, and specialty flours, I had to change the recipes up a bit to make them more user-friendly. The results: fantastic. They are definitely indulgences, but the best part of baking with friends is that there are many people around to enjoy the results!

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The hardest part about this recipe: you have to let it chill for a few hours to let the pie set! So hard not to eat right out of the oven...

Baking date #1: Oh She Glow’s Pumpkin Brownie Pie. I saw this weeks ago and immediately called my friend to tell him about it. Pumpkin pie and brownie together? What’s not to love. Unfortunately, one of his roommates is allergic to pecans. In order for everyone to be able to enjoy the pie, we used slivered almonds in place of the pecans. You can find the original recipe here. The changes we made, besides the nut substitiution, were to use butter in place of coconut oil in the brownie, as well as to use regular milk and butter wherever vegan alternatives were called for in the recipe. The result was truly decadent. A splurge whether you keep the recipe vegan or not, but so worth every bite.

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I swear there is a pumpkin pie layer in there somewhere!

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Artful icing drizzles

Baking date #2: Eat Live Run’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. M and I are in another discussion class together this semester, so of course we had to bake something delicious for our classmates! Remember those sinful brownies we made last time? Deciding against the chocolate coma this time, we experimented with these fall treats. We again used regular milk and butter, used a real egg instead of a flax one, and omitted a few of the spices that M didn’t have on hand. We also added a few big spoonfuls of pumpkin to the cinnamon sugar filling. The result: decadent, fall-spiced cinnamon rolls. Even with the un-veganizing, these are still on the healthier side of baked goods (not counting that amazing icing of course!) Our classmates enjoyed the treat during a long Wednesday afternoon discussion!

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Convinced of your need to hit the kitchen and bake these yet?

Switching between baking styles can be tricky, but whether you are cooking for a vegan recipe for non-vegan friends, or trying a new trick or two in vegan baking, remember to have fun! If the recipe changes you make don’t work out, just try again! Most of the time, however, your experimenting will result in something delicious!

Question: Do you ever modify recipes to suit your own or your friends needs/preferences?

October 21, 2011 at 7:14 am 8 comments

WIAW Leftover Edition

I had a lot of fun participating in Peas and Crayons‘ What I Ate Wednesday last week, from taking pictures of my daily eats to getting inspiration for simple meal ideas from other bloggers. I am excited for my second WIAW, and hope to do this more in the future. Yesterday’s meals were pretty simple, pulled together from leftovers. I hate wasting food and will always use up leftovers (or freeze them) before cooking a new meal, even if I am getting bored. Freezing leftovers has been a huge help in the past, since I will often freeze individual containers and then have my own, homemade TV dinners when life gets hectic. Another way I have found to avoid leftover boredom is to reinvent them. Keep reading for some of my leftover makeovers!

Pre-breakfast snack: 7am

I set my alarm for 6:45am, with no intentions of leaving my warm cozy bed for class. Instead, I brewed a pot of my pumpkin spiced coffee, grabbed a handful of peanuts in the process, and crawled back under the covers with my mug and clinical textbook to learn about the cardiac exam.

Breakfast: 8am

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After making it halfway through my reading, I decided to face the day and my cold apartment. I finally made myself some Pumpkin Oatmeal! I saw it on so many WIAW’s last week, and pumpkin recipes keep appearing everywhere, so I knew I had to have some. I followed this recipe at Oh She Glows for the oatmeal, but skipped the suggested toppings, choosing a few toasted almonds and some fresh ground cinnamon instead. So yummy! A hearty breakfast that sneaks good-for-you veggies without you even realizing… (Yes, pumpkin is a vegetable and it is rich in fiber and Vitamin A!)

Lunch: 11:45am

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Lucky I had leftover Subway sandwiches on hand for what turned out to be a hectic afternoon. The break in the rain I needed to bike to campus never came, and so I was resigned to taking the bus. Unfortunately, the bus takes at least 3 times as long, and so I had to inhale my lunch as I was getting ready and flying out the door. I gave the Veggie Sub a little more staying power with a slice of melted cheese on one side, some hummus on the other, and a few extra pickles in the middle. Perfection. Good thing my new travel mug kept my peppermint tea piping hot until I got to school! Peppermint tea works way better than gum as a breath freshener (no one wants their (future) doctor to have Subway breath!)

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Snack: 4:30pm

A long day of learning about heart sounds and the complete cardiac exam left me quite hungry by 4:30pm. I didn’t want to eat too much, since my yoga class was in an hour and it is not advised to go to hot yoga after eating a meal. I ate the pear I had picked out for lunch and didn’t have time to eat, and drank a whole lotta water in preparation for yoga. Good thing! This was the hardest yoga class I have ever taken! Granted, I have only been to 3… but it was a challenge, and I loved it! My arms feel strong, my legs feel stretched from the previous day’s 10.5 mile run, and I sweated more than I knew possible! (TMI? Sorry!)

Dinner: 8pm

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The only One problem with not being able to bike to class is not being able to bike home! I was probably a treat to sit next to on the bus – sweaty, tired, and hungry (read: cranky). I heated up some leftover winter melon soup (almost through that gigantic pot!) but was sick of having eggs with it. Instead, I sauteed a few mushrooms in chili oil and added them to the soup with some soy sauce for a different spin. It was a nice change since I have eaten a lot of this soup lately, and it was good to have so much liquid after hot yoga.

Dessert(s): 9pm

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Still pretty hungry after my big bowl of soup, I sought a sugar-free dessert. This is a trick from my roommate for “baked” cinnamon apples! Just cut up an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and microwave it for 2 minutes. The apples give off a bit of juice that makes a quasi-sauce, and the natural sweetness and spice of the cinnamon really shines through. Not eating added sugar really opens up your taste buds!

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Still hungry, I munched on some peanuts and raisins after my apple. I was really craving something salty, and needed a bit more protein in my day.

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I settled down to finish studying for the evening, and was still hungry and thirsty from yoga! I made some decaf green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger (my new favorite night time drink!) and had a slice of toast with Smart Balance. I may or may not have sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on my toast… finally hit the spot!

Question: Have you ever done hot yoga? Do you experience weird salt cravings afterwords, or does it take your body a while to recover from the fluid loss?

September 21, 2011 at 6:42 am 10 comments


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