Monday, April 30, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin & Tomatillo Soup

I thought this soup was great, the Hub didn't. The tomatilloes tasted too much like tomatoes for his taste. I needed Andrew here to have someone to rave about it with. I love that tang that the tomatilloes give. It originally called for acorn squash which I traded out with pumpkin. The only other change I made was to use lite coconut milk and replace the tomato juice with a can of diced tomatoes that I ran through the food processor. I thought I had a can of V-8, but it went missing. I'm positive no one drank it, so I'm not sure where it went.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pumpkin & Caramelized Onion Pizza

I took a lot of liberties with this recipe from Clean Eating magazine. I used a whole wheat Boboli instead of the frozen pizza dough, added fresh tomato pizza sauce, cooked the pumpkin with the onion and skipped the arugula altogether. Both the Hub and I enjoyed it one Saturday for lunch with a mango and avocado salad.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie recipe comes from the website Green Lite Bites. I love cookies; I would like to eat them every day, maybe at every meal, so nothing would make me happier than to find a recipe that tastes good and doesn't contain sugar or fat. This one almost makes it. Don't think for a minute that these are the best thing I've ever eaten, because they aren't. But if it's a choice between these kinds of cookies or nothing, I'll pick these cookies and keep on refining the recipe. This one contains raw sugar, molasses and agave, which let's face it, are other names for sugar. But it doesn't contain too much and I think you could cut back on it a little. It is totally added fat and oil free. I found the whole rolled oats too chewy and think I will whirl them in food processor a little before adding next time. I found flattening them a little challenging because of the stickyness. The author's batch made 66 cookies, which equals 3 cookies for 100 calories. Pretty dang good. Mine made 45 cookies. Still good. I've made another batch since writing this using quick oats and it works much better, less chewy and not sticky.

I think the mom that made up this recipe is sort of a genius. She said her kids loved them, which I thought a little hard to believe unless the kids have never known the taste of butter filled cookies. But if you look at the pictures, you'll see why. She let the kids make them, even take pictures of them, so with that much ownership, of course they loved to eat them, too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quinoa and Pumpkin Gratin

As a move toward a plant-based whole food diet, the Hub and I are all over quinoa. While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice. Quinoa is a favorite for three reasons: First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, quinoa tastes great on its own. Finally, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content and provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It's very small and has to be rinsed several times before cooking, which makes draining it problematic. Also as this red quinoa shows, it's not very attractive. I took lots of pictures, but it still sort of resembles dog food. Anyway it tastes OK. The Hub and I had this for dinner two nights and then I used the rest for a base for a salad. The recipe comes from the book The Best Vegetarian Recipes by Martha Rose Shulman.  

Quinoa and Pumpkin Gratin

2 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin chunks
1 cup quinoa
water or vegetable stock, as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
2 ounces Gruyere, grated (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh or dry bread crumbs

1.  Place the squash or pumpkin in a steaming basket above 1 inch of boiling water, cover and steam until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a strainer set over a bowl. Allow to drain for 10 minutes. If any liquid drains from the squash/pumpkin, combine it with water or stock to measure 2 cups. Cut into small dice, about 1/4 inch.

2.  Cook the quinoa. Wash the grains in several changes of water and drain through a fine sieve. Transfer the squash and water mixture to a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the quinoa. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the grains display a spiral shape. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish or baking dish.

4.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until the garlic begins to color and smell fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Gently stir in the squash/pumpkin and quinoa. Stir together and remove from the heat.

5. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper. Add the quinoa mixture and the cheese. Toss to combine. Taste and add more salt if desired. Turn into the baking dish. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the mixture is sizzling.

7.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Favorite Breakfast

I eat this every day for breakfast. I make up a big pot and eat it until it's gone, sometimes the Hub has it too, but mostly not. I boil 2 1/2 cups of water with 2 diced bananas, 1 cup of mixed berries (either fresh or frozen), 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, a teaspoon of cinnamon and about 1/2 can of pumpkin. I used to add some agava, but the berries are really sweet enough. Add 2 cups of rolled oats and simmer for 10 minutes. It doesn't really simmer, more like glubs. You could change this up with whatever fruit you like.

Notice the darling little yellow dish. It's an individual pie plate in Fiesta Ware that I picked up at The Old House gift shop on Proctor in Tacoma Wa. I thought I might be making little pies and only got one of the going-out-production piece, but I like eating my oatmeal out of it and might have to get some more.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pumpkin-Turkey Medley

This recipe comes from the book Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stovel, my original inspiration for this blog. She says the dish is adapted from Martha Storey's sensationally simple recipe for putting together the last bits of Thanksgiving turkey with mashed pumpkin. Both the Hub and I liked this casserole and ate it for several days in a row, but added more chicken broth each time we heated it up. Ours was a little dry. It could also be made with chicken.

Pumpkin-Turkey Medley

1 1/2 pound sugar pumpkin, seeds and fibers removed, cut into chunks (or 2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin)
Olive oil, for rubbing on the pumpkin
2 cups bread cubes
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 -3 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

1.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Thoroughly wash the outside of the pumpkin. Rub lightly with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Cool slightly, then peel off the outer skin and coarsely mash enough to make 2 cups. While the pumpkin is roasting, spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

3.  Reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter.

4.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion in bubbling butter for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in the croutons, sage, salt, and pepper to taste and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the broth, pumpkin, and turkey and transfer to the prepared casserole dish.

5.  Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the cheddar on top and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly. Serve steaming hot.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pumpkin Blossom Cookies

I made these cookies as a going away present for Sean, who is leaving Discovery Creative to return to San Francisco. They are a take on the better known peanut butter blossom cookies popular during the holidays. I was amazed at how blossom-like they tasted without the essential peanut butter. The original creator used candy corn kisses, which aren't available this time of year so I chose these white chocolate kisses. The recipe calls for 40 kisses, but I found that it made many more cookies than that. I do tend to make cookies small, but they were plenty big enough.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

This recipe comes from the Australia site. It calls for fresh lasagna sheets, which no store in my area carried, so I used dried lasagna that I softened in hot water until pliable. You roll fresh cooked pumpkin, spinach and ricotta (I used cottage cheese) in the lasagna sheet and bake it in a tomato sauce, which you make. I think pasta sauce would work just as well and save time. My tomato sauce was a little bland and I think a commercially prepared pasta sauce would add more flavor. Both the Hub and I like this. It's nutritious, easy to make and incorporates four vegetables in one dish.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Spears with Parmesan

This side dish recipe  from the Paula Deen website is different from others of hers that I have tried and posted. No sugar. No butter. Mostly healthy ingredients. A nice change of pace. This is what she has to say about the recipe: This savory recipe uses the pumpkin as a “potato” by roasting it with some extra virgin olive oil and salty Parmesan cheese. Simple and straightforward, this dish is a sign in Italy that summer is over and fall has arrived!

I made a half recipe, trying to make my final fresh pumpkin stretch to as many recipes as possible. It's really good, especially straight from the oven with the parmesan gooey and warm.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

This salad from the website 101 Cookbooks calls for red onions and wild rice. I didn't have any red onions and was too cheap to pony up for wild rice so mine isn't nearly as pretty as the original. It did, however, taste great. I substituted sweet onions and red rice.  It was the perfect lunch for me to take to work. It's dense and filling, but really nutritious and low in calories. I skipped the dressing in favor of one I make myself with less olive oil.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pumpkin Cake with Dulce de Leche Icing

This recipe came from the blog Arctic Garden Studio, a blog about living, eating and gardening in Fairbanks, Alaska. She came up with this recipe to use up some pumpkin she had leftover, when the pumpkin shortage of that year did not materialize. It calls for a 10 by 15 inch pan, but I used a 10 by 13 and it came out fine. The frosting, which contains dulce de leche, is an interesting take on the regular cream cheese frosting. It has a slight caramel flavoring that complements the cake nicely. My tasters at Discovery Creative had no complaints and the cake was gone quickly.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This side dish recipe from the PBS Food website is a sort of like a bread stuffing, but also has an egg and cream/milk custard base. Both the Hub and I really liked it. I made a half batch, which fit nicely in this small baking dish. It calls for a baguette, so against my better judgement, I bought one at the grocery store. Grocery store baguettes are worthless as far as I'm concerned. Oh they come in little paper bags like you are purchasing them in some French bakery, but you need to eat them in the car on the way home to avoid tearing your gums to ribbons. They have a shelf life of less than 15 minutes before turning to cement. In a recipe like this though, that's perfect.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Peeps

The Hub loves Peeps. The rest of us not so much. He took some to Disneyland to share with the girls, which they were all over until they tasted one. He tried to get us to make s'mores with them out at the lake, but that didn't pan out either. But making pumpkin Peeps was the most fun we've had on this blog for a while. Andrew, home for the weekend, thought a trip to the new Peeps store at National Harbor would inspire us. I don't really know what I thought would be in it, but it's adorable and has more Peeps merchandise than you would have thought imaginable on the planet.

I've had a pumpkin marshmallow recipe in the files for a while, but I used this website for directions using the pan, which is a must for making exact Peeps replicates. Although the pan is from Wilton, it appears to be only available at Target. You can also bake little cakes it, so it's worth the $10 price. The recipe makes way more than necessary and since they have to set up overnight, I'd make a half recipe next time. A stand mixer and candy thermometer are musts. The website shows her pouring the marshmallow in, but ours was too thick and we were having some real doubts about it at that point. The next morning they peeled out of the pan without tearing with some help. I put my colored sprinkles in sandwich bags and shook each one individually. My eyes are mini chocolate chips which I stuck in after piercing the Peep with a sharp knife. We all loved them and they taste great too.