Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby Cakes

This recipe is very similar to the one I used, which I can no longer find on the web. Sometimes I gather recipes and it's a year or more before I try them. One thing I would change in both recipes is to cream the sugars and butter before adding the eggs, vanilla and honey. It just doesn't work adding them all at the same time. My butter never completely combined, but it didn't hurt the final product. My recipe called for 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and jars of applesauce and apricot baby food, while this one mixed that up a little. I made them in a mini-muffin pan and it made 57 muffins at about 60 calories each. These little bites have a lot of sugar in them in my opinion. White sugar, brown sugar, honey and the baby food has concentrated apple and grape juices. I chose not to frost them and instead eat them in the mornings or as a snack instead of using them as dessert.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rigatoni with Sausage, Pumpkin & Tomato

This recipe came from the October 2012 Rachael Ray magazine. As pointed out by a reader, the online version has a typo that the magazine version does not - 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water instead of 12 cups. Right off the bat you'll notice that I didn't use rigatoni, but some spiral whole wheat pasta that we had in the house. I also replaced the sausage with vegetarian sausage. Both the Hub and I like this and plan on taking it for lunches. If I made it again I would punch up the vegetables and cut back on the pasta, but I'm just like that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Bean Dip

This recipe, from the cookbook Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stovel, is great. I don't even need the chips because I think it makes a great side dish. The pumpkin is undetectable. Here's what DeeDee has to say about it: "A smooth creamy texture with a bit of chunkiness, a deep rich flavor and bright hints of cilantro make this fresh-tasting bean dip a favorite on the hors d'oeuvre table." I couldn't agree with her more.

Black Bean Dip
Makes 4 cups


1 tablespoon canola oil
1-2 jalapeno chilies, minced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Assorted corn chips and vegetables

1.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Cook the peppers and onion over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until they soften slightly. Add the garlic and cook another minutes. Set aside.

2.  Place the beans, pumpkin, lime juice, cumin, salt and water in the bowl of a food processor and puree until partially smooth, stirring with a scraper as needed. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and the cilantro and pulse a few times until blended but not completely smooth.

3. Scrape the dip into a bowl, garnish with a sprig of cilantro, and serve with corn chips and vegetables, such as a mix of white, blue, and yellow tortilla chips; baby carrots and slices of red bell pepper.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats

I used the recipe on the back of the marshmallow's package, which I no longer have, but you can use this one. She adds chocolate, which wasn't necessary at my daughter's house where they were gone in a flash. We all liked them. Robin is an expert at making rice crispy treats, knowing exactly how to melt the marshmallows. Low and slow is her advice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

This recipe is from the Food Network, courtesy of Nigella Lawson. She thinks this a great recipe to have up your sleeve to entertain during the week. Most of the ingredients you can keep in the freezer and the rest you should be able to run out and get at lunch. I don't know about that. It has an extensive list of ingredients that you may or may not keep in your freezer. Lime leaves? Bok choy? Lemon grass? Fish stock? The seafood is salmon and shrimp.

This recipe really is a winner though. The Hub and I ate it for dinner over rice and I took it for lunch as a soup. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pumpkin Posole

This recipe is from the October 2012 Better Homes and Gardens. Here's what they have to say about posole: "Posole is a Mexican soup made with chili powder and hominy. For this version, we've swapped out half of the usual amount of hominy for tender pieces of winter squash." And the dictionary defines hominy as hulled and dried kernels of corn, prepared as food by boiling. I think canned hominy must have already been boiled. Since they say that chili powder is an intrigal part of posole, I upped the 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon and added a dash of chipole chili powder, too. I used a package of frozen spinach for the kale or chard, mostly because that's what I had on hand. I accidenly bought boneless chicken thighs for the bone-in, but don't think any of these changes hurt the final product. Both the Hub and I liked this soup, which we ate for several days - it makes a lot.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pumpkin Butter Coffee Cake

This recipe from  the website seeyouinthemorning.com, is meant to be eaten on Thanksgiving for breakfast. The author admits it's decadent in the calories department, but figures since you would be pigging out later in the day anyway, why not. And since holidays can be stressful, you should treat yourself. I made some serious adjustments to justify eating it on any day.

If you use a commercial pumpkin butter you can save a lot of time in the preparation. I made the cake batter exactly as called for except for substituting egg beaters for the eggs. I used whole fat sour cream, but only because that's all I had. The streusel is where I really went to town, reducing the butter from  one stick to two tablespoons, switching out the flour with a cup of oatmeal and reducing the nuts from  a cup to 1/4 of  a cup. I skipped altogether adding another 1/3 cup brown sugar over the pumpkin butter.

I don't think my tampering hindered the taste of the coffee cake. It did reduce the calories from 336 to 221 per serving. It was good. Both the Hub and I enjoyed it. Eating cake for breakfast is a treat for us.