Curried Pumpkin Soup

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Fall is all about pumpkin. Last year I was trying every pumpkin dessert recipe I came across. This year, being busier with my doctoral work, I’ve slowed down a bit and tried my hand at savory pumpkin recipes this season.

On Halloween, I had a small dinner party with close friends as part of our weekly supper club. We call it “Lovely Ladies Supper Club,” and it’s a blast. Every Thursday we visit a different friends apartment or home, get to see how they live, who they live with, what fuzzy family members they live with, and how they like to cook.20131106-142939.jpg

I love soup–and you already know I love pumpkin–so my Harvest Pumpkin Chili seemed perfect. The problem is I have this not so awful habit of always wanting something new. I hate trying the same restaurant twice, and the same goes for recipes.

So I came across this Curried Pumpkin Soup from Better Homes and Gardens online. They said it would only take 30 minutes, and they were right. Very fast, very tasty. No complaints from me (and I might even try this one again!).

Make it. Save the leftovers for your lunches. That’s what I did, of course, because life moves fast. Packing lunch is my least favorite thing to do in the morning. So fresh, homemade soup that’s ready to heat and serve is perfect for my busy lifestyle.

Ingredients

1 – 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree20131106-142952.jpg

2 qt. chicken stock

2 t ginger

2 t cumin

2 t curry powder

dash of onion powder and hot sauce, if you want to give it a kick

3/4 cup roasted corn or softened lentils

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 red pepper, sliced into small strips

1 T olive oil

Directions

-In a large sauce pan, heat your oil and add in the veggies to sauté them. Add in seasonings and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until softened up.

-In the same pan, add in half of the chicken stock. Set the soup to boil, and then add in all of pumpkin, mixing well. Add in remaining stock + 1/2 cup water if you want a thinner soup. Mix well.

-Let boil just a few minutes and then return to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes if you have the time for fullest flavor. If you don’t, grab a slice of cornbread and dig in.

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Pumpkin-Parsley Pizza Pie

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When my friend Amelia mentioned her pumpkin pizza in a Facebook post, I was perplexed. 20131029-203319.jpg

Pumpkin puree for sauce? Pumpkin pulp as a topping? Can that really taste good?

Yes. I’m always surprised when sweet-savory combinations work so well. I’m not sure why I always forget this little culinary truism, but I’m always pleasantly reminded.

Pumpkin as a topping, and a sauce that’s part pumpkin, part marina is oh so sweet, and it gets an herb-y fresh kick from our good friend parsley. I mean, really good. If you live pumpkin, you really should try this pairing.

And where’d I get the “pumpkin pulp”? The jack’o’lantern I carved all by myself (first time!) this year.20131029-203437.jpg

Ingredients

Dough

1 t honey or agave nectar

1/4 of a yeast packet

1/4 + 3 T whole wheat flour

1 T rolled oats

1 t cornmeal

pinch of salt20131029-203409.jpg

Seasonings: garlic, basil, oregano

Topping

2 T slice pumpkin pulp

1 T tomato sauce

1 T pumpkin puree

3 T fresh, shredded Mozzarella

small handful of chopped parsley20131029-203349.jpg

Crushed red pepper

Directions

Dough:

-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 2.5 T hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.20131029-203335.jpg

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Roll into a circle or square shape. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and begin topping process.

Topping:

-In a small dish, mix the 1 T marinara and 1 T pumpkin puree to make the suance. Rub sauce evenly over the dough in a thin layer, and then sprinkle cheese on, too. Arrange pumpkin pulp evenly on top. Sprinkle parsley on top.

-Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

Pizza Muffins

Thai Flatbread Pizzas

Zucchini ‘zas

Yam’O’Lanterns!

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The one time I tried to carve a pumpkin by myself, I found out it was hard. Scraping and scratching out the stringy insides took forever; carefully carving the thick pumpkin walls took longer.20131019-115459.jpg

Patience: a virtue I’ve never known well and can’t summon for the art of pumpkin carving.

But I can make meals FAST! Thats what I’m good at. I’ve been eating a lot of fast meals recently, to my regret, because this first semester in my PhD program at TCU has been full of studying, events, making new friends, studying, writing everyday, all the time, and studying some more. I’ve gotten good at having some standby ingredients on hand all the time so when I am home I get a wholesome, nutritional meal with “real” ingredients, but I’ll admit that my creative cookery has fallen way by the wayside.20131019-115446.jpg

One of the ingredients I always have on hand are sweet potatoes–been eating them like a fiend! I’ve found that if you microwave the sweet potato fries for a bit, then crisp them up in the oven, things go much, much faster.

Imagine my delight when I saw Apronstring’s Yam’O’Lanterns recipe. A few more minutes added to my sweet potato prep gave me a fun food-craft to try on the fly. Here’s my make-it-fast variation of this festive fall food.

Ingredients

1-8 oz. sweet potato

cooking spray

optional: sea salt

Directions20131019-115512.jpg

-Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Using a sharp knife, slice your sweet potato into rounds as you usually might (mine were about 1/5″ thick). Then, use a sharp paring knife to carve in the faces you like. When ready, transfer to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

-After that, transfer to prepared sheet. Spritz on some cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt or other seasonings you like (rosemary would be a delicious one to use for these). Toss them up a bit for good coverage and pop in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, longer if you made thicker slices. Remove when cooked all the way through and crispy around all the edges.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie in a Mug

‘Twas a late holiday season night,

pumpkin

and I needed sweet delight

in light fluffy pumpkin form

that requires little perform

-ance on my part.

So I adapted this recipe

from Chocolate-Covered Katie,

and let the microwave baking start.

Graham crackers

Makes one big, ooey-gooey mug pie.

Ingredients

1 T + 1 t spelt or whole-wheat flour

1 T stevia

6-7 T pumpkin puree

heaping dash of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice

a less heaping dash of baking powder

1 t flax egg

2 T almond milk

splash of vanilla

Directions

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients; then mix in wet.

-Transfer to a lightly-greased mug or microwave-safe ramekin. Pour in pie filling.

-Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and use a small spoon to test the consistency of the pie, pressing the sides away from the edge. Microwave on high for one more minute. If you’d like a firmer, somewhat cakier consistency, microwave for 3 minutes in total.

Serve warm. I sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs, but if you’re gluten-free or paleo, I’m sure you can top with some sweet coconut flakes, almond slivers, or dark chocolate.

Pumpkin Dessert Parfait

I just can’t get over pumpkin, can I? 

This parfait recipe features a sweetened vanilla yogurt, pumpkin, and my healthified gingerbread cookie recipe. All are wholesome, good for you, and every time I lick the bowl I make the cookie dough in, I practically melt with delight. Seriously, that recipe is unbelievable, make-it-even-in-summertime good.

You could mix it up a bit and try a cream-cheese frosting layer, too! Or opt for a graham-cracker crumble instead of gingerbread. What’s not to love about those possibilities?

Ingredients

1 container plain organic yogurt (you can buy vanilla or sweetened, but I prefer to lower the sugar a bit by mixing in a lower lgi alternative)

1 T stevia

pumpkin

pumpkin (Photo credit: meerkatbaby)

.5 t vanilla

4 T pumpkin puree

heaping dash of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice

optional: gingerbread or graham cracker crumbles

Directions

Open the yogurt container. Mix in stevia and vanilla. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, add puree and spices. Mix in about half of prepared yogurt.

-In a parfait glass, layer the pumpkin yogurt with the vanilla yogurt as you like. You can also use the crumbles to make layers or top like I did.

For a special ice cream consistency, freeze the parfait for about one hour and mix up slightly. Freeze another 10 minutes or so. It’s delicious!

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

 

Good morning, Pumpkin!

Whatcha got in the oven?

Oh, pumpkin! How seasonal.

Remember my Pumpkin Spice French Toast? Well, here’s a new version. It’s baked and can be prepared the night before (ideally) or in just a few minutes (if you’re impatient like me).
And I post it the day after Thanksgiving (also my wonderful momma’s 50th birthday!) because if your family is like ours, you’ve got some pumpkin leftover, and lots of bread. Put it to good use with this delicious breakfast bake.

Ingredients

2 slices whole-grain bread

1 t cinnamon

1 t pumpkin pie spice

1 t stevia

optional: scant 1/8 t salt (I omitted)

1 T organic vanilla yogurt

2 T pumpkin puree

2 T nondairy milk

splash of vanilla

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin. Set aside.

-Slice bread into cubes. If you have time, let it sit out for a while to dry out.

-If you’d like to prepare the night before, which is recommended for a softer bake, then toss all dry ingredients together in a small bowl (bread + spices). In another small bowl, combine all wet.

-Layer ramekin with one layer of bread cubes. Pour part of the mixture over. Repeat. Once all cubes are covered, press down a bit.

-Bake for about 10-12 minutes, longer if you left in the fridge over night.

Serve right out of the oven with warm maple syrup or organic honey. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread Donuts

I might have an obsession with pumpkin baked goods. Very well might.

This might be reason for concern if pumpkin puree was loaded with Vitamin A and other critical nutrients. It might also be a concern if my beloved pumpkin desserts were prepared  “unhealthfully.” But they never are.

What you put in your body matters. Pumpkin donuts with a little stevia or honey for sweetness and whole-grain or spelt flour taste fantastic to me, and many of my friends, who are used to eating refined sugars, like them, too.

It’s a simple taste. A subtle kind of sweet that you come to appreciate after some time of approach eating mindfully, weening your palate off processed sugars, and remembering what natural sweetness tastes like.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

So give these a try one morning. They’re delicious with either a little melted dark chocolate for icing or a cream-cheese frosting glaze. 

Ingredients

4 T whole-wheat or spelt flour

2.5 T pumpkin puree

dash of cinnmon, ground cloves, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder

2 t stevia

2 T nondairy milk (I always use almond)

splash of vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a donut baking tray or a muffin tin. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients; then mix in remaining wet ingredients. Blend well.

If using a muffin tin, divide dough into 4 small balls or two medium ones. Press a hole in the center with your fingers and smooth into a ring shape.

Place in tin and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until dough is fully baked and a little springy. If you’d like them to rise even more, just pop in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  But know that additional baking time will dry them out a tad.

Top with my cream cheese frosting or take a few dark chocolate chips and spread over the tops of the donuts until the chip begins to melt and form an icing layer. Serve warm.

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is here and a hankering for all things pumpkin is lingering in the crisp autumn air.

Yes, pumpkin recipes are worth getting poetic, in my humble opinion.

For those times when you want a little pumpkin spice in baked good form, you can whip up these little cookies (or mold the dough into a small slice of bread).

I adapted this recipe from a fellow blogger’s large, double-loaf version of Pumpkin and Cream Bread. That’s way to much bread for a solo gal, but these cookies are a nice alternative.

And you can make them in a pinch! It took me less than 5 minutes to make, and only 7 minutes to bake!

Makes 6 little cookies at about 15 calories each (unbelievable…).

Ingredients

2 T pumpkin

2 t applesauce

1/6 of an egg (mixed)

1 t almond milk

1 T & 1 t whole wheat flour

1 T coconut flour (or whole wheat if that’s all you have)

1 t or less of stevia

pinch of baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Blend all dry ingredients and push to one side of the bowl.

-On the other side of the bowl, blend all wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry together.

-Spoon out cookies and shape as you like. Place in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes for softer cookies, 9 or longer for crispy ones.

Mix-in Ideas

Raisins

Dark- or white-chocolate chips (or both for a very fall aesthetic–orange, brown, and creamy white)

Nuts

Shredded coconut
As you can see, I added mine into a little bowl of Arctic Zero’s Maple Vanilla Ice Cream. The combination of pumpkin and maple could not have been tastier for the time of year. Cheers to fall!Pumpkin seeds? Yum!

The Great Pumpkin Roll

Charlie Brown: “Oh brother. When are you going to stop believing in something that isn’t true?”

Linus: “When YOU stop believing in that fat guy in a red suit and the white beard who goes, ‘Ho, ho, ho!'”

Like so many Americans, I love that movie. I’ve been conditioned to value faith, self-reliance, and the ability to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps.

Some of won’t give up on believing we will eventually be redeemed by a holy squash. For me, I never gave up on my dream of mastering a most delicious cake roll recipe.

On my “Philosophies & Such” page of this blog, I write about slowing down to appreciate the time it takes to make a perfect dessert, and the patience it requires, too. Myself being notoriously impatient–an activator strength according to my Strengths Finder test–I often grapple with the idea of slowing down, but:

“…I realize, too, that this [hurrying] doesn’t always work, and more often than not, I realize this when I’ve hurried too much, and the cake roll I’ve attempted for the 3rd time has crumbled into a blob of mashed bread. It’s times like these when I’m reminded to slow down and focus on what I’m doing. Then the food comes out better and I’m reminded of the more delicious things life has to offer when I take my time.”

I have happy news to report: I HAVE FINALLY MASTERED THE CAKE ROLL!

And I did it my way 🙂

With a pumpkin-cream cheese spin I imagined unexpectedly one cold Thursday evening. The classic combination warmed me right up.

I’m going to post the regular cake jelly roll recipe below, but to modify for a pumpkin roll version, make the following swaps

5 T water instead of 1/3 cup+1T+1t

3 T pumpkin instead of oil or applesauce

Plus, you’ll want to add in a heaping dash of pumpkin pie spice as well as a dash or two of ground cloves and ground nutmeg if you like.

And to make my healthified cream cheese frosting spread, check out this recipe.

Enjoy!

Makes one huge cake roll (big enough to serve two)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ww pastry flour, or white or spelt (70g) (For a gf version, use this: gluten-free option.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 100g water or other liquid (That’s 1/3 cup plus 1 T plus 1 tsp)
  • 2 packets stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce or oil
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

Combine all dry ingredients; then blend in wet (including applesauce), but be sure not to overmix.

Spread onto a greased pan.

Cook for 3-4 minutes in a NON-preheated oven at 420F and remove only once the edges are beginning to firm. (You might need to cook it longer, depending on your oven.) Let cool ten minutes for a few minutes, then spread on cream cheese frosting and sprinkle extra cinnamon if you like.

Cut off all four edges so it forms a rectangle (if you used the circle pan). Spread on jam, or whatever else you wish.

Roll carefully, using a spoon or spatula to help ease the roll over without tearing.

Return to oven and bake another 7-8 minutes.

Once a nice golden color has risen in the dough and it’s somewhat springy, it’s finished. Remove and slice into small pinwheel rounds.

And as always, it’s always better eaten warm.

And with chocolate chips 😉

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Raw Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Are you on the “raw” bandwagon?

Personally, I do not. But I still find raw food recipes intriguing (and tasty).

I stumbled across this no-bake pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe from Snack Girl. Made a few adaptations and downsized a bit, of course, so it would be a perfect fall dessert for anyone going “raw,” or anyone who just loves pumpkin cookies.

Ingredients

3 T oats

Bake it! Because chocolate is always more aromatic when warmed…

.5 t stevia (or honey, but if you use honey reduce the applesauce to 1 t)

dash of pumpkin pie spice and a very scant pinch of salt

3 t pumpkin

2 t applesauce

splash of vanilla

optional mix-ins: dark-chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dates, coconut shreds

Directions

Mix together the first three dry ingredients, and then mix in the remaining wet ingredients. Form into small balls by using the palm of your hands.

If you’d prefer a warm cookie. Simply bake at 350 degrees for about 6-7 minutes.