Tag Archives: Pumpkin

A Sleepover with Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Our good friends the Jensens came up with an amazing idea for this week: a sleepover!  Cait slept over here for girl’s night, and Fritz headed over the Jensens’ apartment for some pizza-eating, man-movie-watching boy time.  When we met up at our place for breakfast this morning, we discovered the true difference between men and women:

Boys:  Ate multiple calzones, leftover Halloween candy, fruit snacks, and frozen fruit bars, then watched an entire man-movie.

Girls: Chatted for three hours non-stop, made mexican hot chocolate, started a movie and fell asleep ten minutes later.

It was perfection (for both parties).

Cait and I woke up bright and early and the boys showed up soon after, ready to eat.  While we prepared the food, Fritz and Jeff played Jenga with the added “danger element” of Henry trying to swipe at the blocks.  Cait made sausage, veggie and scrambled egg muffins (see her recipe here at her blog A Bicycle Built For Two):

While those were baking, I made some fall-themed (no, I’ll never get sick of it) pancakes:

Cinnamon Pumpkin Whole Wheat Pancakes (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 2 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

I didn’t take a picture of the ingredients, because there were people over ready to eat and that would just be awkward.  But this is an easy one!  Mix all the ingredients together.

On second thought, add a little more cinnamon.  Spray a crepe pan (or whatever you have) with canola oil, and place over medium heat–don’t get impatient and turn the heat higher, because you will have burned pancakes.  Pour in some pancake batter and flip when there are bubbles over the entire surface.

This is enough batter to make pancakes for five or six hungry people.  While they are cooking, set out a plethora of toppings for everyone.  We went with peanut butter, honey, Lyle’s golden syrup, pumpkin butter, cinnamon sugar, and of course, maple syrup–and I don’t go anywhere near that fake stuff.

Eventually, you will have a giant stack of steaming, not-too-dense pancakes just begging for you to sit down and eat ’em.

And here’s Cait taking a few of her own pictures:

It was a really amazing and relaxing Saturday night/Sunday morning.  For dinner I made an Asian-inspired fennel salad with miso dressing; not my favorite but I know a few people who would love it.  Have a great end to the weekend, and here’s to only having two days of school this week!


Filed under Breakfast

Chili in a Pumpkin Bowl

For some reason, Sundays always feel way shorter than Saturdays do.  I think it’s that impending doom of Monday and knowing that my remaining free time is growing shorter…and shorter…

Plus I still have to do my ortho homework.

But before I do that, I’m gonna blog about the delicious dinner that I made tonight.  It was a beautiful fall day and I thought it would be a perfect time to make chili–and then put it inside a pumpkin!  I bought two small baking pumpkins a few weeks ago for decorative purposes, and I thought it was finally time to put them to good use.  And Fritz was happy with that idea.

Pumpkin Bowl Chili

  • small baking pumpkins
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey or beef (I actually used leftover steak and ground it in a food processor)
  • 2-3 C red kidney beans
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

First order of business is to get your pumpkin bowls ready.  Buy pumpkins that are made for baking so the pumpkin is of eating quality and not just carving quality.

Cut off the tops–make the opening wide enough to easily scoop your chili out of the bottom of the bowl.  You don’t want chili all over your hands, do you?  Then scoop out the seeds and set them aside for future roasting (or throw them away.  Whatever).

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Oil the inside and the edges of the pumpkins with a bit of olive oil to keep it from drying while baking.  Put them in a glass pan, and pour 2-3 C of water around the bottom of the pumpkins.  Let them bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until soft.

You can make the chili while the pumpkin is baking.  Cook the onions and peppers over medium heat in 2 T of canola oil until they are soft and the onions are translucent.

Next, add the meat and stir frequently.  When the meat is completely cooked through, add the beans and tomatoes.  Lower the heat and summer on low, adding the spices to taste (I like chili hot! hot! hot!).

By now, your pumpkins should be finished baking.  Test ’em with a knife and make sure they are soft.  Let them cool enough to handle.

Fill the bowls with chili, add a sprinkle of cheddar and voila!  Delicious!  When you are eating, scrape the side and bottom of the bowl to pick up a bite of pumpkin with each spoonful–it’s even better with the pumpkin.

This is an incredibly hearty meal, and you probably won’t finish a whole bowl.  Even Fritz couldn’t quite make it–but chili is even better the second day, and that’s why we love leftovers!

We also had a great salad today for lunch–trying to eat more raw veggies everyday.  Iceberg lettuce (which I normally hate), chickpeas, diced apple, walnuts, unsweetened coconut chips, leftover pork, and some balsamic vinegar.  I actually enjoyed eating it–and I’m not normally a big salad fan.

Remember how yesterday I went into the city to visit Bre and Eber? It was such a nice trip.  Bre and I went to an Australian bar/restaurant for lunch (and a glass of wine, obviously), then shopped in a few stores before we got some tea and headed over to Bryant Park where we met Eber.  It was so nice just to be in a beautiful city with such beautiful women on a beautiful day.

Already looking forward to the next time I see these ladies!  Tune in tomorrow for an update on Meatless Monday–17 bean soup edition!


Filed under Entrees

Pumpkin Butter Oat Bars

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.  If you don’t read Oh She Glows, then you should start.  It’s a great healthy food blog with beautiful pictures that Cait told me about, and now I read it…every day.  But don’t stop reading this blog either.  You can love two of us, right?

This morning I woke up with a raging migraine, so I decided to skip my first class since I knew I had a long day ahead of me.  Some Excedrin, lots of water, and a cup of tea later, I was feeling better.  Since I had a few hours until my second class, I decided to bake!  I read this recipe from Oh She Glows a few days ago and wanted to make it, since I had all the ingredients(except apple juice, but I picked up a big jug of it yesterday because Fritz and I love freezing cold apple juice).

I’ll just jump right in because this is really three recipes for each component.

Pumpkin Butter (I halved the recipe on her blog)

  • one 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 3/8 (I had to divide a fraction!) C apple juice
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 T lime juice

 Combine all the ingredients except the lime juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for about 30 minutes, until thickened.  Stir frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.  You only need about 1 to 1 1/2 C pumpkin butter for the next recipe, so once it cools down you can store the rest in the fridge.

While the pumpkin butter is simmering, you can move to the next step: candied walnuts.

Candied Walnuts

  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1 C walnuts, toasted

Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet, and toast them for about five minutes (I hate burnt nuts, so I’m conservative when leaving them in the oven.  You can go longer if you dare).  Place the nuts in a medium bowl.

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 8 minutes (I think I went a bit too long and got to the “maple candy” stage), until thick and carmelized.  Remove from the heat and immediately pour onto the nuts.  Mix them and spread them out to cool on a baking sheet.

You are going to have to try very hard not to eat all of these immediately.  And I don’t even like nuts that much.

So let’s finish this thing!

Oatmeal Crust

  • 1 1/2 old-fashioned oats
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 flaxseed egg (1 T flaxseed combined with 4 T water, set aside for a few minutes)
  • 1/2 C melted butter (I used SmartBalance)
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T skim milk

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients.

Line a square pan (I used 8×8 but I’d use a little bigger if I had it) with parchment paper or foil, and spray bottom and sides with canola oil.  Set aside 1/2 C of the oatmeal mix, and spread the rest evenly into the pan.

Pre-bake the base for about 20-25 minutes, until firm.  Spread with 1 to 1 1/2 C of the pumpkin butter, and sprinkle the reserved oatmeal mixture and candied walnuts on top.

Bake for another 10-15 minutes (I needed to go longer to get the bars to be able to hold their shape, but I think my oven temp may be a bit off).  Remove from the oven and cool for about half an hour on a rack and at least 1/2 hour in the freezer before attempting to remove from pan and cut.  Really.  These guys can be messy.

These taste even better than they look–and after you eat one or two, your migraine will definitely be gone.  And if this isn’t enough oatmeal/pumpkin butter/cinnamonny goodness, then why don’t you make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast inspired by these bars?

I did.

Whew!  A lot of work, but worth it (although, I always say that.  Cooking doesn’t really feel like work to me).  Anyway, I’m off to finish a paper on a child observation I did for my growth and development class, so have a nice night!

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Filed under Desserts

Apple Pumpkin Pancakes and Rum Spiced Apple Cider

Sick of fall inspired foods yet?  Me neither.

I did really well on my two practicals this week (thanks for asking), and am now preparing for a test on Monday and one on Tuesday.  And by preparing I mean Fritz and I made a scrumptious breakfast, did laundry, cleaned the house, I’m blogging, and making a yummy navel orange, avocado, and shrimp salad for when our good friends Bre and Zev come to visit this weekend!  So not really preparing for my tests at all.

But back to the food.  I had some pumpkin puree left over from the muffins I made, and I got to thinking about how I can transform my favorite fall squash into a breakfast food: pancakes!  I also decided to toss in some apple for a sweet twist.  And I hate to admit it, but because it was 8:00 on a Saturday morning I cheated and used Bisquick for the pancakes–but next time, I’d definitely make them myself and go whole wheat.

Apple Pumpkin Pancakes 

  • Pancake mix (for two), made according to directions
  • 1 empire apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • cinnamon sugar and maple syrup to top


Prepare the pancake mix as directed according to package and set aside (I used half skim milk and half water for my mix).  Next, peel and dice the apple.

Add the chopped apple to the pancake mix, then stir in the pumpkin puree.  At first I planned on leaving it swirled,  but I thought it would cook better (and look prettier) thoroughly mixed in.


When it came to cooking the pancakes, the first one I tried had a really irregular shape due to the apples, so I pulled out some of Fritz’s egg shapers (?! what are those things called?), which made perfectly shaped small pancakes.


Because of the pumpkin and the apple, these pancakes come out very moist and sweet and need very little butter and syrup to finish them off.  I just put a tiny pat of butter on Fritz’s, then sprinkled with some cinnamon sugar and a dash of maple syrup.  So good!

You really should make these.  I love finding delicious ways to use up leftovers!

On a completely different fall inspired note, when I was deep in the midst of studying this past week I made some spiced rum apple cider drink to keep me from collapsing into a orthopedics-induced stupor.  This was mostly inspired by my friends Angie (all the way from South Korea!) and Drew, who jokingly but seriously encouraged me to add alcohol to my favorite warm beverage.  What an excellent idea.

Rum Spiced Apple Cider (serves two)

  • 3 C apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 oz rum
  • 1/2 T butter


Combine the apple cider, sugar, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Divide the rum and butter between two mugs while waiting for the cider to heat.  The butter (even though it seems weird) gives the cider a caramelly buttery taste that is perfect for cold weather.  It also made me feel a little bit like I was drinking butterbeer with Harry Potter.  Pour the cider over the rum and butter, and put one cinnamon stick into each mug.  Enjoy!

Thanks Ange and Drew–this helped me make it through those two tests! Now I need a new drink for the next two…

Today Fritz and I put our dual-control heat blanket on the bed, and actually set the thermostat to turn on at 5:00 in the morning so we no longer need to wake up in 55 degree weather.  Nothing like a heat blanket to make reading on a weekend feel like the most. amazing. thing. ever.  I might go do that right now!


Filed under Beverages, Breakfast

(Healthier) Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I bought a couple of cans of pumpkin puree the other day while grocery shopping, and spent a couple of days pondering what to make–I was leaning towards cookies until my mom reminded me about a delicious baked good that I had forgotten even existed: muffins!  I haven’t made muffins for a while, but I do know that muffins in general pretend to be a healthy food while in actuality they are just a glorified cake that you are allowed to eat for breakfast.  As I am trying to eat somewhat healthily, I searched for a recipe that had at least a few redeeming qualities.  No point in making food that you feel guilty eating, right?
(Healthier) Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Adapted from CDKitchen’s Victoria Wesseler; original recipe here)

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3/4 C sugar (the original recipe called for 1 1/4 C!! totally unnecessary)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon (sorry Fritz)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C plain no-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1/2 C raisins

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I used my mixer for this, and added first all of the dry ingredients (including spices), and started mixing at a low speed while adding all of the wet ingredients.  Technically you should mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl first (beating the eggs for some extra air) but 1) I’m lazy and 2) I like dense muffins.  So there ya go. 

Pour the batter into greased muffin tins.  I wanted to use cupcake liners to make the muffins more school-transportation friendly, which worked but the muffins do stick a little bit to the liner.  I’m guessing that’s because there’s no oil in the batter.  I also found a couple of mini-bundt cake pans that I bought at an 18-mile garage sale (yes, that’s right.  18-miles of garage sale-ing madness) for a dollar, and wanted to try them.  They came out so cute–perfect for individual desserts if I were to ever throw a fancy little dinner party in the far-away future.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for five minutes before removing from the tin, then finish cooling on a wire rack.  A lot of recipes I searched for recommended a tangy cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, but when I tried them they were honestly sweet enough to not need it–thank goodness I went from 1 1/4 C of sugar to 3/4 C!  Though I’m sure the icing would be delicious, since I love cream cheese frosting.

I think Fritz is officially getting over his anti-cinnamon feelings, and might in fact be growing immune to it since at least half of the food I make has cinnamon in it (I just don’t always tell him).  Next up on my list of foods to make Fritz love without his knowledge is mustard, then garlic.

Since I have two practicals coming up on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I’ll hopefully be doing tons of focused and effective studying so that I don’t have to get all panicky and nervous on Tuesday night.  We just finished the 4th season of LOST and until we request the next season from the library I don’t even have that to distract me.  More likely though, I’ll start cooking more elaborate foods then ever before and study much less than I should.  But, to get off to a good start I’m going to study a little bit right now while Fritz is outside putting the cover on our pool.  Wish me luck!

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts