Remember 3 days ago, when I said that I was sneaking in ONE more pumpkin recipe into October? Well, that wasn't exactly true. 😬 I'm officially sneaking in one MORE pumpkin recipe. This will officially be the last pumpkin recipe of the month --- probably. 😅
We can all agree that there are health-ier things that you can eat than a muffin. But some days - I just wake up craving a muffin. 🤷🏻♀️ There's nothing like a warm muffin and a nice hot cup of tea to start my day but I also don't want to consume all my calories for the day before 8 am. 😬I considered going to the new bakery in town to pick up a muffin for myself but even though their oversized creations are scrumptious, they're also loaded with saturated fats and sugars. I decided that making a healthier, fat-free, homemade version was a better option for me. After all - it IS Halloween and I am pretty sure that I will be consuming plenty of sugary snacks today. 🍭
I buy a lot of pumpkin puree this time of year and I don't have any recipes that use the entire can. Does anyone else wonder why they don't sell pumpkin in 1 cup portions? I am constantly trying to figure out how to use up the leftover pumpkin in my refrigerator. Sometimes I get creative and I add it to my pancakes, cookies or granola. 🥞
Yesterday, my leftover pumpkin became the inspiration for a new healthy muffin recipe. Well, a bit of leftover pumpkin, a single overripe banana on my counter and a tiny bit of applesauce left in the bottom of the jar - the recipe almost writes itself. 😅These muffins really should have been named "leftover muffins" but that sounds way less appealing. It's the jambalaya of breakfast foods and as an added bonus - my frig also got a good clean out. 😂
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup banana
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Before you judge me, yes, dark chocolate chips are an absolute must - even in the healthiest of muffin recipes. I guess I could have swapped them out with nuts but when I crave something sweet - nothing is better than chocolate. 🍫 Feel free to make your own substitutions.
I couldn't let the month of October slip away without sneaking in ONE more pumpkin recipe. I'm a girl who openly rejects all pumpkin spiced drinks but is obsessed with pumpkin flavored foods. (I believe pumpkin should be eaten - not consumed in a drink.) 🤷🏻♀️I love pumpkin so much that an obscene number of cans of the orange stuff have made their way into my kitchen this Fall. I've tested new pumpkin recipes and made some of my pumpkin classics. If you've never had pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes on a cool October morning - you are missing out.
If you've ever baked with pumpkin, you know that there is a lot of water in canned pumpkin. The moisture content in the puree translates to mostly soft and chewy pumpkin delicacies like pumpkin gingersnaps and pumpkin snickerdoodle cupcakes. I knew that it was going to be a challenge to create a biscotti that would be crispy and crunchy and still bursting with pumpkin flavor, but I was up for it.
Since I was making a new biscotti recipe, I figured might as well make it dairy free so my WHOLE family can enjoy them, right? I figured that replacing the butter with oil might actually have the added benefit of helping to keep my biscotti from getting soft, too. Adding nuts to my biscotti also seemed like an obvious way to add some crunch to my pumpkin biscotti.
I'm happy to report that my pumpkin biscotti experiment was a success! I actually created a true, twice baked, crispy, crunchy, spiced pumpkin biscotti, studded with toasted pecans. And they're absolutely irresistible! I ate at least 4 of these hot out of the oven - like so hot they burned my mouth. #worthit 😅 After they cooled, I made a proper cup of tea and I sat down and ate at least 2 more. See what I mean about irresistible? These biscotti are downright addicting.
Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
7/8 cup sugar
1 Tbsp molassses
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
I had to really hold back because everything in me wanted to drizzle these biscotti with some creamy white chocolate. Can you imagine how many I would have eaten if white chocolate was entered into the equation? The real reason that I was able to resist was because I wanted to save these for my Thanksgiving brunch and I felt like they would freeze better without the chocolate drizzle. Full disclosure: I might actually drizzle some with chocolate when I pull them out of my freezer on Thanksgiving morning. I can only resist for so long. 😂
My definition of a perfect homemade pizza is a tender, chewy crust topped with a slick of tangy tomato sauce, a heaping helping of cheese and loaded with seasonally fresh produce. Let's be honest, that's not only my definition of a perfect pizza - that's my description of a perfect meal. 😅 I can't think of a more delicious way to enjoy a serving of vegetables. 🍅
October is National Pizza Month. (As if I needed a reason to enjoy this treasured comfort food.) My love of pizza runs deep and it expands far beyond the confines of a solitary month so I'm proposing that 2021 be the YEAR of pizza. 🍕💁🏻♀️ Can we add that to the ballot next month?
Learning to use my Big Green Egg as a pizza oven has been a process. It's been a delicious process but a process none the less. I've had to learn how to set it up, get the temperature to soar beyond 500 degrees and to open the lid without singeing the hair off of my arms or even worse - my eyebrows. 😯 Once I mastered the technique though - I was hooked. Big Green Egg pizza is probably the best homemade pizza that I've ever tasted.
When my kids were little, they were pizza minimalists. They liked cheese pizza and only occasionally could they be persuaded to spice it up with a scattering of pepperoni. The mere mention of adding toppings like fresh tomatoes, artichokes, olives or spinach to our pizza would make them wrinkle up their noses like I suggested we add moldy cheese or dirty socks to our pie. Ben is a carnivore and would prefer meat of every variety on his pizza but the topping choice is the prerogative of the pizza baker in this house. 😉 This week, I was the pizza baker and I loaded up my pizza with all my favorites.
Ultimate Veggie Pizza
1 pizza crust
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups baby spinach
2 shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup jarred or canned artichoke, cut into 1” pieces
½ cup fresh red or orange bell pepper, cut into narrow 2″ strips
½ cup red onion, cut into thin wedges
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
If you have a Big Green Egg that you want to turn into a pizza oven - these are the things that will help you get started.
1. Put the plate setter upside down over the charcoal and set the grate on top.
2. New charcoal will give you the hottest temperatures.
3. Open the lid as slowly as possible. (Burping is not sufficient.)
4. Heat your pizza stone on top of the grate.
5. Sprinkle the stone with cornmeal and build your pizza on the Egg.
The rest is just trial and error. Be patient and enjoy the process. It's not always perfect but it's always delicious.
What are you celebrating today? An anniversary? A birthday? The weekend? Fall? I'm pretty much an expert at inventing reasons to celebrate with cake. 😅If you're craving cake but you've don't have a good excuse to bake one for yourself - I got you. 🍰
If you're a mom or a dad - you deserve cake. If you're a student who's drowning in homework assignments - you deserve cake. If you've been working as a healthcare worker or a first responder in 2020 - you deserve cake. If you are hosting or attending a large family gathering during the holidays - cake. If you've endured the 1,000,000 political commercials on primetime television this month, YOU deserve cake. 👊🏻
I think you get the point. Cake is great every day! If you need a super simple homemade cake recipe without all the fussy decorations or messy frosting - look no further. Skip the box mixes and canned frosting - homemade cake is sooooo much better and in all honesty - not all that much more effort. So, no matter what you choose to celebrate today - enjoy this delicious homemade yellow cake.
Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
4 eggs plus 2 yolks
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
8 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Frost cake. Refrigerate 20 minutes until set.
Nothing makes a Wednesday night meal more exciting than a piece of this deliciously buttery yellow cake.
Clearly, I missed the mark on the proper formation of traditional Parker House rolls in my first attempt. I nailed the fluffy texture and buttery taste but my baby butt forming technique needs work. 😂 Looking back over my procedures - I think I've discovered the error of my ways. I guess I'll just have to keep making these rolls until I perfect the proper form. (Ben wouldn't mind that a bit.)
Parker House Rolls
4 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups milk
14 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons sugar
Brush rolls with 3 T. butter. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350.
Did you see where I went wrong? I should have flattened my dough balls into disks before I pressed the wooden spoon handle into them. I also should have folded the disks in half at the seam before I let them rise for the second time. My guess is that these changes would have yielded rolls that much more closely resemble traditional Parker House rolls. Honestly though - even though the look was off - the taste was the amazing. These were deliciously, light and flaky dinner rolls. 😋
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