Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie

~Day Five of Pumpkin Week~

Looking for a new pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving?  This maple pecan pumpkin pie is easy and delicious.

Your favorite pie crust recipe* single crust

2  cups  fresh pumpkin puree
            or 1 16 ounce can pumpkin
1/4  cup  sugar
2  eggs, lightly beaten
1  cup  whipping cream
1/2  cup  pure maple syrup
1  tsp  cinnamon
1/2  tsp  nutmeg
1/4  tsp  ground ginger
1/4  tsp  ground cloves

1/2  cup  pecan halves
2  Tbsp  pure maple syrup

1/2  cup  whipping cream
1  Tbsp  pure maple syrup

Heat oven to 375*.  Line 9" pie plate with pie crust.  Set aside.
In large bowl combine pumpkin puree, sugar and eggs.  Add remaining pie ingredients, except for toppings.  Pour into prepared pie shell.  Cover edges of crust with strip of aluminum foil.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil.  Bake additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until knife or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Arrange pecan halves on top of pie; drizzle 2 Tbsp maple syrup over pecans.
In chilled small mixer bowl, beat whipping cream at high speed, scraping bowl often, until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add 1 Tbsp maple syrup; continue beating until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes).
Serve pie with whipped cream.
Serves 8

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pumpkin Milkshake

~Day Four of Pumpkin Week~

A pumpkin milkshake in November?  Of course!  Here's a simple recipe using fresh pumpkin puree.

1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
10 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pour 1 cup almond milk into blender pitcher, add pumpkin puree until milk and pumpkin reach the "2-cup" level.  Then add ice cream and pie spice.  Blend for about 10 seconds.  Makes approx 2- 12 oz servings.

 Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg*
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins Mmmm

~Day Three of Pumpkin Week~

Who doesn't love a pumpkin muffin?  I've been making these muffins for almost 20 years now. They're easy to make and fairly low in fat and sugar.  You can leave off the optional toppings, but they just won't be the same if you do.  Enjoy!

1  cup whole wheat flour
3/4  cup All-purpose flour
1/2  cup sugar
3  tsp baking powder
1  tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4  tsp salt
3/4  cup pumpkin puree
1/2  cup low fat milk (I use 2%)
1/4  cup oil
1  egg

Optional Toppings:
low-fat cream cheese
brown sugar
chopped pecans

Heat oven to 400*F.  Spray 12 muffin cups with non-stick spray or use paper liners and spray those with spray.
In large bowl combine all dry ingredients and stir to combine.  In small bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk together completely.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.  Do not over mix.
Use a large ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups.

Press about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese into the center of each muffin.

Top each with about a teaspoon of brown sugar and then top with finely chopped pecans.  Gently press pecans into top of muffin batter to "set" them.

Depending on the type of muffin pan you're using, bake for 15-25 minutes (Mine took 25 minutes in the stoneware).  Cool on wire rack, serve warm, store in refrigerator.  I like to make several batches and store them in the freezer.
Makes 12 muffins.

Pictured below is another delicious pumpkin muffin........chocolate chip pumpkin muffin to be exact. It's so full of flavor!

You can find the recipe {here}.  The recipe calls for sliced almonds, however I used finely chopped pecans since I was already using them for the other recipe and I love pumpkin and pecans together.

Check back tomorrow for day 4 of Pumpkin Week!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making Spiced Pumpkin Butter....Yum!

~Day Two of Pumpkin Week~

Yesterday I {shared} how to make pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins.  Today I'll be showing you how to make a simple spiced pumpkin butter with some of that puree.  It's easy & super delicious!

I doubled the recipe, but will be listing the "single" recipe ingredient amounts.  A single recipe makes about 4 to 5 half-pint jars.

While this recipe only takes about 30 minutes to cook, you'll need to allow at least an hour beforehand for straining the liquid from the puree.

3  1/2  cups fresh pumpkin puree
1  1/4  cups maple syrup (not flavored pancake syrup)
1/2  cup apple cider or juice
2  Tblsp lemon juice
1  tsp ground ginger
1/2  tsp ground cinnamon
1/2  tsp ground nutmeg
1/4  tsp salt

First, you'll need to line a large sieve or colander with a couple layers of cheesecloth.  Set the colander over a bowl and spoon pumpkin puree into the cheesecloth.  Let set for at least an hour.

After this time, gather the corners and sides of the cheesecloth and gently begin to twist & tighten the cheesecloth around the puree.  Being careful not to squeeze too hard, press as much liquid out as you can.

 Don't skip this part, I was able to drain more than a cup of liquid from my 7 cups of puree.  If you're making the single recipe, you should get about a half cup of liquid.

Once you've drained as much liquid as possible from the puree.  Put the puree in a large pot and whisk in remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often.  Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes, stirring very often to prevent burning.

After about 25 minutes, spoon pumpkin butter into freezer-safe canning jars, leaving half-inch headspace.  Let cool, then twist on lids & label.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 6 months. Single recipe makes about 4 or 5 half pint jars.

I was able to make 10 half pint jars from a double recipe.  It's so easy and delicious, I hope you'll try it!

My favorite way to enjoy this pumpkin butter is with plain Greek yogurt & granola.  It makes a great breakfast or snack.

I hope you'll stop by tomorrow for day 3 of Pumpkin Week.

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

~Day One of Pumpkin Week~

We are well into "Pumpkin Season" and I've been wanting to make pumpkin puree to use for several favorite recipes for Fall.  I recently bought 7 sugar pumpkins from our local produce market just for this purpose.  I do keep commercial canned pumpkin in the pantry, but there's nothing like using homemade when it's available.  If you've never tried making your own, it's easier than you probably think!

After you've picked out small, unblemished sugar pumpkins, you'll want to wash and dry each one. Then cut the top off and cut it in half.

Next, scoop out all of the seeds (save for roasting if you'd like) and scrape out as many of the stringy fibers as you can leaving the pumpkin flesh intact.  I used a couple of tools from the Halloween carving kit.

Then cut each piece again so that your pumpkin is now quartered.  Place all of your pumpkin pieces on parchment lined baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I decided to use both ovens since I had so many slices and was able to get the roasting done quickly.

Place your baking sheets in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to one hour.

The pumpkin should be fork tender, skins wrinkled and beginning to separate from the pumpkin flesh.

If the skins aren't wrinkled and easily peeled away, leave in oven a bit longer.

The skin should look similar to the above photo and be separating like in the photos below.

Pull the skins away from the flesh and scrape as much flesh from the skins as possible.  Place a little at a time (maybe 4 slices) into the bowl of a food processor and puree for 10-20 seconds at a time, scraping sides of bowl down if necessary.  Process until the puree is smooth.

If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender (just be sure to not liquefy your pumpkin) or use a food mill.

If you aren't using your puree immediately, you can store it in a bowl in the refrigerator for a few days.  I like to press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the puree before placing the lid on the bowl.  This keeps liquid from pooling on top of the puree.

If you would like to store your puree for a longer period of time, it can be frozen.  I like to use wide mouth pint jars with the white plastic freezer/pantry lids.

Pumpkin puree is too thick to safely process it for pantry storage.  It needs to either be used immediately or stored in the freezer.

I was able to make about 28 cups of puree from the 7 sugar pumpkins I roasted.  Check back each day this week for a different pumpkin recipe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Garden Update for October 29th

October 29th Garden Overview

Here is the last garden update for October.  Really?  October is almost over?  It seems like it just began!

Yesterday the sun finally came out and I went outside for a couple of hours to work in the garden.  I cut the remaining acorn squash and pulled out the vines and cleaned out their beds (front left).  I cleaned up the melon bed as well (trellis on right) and pulled out the bell pepper plants.  I cleaned up some marigolds in the broccoli bed as well as some old broccoli leaves and cleaned off another bean tepee.  Still more cleaning to do that I hope to have time for (& a dry day) this weekend.

October 29th- Brussels Sprouts

October 29th- Brussels Sprouts

October 29th- Habanero 

October 29th- Harvest
kale, eggplant, variety of peppers, acorn squash & celery

Check back next week for another garden update.  As long as there's something happening in the garden (& I'm able to take photos), I'll keep posting weekly or bi-weekly updates.  :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Garden Update for October 20th

October 20th- A little at a time the garden is being cleared out

October 20th- All of the winter squash have been harvested except for 13 acorn squash.
I cleaned the beds up a little and will clean them out completely once the acorns have been cut.

October 20th- The kale is still growing strong, as well as the brussels sprouts behind.  One bean tepee has been cleaned off and removed, 3 more to go. 

October 20th- Onion & herb bed was tidied up, melon vines were trimmed (trellis), tomato bed is empty, peppers are still growing 

October 19th- The harvest for today- broccoli, peppers, the last of the green beans, melons, Christmas pole lima beans, the last of the carrots and some collard greens

October 19th- The mystery plant we have growing beside the garage turned out to be a pumpkin.  It's still growing and turning a deeper orange every day. 

October 19th- spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash (only 3 the whole season?)
and our 3 little Cinderella pumpkins

We're into the rainy Fall weather here so clean up has been slow.  I still have lots of apples & pears to do something with.  Need to get busy with those.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Garden Update for October 15th

October 15th

It's been a few weeks since I posted a Garden Update.  In fact, it was September 23rd when I posted the last update!  I have a few harvest photos, but only of the few larger harvests.  I've been really busy trying to use up or preserve the harvests, that I haven't kept up with the photo-taking of everything.

As you can see in the photo above, there are a few "naked" beds.  The winter squash plants are dying back (front left) and I'll be cutting squash this weekend and may go ahead and pull the plants out and clean the bed up.  I think the pepper plants may be almost finished as well.  I'll give them another quick once-over to see if they're ready to be pulled.  The green beans and lima beans are just about finished.  Most of the garden will be cleaned up by the end of the month and will rest for the winter.

September 24th

September 24th

September 24th

October 4th-  I picked all of the remaining apples & pears on the trees.  They either went into the basket or into the compost.  About 45 pounds of apples and 18 pounds of pears.

October 4th- 18 pounds of pears

October 4th

October 6th

I'll keep the kale & collards going through the winter as long as I can.  I'm not sure if I'll try to start more seeds indoors for another harvest of lettuces & spinach or just wait till spring.  I've been so busy with everything else I never did get seeds started over the last couple of months for turnips, radishes, lettuce, spinach, etc.  
Anyone else out there still harvesting?