Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

It all started with a joke. My younger brother is working at a cereal factory right now. Teasingly, I asked him if he was making Turkey Cheerios, Pumpkin Spice Chex, or Sweet Pootato Pops for the Thanksgiving season? He was technically unable to answer my question. See, he is sworn to secrecy concerning what cereal is actually made in his factory. Top secret stuff...I imagine it similar to Charlie Bucket and the other children who entered Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and were sworn to secrecy regarding the making of the Everlasting Gobstopper. So, I will never know if Turkey Cheerios, Pumpkin Spice Chex, or Sweet Pootato Pops were ever made, all I know is that I have not seen them on the shelf at Piggly Wiggly.

This got me thinking though...Doesn't Pumpkin Spice Granola sound delicious? I tried it today and it truly is the breakfast food that Thanksgiving has been missing.

Pumpkin Spice Granola Recipe:

Whisk together:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil 
  • 1/2 or 3/4 cup sweetener (choose from: honey, sucanut, maple syrup, or even date paste)
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree or 7 oz.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 9 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts or almonds
Bake at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Let cool. Stir after 1 hour. Store in air tight container.

(optional) After granola has cooled, Stir in:
  • craisins, raisins, other dried fruit or chocolate chips
Serving Suggestions:
  • In a bowl of almond milk, rice milk, goat's milk or cow's milk
  • Topping for your favorite plain or flavored yogurt (Stoneyfield is my favorite.)
  • Sprinkled over ice cream (like Breyers Vanilla Bean).
Hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving breakfast treat as much as I did!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday Morning...Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Blog
1 1/2 cups whole milk (Or 1 cup heavy cream plus 1/2 cup whole milk)
1 can (14 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs  
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raisins or craisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) whole wheat, day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices, and raisins in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an un-greased 8-inch square or round baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip, Craisin, Walnut Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is in the Air...Pumpkin Everywhere. It seems that I can never try too many pumpkin recipes and seems that I love everyone I try. These pumpkin cookies are delicious. They can be served with cream cheese frosting, but they are fantastic just plain as well.

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup cane juice crystals
1 cup pumpkin puree (1-14 oz. can)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup craisins

* Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets.
* In medium bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and vanilla.
* In separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. 
* Bake for 10 min., allow cookies to cool on the pan for 1 min., then move to wire rack

Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Lentil Squash Soup

This soup is perfect for a blustery fall day...hearty, spicy and smooth.


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek until onion is tender.
  2. Mix the lentils, squash, and cilantro into the pot. Stir in the water, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils and squash are tender. 
  3. Puree soup mixture in the blender. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Homemade Baby Blocks

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"....Well, at least there are flurries in the air, Christmas music on pandora and presents to be made piling up by the sewing machine.
This is an exciting Christmas with two babies in the family. Ezra will be six months old and Henry will be three months old by Christmas. Both of the boys are already grabbing toys and ready to play. I am making some soft baby blocks for Ezra and Henry complete with their initials.
I can't wait to see the boys open their first Christmas presents!
Baby Block Directions:
Supplies: sewing machine, 6 - 3.5 inch squares of fabric, ribbon for handles and added design, thread, iron and Heat and Bond (for attaching letters or numbers to the blocks), poly stuffing, a small rattle or bell (optional)
Step 1: Gather supplies and pick out some fabric or use up old scraps - remember these are for babies, so use bright colors, bold contrast, stimulating designs, and interesting textures (i.e. fleece, felt, nylon, corduroy)

Step 2:  Cut 3.5 inch squares of fabric. Six squares for each block.

Step 3:  Embellish squares with ribbon or add letters/numbers with Heat and Bond if desired. If you would like to add small ribbon handles, sew a small loop of ribbon into the seam. Like below:

Step 4:  Pin the four sides of your block together (right sides facing each other) and sew using 1/4 inch seam allowance. I reinforced my seams a few times, to make sue they are secure. After you have sewn the four sides together, it should look like this:

Step 5: Cut 1/4 inch square notches out of the corners of your block's top and bottom fabric pieces. Like below:

Step 6: Pin the top of the block and then sew it in place. Repeat with the bottom of the block, but leave a two inch opening along one of the side seams (This is important. If you forget this you will not be able to turn your block right-side-out.) Like below:
Step 7: Turn the block right-side-out using the small hole. You may need to use a pencil to poke the corners out in order to make the block square. Like below:

Step 8: Fill the block with poly stuffing and place a bell or rattle inside the stuffing so that the block will make noise when played with. 

Step 9: Then finally sew up the small opening using a blind stitch. You are finished! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins

Pumpkin muffins are one of my all-time favorite fall foods. I came across a new recipe this is the BEST! I like to add extras to my muffins like: cranberries, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins or dates.

1 1/2 c. unprocessed oat bran
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or sweetener of your choice
1/2 cup whole wheat flour *substitute your favorite gluten-free flour mix
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 (14 oz.) can of pumpkin
1/2 cup skim milk or water
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 T  oil
*optional additions...pick and choose: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of any of the following: cranberries, dates, raisins, pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts
cooking spray

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine pumpkin and next 3 ingredients; stir well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into muffin pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately; serve warm or at room temperature. 
Yield: 1 dozen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans and Chile Lime Dressing

I recently enjoyed this salad with friends and family. It is healthy, delicious and seasonal!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeƱo
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked black beans, drained (canned are fine)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.
Yield: 4 servings. (