Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Happy weekend, all! The hot topic in much of the northeast is the SNOW we got this past weekend! In Boston, we ended up getting much less than predicted so it didn't really affect us too much. But it is pretty darn chilly out there! To combat today's chilly weather, I've been doing some baking...some "surprise" chocolate cupcakes (recipe coming later!) and I'm about to make some homemade applesauce with some really yummy apples I picked yesterday at Drew Farms here in MA. Love love love the smell of applesauce cooking on the stove...

Enough rambling though - onto the recipe at hand, pumpkin banana muffins! 

This was a fun new recipe to try. I love both pumpkin and banana flavors but had never actually thought to put them together. Brilliant! The end result was a fluffy, moist muffin that had hints of each flavor but wasn't overpowering really one way or another. I found this recipe through Foodbuzz, and it's a recipe from a blog called Alida's Kitchen. The recipe is actually for pumpkin banana bread but I made muffins instead. It's an incredibly easy recipe - and healthy too!


-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup white whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I added my own mixture of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger here)
-2 bananas, mashed
-1 cup canned pumpkin
-1/4 cup canola oil
-2 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla

-1 tablespoon brown sugar (for topping, optional)
-1 tsp. cinnamon (for topping, optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan or line muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the bananas, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the banana-pumpkin mixture, and gently fold until combined. If using, combine the sugar and cinnamon for topping (I did not use this).

Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes for a loaf, or about 15 - 17 minutes for muffins (that's how long mine took anyway!), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. For me, this made about one dozen regularly sized muffins and a dozen mini ones too.

These were excellent served warm, and I thought they were actually better one to two days after I baked them as opposed to the day of baking. So, if you have the patience, I recommend waiting until the next day to eat them. ;-) The flavors seemed to come through more after a day or two.

cute lil' mini!

fun Halloween muffin liner...

I actually completely forgot to take more pictures of these tasty treats! I baked them the night before heading up to VT to spend a couple days with my family, who was vacationing up there. I brought the muffins with me, and we all enjoyed them the next morning yet I forgot to take pics! I guess being out of my usual environment through me off. :)

Hopefully I'll be back again soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Chili

Deeeelicious. That's the one word I'd use to describe this chili (well, if I had to choose only one word ;-)). If I could use more words (and why can't I?), I'd also use hearty, flavorful, comforting, easy, and healthy.

And it's made with pumpkin beer! Yes, please! The recipe only calls for one cup of beer, which means there's some leftover. And you know what that means...

I found this recipe from a wonderful blog, Healthy Food for Living. I'm feeling lazy this evening so I'm not going to re-type the recipe here (my apologies!). But, please head on over to Healthy Food for Living and read it there. And check out the other great recipes there while you're at it!

I did make a couple changes to the recipe...namely because I didn't have all the exact ingredients on hand. I did not add actual chili peppers, but I had some great dried chili spices that I added. And also, the recipe calls for tomato sauce/puree, but I only had canned diced tomatoes on hand so that's what I used.

I also made some homemade herb drop biscuits to go with this yummy dish. The biscuits turned out fabulously! I was really happy with them. The recipe will be shared with you in the near future...

You have to try this dish! It is totally a keeper of a recipe, and I can't wait to make it again. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple Cider Bread

Alright alright, I'll stop with the pumpkin recipes for a little bit (but not for long!) and give you another tasty fall treat. Apple cider bread!

For the past few weeks, I've made a point to always have some apple cider in my fridge. It's such a nice treat to have every now and then... I heat a mug full, add some cinnamon, and sit down to relax. There is something very calming about warm apple cider, wouldn't you agree? :)

Well, there is also something calming about this apple cider bread. I found this bread to be incredibly moist and full of flavor. I brought in a mini loaf for one of my coworkers, and after she tried some, she sent me an email saying "I just died and went to heaven." That's quite the compliment to this recipe, I'd say!

I got the recipe from Recipe Girl. She has some amazing recipes! Check out her site.

Isn't this a super cute pan? I used it for the first time with this recipe and made a few fall-shaped "loaves." So fun!


-2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup AP, 1 cup white whole wheat flour)
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. ground cloves
-1/4 cup butter, at room temp
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed 
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup apple cider
-2 and 1/4 cups apples, peeled and chopped
-1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 5 loaf pan. Sift dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour through cloves). In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the cider, and mix until just combined. In a small bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice. Stir the apples into the batter. Put batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing and letting cool completely on rack. Enjoy at room temp or warm (yum!).

Cute lil' acorn, pumpkin, and leaf loaves :)

I made about four regular mini loaves as well.

This bread just bursts with great fall flavors. It's a keeper of a recipe, for sure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Greetings friends! Okay, so I have one more pumpkin recipe for you this week... So far this week I've given you a breakfast recipe of pumpkin pancakes, a dinner recipe of pumpkin mac n' cheese, an "anytime" recipe of pumpkin biscuits, and now I present to you a dessert recipe of pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies! In my opinion, I've saved the best 'til last. These cookies were AMAZING. And they're easy too! I used my shortcut of the cake mix cookie trick. ;-)

Please note that there is an asterisk by the oil... I'm updating this recipe as of October 2013 to say that it's recommended that you mix the cake mix, egg, and pumpkin first and see if the mixture sticks together and is moist enough without being too sticky. If so, you may not need to add the oil at all. Please use your best judgment with this. Everyone's kitchen and ingredients differ slightly. Thanks. :)


-1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
-1 egg
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
*-1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil (*see note above about oil)
-3 Tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease two large cookie sheets. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients (cake mix through vegetable oil). Start with about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, but if the mixture doesn't feel like it's sticking together well or isn't quite moist enough, continue adding a bit more vegetable oil until it comes together nicely. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Form the cookie dough into 1-inch balls, and then roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture until it's well coated. Place on prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the cookie springs back if you touch it with your finger. Let sit for a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For some reason I didn't think of this until after the fact, but you could definitely add cinnamon to the actual cookie dough too if you wanted to make them have even more cinnamon flavor. I'd say a teaspoon or so should do it!

I will say that these cookies were not super pumpkin-y, but the flavor was definitely there. The soft and chewy texture of these cookies is my favorite quality of them. Cake mix cookies come out great every time I make them!! And this new recipe is no exception. Next time you need a quick dessert, give these a try. You can whip up a batch in no time at all! And they'll be devoured in no time at all too. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Mac n' Cheese

And the pumpkin kick continues! Today I bring to you my own homemade version of pumpkin mac n' cheese. I was inspired by a couple sources to make this. One is my own butternut squash mac n' cheese that I made last year, and the other is a recent recipe by Angela from Oh She Glows. Below is the recipe I ended up using that I kind of just created as I went along... Oh, and I did take a look at a couple of my own cookbooks too just to make sure I was generally on the right track with ingredient measurements. :)


-2 cups of pasta, cooked and drained (use whatever shape you'd like!)
-1 to 2 Tbsp. butter
-1 and 1/2 cups of milk (I used 1%)
-2 to 3 Tbsp. flour
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 heaping cup of canned pumpkin
-1 heaping cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I used VT sharp!)
-1/4 to 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-handful of bread crumbs and more parmesan cheese


Cook and drain the pasta and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir it with the milk until the milk is steaming. Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture until it begins to bubble and thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the mixture is thickened (you'll easily be able to tell when this happens!), remove from heat and stir in your canned pumpkin until smooth. Next, stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese until well combined. 

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and pumpkin/cheese mixture until the pasta is well coated. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray, and add the pasta mixture to it. Top with whatever amount of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese you'd like (I didn't measure how much I added to mine; I just sprinkled some on top until it looked just about right :)). Bake for about 15 to 25 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown and slightly crispy to your liking. ENJOY!!!

Milk mixture, beginning to thicken...

Time to stir in the oh-so-important pumpkin!

Lookin' good enough to eat...

Lookin' even better with the addition of cheese...

And more cheese...

The cheese sauce doesn't look too appetizing here, but trust me, it is.

I wanted to eat it at this stage. There's a chance I did... Just one bite.

Bread crumbs and parm cheese on top before popping it into the oven...

Out of the oven and ready to EAT!!!

Oh yeah. Pumpkin mac n' cheese. Simple and "healthified"! Perhaps you'd like to serve this with a tasty, homemade pumpkin biscuit? And if you're in the mood for a pumpkin flavored dessert after you enjoy this meal, I've got a tasty pumpkin cookie recipe coming up next for you... :)

Happy mid-week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

PUMPKIN! I've been cooking or baking with it at least a couple times a week thus far this fall...and you can bet that I'll continue making many yummy pumpkin dishes. I just can't get enough! This past weekend I actually had time on Saturday morning to make a slightly more time consuming breakfast, so I took advantage of that time and made these delicious pumpkin pancakes. They were super easy and even more delicious than they were easy! Bottom line = they're a must try. :)

The recipe is from Sunset magazine, and I found it online from The site actually provides a recipe for ginger butter but I did not make that. It sounds great though!


-1 cup all-purpose flour (I used half AP and half whole wheat)
-2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
-1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 large egg
-3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
-3/4 cup canned pumpkin
-1/4 cup yogurt (I did not add this; I only had greek yogurt on hand and didn't want to open a container of it to use for this recipe, so I just didn't add it - worked out totally fine!)
-2 Tbsp. butter, melted (I did not add the butter either!)


In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients from the flour through the salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg, milk, pumpkin, yogurt, and melted butter. Stir together the wet and dry ingredients until they're just combined.

Over medium heat, coat a skillet with butter and place batter on pan in 1/4 to 1/3 cup portions. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until pancakes are browned. Flip and cook the other side, about 2 to 3 more minutes. As you're continuing to cook the remaining batter, transfer the done pancakes to a baking dish and keep warm in the oven (at around 200 degrees). Serve with butter, maple syrup, or toppings of your choice! For me, this made about 12 pancakes that were probably 3 inches or so in diameter.

For a fun side, I sliced some orchard fresh apples and "dressed" them with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Pumpkin pancake perfection.