Tag Archives: Pumpkin

How to Use Pumpkin Pie Spice (aside from a pumpkin pie…)

We all have spices in our cupboards that we never use. I personally have a shaker of garam masala that I used once two years ago and haven’t touched since. Well… there was one time I mistook it for nutmeg. Needless to say those pancakes ended up in the trash.

You probably use your pumpkin pie spice once a year at Thanksgiving, but during this pumpkin-y time of year why not pull it out for some unorthodox uses? Not that the below are TOO out of the box, but perhaps they’re new and exciting to you. I do hope that’s the case.

Maple brown butter pumpkin spice popcorn

On the menu:
Maple brown butter pumpkin spice popcorn
Serves 2

1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pop the popcorn in an air popper.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Watch the mixture closely as the color turns from white and yellow to a light brown. As soon as the butter is a light brown color, turn off the heat. Mix in the maple syrup and the pumpkin pie spice and stir to combine.

Pour half the mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. Pour remaining butter mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Pancakes with sauteed apples with maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice

On the menu:
Pancakes with apples sauteed with maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice
Serves 2

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Make pancakes according to this recipe.

In a small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add apple slices and stir to coat. Cook apples for approximately 5 minutes or until they soften. Add maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Top pancakes with sauteed apples and serve.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting by LaurenFoodE
I don’t have to tell you about my problem with late night cakes. There really should be some sort of “Late Night Cakes Anonymous” group or something. In any case, it’s putting a reeeeeal damper on Project Lose That Holiday Weight. I may or may not have gained a small amount of weight due to excessive holiday eating (namely chimichangas and In N Out and Jack In the Box, all of which I blame on The BF and his SoCal roots). And I made one of those stupid New Year’s resolutions that I was going to get healthy in 2013, finally join the gym across the street from me, and stop eating as if I was hosting an un-televised version of Man Vs. Food.

But here’s a short story about me: The BF, being a stand up comic, works weekends and a lot of nights I find myself alone with nothing to keep me warm but a kitchen just begging to be baked in. My pantry had pumpkin, my fridge had cream cheese, and I had a recipe and a dream. You know what that means… pumpkin cake.

On the menu:
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
Makes one 9 x 13 cake

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together all ingredients with an electric mixer until combined. When cake is completely cooled, spread frosting evenly over top. Refrigerate cake until serving.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadPumpkin bread is one of those dishes you can make for a brunch last minute in case, say, the bread you planned to make that took you 2 hours the night before, the bread you created specially so that your friend who can’t eat gluten could still enjoy every dish at your brunch, the bread that made your whole apartment smell like incredible grapefruit-scented-vanilla cake for an entire day … yes… that bread… came out like a fat, gooey, undercooked, flat brick.

Womp womp.

So I threw this bread together and told my gluten-free-friend to stay far away. But everyone else swarmed in like vultures. #Success

On the menu:
Pumpkin bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, water, and spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated (careful not to overmix).

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with butter and pour in the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on a rack.

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Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta


Don’t you hate when a recipe calls for less than the full can of pureed pumpkin? I’ve thrown away more 3 month old half-cups of pumpkin puree than I can even tell you. So after making these gems last weekend, I found myself with the age old conundrum: what to do with the extra pumpkin?

DUH. You add cheese. Why do I even bother contemplating?

I can’t lie to you, I ate this straight from the bowl with a spoon and I didn’t apologize for it one tiny bit. But it would also be stupendous as a bed for pork chops with sauteed apples or pulled pork or grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes. Am I right, or am I right?

On the menu:
Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta
Serves 2

1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup whole milk (or half and half)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup polenta
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

In a small pan, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium/low heat. Add onion and sautee until very soft, around 8 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and heat for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, heat water, milk, salt, and pepper until it boils. Stir in polenta in a gradual, thin stream, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 4 – 5 minutes.

Stir pumpkin/onion mixture into the milk and water mixture and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until hot and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining butter and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

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Pumpkin Ginger Soup

‘Tis the season to cook with pumpkin. You’ve been bombarded by orange at the farmer’s market, inundated with pumpkin recipes from your daily email recipe newsletters, and overwhelmed by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts commercials featuring pumpkin flavored everything. I would say it’s cliche, but really… it’s just delicious. Below is an incredibly easy recipe that yields a flavorful soup that would serve as a lovely first course to any fall meal, or as a hearty lunch with crusty bread on the side. Don’t hold back, friends… give in to the power of pumpkin.

On the menu:
Pumpkin Ginger Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe at Yumm.com

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, finely grated (or use 1 Tbsp ginger powder)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 15-oz. cans of pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Sriracha (or similar hot sauce)

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, pumpkin, stock, cream, and hot sauce. Stir until combined and turn down heat until the soup is simmering. Simmer for 25 minutes, occasionally stirring. Use an immersion blender to blend* in the pot, or pour soup into a standing blender and blend until completely pureed. Replace soup in the pot and heat until hot and ready to serve. Top with crunchy pumpkin seeds if desired.

*Note: you don’t necessarily have to blend this soup, but I found the crunchy onions distracting so I ended up blending the entire pot after I ate one bowl. It was much creamier and much more flavorful after all. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of dirtying your blender, though, it’ll still be delicious without the blending.

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Pumpkin Muffins: Easier Than They Look… Unless You’re Me.


Saturday afternoon I went grocery shopping and tossed a can of pumpkin into my cart on a whim. I. Love. Pumpkin. And I’ve been dreaming of pumpkin muffins so Sunday morning when I saw that new can of pumpkin in my pantry, I thought, What the heck. I found an easy peasy recipe on Smitten Kitchen and went to work. It took all of 15 minutes to throw this together, and then I was nestled in the couch with coffee, inhaling the scent of autumn coming from my oven. Took the muffins out at allotted time… heavy, dense, and uncooked. Back in the oven. Ten minutes later? Heavy, dense, and cooked. I tasted them. Huh. Kinda weird… Checked the recipe. …Oh. Baking powder. Yes, baking powder. Kind of a key ingredient in muffins, huh? Oh… and only ONE CUP of pumpkin. Not the whole can.

However, these babies aren’t bad. In fact, they’re actually pretty good. They’re just not what you think of when you think “light, fluffy pumpkin muffin”. They’re dense but incredibly moist, not too sweet, and would be perfect toasted with a little butter.

On the menu:
Pumpkin muffins
Makes 12
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 tsp baking powder [optional!]
1 1/2 cups flour
1 15-oz. can of pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp plus 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, with a large whisk, combine pumpkin, oil, eggs, spices, sugar, baking soda, and salt together until combined. Whisk in flour mixture. Pour into greased or papered muffin tin until 3/4 filled.

Mix together 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the muffins. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Sweet Pumpkin Dip and Vanilla Wafers

Happy Monday! Oh, who are we kidding, Monday sucks. Bake these tonight and tomorrow will be a little bit sweeter.

On the menu:
Sweet pumpkin dip
Makes 5 cups, 32 servings [aka a LOT of dip!]

8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 15-oz. can of solid packed pumpkin
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp all spice

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the spices until smooth and blended. Chill until serving.

Vanilla Wafers
Adapted from this recipe at Ezra Poundcake
Makes about 65 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Blend sugar, salt and butter together until smooth with an electric mixer. Add egg yolks and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add flour. Divide dough into 4 portions and roll each into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least an hour.

Once chilled, slice each roll into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place slices on cookie sheet [NOTE: these don’t spread so you can place them pretty close together]. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Let cool and then dip them into your delicious pumpkin dip.

Note: These cookies are not your traditional in-the-box vanilla wafers. They are definitely a cookie, and they’re sweeter than the boxed kind. However, the dip plus the cookie is not overly sweet so don’t worry about a sugar overload. Not that I ever do anyway.

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