Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

It’s A Mystery.

Hey all you sweets.  I’ve got to make this major snappy ‘cuz I’ve got to get out the door!  I’m late, I’m late!!

Last night’s dinner included a mystery ingredient that Devin never picked up on and I actually forgot to tell him.  I was thinking about telling him while we were eating, then decided against it and thought I would drop the bomb after we were done.  Whoops.  Completely forgot.  Actually, the only reason I knew it was there is because I put it there.  Other than that, I couldn’t really taste it.  Are you dying with curiosity yet?!  OK, fine.  Here you go …


Black Bean Pumpkin Chili



My idea of a “mystery” ingredient was the canned pumpkin puree that was added to the mix.  I’ve made chili with sweet potatoes before, but never pumpkin.  It essentially just added even more thickness to the dish.  It was good.  It easy with a capital “E”.  You will see why below.  You will luvs it.  (I hope!) 


  • 1/2 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 1 can dicd tomatoes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Spice it up with: chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika (!!), cayenne pepper, S+P


Brown turkey and onion in a skillet.  Add turkey, onions and remaining ingredients to crock pot; set on low for at least 3 hours, or all day if you prefer!  Top with plain yogurt, cheese and sliced scallions.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here.

The only way this recipe could have been any better is if it had chunks of roasted pumpkin in it.  Then it would have been all that and a bag of chips.  Oh yeah.

G to the O, I gotta go.  Catch y’all later!



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Well, hi there.  Is it really Sunday night already?!  Makes me shed a little tear.  It was another great weekend, but of course, went way too fast.  We had a blast with our long-lost friends last night … I slacked and did not bring the camera with me.  I can tell you though that the food was ah-maz-ing.  We went to Maggiano’s and ordered from the family-style menu.  Holy moly … talk about food!!  We had our choice of two appetizers, two salads, two pasta dishes, two entree dishes and two desserts.  Oink oink.  I won’t bore you with all the details, esp. since I don’t have any fun pics to tempt you with.  There are many, many locations throughout the US, so I wouldn’t doubt if some of you have been witness to the deliciousness I encountered last night.

I woke up bright + early today, looked over the paper, put together the week’s menu and grocery list.  Then I found myself in the kitchen making these beauties …


Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins



My recipe was adapted from this recipe.  Thank you, Tina, over at Carrots ‘N’ Cake, for the great recipe idea.  I had just over a cup of pumpkin that really needed to be used or tossed, so this recipe was the perfect fit.


  • 1/2 cup spelt flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Heaping 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


You know the drill … mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add the walnuts.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 – 20 minutes.

Yield: 10 muffins

These little babies are good stuff.  Just a little bit of sweet with a lot of spice.  I enjoyed a couple “samples” (ok, ok, actually it was a whole muffin x 2) today with TJ’s Cranberry-Apple Butter that I found hiding in the fridge.


Now, it’s 4 nights after I was suppose to eat + post my Craving Ellie meal o’ the week, but that doesn’t mean we enjoyed it any less …


Chicken Cacciatore



This fabulous recipe was selected by Pantry Revisited, where you can find the original recipe.  I, of course, strayed from the written word and made a couple changes …

  • Only used two chicken breasts, instead of four.  2 people + 4 chicken breasts = too much.
  • In addition to the red peppers, onions and mushrooms (I used canned), I also had a huge craving for olives, of all things, so I added a combo of sliced green + kalamata olives.

That’s all.  That’s it.  No other changes.  Not too bad, eh?  We really liked this recipe, as we normally do when it comes to Ellie’s creations, and I can definitely see this one making another appearance on our table one day.  Thanks Pantry Revisited!  Great choice!  Four thumbs up!! 


So, now, I’m sure you’ve been racking your brain all day + night, trying to figure out the answer to my little riddle.  Well, have no fear, the answer is here …




Q:  You throw away the outside and cook the inside.  Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside.  What are you eating?

A:  Corn on the cob … you throw away the husk and cook the corn.  Then you eat the corn and throw away the cob.


Pretty clever, huh?!  Hee hee.  Blog reader, Julie, commented with an answer of chicken, which would ring true as well.  Smart thinking, Julie.  Way to go, girl!

Alrighty, boys and girls, I’m outta here.  I’m sleeps and ready to veg out in my comfy-cozy bed.  I hope you are all doing well!  XOXO

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Big Brother Would Be Proud

It’s snowing outside!  Yes, I’m still in NC!!  I didn’t magically travel to Colorado or anything overnight.  It is SO pretty.  Brings me right back to my childhood days in Minnesota.  We didn’t know the difference at all … heck, if it was 20 degrees (or even 10 degrees, whatever) and snowing, that just meant a better snowman.  You couldn’t tempt us with anything to keep up indoors.  We wanted to go sledding and make snow angels.  We wanted to go ice skating and make snow forts.  Ahh … the good times.  I wouldn’t trade my childhood in Minnesota for anything.  It was a fabulous place to grow up.



Can you spy the cardinal in the picture??


So, last night I tried to re-create the slop the housemates are often forced to eat on Big Brother.  It actually started out as a re-creation of a recipe I found  on Tri to Cook’s site last week, which in turn she got from Megan.  The original recipe was Black Beans and Rice with Pumpkin Vinaigrette




As you can see, it didn’t really end up that way.  I actually warned Devin to brace for the worse since I had no idea what in the world I was creating.  I just kept throwing ingredients in the pan and would have continued to do so if Devin hadn’t collapsed on the floor in starvation.  Ok, fine, I’ll stop and we can eat now.  You don’t have to be so dramatic about it, dear.

I honestly can’t give you a recipe on this one, but I will gladly offer up everything that went into the pan …

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked in low-sodium chicken broth with onions, celery and cilantro
  • 1/2 cup wild rice blend
  • Black Beans
  • 2 Boca Meatless Italian Sausages, sliced
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Chopped spinach
  • Dried cranberries
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Pumpkin vinaigrette – pumpkin puree, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil

Towards the end, I did add a big heaping spoon of additional pumpkin since the mix seemed a little dry.  Problem solved. 

Believe it or not, this combination actually turned out quite good, even if it wasn’t extremely pleasing to the eye.  The pumpkin flavor was just enough to make my mouth happy and the vinegar gave it a nice little zip.


It’s a perfect day for a “snow day” with all the activity on the TV today.  It’s a funny thing when it snows here … the entire city shuts down.  No school.  No work.  People just don’t leave their houses.  With the warning of snow, the grocery stores are bombarded with people stocking up on bread, water and batteries.  Come on, people, this isn’t the end here.  Just a little snowfall.  Oh, well, doesn’t bother me any … the perfect way to catch up on things that need to be done around the house.

Have a good day!  XOXO

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Countdown Starts … Craziness Ends

Wassup guys and dolls.  How is everyone?  Have a good weekend?!  I am happy to report tonight that as of today, I am done, done, done with searching endlessly for the perfect Christmas gifts.  I just had a  few small things to pick up today … I was in and out like a robbery, people.  I was amazed.  I must admit, I was a little worried that all the crazies would be out and about on the last weekend day before the holiday, but I really had no problem at all.  I had my nunchucks with me just in case.  Good thing I didn’t have to show ’em my mad skills.  Really.

Once home from my afternoon outing, I buckled down with a hot cuppa tea and wrapped every single present hanging around this house … except those for me.  I couldn’t find those.  Dev’s a good hider. 

It took me over two hours to put all the pretty paper and bows on each gift … while I sprawled out on the family room floor, I watched Rendition with Reese Witherspoon and Jakey-poo Gyllenhaal.  Good movie.  I recommend it.  I might have even shed a tear or two at the end. 

So, last night’s outing to watch the ball game was our rendering of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly …


I’ll start with the ugly:


NFL Boxscore – Baltimore at Dallas

Team 1 2 3 4 Score
Baltimore 3 6 7 17 33
Dallas 7 0 0 17 24


The bad:



This was actually a tie with ugly. Spontaneous order of chicken nachos after drinking beer ... made our bellies hurt.


The good:


Feeling nutrition-empty, I tore into a strawberry Chobani with Go Lean and coconut when we got home.

Feeling nutrition-empty, I tore into a strawberry Chobani with Go Lean and coconut when we got home. Happy belly.


Since I don’t have our meal planned for Christmas brunch yet, I avoided the grocery store altogether today.  I’m a one-trip kinda gal.  I don’t have much to plan for as far as dinners are concerned either … just Monday night and possibly Friday + Saturday.  We have plans Tuesday, Wednesday, and, of course, Thursday.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I’m thinking something light for tomorrow night … ho hum.


I dug deep in the freezer and pulled out leftovers from a dinner we had in October!  I didn’t see any visible freezer-burn so I figured it would be alright …


Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Stew



(Recipe can be found here)


It was and I actually think it was even better this time around.  It was very hearty and the flavors were perfectly meshed.  I only wished we had enough for seconds!

Alrighty tighty, I’m off to snuggle on the couch with my little furball, who has recently staked claim to new property …


On top of the cable box in our room ... puts off a lotta heat that she's luvin'

On top of the cable box in our room ... puts off a lotta heat that she's just luvin' like crazy right now.


See the foot hanging off – that’s her club foot.  Seriously.  Too cute + absolutely rotten.


Nighty night!  4 days to go …

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Back On Track

I know you are all going to think I’m crazy by saying this, but I’m glad it’s Monday ‘cuz things are back to normal.  No more rain.  No more lightless tree (although we are still working on the decorating part!)  No more messy house.  And finally, NO MORE LEFTOVERS!!!  Oorah!  The left bit of our Shepherd’s Pie was consumed by him and her last night –




Oh, and what’s that off to the side, you ask?!  You betta believe it.  I enjoyed every single one of those t crunchy, oniony delights.  It was almost sinful.

The o’rings are made by the Alexia Foods company, who proudly boast their products as being all natural and trans fat free.  I buy them for Devin since they can be considered on the healthier side of splurge foods, plus how can he go wrong with popping a couple of these bad boys in the oven until they are baked to golden perfection?!  Well, um … never mind.

Since I’ve brought my love bug up, I should mention that he was SO super sweet to run out last night in the nasty, cold, rainy weather to get my these –




Ahh … isn’t he the best?!  Gotta love’m!

So, my bowl this morning was overjoyed at the addition of one of those yellow beauties –


Warmed granola with flax, cranberries, sliced banana and PB

Warmed granola with flax, cranberries, sliced banana and PB


It was fabulous.  I just knew that the tart cranberries and sweet banana would be perfect together.

I’ve been able to get quite a bit done this morning, since I’m home alone once again and the hubby is tucked nicely into his office chair! 🙂 I went to the grocery store early this morning, shortly after waking, plus I ran for 45 minutes on the treadmill, caught up on e-mails and managed to get some other work items taken care of.

I took a quick shot of my groceries to give you a glimpse of what’s cookin’ in the house this week –




Starting on the left – carrots, zucchini, apples, avocado, kale, mushrooms, cranberries, white beans, frozen corn, chipotles in adobo sauce, diced tomatoes with jals, black beans, Ian’s WW Panko breadcrumbs (on close-out so I bought two), fresh pineapple, Chobani and vanilla soy.

I also picked up some tilapia fillets, boneless chicken breasts and still have a few more things to grab at Trader Joe’s.

This is a duplicate shot, just had to show off my lil' cutie pie in the background!  Aww!

This is a duplicate shot, just had to show off my lil' cutie pie in the background!


When it came time for lunch, I had a major craving for creamy almond butter and apple butter on a toasted muffin (pretty descriptive craving, huh?!), so that’s what I based my lunch around.




To ensure that toasty muffin made it’s way to my mouth with a quickness, I threw together a quick bowl of pumpkin soup –


With corn, peas and topped with a dollop of plain Chobani

With corn, peas and topped with a dollop of plain Chobani


To make it, all I did was combine 1 cup water with ~3/4 cup pumpkin puree and 1/2 cube reduced sodium chicken bouillon, plus frozen peas and corn.  Simple simon.  Very tasty and filling.

Well, I guess I should get off here and get some more things taken care of before another day whizzes on by.  Happy Monday!  It’s December 1st – isn’t that crazy?!  We get to start our Trader Joe’s advent calendar tonight …


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Just a quick post of my BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient) recipe entry …


Pumpkin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies




This week’s secret ingredient is walnuts and was selected by the fabulous Amy, over at coffee talk.  Great choice, Amy!  Walnuts are not only delicious, they are also very healthy, as they are an excellent source of the important omega-3 essential fatty acid.


0462  0522



  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I was excited to use the leftover roasted sugar pumpkin puree I had from my Thanksgiving pie!!)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup spelt flour and 1 cup AP flour)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together the pumpkin, egg whites, vanilla and both sugars; set aside.  In another bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, soda, nutmeg and ginger.  Mix together at low speed until well blended; stir in oats and walnuts.  Drop by the spoonful onto a sprayed baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, until bottoms are browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe was modified from the recipe found here.


Think I will go sample another … enjoy!

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Because It’s Orange

Hi all!  It’s gonna be a quick post tonight … I’m trying to organize my to-do list for tomorrow, that keeps getting longer by the minute. 

We are not hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, but instead traveling the short distance (30 minutes) to Devin’s parents house.  I have offered to bring two side dishes, plus the pies, so I have a lot of prep cooking to get done tomorrow.  All the recipes that I am following are new, so it should make for an interesting day.  I have a bottle of wine ready and waiting in the case of an emergency. 

Following a recipe is so much more difficult for me.  You know how it goes … you have to pause mid-pour to double-check that the recipe said 1 tablespoon of salt and not 1 teaspoon.  Yea, that would make a big difference.

As I was checking out the lovely Jessica‘s blog (Johnstone’s Vin Blanc) last week, I saw a dinner she had made that really look superb.  Actually, ALL her meals look superb!  Thanks Jessica for sharing a great meal idea!  Of course, I made a few modifications to suit our tastes and our pantry …


Five-Spice Scallops over Pumpkin Grits




  • Bay scallops
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 chicken flavored bouillon
  • Heaping 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • S&P
  • 1 tbsp. Chinese Five Spice seasoning
  • EVOO
  • Cranberry sauce, optional (I whipped this together earlier today with fresh cranberries and agave nectar)


Combine milk, water and bouillon in large pot; bring to a boil.  Add grits, stir well to combine, reduce heat and cook according to package directions. 

Meanwhile, pat scallops dry with paper towels.  Dip each scallop into Five Spice Seasoning; set aside.  Heat a small amount of oil in skillet.  When heated, add scallops and cook until done. 

Stir pumpkin into grits, plus salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon grits onto plate, topping with sauteed scallops.  Garnish as desired – I used sliced scallions and cranberry sauce on ours. 

We also enjoyed a side of roasted brussel sprouts and our usual spinach salad.




If I were to make this again, I would use less of the Five Spice seasoning since it overpowered the taste of the scallops.  I would also add red pepper flakes.  This dish was missing that little bit of heat that we always enjoy.  Other than those two minor things, it was great!  A fabulous combination!

Sorry to cut this so short, but I GOTTA GO!!  Have a fab evening!! 😀


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