beka stays healthy : pumpkin pie cups

As you flip through this blog, you may be under the impression that I have an affinity for pumpkin.

You would be correct. Apparently it’s a prerequisite in the blog world to wax poetic about pumpkin this time of year…and apparently I’m in with the in crowd. If something has the word “pumpkin” in the title, there’s a better than 99% chance that I’ll make it/order it/purchase it.

Except for one thing. There’s one pumpkin item I just can’t stomach.

Pumpkin pie.

I know. I shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving. Exile me from New England. I don’t deserve to live here anymore.

But it’s not without just cause! I had a traumatic childhood pumpkin pie experience!

So when I was all of 6 or 7, I became obsessed with the idea of pumpkin pie. I mean, it looked so good in books and on TV! So I asked my mom if she could make one. And, because she’s amazing, she did. But in the process of making the pie, she sliced her hand open on the can of pumpkin. And was bleeding profusely. And had to be rushed to the hospital by my dad. Who was stopped by the cops on the way there. At which point I started howling in the back seat because I thought they were going to arrest me for involuntary hand slaughter.

Because, as previously mentioned, my mom is amazing, she ended up seeing the pumpkin pie through to completion even after her fight with the can. And when she proudly served the pie with a dollop of whipped cream and I took my much-anticipated first bite…I found out that I didn’t like pumpkin pie after all.

My poor mom.

This led to a good 15 years of pumpkin embargo. I was under the impression that I didn’t like pumpkin, when in reality, I think I was just scarred from the whole unfortunate pie experience (as was my mom…literally).

Slowly but surely, pumpkin started to make a comeback. At first just in seasonal coffees. And then in pumpkin rolls because they just looked so delicious and reminded me of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. And then in muffins. And then in roasted seeds. And then in soup. And then the rest is history.

But still, to this day, I can’t get on board with pumpkin pie. I blame it on the cops.

Last weekend though, I made some progress. I made Pumpkin Pie in cup form. Pumpkin Pie encased by white chocolate. Which isn’t really pumpkin pie at all, but it’s close enough for me.

I think that this recipe for White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups from Lauren at Healthy Food for Living is about as close as I’ll get to actually eating pumpkin pie. But I’ll take it as a victory, and a delicious one at that! Be sure to check out the recipe!

inspired : 10.23.11

love these reflections from carpool queen

i think i might turn into a pumpkin soon…but i still want to make this

and these

starting to get excited for thanksgiving!

do the crazy thing

i really love big mama’s blog

the real life of a food blogger

the packers. the 7-0 packers. the headed into a bye week as the only undefeated team packers. (OH MY WORD.)

and, most of all, 15 points in the last 3 minutes to force overtime for the eventual win. it doesn’t get more inspiring than that. go tim go!

pin of the week:

pinned here

 

beka stays healthy : spiced greek yogurt muffin jars

Some days, I want a pretty layered breakfast in a Mason Jar. It feels like the right way to start a day.

Most days, I want other things for breakfast than items that typically go in Mason Jars. Like oatmeal. Or cereal. Or more oatmeal. But on this particular day, the item I had in mind was one of yesterday’s Pumpkin Applesauce muffins.

But how to combine the two? Other than sticking an unwrapped muffin in the bottom of a Mason Jar…which lacked some of the appeal I was going for.

Enter: greek yogurt and bananas. The ties that bind. Here’s how I wrangled this breakfast into a jar:

IMG_6841

Spiced Greek Yogurt Muffin Jars:

  • 1  Pumpkin Applesauce Muffin
  • 6 ounces, weight Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1  Banana

First, I gave the plain greek yogurt a little makeover. I added a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and gave her a stir.

Then the layering began.

First, about 1/3 of a sliced banana. Then a layer of spiced yogurt. Then a hearty squeeze of honey, since plain greek yogurt tends to be a bit on the tart side. Then half of a Pumpkin Applesauce muffin, crumbled. Repeat layers once and top with the remaining third of the banana.

I discovered that the top layer was good, but the bottom layer was best. So letting this sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle and the muffin to soak up all of the yogurty, bananay, honey-y goodness would probably work well.

IMG_6847

Muffins in Mason Jars. It CAN be done! Next up: oatmeal in Mason Jars. It’s so happening.

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

beka stays healthy : pumpkin applesauce muffins

Little known fact: I spent a (very) short span of life as a card-carrying vegan. Mainly, I was interested in the health benefits and the moral and environmental effects. While I still think that the world at large would be a better place if we consumed less meat and dairy, I’m back on the omnivore bandwagon again. This is not to credit/discredit any dietary choice, because I think that there are valid arguments for all sides; but for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that supporting ethical farmers and enjoying a well-balanced diet is the right move. (And, let’s be honest: I really love Greek yogurt. And goat cheese. And egg salad.)

Even though I’m back in the land of milk and honey, I still like to whip out a few beloved vegan recipes because they’re so darn healthy. One of the things I wanted to conquer during my vegan days was baking sans dairy and eggs. I was usually unsuccessful. But when there were victories, they usually came from the pages of Veganomicon, the revered cookbook for all things vegan. These muffins are an adaptation from a similar recipe for applesauce muffins. I made about a million of them in a 6-month period. But this time around, I wanted to add in more fall flavors. Which can only mean one thing: pumpkin!

Here’s the ingredient list:

adapted from Veganomicon

  • ¾ cups Almond Milk
  • ½ teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cups Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ½ cups Canned Pumpkin
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • ½ cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1-½ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¾ cups Red Wheat Bran
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Start by combining almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute. Then, add applesauce, pumpkin, canola oil, and packed brown sugar. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl (or—if you avoid extra dishes like the plague as I do—the same bowl), sift together whole wheat pastry flour, red wheat bran (oat bran works too, but I like the color and flavor red wheat bran contribute), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (or if you’re part of the aforementioned lazy club, just stir). Fold in raisins (golden, regular, or get crazy and throw in some dried cranberries!).

Spoon into a muffin tin. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Then, working as quickly as you can, like your life depends on it, sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top of the semi-baked muffins. Adding them 10 minutes in ensures that they don’t sink down into the batter and/or burn. Once you’ve sufficiently pumpkin-seeded the tops of your muffins, pop them back into the oven at 350ºF for another 15-20 minutes.

These are great plain or with butter but they’re out-of-this-world amazing when spread with the pure love that is pumpkin butter. And over the weekend, I went all-out at Williams Sonoma and bought a jar of their Pecan Pumpkin Butter.

Best decision ever. I now have a new best (spread) friend. Sorry, dark chocolate peanut butter.

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

beka stays authentic : fall bucket list

I’m pretty much obsessed with fall. This is true most years but now more than ever…I think I’m making up for lost time since last fall I was off gallivanting in warmer climates. I felt like I missed out on the whole season! So this year, we’re doing it up right. Here’s what I’d like to do this fall:

make caramel apples

make apple toffee blondies

make pumpkin pie cups

make butternut squash curry

try one new fall recipe from each of my subscriptions (a pie is a must! as are muffins!)

go to an orchard and get apples, cider and donuts

decorate the apartment with pumpkins galore

spend Sundays watching back to back to back football

go for walks around the neighborhood looking at houses, with leaves crunching underfoot

eat candy corn

drink lots of hot apple cider and cinnamon apple spice tea

stock up on fall coffee flavors from Leaf & Bean

(finally) get a fall coat/jacket (and a new scarf!)

take a cooking class (I’m on the waiting list for this one, but this one looks great too!)

and…last but certainly not least…

burn the hundreds of fall candles I’ve been stockpiling!

beka stays healthy : pumpkin pie oatmeal

I love fall flavors. If I ever got a tattoo, it just might read, “I love fall flavors.” Pumpkin, of course, is the epitome of autumn’s culinary delights. And while I don’t like pumpkin pie (which I realize is highly offensive to most Americans…but what can I say?! I had a traumatic childhood pumpkin pie incident and I haven’t been able to get on board with it since), I do love anything else pumpkin. Example: yesterday I blended Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin and added some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and topped it with granola. It was heaven in a bowl. I’m also a fan of pumpkin muffins, cupcakes, whoopie pies, lattes, coffee, pancakes, etc. Basically if it comes in a pumpkin flavor and it’s not a pie it will be on my plate or in my basket in the very near future.

So naturally it follows that I’d try to incorporate pumpkin into my favorite dish of my favorite meal: oatmeal. What I got was this:

It’s the closest I’ll be getting to pumpkin pie this season.

Here’s what happened:

  • I cooked 1/2 cup Old Wessex Scottish Oats in 1 cup of milk
  • When it was about 3/4 of the way done I added 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin, 1 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp of ginger
  • To top it off, I added about a Tbsp of chopped walnuts, some craisins, and a sprinkling of brown sugar
  • When I reheated and ate it a few days later, I also added some extra milk and a banana, just because I like the flavors/textures both add
  • This method made 2 servings. If you double it, I’d double check the spices. I made one batch with way too much cinnamon and I think the trouble was due to doubling.

Give this a whirl! It’s so easy and satisfying it’s sure to become a fall breakfast staple. And try the same ingredients but with Greek yogurt as a base – just blend everything but the toppings in a food processor. It’s SO good!

I think I need a new non-breakfast pumpkin endeavor. Any ideas?