Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Vegetable Soup

Fall Vegetable Soup

There's nothing better on a crisp autumn day than smelling a huge pot of soup simmering on your stove.  The weather FINALLY got a little colder here in Texas and so inspired me to make some soup! This soup is perfect for the season because it uses one of fall's favorite vegetables, the butternut squash. I was very happy with how this soup turned out. It's hearty without being to overwhelming, and is just bursting with flavor.

Fall Vegetable Soup
Adapted from Hunts

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 oz each) Hunt's® Tomato Paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pkg (10 oz each) frozen whole kernel corn (10 ounces = about 2 cups)
  • 1 can (19 oz each) cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in bay leaves, paprika, pepper and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in squash, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, water and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in corn and beans; increase heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sardine Fritters

Sardine Fritters

I realize that sardines are not the most appealing food in the world, but they are so good for you! I was cleaning out my grandparents pantry this summer and found some canned sardines. Realizing that I'd never actually had them before, I decided to give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised about how good they were, especially since I'd heard many unappealing reviews of them previously. Ever since my stress fracture I've been trying to figure out ways to strengthen my bones. And it turns out that sardines are a really good source of Vitamin D which is what your body needs in order to absorb calcium! So I've been getting pretty creative with my sardines lately and came up with this delightful recipe that is actually a lot like crab cakes or falafel.

Sardine Fritters
Adapted from Chow

1 can of sardines
1 egg
1 colve minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice

Mix together sardines, egg, garlic, cheese, and bread crumbs. Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a large saucepan till it spits when you put a test crumb in. Make small balls (approximately 1 inch in diameter) of the sardine mixture and fry for three to four minutes until golden brown, turning them occasionally with tongs. Place the fritters on a plate with a kitchen towel underneath to absorb the oil. Serve in the lettuce leaves with the Sriracha-soy sauce drizzled on top and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Granola

Yes, I know this is my millionth post about pumpkin, but really I must take advantage of pumpkin season while I can! Soon I'm going to have to make a section on my blog just dedicated to pumpkin. This granola is delicious! It was a perfect combination of spices, nuttiness, and sweet. I had trouble keeping this on my counter because every time I looked at it I just wanted to eat some! It's not only good as a cereal though, but also makes a great snack (especially if you make large clusters), and it's great in yogurt parfaits or with ice cream. I had some DELICIOUS pumpkin ice cream last night and this would have been perfect mixed in. By the way, THANK YOU to all my blog supporters! This is my 100th post, so thank you for sticking with me and my crazy food adventures :)

Pumpkin Granola
Adapted from The Chic Life

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats, dry
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (add more for a sweeter flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray).
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients oats, pecans, pepitas, coconut flakes (if using), flaxseed (if using), cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir to mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients canned pumpkin, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with a whisk to mix well.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until wet mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Pour granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer.
  6. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for 45-50 minutes, or until granola is browned to preference. Remove from oven and stir in cranberries.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature. 
  8. Store remaining granola in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin-Glazed Popcorn

Pumpkin-Glazed Popcorn

Thanks to my mom, popcorn is one of my all time favorite foods. One of the best dinners we had while growing up was a massive bowl of popcorn, accompanied by cheese and fruit and smoked salmon. Sometimes simple is just better. It can't just be any old popcorn though. I am not entirely a fan of movie popcorn, or the pre-packaged stuff. I like the kind where you can air pop the kernels and then put whatever you like on it. Moving to college, I was sad I wouldn't be able to air pop my popcorn. Until, I discovered that I could pop kernels in just any old paper bag! Works like a charm and is WAY cheaper than buying a box of pre-bagged stuff. My two loves, pumpkin and popcorn, collided with this recipe and I just couldn't pass it up. If you're skeptical, don't be. It basically just tastes like amazing, fall-inspired kettle corn.

Pumpkin-Glazed Popcorn
Recipe from Real Food. Real Deals.

1/2 cup corn kernels (yields about 10 cups popped)
2 tbs. melted butter
2 tbs. honey
1 tbs. pumpkin puree
¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pop the popcorn using an air popper or other method (like a paper bag with the end folded over and put in the microwave on the "popcorn" setting).
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and salt.  Cook over medium heat for a minute or two, stirring until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Measure two cups of plain popcorn and set aside.
  5. Put the remaining popcorn in a roasting pan.  Pour the pumpkin mixture over the popcorn and stir until evenly covered.
  6. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  7. Let the popcorn mixture cool.  The glazed pieces of popcorn will harden as they cool.
  8. Stir the plain popcorn into the pumpkin-glazed popcorn mixture and serve.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

I decided to give ya'll a one post break from my pumpkin adventures, but no fear, there are many more to come! Some of you may have noticed that I already have a post about sweet potato fries. But, since then I have been trying to perfect the recipe, and I think I've finally mastered it! These fries are nice and crispy on the outside yet squishy on the inside. Unlike most sweet potato fries, these bad boys won't flop around. They are super addicting though, so consider yourself warned!

Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
Olive oil
Spices (I used cumin, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and salt)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash sweet potato (peeled or unpeeled, it doesn't matter) and cut into 2 in x 1/2 in fries. Toss potato, olive oil, and spices in a bowl until all pieces are evenly coated. Spread out pieces on the baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each piece (if you don't they will get soggy!!!). Bake for 13 minutes, flip over the fries, and return to the oven for another 13 minutes or until golden brown on each side. 

Serve with Lime-Chipotle Mayo (mayo, lime, chili powder, and garlic powder), or BBQ sauce or ketchup or whatever dip you love!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

I am literally trying to incorporate pumpkin in every meal I make. Who would've thought it would go so great in chili! Honestly, I couldn't really taste the pumpkin at all, but it made the chili super creamy. This is a classic chili recipe and is so great for this fall time of year. Make some cute little mini cornbreads to go with it too!

Pumpkin Chili
Adapted from Prevention RD

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 lb 90% lean ground beef

1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin

1 can (14.5 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato puree

Sauté the onion, yellow pepper in oil until softened. Add garlic and spices; cook 1 minute longer. Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink (breaking up the meat while cooking), approximately 10 minutes.
Transfer to large pot; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on medium-low for 1 hour, vent the lid and cook for an addition 30 minutes to an hour.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cocoa Banana Granola

Cocoa Banana Granola

Recently I've really enjoyed making granola! I usually eat oatmeal every day, but I decided to experiment with different types of oats. So I bought some old fashioned oats instead of my usual quick cooking oats, but realized I didn't really like the texture. Good thing the old fashioned oats work perfectly for granola! This is a super simple granola recipe that I found intriguing. The banana and chocolate worked just lovely together, and some extra chocolate chips didn't hurt either.

Cocoa Banana Granola 
Adapted from Southern in Law

1 1/2 cups oats
2 tsp cocoa powder (for a richer chocolate flavor, add more!)
1/4 tsp salt 
1/3 cup  banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp maple syrup 
1 egg white
Optional: nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips (add in afterwards)

Preheat oven to 355°F.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
In a large bowl add oats and salt. 
In a medium bowl mash banana and add in cocoa powder, vanilla, maple syrup, egg white and any add ins (except chocolate chips, if using).
Pour out the granola mixture onto the baking sheet and spread out - leaving some big clusters.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until granola is crisp, stirring gently halfway through. 
Store in an airtight container for ~1 week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall Quinoa Salad

Fall Quinoa Salad

If you hadn't noticed I've been kind of on a fall themed eating schedule lately. Fall is definitely my favorite season for eating. I tend to eat "fall-ish" things all year round. I just can't get enough of sweet potatoes, and squash, and pumpkin! This salad is a perfect combination of all your favorite fall favorites. 

Fall Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Sweet Treats More

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 cup chopped pecans
6 Tbsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss diced sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with a dash of salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until pieces are browned and cooked through (crispy on the outsides, soft in the center).  Stir half way through cooking.  Once done, cover with foil and set aside. While potatoes are roasting, place water and quinoa and cranberries in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove and let it set for 5 minutes. Once quinoa is done cooking, place butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Melt butter and stir occasionally until butter has turned a golden brown color (about 6 minutes). Pour browned butter into a glass, bowl, or measuring cup with a spout and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and toss pecans into the same pan.  Season with a dash of cinnamon and cook until slightly toasted.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and pour it into a large bowl.  Add cinnamon, sweet potatoes and pecans, then pour browned butter over the top and stir to coat evenly.  Season with a dash of salt and pepper.  Serve warm. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Everything!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Everything!

Looking for some dangerously good fall recipes? Look no further. I honestly admit that these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are my favorite thing that I bake. They never fail to satisfy my desire for squishy deliciousness. I often refer to them as pillows of joy. Please, if you try nothing else on my blog, make these cookies. The bread was also SUPER tasty. As you can see I made muffins and a mini loaf out of half of it. I think I liked the big loaf the best though, as it was the most dense. Now, go get your fall spirit and bake yourself some pumpkin happiness.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Deelish Dish
2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it) 

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 

2 eggs 

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup canola or corn oil 

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup chocolate chips 

3/4 chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.
2. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. 
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix the flour mixture to incorporate it. Stir in the chips and nuts by hand.
4. Scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. About 1/4-cup per scoop. 
5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 15 minutes. Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cups chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.