Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pumpkin is the Word of the Day

     So dinner last night was no less than amazing considering the lack of time or ingredients, thanks to Gary of course. I whipped up some kind of tortilla soup (one that comes with the recipe book, but because I didn't have all the ingredients I improvised) and it took like 2 minutes to make. We included some leftover beans and rice and the kids went wild over getting to eat tortilla chips for dinner; dippy style. Who knew?
     Back to the real exciting crux of this post however...pumpkin. It is on my top 10 list of top 10 favorite foods (Hey at least I condensed my favorites down to 10 top 10 lists ok?!) It is amazingly versatile, creating  everything from soup to pie and back again with muffins and cookies. This mornings triumph was a fantastically filling batch of Honey-Grain Pumpkin Muffins that did not last past breakfast. Of course I wasn't surprised though, as I may or may not have added mini chocolate chips to the top of a few of those decadent breakfast treats, in hope of a pre-pick-me-up for the day (at least for me!) Below I have included some recipes for you to try your hand at. Notice the pumpkin bean cookies. It may sound weird but when you are trying to skip on fat and need a quick treat, nothing beats a gooey pumpkin chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. My friend gave me the idea years ago when she told me you can substitute pureed beans for butter in most recipes. Well, I went on some crazy bean cooking kick, and while my white bean pie crusts were not much of a success, the pumpkin cookies have been off the charts and provided many a surprising smile for a couple of years now. Not that it would be a problem, but be sure to eat them all within the first day or two, as they are the most fresh and yummy right away!

     Honey-Grain Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 c.  buttermilk (other milk would probably work fine here, but buttermilk was best)
1 c. whole grain hot cereal (like Hodson's Mill Flax N Oat, just plain oats would probably work great here too only make sure the oats are blended a little more fine to create more of a flour)
1 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. canola oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
optional mini chocolate chips for the top

Preheat oven to 375^. Mix the first two ingredients and let sit for about 5 minutes. Then add remaining dry ingredients, mix well and add remaining wet ingredients mixing thoroughly. Fill muffin cups completely and sprinkle with optional choc. chips before baking for 20 min. Makes 12 very dense and filling yummy muffins.

     Pumpkin "Bean" Cookies

2 1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour (or half white half whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c. white beans (about 1 15 oz. can)
3/4 c. to 1 c. honey
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375^. Puree beans until NO chunks, add honey and cream well. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs, mix well. Add flour, baking soda & powder and spice. Mix again, stir in choc. chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon on lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake for about 10-15 min (check after 10, can be soft then let set out of oven if lightly browned)

     Crustless Pumpkin Pie 
(although this is typically a holiday treat, this recipe is such an easy favorite in our house, we do it all the time, including for snacks!)

1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
4 tbsp butter soft
2 13 oz cans evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
1 c. Bisquick baking mix 
2 15. oz can pumpkin (about 4 cups fresh, 1 29oz can works too)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350^. Spray 2 large pie plates. Beat all the ingredients well, add to pans and bake til golden or knife comes out clean. Can even serve with just a glass of milk and it is pretty much amazing. 

     Mom's Jumbo Batch Pumpkin Cookies 
(another old time family favorite, the dough refrigerates easy for making some whenever you want. makes a HUGE batch, you can cut it in half for easier use too)

10 c. whole wheat flour
4 c. oats
3 c. butter
4 c. sugar and brown sugar (yes that is 4 c each!)
4 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp salt
1 29 oz can pumpkin 
2 bag chocolate chips

Hey, this may be big, but we lived in a house of 5 kids, and 2 growing boys. Make these ahead and freeze them, they even seemed to taste better! Mix all the ingredients, and bake at 350^ for about 15 min.

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