Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Continuing with the annual pumpkin chronicles, I used the pumpkin purée from my last post to make some delicious seasonal granola bars. I took them on a weekend getaway and they were received with warm welcoming smiles.


In a large mixing bowl combine four cups of old fashioned rolled oats, one cup hulled sunflower seeds, one-half cup chopped cashews, one-half cup chopped almonds, one and one-half cups dried cherries,  and one-half cup cacao nibs. Sprinkle in cinnamon, ginger and allspice to taste. I used about one-half tablespoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of the ginger and allspice. Time to play with your food! Toss well with your hands to combine the ingredients.

Next, mix in two cups of pumpkin purée and two tablespoons of shagbark hickory syrup. I realize not everyone has shagbark hickory syrup, so go ahead and feel free to substitute maple syrup. I prefer the shagbark because it is not quite as sweet as maple.

Once everything is well mixed, press into your favorite bar pan making sure it is tightly packed.  My  absolute favorite bar pan is this large stoneware bar pan from pampered chef. It is 10″ X 15-1/2″. Any pan around this size will work, but I have had the most success with stoneware for granola bars.

I bought mine here:


Preheat oven to 350* and bake for thirty five minutes. It will come out a beautiful golden color. Allow to cool well on a cooling rack. I find two hours is about the right amount of time.

Once cooled well, flip out of pan and cut into bars. I do this by holding a large cutting board over the pan and turning it over. I cut into thirty six bars.

These bars have it all! Sweet and savory along with chewy and crunchy. Share with your friends or pack for snacks. They will keep well for two weeks in the refrigerator if you can keep them around that long.


One recipe? Two pumpkin products!

It is that time of year again! Autumn. My absolute favorite time of year. When leaves change color and pumpkin spice takes over! This recipe creates two pumpkin spice products when it is finished. Two for the price of one!! A simple syrup for using in chai, coffee or anywhere else you want a hint of pumpkin spice and a pleasantly sweet pumpkin purée for use in baking.

Isn’t it beautiful? Now imagine the smell!! The ingredients of the pot are as follows: four cups of water, two cups raw cane sugar, one small sugar pumpkin-peeled and chopped, and eight cinnamon sticks. Also add nutmeg, ginger and allspice to taste.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour. The longer you simmer, the more flavorful the simple syrup will be.


Allow to cool. Once cooled, strain. The liquid is your sweet and savory simple syrup. This recipe yielded one quart jar and one pint jar. Use this to add the flavor of the season to coffee, chai, smoothies, or whatever else makes you happy. I had some in my oolong tea this morning and it was delicious.

Don’t throw away the solids in the strainer!! Remove the cinnamon sticks, then put the pumpkin to the blender and purée. This is your slightly sweet pumpkin purée. This recipe yielded one pint jar. Use this for baked goods. I plan on making pumpkin granola bars. Watch for the recipe in a future blog.

This was my first concoction. A clean out the blender smoothie for breakfast on the go. I added twelve ounces of water, one scoop of vanilla protein powder, one-quarter cup of rolled oats, a handful of spinach, and a few generous dashes of cinnamon. Blender is cleaner and the belly is happy!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Since, Halloween is rapidly approaching, I decided to focus on pumpkin this week! Today’s recipe, pumpkin bread pudding, showcases pumpkin in a warm and savory bread pudding.

This is a pretty simple recipe. Some day old bread, pumpkin, almond milk, eggs and spices is all it takes to create this fabulous fall dish.

Start by cutting the bread into one inch cubes and placing them into a non-dairy buttered nine by twelve baking dish.

Next, mix the custard. Six cups of vanilla almond milk and four eggs get whisked together. Season with grated nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. For a sweeter version you could add brown sugar to the custard.

Pour the custard mixture over the bread and place aside. This needs to sit for about two hours to absorb the custard and flavors. If you are in a hurry and must cheat, let it sit for a minimum of thirty minutes.

While the bread mixture sits, cube up your pumpkin. Scatter over the top of the bread mixture and cover with aluminum foil. Place in a 350* oven for forty-five to sixty minutes until the top is nicely brown and the middle is firm. I apologize, somehow I forgot to take a picture of the bread pudding fresh out of the oven.

Scoop into your favorite bowl and enjoy! I topped mine with a little warm vanilla almond milk and grate cinnamon for dessert. This dish makes a wonderfully warm earthy dessert but would also work well as a side dish with roasted chicken or turkey. Maybe Thanksgiving dinner?

Pumpkin Manicotti

I promise! This is my last pumpkin post for a while. The remainder of our humongous pumpkin has been cubed and is waiting for future use, resting nicely in the freezer.

To start, coat about six cups of cubed pumpkin in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and roast at 350* for about an hour.

Once the pumpkin is nicely roasted, puree it in the blender. Be careful using the blender with hot ingredients. They tend to splatter. It should puree down to about four cups. Divide the pumpkin into two cup portions.

Into the blender with two cups of the pumpkin puree, one package of soft tofu. Also grate in a generous helping of nutmeg.

Blend until it takes on the consistency of ricotta cheese. This will be the filling for the manicotti.

Meanwhile, get a pot of well salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, in goes one package of manicotti shells.

Cook the manicotti shells according to package directions. Once done, strain and place onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet until you are ready to fill.

Next whisk together two cups of plain almond milk, three tablespoons of flour, three tablespoons of nutritional yeast and one cup of low or no sodium vegetable broth.

Mince three cloves of garlic, and saute them over medium heat in two tablespoons of butter substitute or butter if you prefer. Just until it starts getting golden.

Add in the almond milk mixture, the remaining two cups of the pumpkin puree, salt to taste, nutmeg, and parsley. Whisk to combine.

Whisk constantly until it reaches the desired consistency. You are looking for alfredo sauce consistency.

Coat bottom of a nine by thirteen baking dish with the pumpkin alfredo sauce.

Fill the manicotti shells with the tofu pumpkin mixture. We used a gallon sized zip lock bag with a small hole cut in the corner. Of course, a pastry bag would work well. Line the baking dish with the manicotti.

Cover the manicotti generously with the pumpkin alfredo sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a 350* oven for about forty-five minutes until nice and bubbly.

We served simply with some garlic bread that went in the oven for the last twenty minutes or so of the cooking time. This deliciously rich dish is earthy and reminiscent of Autumn.

Pumpkin Chili

Those of you who follow my blog know that I have been trying to come up with creative ways to use a humongous pumpkin, all thirty-seven pounds of it, which we bought at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. This recipe combines that fall favorite with another, chili!

Start by dicing two medium onions and peeling a head, yes the entire head, of garlic. The garlic will go through the garlic press to get finely minced.

Next, dice up the peppers! I used what I had on hand…feel free to do the same. So, one red, one yellow, one orange, a couple purple, two poblanos, and three small hungarian peppers get a nice rough dice. Leave the long green chilis whole, they will go in as in for flavor and get pulled out at the end.

All the veg goes into a skillet heated over medium heat, with one turn of olive oil. Saute for a few minutes and then add in the minced garlic. Saute an additional minute or so to marry the flavors. Into your favorite crock pot they go!

Now, for the star of the show, the pumpkin! Cut your farm fresh pumpkin into half-inch cubes. You will need six cups worth! Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper for the first layer of flavor. Toss well, and into the crock pot it goes.

Next I added three cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes. Whatever diced tomatoes you have in your cupboard would work, I do prefer the unsalted ones though so I control how much salt goes into our food.

Three cans of rinsed, drained navy beans get added in next. I think black beans would also work well. If you are more ambitious, dried beans would work wonderfully as well. If using canned like I did, make sure you rinse and drain them so you don’t get all the added sodium.

Look at those beautiful beans! The crock pot is starting to get contentedly full at this point.

The spices….first some nutmeg and cinnamon get grated in.  In my mind, you can not enjoy pumpkin without these two. It is hard to estimate amounts when grating. Possibly a few teaspoons of each. Next a few teaspoons of ancho chili powder and chipotle morita flakes get added. These add heat, but also an amazing smoky flavor. If you do not have them, substitute chili powder and red chili flakes. Add in sea salt to taste. You want to start out gently with the spices. You can always adjust to taste later.

The last addition is three cups of unsalted vegetable broth. Feel free to substitute whatever broth you have on hand, even tomato juice would work well. Stir well to combine and put the lid on. Set the crock pot on low and forget about it for seven to eight hours.

When you return later, this is what you will see. I can not even find the words to describe how the house smells. Spicy, smoky, balanced with some sweetness? Walking into the house after a long day to these smells? Absolutely made my day!

Ladle into your favorite bowl and enjoy! I couldn’t think up the perfect side so I served this one all on its own with no complaints.

Pumpkin Smoothie

It is definitely Autumn! Nevermind what the calendar says, the pumpkins are out in abundance at our local farmers’ market. Pumpkins always say Autumn to me! My husband got a little carried away with the pumpkin love, and this beauty came home with us. We couldn’t resist weighing it….thirty seven pounds! There will be many pumpkin recipes in the coming weeks!


Today’s breakfast was made using one of the remaining smaller pumpkins we bought at the market a couple of weeks ago. Much more manageable!

Start by grating the pumpkin. The small pumpkin shown produced about six to eight cups of grated pumpkin. What hasn’t been used went into a ziploc bag for breakfasts during the week. One cup of grated pumpkin goes into the blender for each smoothie you want to make.

Next. slice one banana. Yes, a banana. I know this is a pumpkin smoothie, but it’s a texture thing.

Now, for some seasonings. Grated cinnamon bark and nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice. Wishing I had some fresh ginger to grate in, maybe next time!

Layer the ingredients in a blender. Pumpkin, banana, spices.

Add between eight and twelve ounces of vanilla almond milk, and a handful of ice. Soy, rice, or even regular milk would work. Whatever is in your fridge.

Blend until nice, smooth and creamy. About forty-five seconds did it in our blender.

Nice, smooth and creamy. With a few bubbles?

Pour into your favorite glass, and enjoy. Not only is it absolutely divine, it is also very good for you!

One thing I try to focus on is healthy, local cooking. Support your local farmers and eat good food! Here’s the link to one of  local farmers’ markets that we have been enjoying lately: http://lehightonfarmersmarket.com/ . If you are local, check them out. If not, check out the market near you!

Congee with Pumpkin

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Autumn is just around the corner! Want to know how I know this? When the hubby and I were at the farmers’ market last week, we bought pumpkins!! No, not the big jack-o-lantern style. Small pumpkins perfect for beer? Well, that was the hubby’s plan…but he ended up with about four cups too much pumpkin.

So, now it’s my turn. What to do with four cups of fresh pumpkin? Soup, of course, since Autumn is just on the horizon. What kind of soup? I stumbled upon a vague recipe for congee with pumpkin and decided to make it my own.

First, for those of you who are uncertain what congee is, a description. Congee is an asian rice porridge or gruel. With some adaptations, the perfect use for our leftover pumpkin. Just a warning, this is not a quick recipe, it does take some patience.

To start, heat a four quart pot over medium heat. While it is heating, dice one large onion. Then peel a two-inch piece of fresh ginger root and four cloves of garlic.

Once the pot is heated, pour in one turn of extra virgin olive oil. Add the diced onion into the pot, salt well and sweat until translucent. This will take about ten minutes. Now, grate the ginger root and garlic cloves into the pot. Stir well to marry the flavors.

While the onion was sweating, the remaining four cups or so of pumpkin got cut into quarter-inch cubes. Add into the pot with the onion, ginger root and garlic. Also add in eight cups of stock and/or water. I used half chicken broth, half water. If you want to go vegan, use vegetable broth or all water.

Season with one teaspoon of Maldon (sea salt flakes) and a teaspoon or so of five spice.  Simmer over low heat. This is where the patience comes in. It will take about two hours to get nice and thick and creamy. This is well worth the wait.

Once it has reached the desired consistency, adjust the seasoning as needed. The consistency you are looking for is rich and creamy. Allow to simmer another ten minutes or so for the flavors to combine.

Serve in your favorite bowl with some chopped chives. I also served it with some pita chips to add crunch.

Mrs. Twinkle

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