Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Back to my pumpkin kick. Today actually feels like fall (after a month of cloudy, humid, rainy weather). I am obsessed with scones, so I decided to try my hand at pumpkin scones. They turned out fantastic, like fall on a plate.


  • 2 C. AP flour
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and/or all-spice
  • 6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 C. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C. confectioner's sugar, for the glaze
  • 2 Tbsp. milk, for the glaze
  • pinch each of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and/or all-spice, for the glaze
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (you can use a mixer or food processor to do this, but I prefer to do it by hand - I use a fork, but you could use butter knives too - or buy one of those fancy pastry blending tools).

Add the pumpkin, milk, and egg, and mix until combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the dough in the center. Using lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a rectangle. Use a knife to cut the dough into 8 wedges. 

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, until the scones are golden brown. Meanwhile, mix the confectioner's sugar, milk, and spices in a small bowl for the glaze. Once the scones are out of the oven, drizzle them with the glaze and allow to set for 10 minutes. I usually can't wait that long and end up with sticky fingers. Best when served warm.

Note: Canned pumpkin can be difficult to find, especially when there has been a lot of rainy weather like there has been this year. It is easy to make your own pureed pumpkin (from the pie or "sugar" pumpkins that you can find at this time of year) and freeze it. Look for an upcoming post on that. Another good substitute: butternut squash - it is very difficult to tell the difference, in my opinion. In a pinch, you can use "pumpkin pie mix" that comes in a big can in the baking aisle. It is basically pureed pumpkin with the sugar, salt, and spices already added. So just omit those ingredients and it should work.

Homemade Granola

I have been on a granola kick recently. I know lots of people eat it for breakfast, but I like to sprinkle it over a bowl of fat-free greek yogurt and fresh fruit for a super-filling afternoon snack. Homemade granola is simple to make and it tastes so much better than anything you can get out of a box. And it's easy to customize it to what you have on hand.

  • 3 C. rolled oats
  • 1/4 C. ground flax seed (optional)
  • 1 C. assorted nuts and seeds (I used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 C. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C. honey

On a large cookie sheet, pour the oats, flax seed, and nuts. Mix with your hands to combine. In a small bowl, mix the salt, cinnamon, oil, and honey. Pour over the ingredients on the cookie sheet and mix with your hands to combine. You can mix everything with a spoon in a bowl first, but why dirty extra dishes?
Bake the granola for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes or so. Cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a sealed container and store for up to a week (if it lasts that long).

Peach Jam

This was a bumper year for peaches here in Virginia. Rather than making plain jam, I decided to add a few spices. It turned out fantastic. Sadly, we are almost through our last jar.  Luckily, I have some concord grapes that are just begging to be made into jelly. Look for that recipe soon.

  • 3 C. chopped peaches (peeled and pitted) - about 6 large peaches
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
To peel the peaches, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the peaches a few at a time and leave them in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds (depending on their ripeness). Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of ice water (alternately, you could use a colander and running water). Once the peaches are cool, the skins should come right off with your fingers.

Pit and chop the peaches and place them in a large saucepan, along with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the jam begins to thicken. You may need to mash the peaches slightly to move things along. Cool the jam for about 10 minutes, then pour into a clean jar and cool completely before covering and refrigerating. The jam should last several weeks in the refrigerator.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Yikes. I have a lot of recipes from the summer that I never got around to posting. Sadly, the time for fresh tomatoes has passed, but this is a super simple recipe that is perfect for canning or freezing.

  • 6-8 regular sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
To peel the tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes a few at a time and leave them in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds (depending on their ripeness). Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of ice water (alternately, you could use a colander and running water). Once the tomatoes are cool, the skins should come right off with your fingers.

Slice the tomatoes in half and squeeze them over the sink to get rid of the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. If the sauce begins to bubble too much, lower the heat to keep it at a simmer.

Butternut Squash and Kale Soup

If you've been a reader of this blog for a while, you must know by now that I am a huge fan of soup. I created this soup to use up some items from our CSA box. The best thing about soup is that it is super easy to modify based on what you have on hand. For example, instead of the beans, you could easily substitute orzo, brown rice, or bulgur wheat. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread, and you've got a super quick and healthy meal.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 C. vegetable broth
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 large bunch of kale, washed and torn (discard the tough inner stems)
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the squash, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the kale and beans, re-cover, and simmer for 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a salad and crusty bread.

To peel and chop a butternut squash:
  • Use a large, sharp knife. My family makes fun of me for using a chef's knife, but it's the only tool for the job. You will cut yourself if you try to use a smaller knife. 
  • Slice the top and bottom off the squash so that it will sit upright on the cutting board.
  • Holding the squash vertically, cut the peel off in thin slices. Go slowly so you don't take off any of the inner fruit.
  • Slice the squash in half vertically and use a big spoon to scoop the seeds into the trash.
  • Chop each half into chunks.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin Spiced Coffee

I have seen many versions of this recipe across the internet, and of course, you can find it at your local coffee shop for $4 or more! This is my version. It is not as sweet as some other versions so you might have to adjust that for your taste. This makes enough for 4-6 coffees, depending on how big your cup is (and how much you add). Just refrigerate the leftovers and heat it slightly in the microwave before adding to your coffee the next day.


  • 1 C. pureed pumpkin
  • 1 C. milk or half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each of ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and/or ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • freshly brewed coffee

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except the coffee. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are combined and heated throughout.

Add 2-3 Tbsp of the mixture to the bottom of your coffee cup, pour in the hot coffee and stir to combine. Drink immediately (otherwise the solids will sink to the bottom). If you have to reheat your coffee in the microwave because you are being constantly interrupted (ding ding ding), make sure you stir it thoroughly again before you drink it!

Pumpkin Crepes

Fall is in the air around here. And the first thing I think of when I think of fall is pumpkin! I have lots of great recipes for pumpkin (including a fantastic pumpkin pie - look for that in November), but today I decided to experiment and make pumpkin crepes. I enjoy pumpkin pancakes a lot, but this morning I wanted something a little lighter.

My go-to crepe recipe is my friend Emmy's, so I started tweaking that and here's what I came up with. I served it with some pumpkin butter that I happened to have, but if you don't have any, a little maple syrup would be great too.


  • 3/4 C. pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each of ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and/or ground cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 C. AP flour

In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, spices, and sugar. Add the eggs and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Then add the milk. While stirring constantly, slowly add the flour. I find it's easier to add by 1/4 cups, so I don't accidentally dump the whole thing in (something that would happen to me). Adding the flour slowly ensures that the batter isn't lumpy. You could also use a mixer, but I'm not about to drag that out early in the morning...

Set the batter aside for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add a small amount of butter to the pan and allow it to melt (alternately you can have a bowl of melted butter to brush the pan with). Once the pan is hot, add about 1/4 C. of batter to the center of the pan and immediately swirl the pan to coat. Cook about 2 minutes, until the crepe has set, then carefully flip it over and cook for 1 more minute. Fold into a triangle and put on a covered plate to keep warm. Repeat until you use all the batter. It should make about 8-10 crepes.

Serve with pumpkin butter or maple syrup!

I'm Back!

Wow, has it really been more than 2 months since I posted anything?

I promise I've been cooking all this time, but between having both kids home all day during the summer and then all the back-to-school madness, I haven't had time to type up anything! I have quite a few recipes that I'm hoping to post in the next few days, so get ready for an onslaught. :)