When fall rolls around, it becomes impossible to avoid all things pumpkin-flavored. Even Starbucks has jumped on board, adding actual pumpkin to their world-famous pumpkin spice latte, also known as the “PSL”. And while the market may become over-saturated with pumpkin, the key to making a smashing dish with this ever-popular ingredient is to stand out. To give your pumpkin item something with a little panache, a little oomph. The little something extra takes your pumpkin recipe and elevates above all others, winning at fall and championing the season.
And so may I present to you, the pumpkin pie smoothie. It wins above all other pumpkin smoothies this season – and possibly other pumpkin drinks, dare I say – because it has that little extra to take it to the next level. The key here is a healthy dollop of mascarpone cheese. If you aren’t familiar with mascarpone cheese, I say get thyself familiar with it. It is a luxurious ingredient typically found in tiramisu. Mascarpone is an Italian cheese somewhat distantly related to cream cheese. But to categorize it with cream cheese is unfair to mascarpone, it is so much more than cream cheese. It is rich and buttery, soft and perfect in so many different dishes. In this smoothie, it adds a richness and a heft.
Like any other smoothie, you’ll combine it in a blender along with some pumpkin puree, banana, a little agave for sweetness and, of course, graham crackers. Pumpkin pie is not pumpkin pie without graham crackers. It’s the ideal, healthy yet decadent fall drink for those people who love pumpkin season. For those who don’t find it annoying or too long or for those who share Game of Thrones “Pumpkin Season is coming” memes.
Enjoy this smoothie at breakfast, or for breakfast.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Mascarpone
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ banana
- 2 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese
- 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 sheet of graham crackers
- milk to thin, if necessary
- additional mascarpone, agave and graham crackers for topping
- In a blender, combine pumpkin, banana, mascarpone cheese, agave nectar, Greek yogurt and graham crackers in the blender. Blend until smooth. If the smoothie seems too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it out until it reaches the consistency you want. Top with a dollop of mascarpone sweetened with a bit of agave. Crumble some crushed graham crackers on top.
Tis the season for pumpkin everything. These pumpkin pecan waffles are my new most favorite waffle recipes and they’ll soon be yours, too!
This will be the umpteenth year I’ve celebrate Waffle Week. Third, maybe? When you love something as much as I love waffles, you lose track of the time you spend together. The years blend into one happy memory, waffles and my stomach happily meeting time and time again. This year, however, I’ve made things a little different, a little more fun. I’ve enlisted some of my favorite blogging friends to share and spread the waffle love! Here, you can find some of the most amazing waffle recipes the interwebs has to offer. These folks, I tell you, they made some amazing treats for you.
First, let me share my recipe and get it out of the way so we can move on to the rest of the deliciousness. I did not wait long to get a pumpkin recipe up here, just very shortly after Labor Day and the unofficial start of fall. How could I resist? Pumpkin pecan waffles are the new favorite around here. Spiced and slightly sweet pumpkin, studded with crunchy pecans, perfect for fall. I can’t express my love for these babies. Top them with a small pat of butter and some maple syrup and you are good to go! Happy Waffle Week, friends!
Be sure to check out the rest of my Waffle Week friends and all of their amazing posts. I promise they are out of this world.
Pumpkin Pecan Waffles for #WaffleWeek2015
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- Heat up your waffle maker according to package instructions.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, buttermilk, pumpkin and butter until well mixed.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Add in the pecans Using a spatula, fold the ingredients together until they are combined. Do not overmix.
- Add 1/4 cup of mixture to each well of the waffle maker. Close and cook for 9 minutes until finished.
- Place on a plate and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
- Top with additional pecans, a pat of butter and syrup.
PAGES THREE AND FOUR HAVE LINKS TO MAIN PAGES WHICH WILL BE UPDATED AS POSTS GO LIVE
Vanilla chocolate chunk muffins are so decadent, you’d think they were dessert instead of breakfast.
I’ve always wanted to be the person who is amazing at making muffins. When neighbors move in, I’d show up with a giant basket filled with multiple kinds and flavors to satisfy every palate. The Bree Van De Camp muffin gal (sorry, old Desperate Housewives reference there but she made awesome muffins). The problem with it isn’t necessarily getting the muffin recipes right. I’ve got those down. My muffins are fluffy and moist, sweet and sometimes savory, perfect. I just don’t have a fancy basket, any new neighbors and any real desire to spend all weekend baking 3,000 muffins just so each basket has a variety fit to every liking.
If I did have to choose one to give to a new neighbor, it’d be these vanilla chocolate chunk muffins. They are so beyond moist and fluffy, which is a given. And each bite has a generous chunk of chocolate, making them sweet and sinful, almost like dessert over breakfast. I couldn’t help myself and lightened them up a bit by using some white whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose. I know the world is divided into people who swear by their old ingredients and people who are willing to try the new. I’m in the second camp. For me, replacing just half of my all-purpose flour with white whole wheat doesn’t compromise the taste or texture but gives me a lighter feeling when I’m eating.
So if you’ve got some new neighbors, some new friends, a co-worker you are looking to impress, bring in a stash of these muffins. They’ll thank you (if they even get any, I ate all of my batch alone. I don’t share).
Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Muffins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white whole heat flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 8 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 ounces chocolate chunks
- In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until well mixed. Add in vanilla.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Mix in the Greek yogurt until combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Portion into a muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake 23 to 25 minutes until cooked through.
Bacon chive cream cheese makes a great addition to your morning bagel!
College Park is a town best known for housing the University of Maryland’s main campus. When I first visited, it was a little run down with lots of empty store fronts. But now, it is crazy how fast it is filling up with new places. There are a ton of little hidden gems peppered in with the mainstream restaurants, of course. Usually, those hidden gems are way better than any Bobby’s Burger Palace. My most favorite is The Bagel Place.
This place, guys. I can’t really begin to describe it. They have every bagel flavor you could ever dream, paired with any cream cheese your heart desires. We used to get them on Fridays at the office and I’ve been pretty sad the tradition stopped. I was pretty loyal to one bagel/cream cheese combo in particular: the Old Bay bagel with bacon chive cream cheese.
If you’re from Maryland or live in Maryland or have been to Maryland or have driven past Maryland without stopping, you know Old Bay runs through the veins of this state. For people to say they don’t like it is akin to someone saying they don’t like Philly cream cheese or soft pretzels: illegal and morally wrong. I happen to love Old Bay and so this bagel spoke to me. But the stand out wasn’t even the bagel itself, it was the cream cheese. Creamy, loaded with salty bacon and chives, this bacon was the perfect compliment to that bagel. Since The Bagel Place is out of my way now, I’m making it at home non-stop. You should, too. Your bagels are naked without it!
Garlicky kale and spinach omelets are the perfect breakfast pick-me-up – filled with vitamins, proteins and a great flavor to keep you going all day.
I don’t want to be one of those lame people who touts the benefits of exercise and gets in your face about it. If you don’t want to exercise, you won’t. It will take an eye-opening experience for a person to realize how good exercise makes them feel. For me, saying “I’m going to run” and hitting the road did NOT work. I’d run for five minutes, feel winded and give up. It wasn’t at all motivating and I wasn’t happy when I was doing it. Even trying to get others involved wasn’t a working tactic for me, I needed something else.
So I joined a summer field hockey league with some parent friends from my daughter’s team. Just to give some background on how nervous I was at our first game, let me tell you that I’ve only played one sport in my entire life. 6th grade softball. I had no real skills or experience to speak of and only had a few hours of practice under my belt for our first game. But now, I am addicted! It is such a rush and really has motivated me to do more, exercise-wise. I still hate running – it’s just so boring – but I want to be on top of my game and conditioned, so I do it. It makes playing more fun later.
Proper nutrition – or at least eating the right things pre-game – is definitely something I need to keep me energized and full. Countless google searches and research let me to find a few “superfoods” that are great for athletes – ha! Calling myself an athlete is hilarious. One such superfood that is sooooo beyond trendy is kale. Stop your eye-rolling, since I’m sure you all did! But really, kale is where it is at. It has a bunch of vitamins, plus protein and fiber. It’s nice and bulky, so it leaves you feeling full but not heavy. Light on your feet, perhaps.
I won’t go over the ways in which to properly prepare kale, since it’s not a “new” vegetable. But I’ll give you this kale and spinach omelet recipe, which is easy and delicious. I saute my kale for a bit before adding it to the omelet to take out some of the raw flavor. And if I’m going to saute, I’m going to add a bunch of garlic. Garlic is a must!
Loaded with kale, lots of spinach and a sprinkle of some good quality cheese, this omelet is perfect for the athlete in your home.
Garlicky Kale and Spinach Omelets
- 1 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small bunch kale
- 1 small bunch spinach
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Heat half a tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add in kale and cook 1 to 2 minutes until it wilts. Add in the spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Heat the other half tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Add in the eggs. Once they begin to set, place the kale, spinach and cheese on one side of the eggs.
- Once the eggs have cooked and are no longer liquid, carefully fold the empty side over top of the kale-loaded side. Press down slightly. Allow to cook for an additional minute or two then remove carefully to a plate.