ode to fall…continued

This morning I wanted pancakes, and only pancakes would do.

Puffy, fluffy, pumpkin pancakes. 

I’ve been dreaming of making pumpkin pancakes ever since I spotted a can of Libby pumpkin sitting on the grocery shelves.  It’s the fall weather that finally convinced me to do so.

This recipe (go way, way, way down to the bottom of this post to view it) is one of my all time favorites.  Not too sweet but filled with everything you want in a pumpkin pancake.  It’s light, fluffy, and fragrant with autumn spices.  I would have used white flour if I thought it would have produced better results; after all, a girl has only so many pumpkin pancakes in her life.  But in all honesty (and this is not just my nutrition side speaking,) the whole wheat flour does wonders for this recipe.  It’s all hearty and rustic without being dense.  You’ll love it.

They’re versatile too.  I served scrambled eggs, oranges and maple syrup for my parents…

…and slathered mine with almond butter and sliced bananas because it just seemed oh so right.

My craving for making (and eating) a plate of pumpkin pancakes = fulfilled.

The leftover pancakes (because this recipe makes at least 18 good sized pancakes) can be cooled on a wire rack, much in the same way you might cool a muffin or a batch of fresh cookies.  You’ll avoid soggy bottoms, and then you can pop them in a freezer bag for an easy weekday breakfast throughout the week.

With a belly full of deliciously energizing carbs, it was time to walk.

I have been absolutely and completely absorbed with fall lately.  The fresh and crispy air.  Colorful New England leaves.  Warm, cozy sweatshirts.  Comfy weekend jeans.  Spicy, pumpkin flavors.  Mmm…I think I want fall to stay around forever.  Do you think winter would oblige?

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
As seen on AllRecipes by Ruth, with minor tweaks here and there
Serves 6

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 T. vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine (do not over mix.)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 c. for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Question: What is your favorite thing to serve ON THE SIDE or ON TOP OF of your pancakes?  As you can see, I am totally obsessed with all things fall and all things pancake lately.  Please forgive me.  :mrgreen:

getting back on the horse

I still remember my first experience with cooking chicken.  The recipe revolved around coconut milk, jarred bell peppers, hot red pepper flakes, and—of course—chicken.  There were other ingredients too, but these were the key components.

I thought the dish sounded divine.  I thought the dish smelled divine.  I thought the dish was the most heavenly thing on earth.  Until I took my first bite.

Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten the salt and added in sugar.  It was intensely sweet, and not in any sort of good way.  Think of what cotton candy would taste like with your favorite chicken dish, and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.  I quickly dumped the contents of my frying pan, vowing that never again would I make chicken. 

But really, who was I fooling?  My parents raised me to get back on that horse, and so I did. 

My second experience with chicken resulted in a masterpiece.  I’m convinced that stuffing a chicken warrants you an instant gourmet status, whether or not you spent hours (or +dollars) on the dish.  Despite being one of the simplest chicken recipes I’ve made, this chicken has the persona of being all fancy schmancy.  It does not, however, come along with a hefty price tag of ingredients, nor does it demand that you spend hours upon hours in the kitchen. 

This dish will always hold a special spot in my file of recipes, both for being irresistibly delicious and for being my first successful attempt with chicken  The family loves it too, which is just another added bonus. 

I bet you will too. 😀

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
As seen in “Health” magazine (with minor tweaking 😉 )

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 oz. bottled roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 1 T. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (I made my own with whole wheat bread, toasted until dry in oven, processed, and mixed with Italian seasoning)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, oregano, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper; cook and stir until onion is soft (about 5 minutes.)  Remove from heat and add spinach, stirring to combine; set aside.
  3. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally, using a sharp knife.  Place bottom halves of breasts in a 9×9-inch baking dish, setting top halves aside.  Divide spinach filling evenly among breasts; top each portion with one-fourth of roasted red peppers and replace top halves of breasts.
  4. Brush top half of each chicken breast with melted butter; sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Add 1/4 c. water (avoiding breadcrumbs) to baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Have you ever made a big mistake in following a recipe?  Did it still come out *good* or did it taste horribly wrong?  I’m pretty sure mistaking sugar for salt or vice versa will never result in a good thing. 😉

The Joy of Dining Solo

I love to eat with friends and family.  I love to mmm and sigh along with fellow foodie companions at the dinner table.  I love to ask “how is your hummus wrap?” and I love to be asked the same in return. 

I love it. 

However, there’s also something special to be said for dining solo.  The pleasure of not having to cook for anyone but yourself.  The joy of adding your favorite ingredients without a care for what anyone else would think.  The sheer giddiness of going against the rules and mixing together ingredients that food critics would scoff at.  And seeing the result of your imagination (which, by the way, doesn’t have to look pretty unless of course you want it to).

Step #1: I felt like a kid in the kitchen today, as I threw random ingredients together into a pan, not entirely knowing what the end result would come out to be.

1/4 cabbage + 1 carrot, shredded…tossed in a frying pan with a splash of water to aid in the steaming process

Step #2: I had some leftovers that were in dire need of being used, as they were officially on their last leg two days ago.  They joined the pan after the cabbage had been adequately wilted down.

1 c. leftover brown rice + frozen peas, 1/2 c. black beans, 2 egg whites, cumin, and lots of garlic powder

Step #3: I let the egg white bind together the ingredients and cooked the mix for a good 5 minutes or so.  Then I plated it and ate it at my own pace while sitting on the floor of the deck.  Because that’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do when you’re dining solo.

I wouldn’t expect you to recreate this meal, but I would love it if you’d take the time to dine solo at least once within the next week.  Take your time.  Make whatever suits your fancy.  Eat wherever you want to eat.  Have fun in your kitchen and don’t take it too seriously.  And, of course, if you have family that requires that you really can’t dine solo, deem one night as experimental night.  It’s okay if your family has the pizza barn’s number close at hand as they peek cautiously over your shoulder.  Just have fun experimenting in your kitchen!

Question: Do you enjoy dining solo once in a while?  Do you like to experiment in the kitchen?

Friday Foodie

I am the queen of clumsy this week.  In case you don’t believe me, let me convince you.

It started on Sunday when I walked into a large, bright neon cone in the hospital.  My sister let out a laugh and simply stated that it could have been worse and at least I didn’t walk into some poor, innocent child.  Then it happened at the grocery store, when I grabbed one apple only to have 10 more follow along, each in a different direction.  But since I don’t have 10 arms, I decided to try my hand at juggling.  This resulted in having a little boy laughing, a mother looking shocked, and the poor produce employee looking sad (or angry?)  It wasn’t pretty.

I won’t even mention the moment when I leapt for the ringing phone, only to realize that my foot was tangled in my laptop’s battery charger.  I found myself lying face down on the ground with a loud “garumph”.  I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did both. 

Queen of Clumsy.

Anyhow, at least it’s Friday and a whole new weekend is here.  This clumsy phase can’t last for too much longer (knock on wood.)

On to the eats!!!

Friday Foodie #1

My sis and I both shared wide-eyed expressions when we spotted these small packets of Honey Peanut Butter at whole foods.  We share a love for honey roasted peanuts (in fact, this was a very serious conversation topic that we had while on our 5-mile morning walk,) so what’s not to love about the nut butter version, right? 

Love.  Pure, sweet love.  I slathered it all over my whole wheat bagel and each delicious bite was savored.  I also served a grapefruit on the side, and this breakfast kept me full until lunch rolled around.  I need to find a place that sells large containers of this wonderful peanut butter blend! 😀

Foodie Highlight #2

I’m obsessed with salads.  They are such a form of artwork, yeilding to whatever suits your fancy at that moment in time.  Today I wanted simplicity with a bit of excitement (i.e., feta cheese!)  Along with some cornbread, this lunch made the most satisfying summer meal.

Foodie Shopping Highlight #3

I realize that I’m listing many obsessions in this post, but here’s one more to add to the list: starbucks soy mocha frappucinos.  My sister and I are—well—obsessed.  It’s true.  I think we’ve gone about 3 times in the past week and a half.  And today my sister surprised me by buying us each an insulated cup for all of our ice coffees and smoothies.  Can you imagine how excited I am?  Can you imagine all the crazy smoothie ideas that are now running through my head?  Can you imagine how proud I’ll be when I hand over my reusable cup to the barista as I order my tall mocha soy frappucino?

Can you imagine that I’m so incredibly excited?

This.  Is.  The.  Best.  Cup.  Ever.  I love it!

Foodie Highlight #4

VOSKOS!…

…turned into THIS!

I was dining solo tonight, so I took advantage of this and made myself a yogurt & oat mess.  I’m falling quickly in love with Voskos yogurt (this plain, nonfat flavor was so silky and smooth!)  I’m also kind of obsessed (oops, here I go again) with the PB&Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  I bought the jar last week and it’s quickly diminishing.  It’s a little too sweet for my morning oats, but I love it as a snack—or in this case, as part of dinner.

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 Voskos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
  • toppings: 2 T. Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola (another obsession, but I’ll bet you already knew that 😉 ), 1 tsp chia seeds, sprinklin’ of coconut, and a dollop of PB&Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter

Sooo creamy and delicious.  Exactly what I wanted for a dinner on the deck.   

Happy FRIDAY and I hope you enjoy a fresh, new weekend!

Question: When dining solo, what is your meal of choice?  Usually scrambled eggs, oats, or some form of a grilled sandwich.  Unless I’m in the mood for cooking, and then it’s fun to whip up a whole new recipe—just because.