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Posts from the ‘recipes’ Category

Pumpkin Pie Granola

This is a super-easy, very basic autumn-spiced granola recipe… feel free to add nuts, dried fruits or even chocolate chips (but add the chocolate once the granola is cool!). I was looking for a lower-calorie granola to eat by the bowlful, so I left this plain. Delicious!

pumpkin granola ingreds

Pumpkin Pie Granola:

  • 4.5 c. rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • just a dash of ground ginger (less than 1/8 tsp.)
  • just a dash of ground cloves (less than 1/8 tsp.)
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 1/4 c. applesauce (pref. unsweetened/homemade)
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

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Mix the oats and spices together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, along with the brown sugar. Mix well, until sugar dissolves. Pour the wet mix into the oat mixture and combine until all the oats are “wet”.

Dump onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, spread out and bake in a preheated 325* oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour (depending on how toasty you like your granola. I’m a “well done” girl, myself; and went the whole hour). Stir at least 3 times while baking.

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The granola will continue to harden as it cools. Cool completely, before storing in an airtight container. (Ball jars are perfect!).

My favorite way to enjoy it thus far is for breakfast, on top of a big bowl of plain Greek yogurt, and homemade unsweetened cinnamon applesauce.

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Lilly Turns TWO!

My dear, sweet little pup turned two years old on Monday. Once again, Bella was there to celebrate with us. (Funny how she always happens to be staying with us when cake is involved?!?).

This year I went the DIY route, and baked up a puppy perfect birthday cake myself. (Recipe below). The pups went crazaaaaay for it. Definitely a hit.

bday girl Lilwaiting for new toynew toy dnabday playtimebday playtime2new toy2singing to Lil

lilly eating cake

This would be the one and only shot I would get of Lilly eating her cake. I use the term “eating” very loosely, as hoovering might be more appropriate. She gobbled it up, and I spent the next several minutes concerned that she was either going to choke, or throw it up. She did neither; but word to the un-wise… you might want to cut each slice into cubes (which I did on the following days). It is THAT delicious.

My homemade puppy birthday cake…

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Lilly’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Birthday Cake:

  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla extract

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Mix well, and spread in a greased (I used Spectrum Canola Spray) loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely. Frost, if desired. (I cut this cake into 6 slices; you could definitely make the servings smaller depending on the size of your pup).

Quick Peanut Butter Puppy Frosting:

  • a few spoonfuls of nonfat plain yogurt
  • slightly less than equal amount of peanut butter

Blend together with hand-mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Happy Birthday to my darling girl!


Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese

There is a chain bagel shop that Tristan and I used to frequent back when I lived in Asheville, that has been selling pumpkin cream cheese come fall for years. I introduced Tristan to it years ago – long  before I started making everything from scratch. Now mine is superior… Mwahahaha!

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Better than Bruegger’s Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese!


8 oz.  block cream cheese (I like to use the 1/3 less fat style)

3 TBSP. brown sugar

1/2 c. canned  pumpkin

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.5 tsp. cinnamon (or more to taste)

1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)

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Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

I generally start with a spoon, and then whip out my hand-mixer (could use stand-mixer as well – but for me it isn’t worth dirtying those components!).

Keeps in the refrigerator for 10 days.

The best part of my cream cheese (besides the taste, of course!)…? No funny ingredients! No thickeners, no added colors, no preservatives, and certainly no corn syrup!

Take a look at Bruegger’s ingredients…


No thanks.

But this… this I can do.


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Enjoy it on toast, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, bagels, or my personal favorite… pumpkin muffins! (even better when topped with my pumpkin butter!)

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Pumpkin muffin and pumpkin butter recipes to follow… 


Simple Homemade Applesauce (Unsweetened)

This is my super-simple applesauce recipe…  Really, it couldn’t be easier. With less than 10 minutes of hands-on time, there is NO reason not to make this. Immediately.

(Full-disclosure – this recipe requires a slow-cooker/crock-pot).




9 medium apples of your choice (preferably NOT Granny Smith – too sour!)

2 large lemons, juiced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract


With so few ingredients, it is easy to double or even triple this recipe (just make sure your slow-cooker is large enough!). For a batch and a half, I use this red 4-quart slow-cooker with no problem. If I was going to make a double or triple batch, I would move up to my 6-quart cooker.


This is an unsweetened applesauce, and Tristan and I both love the taste. The combination of the vanilla extract and the cinnamon actually makes it taste a wee bit sweet, I believe.


Wash your apples, but don’t worry about peeling them.

Core the apples, using the cheat-method like me – cut all four “cheeks” off the sides of the apple, leaving the core intact ( and ta-da! a cored apple).

Slice or chop your apples into large chunks. (you certainly don’t need to waste your time being precious about the size or shape – it doesn’t matter at all).

Plop the apple slices into the slow-cooker, add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and sprinkle in the cinnamon.

Put the lid on, and set your cooker to LOW.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours, and enjoy the most amazing smelling kitchen during this time!

Once your apples are soft and juicy, mash with a potato masher, to achieve the applesauce consistency you desire.

Then, if you’re like me – whip out the immersion blender and go to town. It doesn’t take long. The skins blend right up, giving the applesauce a lovely hue, and TASTE!

I for one, don’t like the mouth-feel of cooked apple skins (eww), but I want the nutritional benefits of the skin. (And let’s be honest – I don’t want to peel that many apples, either!). So, I found a way to leave the skin on, while ending up with a smooth final product…  blending!

I use my Cuisinart immersion blender, but you could certainly blend the cooked apples up a blender, (working in batches), as well. Or, if you don’t have issues with cooked apple skins separating from the apple bits (again – ewww), just stop at the mashing step.


We keep this in the refrigerator for about a week… IF it lasts that long. A week is about my standard time-frame for food safety and freshness, when it comes to home-cooking, it seems. This applesauce also freezes well, if that’s your thing.



Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

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I made this for breakfast this morning, and it was so delicious, I just had to share!

In the mix:

1/3 c. milk of choice (I used organic 2%)

1/3 c. rolled oats

1 TBSP chia seeds

1 small banana (or 1/2 large), chopped

3.5 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)

1/16 tsp. cinnamon (or to taste)

pinch of salt

splash of vanilla extract

3 TBSP canned pumpkin

1-2 TBSP pumpkin butter (recipe coming tomorrow!) for the bottom

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT the pumpkin butter together. Spread pumpkin butter in the bottom of your vessel of choice (for me it’s always a pint Ball jar), and then pour in the overnight oats. Let sit to thicken (refrigerate just a couple of hours, or overnight).

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This was amazing. And hey – I got my fruit and some veg in with breakfast! Win.

good to the last drop

Good to the last drop!


Babies Are Delicious

Er, Fudge Babies, that is. Don’t want you to get the wrong idea here.

Lucy over at Porridge & Parsnips  (btw – don’t you just love her blog name?), made a bunch of CCK’s Fudge Babies the other day. After reading Lucy’s post, I knew what I would be doing last Friday evening.

I bunked off from cooking dinner and sent Tristan to Mellow Mushroom (pizza for him, veggie sandwich and Greek salad for me), and then got to work deciding which variety of “baby” make. (I don’t read CCK’s blog, and was unaware of this phenomenon). I have however, made date balls before (which is basically what these are), but I called them Powerballs. Oh yeah. Anyway, I settled on the Samoa and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavors. The Samoas sounded the best to me, but I felt that I should make a non-coconut version for T to enjoy, as well. (Despite the fact that coconut is not his favorite food, he enjoyed the Samoas the best! Go figure).

I made a few changes with the Samoa Babies… namely that I added a handful of cashews to the mix (they were originally nut-free), and also I rolled them in shredded unsweetened coconut when they were finished. This was definitely not a mistake. And it made them so festive looking, to boot! Other than those little changes, I think I followed the recipes to the letter.

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This was a quick and easy way to get delicious treats in about 30 minutes. A messy hand, notwithstanding! ; )




I don’t can anything. There are times I think that I would like to… but then I think… sterilizing. boiling water. tongs and slippery jars. botulism. No thanks! 

I have an admitted addiction to Ball jars, however – and If you know me at all, you know I’d rather make it myself, than buy it. But canning? Meh. Maybe 2012 will be the year I learn to can. But not now. Now, I want pickles, and I want them fast. These are fantastic “refrigerator pickles”, that only take a few minutes to whip up – and a few hours of patience to wait for. The only downside – their shelf life is only about 2 weeks. But that is okay – they tend to disappear long before that anyhow!

Luckily, this is the perfect time of year to pick up some delicious pickling cucumbers at your local Farmers’ Market. (When the season is over, I will continue making these with English/hothouse cukes).

Want pickles in 6 hours? These are for you.







Easy-Peasy Pickles


  • 6 medium sized pickling cucumbers (or English cucumber, if pickling ones aren’t available)
  • 3/4 c. white vinegar
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP granulated cane sugar
  • 1 TBSP whole peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP whole coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • several sprigs of fresh dill (just eyeball it – I think I used 7?)


Mix the salt and sugar into the vinegar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.

Wash and scrub your cucumbers well, as we are leaving the skin on!

Then, slice the cucumbers any which way you like… I like chips.

Get a clean 1 quart jar, and layer in the cucumbers… nestling the dills sprigs and garlic chunks throughout.

Add the peppercorns and coriander seeds.

Pour your vinegar mixture over the top, and add water to completely cover the cucumbers.

Screw lid on tight, give the jar a few shakes to distribute the spices and refrigerate immediately.

Your pickles will be ready in 6 hours (though I usually wait 12 hours – but it is difficult!).

Eat within two weeks.




Key Lime Frozen Yogurt


About a year ago, a friend let me “borrow” her Ice Cream maker (This model). Last summer when my real food way of life hit hard and fast, I had the bright idea to make my own frozen yogurt and ice cream. (I love me some Yoforia, but don’t like to look at all of the ingredients contained therein Stonyfield yogurt or not!).

However, I never managed to 1). have enough room in my freezer for the canister (*it’s very important to freeze the canister for 24 hours before attempting to make anything in it!) or 2). have enough forethought to have actually PUT the canister in the freezer when the urge to froyo happened.

Until now.


The easiest and tastiest* (*so what if I’ve only made it once so far!?) homemade frozen yogurt, ever.

All you need are three, terribly easy to get your hands on, ingredients.

In the mix:

32 oz container Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Vanilla Yogurt

1/2 c. Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice

1 can Eagle brand Fat-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

Now, the fat-free sweetened condensed milk is not my favorite ingredient ever, as far as real food goes; but it is important for thickening (and eliminates that annoying cook the milk stage of ice cream making). And after all – this IS dessert, right? And as for the whole milk yogurt – I would have preferred to use a low-fat/2% style, but wanted to see what sort of consistency the good stuff had – so I know where the bar is set. Now I feel comfortable enough to play around with different levels of fat and see what happens.

Add all of your ingredients into a bowl, mix well to combine and then add to the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and follow your particular maker’s instructions for freezing.

For this Cuisinart model I mixed it for 30 minutes, then covered the top with clingfilm, and stuck it back in the freezer for a couple of hours to fully set.

Then, all you have to do is scoop and enjoy. Graham cracker crumblies optional.

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Holy deliciousness!


Nacho Average Dinner

After seeing Kath’s Not Nachos post the other day, I found myself with a serious nacho craving last night. As luck would have it, we had tacos for dinner a few nights ago, so there were leftovers to incorporate; which made pulling my nacho dinner together a snap! Hooray for convenience, and not wasting leftovers!


In the mix:

      • Trader Joe’s Baked Blue Corn Chips
      • Extra sharp white cheddar cheese
      • Seasoned black beans (leftover)
      • Ground (local) chicken (leftover)
      • Shredded romaine
      • Chopped mixed veggies (green onion, red onion, carrot and celery)
      • Cherry tomatoes (garden-grown)
      • Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa
      • Plain Greek yogurt


This tasted fresh and summery, which was just what I wanted.


A Zucchini the Size Of…

My head….?

No, bigger.

My foot…?

No, bigger.

Tristan’s foot…?


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