Secret Recipe Club.

Happy Monday y’all!
It’s Thanksgiving week and I couldn’t be more thrilled, so thrilled that at this very moment I am taking an anatomy test so I can get my Thanksgiving week started. Why do we even have school at all during Thanksgiving week? Psh…they should enforce this no school rule during holiday season. It would give us more time to bake and cook, and of course eat pie!

I am also super excited that Group C for Secret Recipe Club fell during Thanksgiving week because, obviously, this gave me 1 billion more reasons to make a Thanksgiving themed dish. Lucky for me, my secret blogger for this month was Debbie from Debbie Does Dinner…Healthy and Low Calorie. I know, right? Debbie sounds like my kind of blogger! Debbie, a mother of three, develops recipes that are healthier, and most importantly, don’t sacrifice taste. I definitely feel like Debbie is on top her recipe game, I mean, seriously…these Maple Pecan Candied Sweet Potatoes…oh mah gawd…and a freaking Peanut Butter Dip…she speaks my language. I mean, how was I supposed to choose a recipe from her bomb.com extensive recipe index?

Lucky for me, I found the recipe that spoke to my little Thanksgiving sweet spot...Crustless Pumpkin Pie. Now, when it comes to pie, I am a crust girl…all the way. Like, I love all the crust(esses) all of them…I will literally take a key lime pie with a thick graham cracker crust and deconstruct that pie like no body’s business. I go weak in the knees for a crispy crust. However, this crustless pumpkin pie business was speaking to me. Plus, if I want crust, I will just bake myself a crust and eat it. Duh. Let me  tell you, people. You won’t miss the crust on this pie.

It’s all about the pumpkin people.

Then we add lots of other good stuff…almond milk, eggs,

and o.m.g. pumpkin pie spice because what is a pumpkin pie without pumpkin pie spice?

Nothing I tell you…absolutely nothing. 

This pie is all flavor, and sweetened with Truvia…although you could also use your fave sugar substitute…like stevia or something.

Ummm I could have just demolished the filling before baking.

Holy crustless pumpkin pie, Batman!

I’m not even joking.

Best crustless pumpkin pie I have ever had.

 Seriously, it is one of the most flavorful pumpkin pies I have ever tasted and it’s healthy! Like 500 calories in the entire pie healthy. That’s what’s up!

Big thanks to Debbie for the recipe.

Now, do me a favor and make this for Thanksgiving…mmmmm kay?

Oh, and just a tip: this pie is totally acceptable for breakfast. I ate the entire pie over 3 breakfast(es). 🙂
Crustless Pumpkin Pie (GF) (recipe via Debbie Does Dinner Healthy and Low Calorie):
Ingredients:
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin (I used organic)
3/4 c. Splenda (I used Truvia)
1/2 c. egg beaters egg substitute
1 1/2 c. 1% milk ( I used unsweetened, vanilla almond milk)
1/2 t. salt
1 T. flour (I used coconut flour)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9 in. pie plate with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until smooth and evenly distributed.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat of the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for an additional 55 minutes. 
5. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting. 
Makes 6 slices.
MANGIA!!!

Squash.

If you haven’t heard, it’s pumpkin season. More specifically, winter squash season. More specifically, specifically…my favorite time of the year. I frequent a natural foods market daily to check out their fresh produce, and once the end of September hit, it was bada-bing…SQUASH TIME! They have mountains of different varieties of squash, from butternut, spaghetti, and acorn, to delicata, buttercup, and red kuri. 
For a squash connoisseur like myself, this absolutely blows my mind. I eat squash like I drink coffee and if you know me…that is a ton of squash. My fave is delicata, but today, because it’s fall weather, because it’s finally cold in Texas, because I will never get old of warm soup on a cold day, and because it is pumpkin season, today…
Le pumpkin.
So freaking cute.
 Split that baby open

slice it up into pumpkin spears

oh, and then

we give them some extra love and tenderness with a honey balsamic glaze.

Simply sweet and delicious. 

Toss them on a salad, eat them as a side dish, or hell, just snack on them. 

On another note…
what should I make with the leftover pumpkin seeds? Anyone have any good spice rubs, recipes, etc.? I’m all ears!
Roasted Pumpkin with a Honey Balsamic Glaze (GF)
Ingredients
1 small to medium sized pumpkin pie pumpkin, cut in half, seeded, and sliced lengthwise into spears
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 T. honey (or agave nectar)
pinch of sea salt
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Prepare the pumpkin as directed (see above). Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the evoo, balsamic, and honey. Drizzle over the pumpkin, sprinkle with sea salt, and toss to coat.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is lightly golden, then flip each one of the pumpkin spears and bake to brown the opposite side. About an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 3-5 minutes, then stuff!
Serves 3-4
MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club and a Meatless Monday

Happy Monday all!

Today I am headed back to the H for my holiday gig that I have been doing for a while. Just call me “spritzer girl.” What can I say? Just trying to make that paper! The food blogger lifestyle doesn’t come easy. Haha! Anyhoo, today is a special day because it is the last Secret Recipe Club reveal for the year! Whoop! I am totally doing a fist pump right now as I sit in the coffee shop. BTW I have no idea why the older man filling out tons of Starbucks gift cards (maybe for his employees?) is looking at me strange…nothing wrong with a little fist pumping action…jeez. Back to the SRC reveal…I am super stoked to present to you my SRC reveal for December, Jennifer at Mother Thyme


Now, Jennifer is no stranger to me, if fact I consider her my home girl, seeing as I have been food blog stalking her even before joining the SRC. We are both members of Tasty Kitchen and just so happened to be friends! Who would have thought? FYI, she probably has no idea who I am…but she is definitely about to find out. A little tid-bit about Jen (I’m sure she doesn’t mind if I call her Jen, right? I mean we are like family now): She was born and raised in NY, stay-at-home mother of the cutest freakin’ twins (Tyler and Eden), and loving wife. I think her concept is pretty much on point: simple, delicious, affordable, family-friendly recipes. Plus, if you are into crafts, Jen is definitely the woman to see about decorating and entertaining. BTW, I am super, super jealous of all the places she has traveled, ex: Vietnam and Paris. I am putting a proposal together for adoption (that is, her adopting me of course). 


I just loved all of Jen’s delicious recipes but honestly, I cannot for the sake of my life get off my breakfast kick. Hell, I just love breakfast any time of day, especially when it’s chilly outside. Lucky for me, Jen had a few breakfast recipes that looked scrumptious, in particular, her Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes. I had purchased a can of pumpkin puree which I was going to use to make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, but seriously pancakes are my bff, so I caved.

 Best idea ever. 
Piece of cake…
I like a little pancake with my apple butter… 
You know what happened after this photo…completely devoured
I did switch up the recipe so I could test-drive a gf version…my plan is to make these for myself  leetle seester and family on Christmas morning. So excited! Thanks Jen! Love ya girl! 


Pumpkin Pancakes (GF):

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. blanched almond flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T arrowroot powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 T agave nectar
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
2 T grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing

Instructions:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot, and spices.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, vanilla, almond milk, pumpkin, and oil.
3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
4. Add the batter in 1/4 c. increments to a skillet (I used cast iron) and cook over medium heat. 
5. Cook the pancakes until small air bubbles start to form, then flip. 
6. Serve warm with maple syrup or a drizzle of honey.


MANGIA!!!








Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

Happy Tuesday!

I am particularly happy because when I walked into the coffee shop (we will call it bucks of the star…not 4 “star” espresso but hey, I will take it) they were playing Christmas music! Despite the fact that it is 80 degrees with 100% humidity around these parts, Christmas music was just what I needed to get into the holiday spirit. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost 1 week away…I am so doing a fist pump at this very moment. Have I mentioned that my family is huge, loud, and always hungry? So, you can only imagine the feast we are going to have. I am sure I will take the fetal position on the couch after my fourth helping of turkey and stuffing, unable to move, yet already looking forward to a post-nap slice of pumpkin pie. What can I say? Thanksgiving is a time to be extra thankful for your food, so I definitely go crazy!

The past couple of weeks I have been food blog stalking some of my friends and I have noticed several recipes using spaghetti squash. I have always wanted to try spaghetti squash because every dish that I have seen has looked so beautiful and tasty.

What do ya think? Did I do it justice?

I am surprised that I have never tried it…where have I been? Now, spaghetti squash is super duper healthy and, wouldn’t you know? It’s a bit deceiving (with that name and all). Spaghetti squash takes on the appearance of actual spaghetti. Who would have thought? I purchased the squash on Sunday along with a can of pumpkin and some fresh herbs.

Don’t you just love my “potted” sage? Got my coffee cup a while back from Anthro (Gosh I love em’)!
Now, the pumpkin was meant for a pumpkin pie recipe that I have been meaning to create. However, if you know me, pumpkin never lasts a couple of hours in my house, and I was looking for a quick, creative, and tasty dish. Plus, fall is just calling my name and I felt like spaghetti + pumpkin needed to have a holiday baby.

Who can resist pumpkin? I mean, just look at the velvet, creamy goodness!

So, I whipped this dish up and O mah bee-jeezus!

So prettay…!


This dish was the best idea I had all day! The spaghetti squash was so hearty, just like regular angel hair pasta, while the pumpkin-sage sauce with simple, flavorful, and creamy. Yummy in my tummy! This dish is pretty versatile and can double as either a side dish or an entree…would be fantastic with some sliced chicken breast on top! Excuse me while I go dream up some more pumpkin recipes!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce:

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:
1 medium spaghetti squash, cut in half crosswise, seeds and pulp discarded

For the pumpkin-sage sauce:
15-ounce can pumpkin
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1 c. water
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

For the spaghetti squash:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
2. Lay the squash halves in a baking pan, cut side down, fill with 1 cup of water.
3. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the squash is slightly soft to the touch.
4. Allow squash to cool completely.
5. Using a fork, pull out and separate the strands.
6. Place 1/2 c. in a small bowl, put the remaining squash in an air tight container and refrigerate.

For the pumpkin-sage sauce:
1. Combine the pumpkin, water, and sage in a small saucepan.
2. Cook over medium heat until smooth and hot.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour 1/4 c. of the sauce over the spaghetti squash and serve.

Note: If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water (I added about 1/4 c. and it was perfect)!

Optional: I garnished my squash with a bit of fresh chopped sage and a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

MANGIA!!!

Friday Link Love: Fist Pumping For Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkin a la mode!

There are absolutely no words…

Pumpkin, meet Pizza.

And you thought pumpkin was only used in sweet dishes…

Pumpkin appetizer

I am hypnotized right now…no, seriously…

Veggie fries are taking over the world!

A bowl of comfort!

Pumpkin Dip…enough said!

Simplicity on a plate.

Happy Friday all!
I don’t know about y’all, but it is finally beginning to feel like fall around these here parts in Texas. My body went into shock as I stepped outside my door one morning last week to find that temperatures had dropped into the 60’s overnight. I was so excited I nearly tripped over my feet as I ran back inside to grab my sweater that had been hanging in my closet for the past year just waiting to be broken back in! The cool fall weather is only the beginning of my excitement. The real party started when I arrived at Whole Food’s last week to discover a gorgeous pumpkin patch out front!


Pretty snazzy for a phone pic, eh? I squeeled and jumped for joy, I might have even pointed at the field of pumpkins as well! I absolutely love pumpkin patches, and just love pumpkin in general. When I was younger, my parents used to take my sister and I to pick out pumpkins for Halloween. Here in Texas, you want to carve a pumpkin as close to Halloween as you can get, in order to avoid the fair chance that you will get hit by an abrupt change in weather. Humidity+Pumpkins=rotten disaster. A decaying pumpkin on your doorstep is definitely not trick-or-treat friendly! Back to my story, we would pick out the best two pumpkins we could find and immediately start carving as soon as we arrived home. I remember sitting on the front porch of my childhood home watching my Dad use his rad artistic ability to carve some ingenious pumpkins. I would sit and watch, help when asked, maybe go rake some leaves and pick some pecans in our front yard, and BAM, before I knew it, we had two beautifully carved pumpkins. The best part was lighting candles in them from the inside. We had the best house for Halloween as a child, with a huge driveway that was paved all the way to the backside of the house. On Halloween night we would set out and get our trick-or-treating finished pretty early (usually b/c it was a school night), and then come back home to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. We would line our driveway with tiki torches and play scary music on the boom box (yes, I said boom box) outside while we sat in lawn chairs and handed out candy. At the time, we had two huge Labradors, Jake and Beau, who would lay out under the stars with us. I guess they just loved all the attention they got from the local neighbors who came to trick-or-treat. Anyway, moving on, I guess you could say I have an undying love for pumpkin…the smell of anything pumpkin coming from the kitchen is enough to get me into the holiday spirit. I love summer, but I wouldn’t trade anything for the cold time of year where the pumpkin dishes start to roll on out. So, I am here this Friday to kick off fall with my Top Ten Pumpkin Recipes. To me, with pumpkin, you just cannot go wrong. So, dive in and try some, or all, of these fantastic pumpkin recipes!

Top Ten Pumpkin Recipes:

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie by How Sweet It Is: Yea, that’s right, I said it, a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. Who is this genius, you ask? O, just my home girl Jessica from How Sweet It Is. She really knows how to come up with some fab dessert recipes, just like this one. Anyways, she said she literally dreamt of this pie in her sleep. Well, she made it come to life. Imagine biting into a crispy, chewy, ooey, gooey big ole slice of pie that tastes like a warm, melted chocolate chip cookie, but with a dense moist, cake-like pumpkin aspect that is a burst of fall flavors. Don’t forget to serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I suggest you head to the store and buy yourselves a couple of cans of pumpkin to make this pie, I can guarantee you will use this recipe over and over again, and probably upset a few people by contributing to the pumpkin shortage.
2. Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts with Maple Glaze by Joy the Baker: Because pop tarts couldn’t get any better. I just love biting in to the warm, buttery, flaky crust of a pop tart, but a pumpkin pie filling? Lawd help me…and what’s that? A powdered sugar glaze made with maple syrup. I.am.sold. No more blogging, I have to bake some of these right away!
3. Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Pizza with a Pumpkin Crust and Basil-Parmesan Vinaigrette by Daily Nibbles: Okay, so this is by far one of the most creative recipes I have ever seen! This pizza is unique, consisting of a thin crust pizza dough with pureed pumpkin baked right in, making for a bright and beautiful orange colored crust, spread with homemade marinara sauce, and topped with…wait for it…sauteed zucchini, tomato, and caramelized onions. Add Parmesan or mozzarella for cheesy goodness and here is the real kicker…after the pizza bakes off in the oven, garnish with fresh chopped basil and drizzle with a homemade Basil-Parmesan Vinaigrette that is to die for! That is one heck of a Mangia meal!
4. Roasted Pumpkin Quiche by The Little Teochew: Now, this is my kind of quiche. Who would have thought pumpkin+quiche could = one awesome breakfast. Instead of a traditional quiche crust, the recipe starts with a flaky phyllo dough pastry. Then comes the filling, roasted squash, spinach, spices, garlic, Parmesan cheese, milk, whipping cream, and eggs of course. Bake that baby off in the oven and BAM…pumpkin masterpiece!!! What a clever recipe!
5. Olive Tapenade with an Autumnal Twist by Food Not Fuss: Let me tell you, I would definitely not make a fuss about this recipe. Now, I know what you are thinking, “C’mon Chelsy, olives and pumpkin…that is a sick joke.” I can see the raised eyebrows already, but really, you’d be surprised at how good this dish actually is. Now, I am Italian, so it is only natural that I have an affection for olives (but not those fake black ones that you get on cheesy salads at “Italian” restaurants in the U.S.). While olives occasionally give me an upset stomach, I cannot help but love them, my fave are kalamata. This recipe is super quick and easy, you just combine olives, garlic, lemon juice, and canned pumpkin in a food processor until it reaches a slightly chunky consistency. I would toast up some garlic bread (maybe a baguette or ciabatta), slice lengthwise into thin rounds, spread with the tapenade, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. O my Lanta!
6. Sweet Pumpkin Fritters by Closet Cooking: Fried Pumpkin? The first thing I thought was heart attack on a plate, but don’t think deep-fried, think pan-fried…now I can breath. Think little patties of pumpkin, chopped walnuts, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest for a bit of zing. Fry these babies up with a hint of oil in a cast-iron skillet and then for the big sha-bang…drizzle these little cakes with a Spiced Citrus Honey Syrup. When I eat these I want to be at a resort overlooking Lake Tahoe where I watch the snow fall as I sit by the fire. Sweetly sinful!
7. Spicy Pumpkin Fries by AaapleMint: Move over Mickey D’s, there is a new fry in town, and no…he isn’t covered in hydrogenated oil and deep-fried in a vat of chemicals. No, this isn’t your average french fry, but I would gladly replace drive-thru fries with these babies any day. These are delicious and use simple ingredients. All you do is peel and cut the pumpkin into matchsticks, toss with curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, olive oil, black pepper, and cayenne pepper for that extra kick of heat! Bake these little gems off in the oven and BAM you have a flavorful and slightly spicy pumpkin fry that wouldn’t you know?…is actually healthy. So, maybe you will feel a little less guilty for that second helping of french fries you had yesterday.
8. Garlic Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes with Spinach by Oh She Glows: I am telling you, this is becoming one of my fave blogs to follow. Angela definitely knows what she is doing in the kitchen, specializing in tasty vegan recipes and what do you know? she has done it again with this awesome holiday inspired dish. Now, you might be thinking mashed potatoes and pumpkin? No, thanks I’ll pass, but wait, just hold the phone for one hot second! You might be surprised, but the flavors of pumpkin, garlic, sea salt, and spinach pair beautifully with the potatoes. I will definitely plan to serve this around Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! Just think, you take two comfort foods, Pumpkin + Potatoes, and make a comfort food baby…this dish!
9. Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip by Healthy Happy Life: Pumpkin as an appetizer? Say no more, I would suggest serving this at your next holiday party. Serve with toasted pita bread or apple slices. Your guests will devour this dip! Not kidding!
10. Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce by Streaming Gourmet: Take this recipe for what it is, at face value, it is uncomplicated, simple, and rustic. Don’t even think about going to look for this at your local Olive Garden, you will be disappointed. Think angel hair pasta cooked al dente tossed with a creamy white wine pumpkin sauce and fresh sage, top with a little grated Parmesan and go to town!!!

MANGIA!!!