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Pumpkiny Things... Pumpkin Apple Nut Bread and Pumpkin Banana Smoothies

I always get a little giddy when pumpkin time arrives.  Not that glorious canned pumpkin isn't available year-round, it's just that there's something in the air and the earth that screams squash once the air is cool and crisp and the leaves start changing colors and falling from the trees.  I even have an accidental pumpkin plant this year!  "Accidental" because it stems from last years pumpkin display ...and my laziness.  Do you ever do that?  Lay out a harvest or Autumn display in your yard somewhere.  Pumpkins, squash, gourds, Indian corn, dried corn stalks, mums...maybe a broom or a witch or a scarecrow...'tis the season, you know?  Well, I try to leave it up as long as possible.  This usually means until it starts to snow.  I've brought in any "reuseable" decorations, but left the "natural" ones outside.  They get covered in snow.  I usually have the drive to hang the corn in a small stump w/ branches that we have in the yard for the squirrels...and other random animals.  Occasionally I'll even get the rotting squash into the compost bin.  But not often.  The jack-o-lanterns all end up with day-glow speckled insides and eventually get lost under the snow with a few of the smaller squash.  They then make their own separate compost pile.  Which, come the following summer, will occasionally sprout a no-effort squash plant. Nice.
Pumpkin Apple Nut Bread
from the kitchen of girlichef
yield: 1 loaf

 ½ c. sugar
 ½ c. marigold honey (or regular)
 ½ c. oil
1 c. cooked pumpkin purée (or canned)
2 large eggs
1/3 c. water
 1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. ap flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
good grating fresh nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ c. dried apples, chopped
¼ c. walnuts, chopped
¼ c. pecans

Preheat oven to 300° F.  In a large bowl, mix together sugar, honey, oil, pumpkin, eggs and water.  In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients, tossing the fruit and nuts well so they get coated with flour.  Mix dry ingredients gently into wet ingredients until just combined.  Spray a bundt pan or small-ish loaf pan with pan spray and pour in batter.  Bake for one hour, or until bread passes the toothpick test.
This bread is very moist and very easy to eat!  I like it best a little bit warm, but it's great at room temperature, too.  Share with drop-in guests...
Sometimes, when you're using canned pumpkin purée, you have a little bit left in the bottom of the can after using what you need in a recipe.  My favorite thing to do with that last bit of pumpkin is to throw it into a blender with some other good stuff and make a powerhouse smoothie for breakfast!

Pumpkin-Banana Smoothie
from the kitchen of girlichef
yield: ~2 large glasses

½ c. cooked pumpkin purée
½ c. yogurt (heaping)
1 large frozen banana
1¾ c. whole milk
honey, to taste
1 Tbs. Pumpkin Seeds + extra
1 tsp. wheat germ
1 tsp. ground flax seed
freshly grated nutmeg

Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and garnish w/ some extra pumpkin seeds and grated nutmeg.

It's about time for me to start my potential lazy garden for next year.  Hmmm...what would I like to be surprised with....

*This post is linked to:
BYOB Thisweekscravings