Three Pumpkins

DIY pumpkin projectsThe candy corn pumpkin and lacy pumpkin can both be found on Better Homes & Gardens. The beautifully lit and carved pumpkins can be found on MarthaStewart.com.

Okay, so confession: I haven’t actually bought any pumpkins this season. I know, I know! I have all this pumpkin love, but um, no pumpkins!

Let me explain. First, pumpkins at the grocery store seem overpriced. I know I can get better deals at an local pumpkin farm. Second, this is my first autumn in this area and I have not had the time or the people to go pumpkin picking with. J works on the weekends and my sisters are 200 hundred miles from here and I’m still in the process of making bosom buddies (Anne of Green Gables reference; I don’t normally toss around the word, “bosom”). So, no pumpkin patch.

I’m hoping I can haul up to my parents’ house next weekend and drag my little sister to the orchard we normally go to. I’m sure the picking will be slim, but it’s better than going alone. (Note: one of my resolutions is to become more comfortable doing things by myself. I think I’m going to go see a movie by myself. Interestingly enough, one of my other resolutions is to get better at making friends. Oh irony.)

IN THE MEANTIME, I have been using pumpkin puree. Here are three things I did with PUMPKIN today, in honor of the sun finally peeking out from the grey clouds and mist.

Pumpkin Recipe #1: Pumpkin Waffles

As alluded to earlier, J could have nothing else this morning! There are very few breakfasts that beat warm pumpkin waffles.

pumpkin waffles

Pumpkin Waffles

Adapted from Jeannette B.’s recipe posted on Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1¼ c. all purpose flour
1¼ c. whole wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. packed brown sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. skim milk
1 c. flavored creamer (I used pumpkin spice!)
4 eggs, separated
¼ c. butter, melted
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the waffle iron while you work.
2. Separate eggs. In a standing mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. In separate medium bowl, beat together egg yolks, pumpkin, milk, and creamer. Gently stir in butter.
3. In larger bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, and brown sugar. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients, pour pumpkin mixture into it. Stir just to combine. Fold in the egg whites when they are ready, again, gently, and just to combine.
4. Cook waffles according to waffle iron instructions. My waffle iron has no temperature dial and the waffles cook in about 3-4 minutes. Needless to say, keep an eye on them! 
5. Serve warm and top with syrup, fruit, or fruit syrup of choice.

 I  DO need to come up with some ways to make the pumpkin waffles even more special. I topped them with blueberries today. Any other ideas?

Pumpkin Recipe #2

This recipe is not so much a recipe as a wonderful, quick seasonal combo that is easy to get creative with.

jacked pumpkin ice cream sundae

Jacked Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundae
 
Ingredients
 
1-2 scoops pumpkin pie flavored ice cream
1 banana, sliced
1 graham cracker, crushed
 
Directions
 
1. Create a layer of sliced banana at the bottom of a small bowl. This fills the bowl at least a third of the way, making less room for ice cream. Tricky, I know.
2. Scoop out a couple spoonfuls of that wonderful ice cream. Top with crushed graham cracker and enjoy immediately.

There are tons of other topping options. These three ingredients are the mainstays, but I’ve already experimented with a warm caramel sauce, which was very good. Next, maybe I should try some toasted walnuts. What else would you try?

Pumpkin Recipe #3

pumpkin dinner rolls

The grey mist and cloudless sky of Sunday convinced me to make some simple stew. Every simple stew needs a bangin’ roll. This roll is it!

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen blog 

Ingredients
 
¼ c. flavored creamer, room temperature
¼ c. skim milk, room temperature
1 tsp. instant yeast
¼ c. honey
1 c. pumpkin purée 
1 ½ c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ c. self-rising flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. salt
butter for greasing
1 egg for egg wash
2 tsp. water for egg wash
 
Directions
 
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with its dough hook, let milk, yeast, and 1 tsp. of the sugar sit for 15 minutes.
2. Add remaining dry ingredients, excluding butter, egg, and water, mixing on low for 10 minutes. Add more flour to keep dough from sticking to sides as necessary.
3. Transfer dough to a butter-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. 
4. Flour hands and punch down dough. Flip onto floured surface. Knead slightly, about 10 times, to create a smoother dough. Grease a 9-inch square or circular baking pan. Create 10-12 golf to tennis sized balls of dough, placing them neatly in pan as you go. Keep a small space around each. Cover baking pan with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm place until dough has doubled in size again, about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake rolls for 20 minutes. In the meantime, beat egg with water. When rolls come out, brush rolls with egg wash. Depending on your mood, sprinkle with sugar or savory seasoning (there’s a ranch parmesan seasoning that would taste great on top of the roll). Reduce oven to 350° F and bake rolls for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, pulling rolls apart as needed. Serve with softened butter or berry jam.

Three pumpkin recipes that don’t necessarily need straight-from-the-gourd PUMPKIN. They are all pretty festive, nonetheless, capturing the autumn essence of these short October days. Also, I like how I changed each of the recipe to suit my tastes. I encourage everyone to do the same. These three recipes show how variable pumpkin can be.

Pumpkin is so safe to experiment with balances of sweet and savory, which makes it one of my favorite fall ingredients. What are your favorite fall ingredients? Any creative alterations or ideas to the recipes above?

 
 
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