I have some breaking news- IT’S PUMPKIN SEASON!!
But first, I have a confession- I’ve never used canned pumpkin before. As a lover of whole foods and scratch cooking, the only times I’ve ever had pumpkin puree in my kitchen was after scooping seeds, roasting, more scooping, and mashing pumpkin flesh from a whole pumpkin. Why buy canned when I can just as easily make it myself? Admitedly, I sometimes even scoffed at the “canned pumpkin in everything” crazies that would come out in full force every October, not fully understanding their obsession with super orange pumpkin puree.
This fall, however, I consider myself a convert and am saying “pass the pumpkin, please!” The shelves of Trader Joe’s are lined with every pumpkin product imaginable, and so when pyramids of canned pumpkin puree were staring at me around every corner, I decided this year I would give in and go pumpkin crazy. My verdict? It’s waaaaay more convenient, the concetration of vitamin A in one serving is mind-boggling, and it doesn’t taste entirely like baby food- hooray!
So, between writing “thank you” cards for our wedding and anxiously awaiting news about my new job, I came up with two pumpkin recipes that are easy to prepare, not cloyingly sweet (which is also why I’d had a hard time getting behind this craze), and will put you in a festive fall mood.
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine pumpkin, water, brown sugar, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, covered, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let cool, then taste and adjust spices as needed. Once cool, butter can be kept in fridge for 2-3 weeks in an airtight container. Recipe makes enough for about 1 cup of butter. Spread on toast and waffles, or stir into yogurt and oatmeal.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup peanut butter (or creamy nut butter of choice)
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (or regular ol’ chocolate chips, mini chips would work well)
In a large bowl combine pumpkin, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until combined. Add rolled oats and cocoa nibs/chocolate, stir to blend together.
Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze the balls for 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container. Bites will stay fresh in fridge for up to one week, but can be stored in the freezer to enjoy later. Recipe makes enough for about 15-20 bites depending on your prefered bite size.