Pumpkin Season

Hi all my bloggy friends and a great big welcome to my newest followers! It is always such a joy to see new friends amongst my followers... I love having a blog - it's like having our own personal Starbucks, members only, where we all meet up and chat while sipping our cappuccinos, talking art sharing creative ideas and forgetting the pressures and demands of the outside world! What's not to love about that?! 

As you can see I am still on this recipe kick... I might as well confess, I have to change my diet drastically for health reasons, and I guess this is my way of easing myself into a completely new mindset, lol! Eek!!!

I don't recall if I shared this new site I found several weeks ago called Simple Bites but I definately struck gold! It's like having a key that unlocks the door to all kinds of healthy, and yummy eating ideas.... oh and did I mention easy?!!! Oh yeah!!!

Pumpkin Spice Granola – simple and unprocessed.

(courtesy Aimee over at Simplebites.net)
This recipe hails from the lovely new cookbook The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, and is so simple and delicious.

Photo credit: Hugh Forte © 2012

Pumpkin Spice Granola with Toasted Pepitas

Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Aimee
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Yield: 3 cups
This recipe was adapted from Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, which rounds out the granola with pecans and raisins. However, it’s pumpkin season and I love adding nutty green pepitas to my breakfast. They toast up beautifully in the oven and complement the mild pumpkin flavor of the granola.
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see below)
  • 1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (see below)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pipetas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the oats, pipetas, and sesame seeds and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet, keeping some of the clusters of oats and seeds intact so that the finished granola will have some chunks. Bake the granola, stirring every so often by scooping the mixture from the edges of the pan toward the middle and spreading it evenly again, until dry and light brown in color, 35 to 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool a few minutes. Cool completely before storing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Blend (courtesy Aimee at Simple Bites)

This splice mixture will really sing if you can grind the spices yourself. Here are Aimee’s tips for buying whole spices and three options for grinding them at home.
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
1. Place ingredients in a small bowl and combine. Store in an airtight container until ready to add to your favorite fall recipes.
TIP: If you wish to store the leftover ground spices or the spice mix longer than a week, keep them in the freezer where they will maintain their freshness for up to two months.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Purée (courtesy Aimee at Simple Bites)

ALL Photos by Lynn Craig
There are jack-o-lantern pumpkins and pie pumpkins. I chose an organically grown pie pumpkin. What’s the difference?
  • Pie pumpkins are smaller than jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They also have more flesh, hence a smaller cavity inside and fewer seeds.
  • Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are bigger and because they’re grown for size, tend to have stringier flesh and are more watery.
Trust me: keep the jack-o-lanterns for carving and for roasting the seeds; bake the pie pumpkin.

Using a long sharp knife, cut your pumpkin in half horizontally. The outside of my pumpkin was very tough, so I used the stab and saw technique. A serrated knife or a hand saw can also be employed. Use whatever works for you and allows all your fingers to stay attached.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (200 C) with a rack in the center of the oven.

Scoop out the guts of the pumpkin, putting the seeds aside to toast later.
You don’t want to miss out on those!

Lay the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the rimmed baking sheet. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the halves and gently turn it under at the edges to secure it.
Bake the pumpkin for about 90 minutes. If it’s a smaller pumpkin, it won’t take as long.
When it’s done, the skin should yield to gentle pressure and the flesh should be soft.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool till it’s just warm.
Scoop out the flesh using a broad spoon (often the skin will peel right off) and put it into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the pulp till it’s smooth and even-textured. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender for this step.
You could use your purée right away, but I like to put it in a strainer to drain off some of the liquid. (Save the liquid and use it in breads, muffins, or pancakes!). You could put it in cheesecloth or a coffee filter, but I just put mine straight in the fine sieve and it wasn’t a problem.

Storing your pumpkin purée

To save it for later use, the easiest method is to put a pre-measured amount into a zip-loc bag or a freezer-safe container. Label it with the date, the contents, and the amount, then pop it into the freezer.
You can also freeze the purée in glass canning jars; just be sure to leave a good inch of headspace to allow for expansion when it freezes.
Hope you enjoy these recipes and do make sure to pop over to Aimee's site Simple Bites you won't regret it!!!
I'll be back with some art soon, been in the studio organizing the last bits leftover from last year's remake and am ready now to get back to ART!!!

As always, thanks for popping by for a visit...



Renee said…
mmmmm...that pumpkin spice granola sounds wonderful! I love anything pumpkin!
Hugs, Renee
Shelinwa said…
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