Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

I’m still loving my weekly organic box deliveries. Summer provided plenty of zucchini and tomatoes, but as we ease into autumn, the box has also changed to reflect the new season.

Last week, that meant carrots and pumpkin amongst other autumn fruits and vegetables.

Yesterday was cold and damp, the perfect day for a smooth, warm, comforting soup.


Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

Adapted from Eatliverun

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup pumpkin puree (mashed roasted pumpkin)

2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 shallot, minced

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 Tablespoons olive oil

Croutons, pumpkin seeds and flax oil to garnish


Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced shallot and sauté until tender, about five minutes.

  • Add the ginger and sauté for another three-four minutes.
  • Add the chopped carrots, pumpkin puree, broth, coriander, garam masala and salt, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until carrots are tender.
  • Carefully transfer to a blender and puree. Serve with croutons, pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of flax oil.
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    Simple and scrumptious!


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    I woke up yesterday morning to news that my Grandpa passed away. He’s been very sick and unable to care for himself, so his death comes as a blessing.

    I’m not really sad about his passing as I believe in the hope of Heaven, but I do feel very far from my family right now.

    I wish I could be there to talk to my mom and hear happy stories about her childhood; to celebrate his life with whole family.

    It may sound ridiculous, but one thing that brought comfort yesterday morning was my breakfast. The flavors in these pancakes remind me of my mom’s pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

    Although I might not have been sitting in my mom’s kitchen yesterday morning, I brought her here to join me through pumpkins and warm, comforting memories.


    Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes


    • 1½ cups flour
    • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
    • ½ teaspoons salt
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 2 whole eggs beaten
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 2 ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
    • ¼ cup melted butter
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 150 grams roasted pumpkin (or puree)


    1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
    2. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. The color will be a fantastic bright orange.
    3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until combined.
    4. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the prepared skillet. Flip when bubbles begin to rise and the bottom of the pancakes are golden brown.
    5. Serve with maple butter icing.


    We’ll miss you, Grandpa.

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    I’m often amazed by flavors.

    Sitting around my kitchen are dozens of food sensations, just waiting to be revealed.

    Mix a little of this with a little of that and BAM!, you’ve got something great.

    Last night’s dinner was a little like that.

    Modest little sweet potato and his color companion, pumpkin were just waiting to be made into something flashy.

    That’s certainly what happened.

    Sweet, spicy, aromatic soup.


    Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

    Makes 4 large servings~ Adapted from this recipe

    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 2 red chilies, sliced (or to taste)
    • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
    • 1 average sized organic Hokkaido pumpkin,cut into chunks (deseed but don’t peel)
    • 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
    • 750ml (a bit less than 3 1/4 cups) vegetable stock
    • 200ml (a bit less than 1 cup) coconut milk
    • 2 heaped tsps of curry powder (or curry paste)
    • Fresh arugula, parsley or cilantro to garnish
    • Slivered almonds

    1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onions, chili, ginger and garlic until soft.
    2. Add the pumpkin and sweet potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with the curry powder. Fry gently for another few minutes.
    3. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer gently until the potatoes and pumpkin are cooked.
    4. Blend the soup using a submersion blender or allow it to cool down a little then pour the soup into a blender and blend at high speed till smooth and creamy.
    5. Reheat a little if necessary and serve with some fresh greens and slivered almonds. Delicious served with hot naan bread.

    This morning we woke up to snow on the ground. I had hoped the ‘wintery’ part of winter was over but wasn’t so lucky.


    The photo above is from 2 mornings ago. Every day before work I go out on the emergency exit balcony and take in the view. The few minutes I spend out there are precious to me, especially on days like this when I can’t help but feel like God has created a beautiful sight just to get me in the right frame of mind for the day.

    I hope to keep this positive frame of mind over the weekend as I write reports for my students. Wish me luck.

    I hope you all have a great Friday tomorrow.

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    I can’t believe it’s all over. I have had such a great week and although I’m excited to get back to Sebastian, I’m sad to be leaving tomorrow.

    PA200549 No words can describe how fortunate I feel to have had the opportunity to come to Italy for a week, cook amazing food, stay in a fantastic apartment and spend my days with two new-found friends.

    I am blessed beyond my own understanding!

    PA220819 For our final cooking class we prepaerd stuffed tomatoes and zucchini, homemade tagliatelle with a pumpkin sauce, breaded fish cutlets, a mixed salad and lemon poppy seed cake.

    We also had wine. Lots and lots of wine. Hey, it might have only been noon but it was our last day together in Italy, what do you expect?

    Stuffed Tomatoes and Zucchini

    PA220790 Although I’ve stuffed tomatoes many times before, I’ve never used bread crumbs. This way was much more crunchy.


    • 4 tomatoes
    • 4 zucchini
    • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 6 Tbsp. bread crumbs
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper


    1. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting them in half width-wise and scooping out the seeds. Reserve the seeds in a small bowl.
    2. Prepare the zucchini by cutting out and discarding the seeds and spongy bits. Place the zucchini and tomatoes on a baking dish and sprinkle with salt.
    3. To make the filling, smash the tomato seeds with a fork to break up and then mix in the parsley, garlic, bread crumbs and enough olive oil to make a slightly moist mixture.
    4. Fill the tomatoes and zucchini creating a flat top which covers the entire top of the vegetables.
    5. Bake in a hot oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the stuffing is golden brown.

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    Pumpkin Sauce

    PA220791 I knew I’d love this sauce from the first mention of it’s name. Eating pasta with a pumpkin sauce was a nice change. It was savory, rich and absolutely delicious! I will certainly make it again!


    • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 800 grams pumpkin, seeds and skin removed, chopped into tiny cubes
    • 8 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
    • wild fennel leaves
    • 3 Tbsp. pine nuts
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 3 handfuls fresh grated parmesan
    • water


    1. Coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with olive oil and fry the sliced shallots until they soften, stirring constantly.
    2. Add in the pumpkin, 1 Tbsp. chopped fennel leaves, 2 fennel stalks, a generous pinch of salt and fresh black pepper. Cook 10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring and tossing frequently. Add water as needed to keep the sauce moist and prevent the vegetables from sticking.
    3. Add the tomatoes and toss to incorporate.
    4. Dry toast the pine nuts until golden brown then add them to the sauce.
    5. Stir in 2 handfuls of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

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    Homemade Tagliatelle

    PA220782 Rolling out pasta by hand it hard work but the reward is worth it! I can’t wait to make pasta at home. I’ll have to invest in a long rolling pin, Stefania said my wine-bottle-rolling-pin method just won’t do.


    For 2-4 servings.

    • 200 g. all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • good pinch of salt
    • drizzle of olive oil


    1. Create a large circular well in the flour which goes all the way down to the cooking surface. Crack the eggs inside the well and add the salt and a little olive oil.
    2. Using a fork, begin to whisk the eggs pulling in flour from the side as you go. Keep the well sturdy and continue pulling in flour. Continue to whisk in the flour until you have only a small well-wall left.
    3. Begin to knead in the remaining flour with your finger tips. Work gently at first and then, as the dough starts to harden, knead regularly.
    4. The dough will be quite dry. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes or until your dough is smooth and elastic.
    5. Make a ball with the ugly sides under and then squeeze out your dough until it is like a thick pancake. Dust your working table very lightly and dust the top of your ball of dough.
    6. Using a rolling pin, start in the center and push all your weight into a back and forth motion until you reach the ends. Rotate the dough 45 degrees and then repeat.
    7. Keep rolling out the dough and when it becomes too big, have a friend hold down the ends for you or simply fold some of the dough over the edge of the table and lightly lean on it. Roll until your dough is about 2 mm thick.
    8. Fold in two inches of the ends of your dough on both sides. Dust with flour then fold over again on both sides. Dust and repeat until you reach the middle. Fold the two ends on top of one another.
    9. Using a sharp knife, cut straight down through your pasta to create a uniform width of about 1/2 cm. Keep slicing without moving your already cut pasta.
    10. Grab a hold of the first layer of pasta and shake out to separate the strands and remove excess flour. Pile up.
    11. Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling water which is very well salted (as in one whole handful of salt.) When you add the pasta the water will stop boiling. Once it begins to boil again, your pasta is cooked.
    12. Remove the pasta from the water and add directly into your prepared sauce. You may need to add a little more pasta water.
    13. Serve your pasta with more parmesan, salt and pepper.

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    Breaded Fish Cutlets

    PA220806 This is such a fast dish to make. The fish was incredibly moist and flaky inside. I’ll be doing this one at home too.


    • 1 large fish fillet (4 servings worth) we used a fish from the local lake but perch or another soft white fish would also work well
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
    • salt and pepper
    • olive oil
    • lemon wedge


    1. Cut your fish into medium sized pieces with scissors.
    2. Prepare your breading station, 1 bowl with flour, 1 bowl with the egg, 1 bowl with the bread crumbs and parsley.
    3. Coat the fish with flour then dip into the egg and cover well. Drip off the extra egg and then place in the bread crumbs and coat well. Repeat with all fish pieces.
    4. Fill the bottom of a skillet with olive oil, about a pinky-width deep. Heat the oil over medium high heat until it is hot. Fry the fish until golden brown on both sides.
    5. Remove fish from oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
    6. Squeeze the lemon wedge over the cutlets. Salt and pepper to taste.

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    Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

    PA220810 I love lemon poppy seed anything but as far as the cake goes, I like my mom’s version better. This cake wasn’t lemony enough for my taste and was too dry to eat alone.


    • 125 g. butter, melted in a double boiler
    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 150 g. sugar
    • 180 g. flour
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • juice of 1.5 lemons
    • 8 g. baking powder
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
    • powdered sugar


    1. Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and eggs until it has doubled in size. Sift in a little flour at a time while continuing to mix.
    2. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, baking powder and butter- mixing the whole time. Incorporate the poppy seeds.
    3. Butter and dust a bunt pan. Spread the batter evenly inside and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
    4. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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    If anyone is interested in coming to Italy for cooking classes, I would highly recommend Let’s Cook in Umbria. The classes are small and personalized. I learned so much over the four cooking classes and would stay if given the opportunity! You can also come for 1 day classes if you’re just passing through the area!

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    Pumpkin Obsession

    Pumpkin can only be purchased fresh here, no canned varieties are available.

    For this reason, when pumpkins are in season, I become obsessed.

    My motto becomes “everything is better with pumpkin.”

    Breakfast supports this claim.

    Pumpkin Oats

    PA059838 Creamy oatmeal with freshly pureed pumpkin, topped with ground flax, autumn almond butter and dark chocolate spread.

    Between school finishing and play rehearsal beginning, I made an autumn-inspired pumpkin syrup.

    PA059854 Pumpkin Syrup

    • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 scant cup raw brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 1/4 cup water
    • sprinkling of additional cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to taste
    1. Boil all ingredients together in a small saucepan, whisking continuously. Turn the heat down and continue simmering and whisking until the liquid becomes syrup-like in texture, about 10 minutes.
    2. Cool and pour into a clean glass container. Store in the refrigerator.

    Perfect for making a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!

    PA059844 One jar for home and one for school!

    PA059851Just beware of dripping, this stuff is sticky!

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    Today was the perfect autumn day.

    It was hot, but there was a cool breeze.

    The sky was bright blue and the leaves shone brilliantly in a million different shades of orange and red.

    Today was also the perfect day for a marathon!


    I year ago today, I ran my first and only half-marathon in Cologne.

    I returned today to cheer on 3 friends, 1 in particular.

    PA039719 Watching people complete marathons always overwhelms me with pride and admiration.

    Knowing the incredible battles that some of these people have faced makes this success even more inspirational.

    As Melissa ran past us today, just meters before the finish line, we all had tears in our eyes.

    PA039717 What do you think? Is he proud of his amazing wife or what?

    PA039742 We’re all proud.

    PA039743I was feeling awe-inspired by today and decided to try cooking something I’ve been afraid of for a long time. Risotto.

    By the time I arrived home after play rehearsal, it was already getting dark, I’m sorry for the poor photos but the recipe is worth sharing.

    PA039746I baked 2 pumpkins last night and whipped them up in the food processor this afternoon.

    PA039753 The ingredients you will need.

    PA039758 I love beautiful food!

    PA039765 Soften the onions.

    PA039770 Add the spices and pumpkin puree.

    PA039774Stir in the wine!

    PA039781  In another pan, melt half of the butter and cook the remaining onion and the rice.

    PA039783 The onions will soften and the rice will brown.

    PA039787 Add a cup of broth.

    PA039788 Let the broth cook in.

    PA039789 Continue the adding and absorbing process.

    Risotto is like a baby on a changing table, you can never leave it unattended.

    Stir at all times.

    PA039793 After cooking in 3 cups of stock, add the pumpkin mixture.

    PA039794 Stir in the pumpkin and continue adding stock and cooking it in 1 cup at a time until all of the stock has been incorporated.

    Be patient, this is a labor of love.

    PA039806 The risotto with thicken and the rice will become el dente. Add the remaining butter and the parsley. Give it all a stir.

    PA039811 Top with goat cheese and enjoy!

    PA039815 If you’re willing to take it one step further, top your risotto with roasted vegetables such as purple carrots, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, red onions and peppers.

    Pumpkin Risotto


    2 Tbsp. olive oil

    1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree

    2 medium onions, finely chopped

    3/4 cup dry white wine

    1 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

    1/2 tsp. white pepper

    1/2 tsp. salt

    7 cups vegetable stock

    5 Tbsp. unsalted butter

    1 1/2 cups arborio rice

    3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

    parmesan or goat cheese for serving


    1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add one chopped onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, stirring frequently. Add the nutmeg, pepper, salt and pumpkin. Continue to cook, stirring constantly. Add the wine, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.
    2. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep the stock hot.
    3. In another medium saucepan, heat 2 1/2 Tbsp. butter until it begins to sizzle. Add the rice and remaining chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the onions are translucent and the rice is golden.
    4. Immediately add 1 cup of hot stock and cook, stirring constantly until the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
    5. Reduce the heat to medium low and gradually add 3 more cups, 1 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until each cup is almost absorbed before adding the next, about 15 minutes.
    6. Stir in the pumpkin mixture. Continue adding the remaining 3 cups of stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring and cooking as above until the rice is tender.
    7. Stir in the parsley and remaining 2 1/2 Tbsp. butter.
    8. Spoon the risotto into 6 dishes and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.


    Yippee for a great day of accomplishments and inspiration!

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    It really is official now.

    The leaves are falling from the trees.

    Today I smelled the first fire of the leaf-burning season.

    I even made a fresh batch of pumpkin pie spice.


    Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

      2 Tbsp. cinnamon, ground

      2 tsp. ginger, ground

      1 tsp.cloves, ground

      1 tsp. allspice, ground

      1 tsp. nutmeg, ground

      2 pinches cardamom, ground

      Sift all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.


        Autumn has always been my favorite season.

        I love the cool weather and warm sun.

        Vibrant autumn leaves against a blue sky.

        Cuddling up in a blanket with a cup of hot tea.

        In the Midwest at any rate, autumn is the most beautiful time of year.

        When I first moved to Germany and said how much I was looking forward to autumn, the Germans laughed at me.

        I now know why.

        For as bright and cheerful the Midwest autumns are, they are dark and gloomy here.

        There are beautiful days, like today, but the majority of autumn is wet, cold, grey and depressing.

        Luckily, I now have a fresh batch of homemade Autumn Almond Butter to cheer me up on the dreary days.

        P9159411 Sweetened with maple syrup and flavored by pumpkin pie spice, this almond butter has got to be the best I’ve ever made.

        God help me not to eat the entire jar tonight.

        P9159409 But in case I do, I made another jar of Vanilla Bean Almond Butter.

        Just in case.

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