Pumpkin pie smoothie

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The pumpkin pie enthusiasm has begun. I consider it safe to begin posting about pumpkin after Starbucks releases its pumpkin spice latte! And it seems to come earlier each year. This year there was Halloween candy in the grocery isle even before Labor Day was here.

Here is a pumpkin idea that won’t break the calorie bank and deliciously good for you.

The original recipe is by Michele-Foley on fitsugar.com.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2-3/4 cup pumpkin, (either canned or fresh) frozen
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

(Note, usually the night before I throw a peeled banana and the pumpkin in separate plastic bags and freeze it)

How to:

  1. Throw pumpkin, banana and remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Add a fun straw and drink up!

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Sweet potato soup

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Using local produce is important to me. I can’t buy local all the time, year round, but I make sure that I push for it in the Summer and Fall months. It’s easy in North Carolina to get local apples starting in August and sweet potatoes almost all year long.  I’m not a huge sweet potato fan like the rest of my obsessed family, but with such a demand in the household I had to get creative! This soup takes a little prep time but with some effort, you’ll have a great big pot of soup to serve up and satisfy.

Yields: 6 big bowls

What you’ll need:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, baked and then skinned and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped and steamed
  • 16 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, as desired

How to:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Place sweet potatoes directly on the middle rack. Slide a cookie sheet one level below just in case sweet potatoes leak. Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on size of sweet potatoes. Once done, take out of oven and let cool on countertop for 15-20 minutes. Once cool, peel and chop.

Next, over medium-high heat brown onions and leeks in butter and olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper. Once onions are translucent and leeks are soft, add cup of milk.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken broth and water. Let simmer again for about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender on the highest setting (I use a Bamix) blend until soup is a good consistency.  I like it a little chunky, but you may like it more smooth, so blend a little bit longer. It’s your soup, so make it the way you like it! If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could ladle it into a standard blender. But be careful; it’s hot. When done blending, serve in bowls and top with freshly grated aged parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin turkey chili with kale

Want an easy 20 minute dinner? This is it! Loaded with vitamins, protein and fiber, you’re certain that every person will be left satisfied from this hearty meal. Quick. Tasty. Period.
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Yields:4-6 portions

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (6% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • splash of red wine
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • large bunch of kale with stems taken off and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can organic pumpkin
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • goat cheese crumbles

How to:

In a large soup pot, brown onion and garlic with olive oil. When soft, add ground turkey. While cooking turkey, add chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil and bay leaves. Cook until meat is no longer pink and things in the pot are looking on the dry side. This is the moment to add a splash of red wine (I use Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec). This will hydrate everything and if any browned bits stick to the bottom of the pan, make sure you scrape it well so that flavor gets locked in! At this point, add the kale and stir, allowing the heat in the pan to wilt the kale down. After a minute or two, when kale decreases in size, add chicken broth and pumpkin. Incorporate and then add beans. When everything is up to the same temperature, throw in the green onions and parsley. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Discard bay leaves. Top each bowl with goat cheese crumbles for that tangy creamy goodness that will melt into your bowl of goodness.

topped with goat cheese!!!!

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Carrot-lovers muffins

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You don’t have to be a rabbit to like this one-it’s like carrot cake, but a little healthier. I use white whole wheat flour which gives the muffin a little body, but not dryness like regular whole wheat flour. I add raisins and walnuts like a traditional carrot cake but forgo the icing. By using puréed carrots, the muffins are super moist and a hard-to-resist deep orange ! I’m so ready for Fall!

Yields: 12 muffins

What you’ll need:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup puréed carrots (about 3/4 lbs. of carrots)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • shake of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

How to:

Start by steaming the carrots. Peel, take off the ends, and chop carrots. Throw into a steaming basket with about a couple inches of water in the pan, cover. Steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until tender. While steaming, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, then grease and flour one 12-muffin pan. Using an immersion blender, pureé the carrot until consistent. Don’t worry if tiny pieces are visible; it will make the muffin more interesting. Next, in the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and both sugars. Cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one, then vanilla. Once incorporated add carrot puree and cinnamon. Take mixer out of stand. The next part is done by hand, as to not over mix the batter. Add salt, flour, baking soda and powder and mix gently. Lastly, add walnuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Pour batter in by about 1/4 cup portions in to the greased and floured muffin tins. Place in the hot oven in middle rack for about 12-15 minutes.

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Pumpkin pie pancakes

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Fall is on it’s way and pumpkin-flavored everything is coming out in stores. But there is something about a crisp Sunday morning with a steaming cup of black coffee and a hot-off-the-griddle pumpkin pie pancake! (of course with maple syrup too) These pumpkin pie pancakes are the perfect hybrid between pumpkin pie and pancake, but they are fluffy just like a pancake. The trick to these perfect flavored pancakes is the pumpkin pie spice.

Yields: 14 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Begin by mixing the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. With a whisk, add pumpkin, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter. In another bowl, add all the rest of the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, add wet ingredients into the dry. Don’t over mix batter. On a hot griddle, ladle the pancake mix onto a hot, buttered griddle in about 1/3 c portions. When pancakes bubble, they are ready to flip. Repeat until batter is used up! Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

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Picture above: the lighter cooked ones are more doughy, and the more cooked ones have a better pumpkin pie flavor.