I'm a former teacher and current stay at home mom with an insane passion for food. I love cooking (and eating) good, satisfying food, prepared simply with fresh ingredients. I've been known to talk to my food as I cook it, and I despise those little stickers they put on produce.
As a baby gourmand, I grew up around people who cooked. So I never questioned my ablity to cook, I just did it. With a 1973 set of Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks as my guide, I began experimenting and creating.
I eventually found myself enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in NYC in a program geared towards "serious amateurs". I spent 10 hours a week in my chef's uniform, chopping, mixing, sautéing, and braising. My experience at the institute armed me with a repertoire of skills that impacts the way I approach everything in the kitchen.
Now with a husband, a big dog, and three kids later, I'm sharing my culinary skills with the world.
It’s a chilly October morning here. And I’ve got pumpkin on my mind.
Our first pumpkin has been sitting on our front steps since our little ninja party last weekend. It has the face of a ninja painted on it. Ninja pumpkin will be joined by other pumpkins in the next few weeks and our kitchen will take on the sweet and fragrant aroma of some of our favorite pumpkin recipes…of that I am certain.
Focus on Technique – Pumpkin Puree
Preparing fresh pumpkin is a manageable process, which can be done in a number of ways. Small ‘pie’ pumpkins tend to produce the sweetest pumpkin flavor. Many people prefer to remove the skin, chop the pumpkin into chunks, boil the pieces until tender, then puree. My preferred strategy is to simply cut the pumpkin open, remove the seeds, roast the pumpkins until tender, then scoop out the smooth pumpkin and puree. It involves less tedious chopping than with the boiling method and produces a better end result, in my opinion. You can see my complete step-by-step photo guide HERE.
If you’re not up for preparing your own puree, canned pumpkin provides a convenient alternate. Most canned pumpkin puree is prepared without additional salt, sweeteners, or preservatives, but check the cans just in case.
Check out this round-up of previously posted pumpkin recipes and keep an eye out for a few new pumpkin recipes, coming up soon!
Fresh Pumpkin Coconut Pie
Yesterday, we hacked our way into a pumpkin to prepare fresh pumpkin puree, with the promise of a fresh pumpkin coconut pie. Today, we eat pie. This is my mom’s recipe for fresh pumpkin pie. It is the pumpkin pie I grew up with. It is the pumpkin pie to which I compare all other pumpkin pies. That’s just how things are when you’ve grown up with them, sort of how I’m a loyal Crest toothpaste girl and shiver at the thought of any mayonnaise other than Hellman’s. More...
Autumn Harvest Buns
You know how real estate agents recommend throwing a batch of cookies in the oven just before an open house to fill the house with a warm, welcoming scent? Well, they should scratch that idea and throw these in the oven instead. Perspective buyers will be practically licking the walls. More...
Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread
The kids and I cook together quite a bit. In fact, I can’t enter the kitchen these days without my three year old on my toes, shouting, I want to help! I want to help! As you may imagine, the more we cook together, the more smoothly our cooking adventures tend to go. The boys understand the lay of the land in the kitchen. Mostly. Wildly running their hands through a floured table is still irresistible to them. But, for the most part, our cooking moves along smoothly. They mix, they measure, they stir, they smell, they taste. We move along like a well-oiled kitchen brigade. Until I handed my three year old a ramekin of eggs, mistakenly assuming that he’d pour them into the mixing bowl, as he’d poured in the oil and water. Rather, he inserted his hands into the dish of raw eggs and attempted to pick one up. I’ve never seen such an adorably puzzled reaction. I guess we’ve still got a few things to work on. More...
Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits
Seems like everywhere I turn these days, people are talking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Tis the season. People are drinking their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and proudly announcing it to the world. I’ve even seen people throwing around the acronym, PSL, to describe the country’s current favorite barista-prepared beverage. Come on people! It took me about a year to learn that LOL meant Laugh out loud and not Lots of Laughs, which I somehow got stuck in my head. And I never would have figured out that FTW meant For the Win, if I hadn’t asked someone to explain. Heck, even once I knew that it meant For the Win, I still didn’t exactly understand in what context I was supposed to use it. What does For the Win even mean?? I can’t keep up. More...
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Got pumpkins? Perhaps a few small ones destined for fresh pumpkin pie? Or maybe a great big one, awaiting its jack-o-lantern fate?Whatever the case, save those seeds! Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, make a delicious and incredibly nutritious snack. Follow this simple step-by-step guide on how to roast your fresh pumpkin seeds. More...
Fried Pumpkin Wontons
A few weeks ago, I found myself at the McDonald’s drive-thru. Fast food is a rarity for me (well, except for our regular Friday night Five Guys burgers and fries). But McDonald’s was running their annual Monopoly game and I got it in my head that Iwas going to win. I could practically smell the cash. I was feeling lucky. More...
Pumpkin Vanilla Custard
I call myself a runner. In fact, I’m going to run a 5k race this upcoming Sunday. Pretty impressive, huh?? More accurately, I will partially run, partially walk, and partially crawl a 5k on Sunday.
I am, in fact, a terrible runner. I can’t breathe. My muscles ache. I’m slower than a crippled snail. It’s not in my genes to be a runner. And yet I run. Diehard runners would probably call what I do “casual jogging”. But when I’ve got my running sneaks on, I feel like a runner. And so that is what I consider myself. More...
Fettucine with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
Fall has definitely arrived. The trees are peppered with red, orange, and yellow and the leaves have begun their graceful journey to the earth. The crisp air has the rich smell of autumn, the kids are rejoicing in their collection of hoodies, and pumpkins are ripe for picking. More...