Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

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My absolute favorite month of the year comes to a close on Saturday. To me, there is something a bit magical about Octobers in Michigan. The crisp air makes for the perfect running weather, complete with the crunch of fallen leaves underneath your feet. The trees transform into the most beautiful shades of yellow, orange & ruby red. And life always seems to slow down a bit after a busy summer season. I love relishing in the quiet of weekend mornings as we watch the leaves fall from our windows. And nothing can make a sleepy morning better than a delicious breakfast paired with hot coffee. I thought I would use a few classically “fall” ingredients for a sweet and hearty breakfast. These waffles are perfectly spiced with a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, but the star of the dish is pumpkin. The pumpkin gives the waffles a slightly orange hue and a deliciously subtle sweetness. Paired with a touch of pure maple syrup, and you have yourself the perfect breakfast.

Ingredients: Makes 5 waffles

  • 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Preparation

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour through allspice) and stir until combined
  2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, pumpkin and canola oil.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined
  4. Spray hot waffle iron with cooking spray and pour batter into waffle iron
  5. Repeat until all batter is gone
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Healthy Pumpkin Bars

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I can still remember my first drive up to East Lansing, Michigan. My parents were taking me to Michigan State University for a college tour, and I was a bit apprehensive. All I knew about MSU was that they had a great hospitality business school, and everyone who went there seemed to be a football or basketball fanatic. And since I’ve never been a real sports enthusiast, I wasn’t quite sure if Michigan State could ever feel like home to me. But sure enough, I started my freshman year at Michigan State, and quickly fell in love with the beautiful campus and the camaraderie of the student body and alumni. And a few years later, I fell in love with a boy who loved Michigan State Football. Fast forward 8 years, and believe it or not, one of my favorite weekends of the year is our annual MSU Football tailgate. All of our college friends get together for at least one home game a year, to celebrate our alma mater. And although I still wouldn’t consider myself a football fanatic, I do love putting together a stellar tailgate. Thanks to our “head ring leader,” Arielle, we typically have a pretty impressive set up. Everyone brings a different dish to share, and we end up with everything from bagels, to sliders, to assorted cookies and salty snacks. This year I tried to provide a healthier breakfast option that was still delicious and seasonal. And I knew I could find a delicious and healthy recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Ambitious Kitchen. This recipe results in decadant tasting pumpkin bars, that are healthy enough for a nutritious breakfast. Plus they feature pumpkin, making it the perfect fall treat.

Ingredients: Makes 16 bars. Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×11 or 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make oat flour: Place oatmeal into blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour.
  3. Measure out just 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and applesauce for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Once finished baking, cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Cut into 16 slices.

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

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Happy First Day of Fall! Crisp mornings, cozy sweaters and baked goods filled with cinnamon and pumpkin easily make fall my favorite season. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite things about the best season of the year to go along with the easiest cookie recipe on earth.

1. Fall Running Weather. Once fall ushers in the slightly chilly temperatures, running becomes so much more enjoyable. And since I already love to run, fall running weather turns me into a running machine. This year I’m training for a half marathon, and I am absolutely loving the crisp morning air and the crunch of fallen leaves on my long runs.

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2. Tailgates at MSU. Ever since we graduated from Michigan State 2 1/2 years ago, my group of college friends try to pick at least one football game to have a big tailgate on our old stomping grounds. You can’t get much better than friends, tailgate food, beer and football. Even if I still don’t quite understand the rules of football just yet.

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3. Baseball Playoffs: This is a relatively new “fall favorite” of mine. Being from Detroit, our home baseball team wasn’t very good for most of my life. But over the last few years, the Tigers have not only become a team to watch, we even made it to the World Series last year. I work a block from the stadium so the excitement of playoff season is definitely infectious.

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4. Pumpkin Mania. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin spice lattes. Come September, Pumpkin is everywhere and I can’t get enough. So that brings us to the easiest cookie recipe ever. These 2 ingredients cookies, made popular on Pinterest, come together in a flash. All you do is mix a box of cake mix with a can of pumpkin, and after a few minutes in the oven, you have yourself a decadent batch of fluffy, cakelike pumpkin cookies. I like to top them with cream cheese frosting for an especially decadent treat, but they are just as delicious without the topping. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (store bought or homemade)

Preparation:

  1. Place cake mix and pumpkin in a large bowl and and mix until just combined
  2. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes
  4. Let cookies cool and top with frosting if desired

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Pumpkin Muffins

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I’ve come to realize that my love of baking is very reflective of my personality. The process of baking is steady, quiet and requires quite a bit of patience. There is nothing more comforting than knowing that the addition of flour and baking soda will make bread rise, and the right amount of sugar will make it sweet. I think it is that steady dependability that has always made me consider myself more of a baker than a cook. Because much like the process of baking, I too am about as careful and calculated as one can get.  Cooking, on the other hand, is much more spontaneous, loud and full of adventure. When cooking, you can throw a bunch of ingredients together on a whim and it often results in a perfectly harmonious dish. Yet with baking, the measuring of ingredients is key, and one must be precise and careful.  And though I love the spontaneity of cooking, time spent baking is when I feel most at home in the kitchen. So when the weather starts to cool down, I jump at any chance to turn on the oven and spend the night whipping up some magic in the kitchen. And while many people my age spend every Friday nights out at the bars, I’m perfectly happy spending Friday evening in front of the oven. And that is just what I did last weekend. And starting off the weekend with a delicious batch of pumpkin muffins is about as good as it gets. I found this recipe over on SkinnyTaste.com and love how decadent these muffins taste despite its healthy ingredient list. They make for a perfect snack any time of day.
Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins, Adapted slightly from SkinnyTaste
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  •  1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour though salt)
  2. In a large bowl, place pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg whites and vanilla; Beat with and electric mixer until just combined
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, beating until just combined
  4. Scoop batter into a muffin pan, lined with muffin liners
  5. Bat at 350 for 25-30 minutes

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Maple Cranberry Cookies

I say it every year, but I guess I will repeat myself once again. I cannot believe that the holiday season is nearly upon us again. It feels like we were just basking in the warmth of summer only a few days ago, but somehow here we are in mid-November. And my absolute favorite holiday is mere days away. To say I am excited is an understatement. A holiday that centers around family and food? I’m obviously a huge fan. But before the excitement of Thanksgiving and Christmas descends, I thought I would share a simple cookie recipe that is easy enough to make on a random weeknight. I found a version of this recipe in a Better Homes and Garden magazine, and after quite a few substitutions and tweaks I’ve come up with a subtly sweet maple flavored cookie. I used dried cranberries & raisins for a bit of added flavor, but you could add in any “mix-in” of your choosing. Dark chocolate chips or toasted pecans are sure to be another great accent to the deep maple flavor of the batter. So get creative and enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 3 dozen cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  •  1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Beat in next 4 ingredients (baking soda through cinnamon)
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time
  4. Stir in maple extract
  5. Beat in flour until just combined
  6. Stir in dried cranberries & raisins
  7. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes

 

Pumpkin Cornbread

I’ll admit it. Come October, its a pretty good bet that I have already become completley obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I am all about this quintessential fall ingredient. But since I’m not always in the mood for a sweet baked good… Ok that’s a lie. Since I try not to have a diet that consists solely of sweet baked goods…I wanted to find a recipe that could incorporate my favorite fall baking ingredient into a more savory dish. And since adding pumpkin to baked goods is a great way to cut back on fat and cholesterol while maintaining a moist texture, I was delighted to find a savory and healthy baked good to appease my pumpkin craving. This recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread was found on one of my favorite food blogs, Daily Garnish, which is written by vegetarian chef Emily Malone. Her recipes feature simple and healthy ingredients that are great for the whole family. The pumpkin flavor of this bread is subtle enough to dunk in your favorite soup, but sweet enough to be eaten all on its own.
Ingredients: Makes 12 squares, From Daily Garnish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (cornmeal through cloves)
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients ( pumpkin through eggs) and whisk until smooth
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
  4. Pour batter into greased 8×8 baking dish
  5. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes