I cooked up a bunch of pumpkin over the weekend, and I knew I needed to check with some of my favorite healthy living bloggers to see what they had in the way of real food pumpkin recipes. Once again, they did not disappoint!
Here are some of the links they gave me:
(Crab and Pumpkin Quiche, Stuffed Pumpkin or Acorn Squash, Autumn Stuffed Pumpkin)
(Roasted Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup, Apple Pumpkin Bisque, Autumn Pumpkin Stew)
I'm pretty sure I'm going after those Pumpkies first! Which recipe are you going to try?
(If you missed the apple recipes, you can check those out here.)
It's apple season! I just got myself a bushel of apples over the weekend, and no doubt I'll be getting more before the season is over. I normally just use most of them to make applesauce (using this handy little applesauce grinder – one of my favorite kitchen tools ever!)
But I thought it would be nice to do something a little more interesting with the apples. I'm not the greatest at coming up with recipes. (When I do it's monumental, and they definitely turn into a blog post!)
But even if I'm not that great at creating recipes, I know exactly where to look to find them!
I simply ask around to my blogging colleagues, and they never fail me! Their stunning photography and their knack for creating amazing food from real, whole ingredients is just delightful!
Here are some of my top picks of their apple recipes:
I don't really like the summer. I'm not all about tans, sunscreen, beaches, or anything hot. I am definitely more of a winter girl. I love the snow…except in New York City. But that's a different story. I don't enjoy going to the beach, or sitting in the hot sun. But one of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are easily obtained. I especially enjoy honeydew melon. Last year a friend introduced me to honeydew on a whole new level – add some fresh mint!
I have some windowsill herbs that constitute the entirety of my urban garden. Peppermint is one of the plants that I haven't killed off yet, so I just snipped off a few springs. After chunking up my honeydew, I added the chopped mint. It adds a whole new dimension to the juicy melon that makes it even more of a treat! You can add a peppermint garnish, too. If you want to dress it up even more, add some chopped cucumber for a flavorful salad. If you don't grow peppermint at home, you can probably find some at your local farmer's market, along with other fresh herbs.
This is one thing about summer that I can love!
(Have you noticed that most of my recipes have the word “easy” in them?)
My family really likes pinto beans and cornbread, but we have not had it in a very long time – pretty much since we decided that eating non-GMO foods was one of the biggest areas in which we would not compromise. Non-GMO cornmeal is hard to find and expensive.
Last night I realized, “Hello! I have a WonderMill now! I can grind my own cornmeal!” (Thank you, WonderMill company. You are my hero.)
Lots of cornbread recipes have wheat flour in them besides cornmeal, but I am still trying to stay off wheat as much as possible. I tweaked a recipe I found online to be gluten-free, and (of course) easy to make.
1. Be Prepared
It's important to get prepared for your cooking session if you're going to cook several freezer meals at once. Even if you are just doubling your nightly meal to put into the freezer, you'll need to get everything prepared, and make sure you have all the ingredients and storage containers.
2. Get Comfortable
You should wear a good pair of shoes (I have these shoes and absolutely love them! They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever purchased!) If you can invest in a comfortable standing mat for your kitchen floor that is great too. Have a snack before you start to avoid snacking as you cook.
3. Shop with a List
You definitely do not want to shop for a freezer cooking session without a list. Go through all your recipes and write down all the ingredients as well as the amounts you need, taking into account the fact that you may be doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling some of your recipes. You need to know exactly how much and what to buy so that you will not be lacking anything when you get into the middle of cooking.
4. Cook What You Like
Most families actually rotate the same 8 to 10 dishes, and rarely try anything new. It's important to understand what you and your family like and work within that parameter to truly be successful with freezer cooking. Try only one or two new things in any give month and you'll be a lot happier with the outcome. Believe me, I've put some recipes in the freezer that were new to me, and ended up not liking them at all. Not fun to have to throw it out or eat something you don't like!
5. Get Organized
Before you start, make sure you begin with a clean kitchen and an organized workspace. Get out the pans and supplies that you need in advance and set them out like you work in a factory so that they're ready to go. Fill your sink with soapy water so you can wash dishes as you go. You'll need to reuse some of your utensils for other recipes and you'll be glad to have them clean and ready to go again. Plus, you don't want to end your cooking session with an avalanche of dishes to wash!
6. Packaging & Labeling
You can use freezer bags to store a lot of your meals. Lay them flat and you will find that you can fit quite of bit of food in the freezer that way. You also need to make sure you label everything so you'll know what it is after it freezes.
7. Handling Food Safely
Do not mix utensils when handling raw meat. Wash your hands often in hot soapy water. Use a thermometer to ensure proper internal cooking temperatures. Don't leave foods sitting out on the counter; get them back into the fridge or into the freezer. You can read more about the Core Four Practices of safe food handling at fightbac.org.
Sometimes running out of your normal ingredients provides the opportunity to create new recipes. That's what happened the other night when I came up with these gluten free and protein-packed pancakes.
I've posted the recipe for these gluten free pancakes over at the Grain Mill Wagon.