Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Thanksgiving!  I made these last night so we could have them this morning for breakfast.  They are absolutely delicious, and except for having all wheat flour, they are not healthy at all.  It's not much fun to try to eat healthy most of the time unless you can be unhealthy once in a while.

I found them at Good Life Eats.  I had thought of making pumpkin cinnamon rolls and couldn't find a good recipe on, so I googled it and found this site by Katie Goodman.  I'll have to try more of her recipes in the future.

Anyways, for the cinnamon rolls, I didn't make the frosting to go on top but they are really good without it.  Except for using all whole wheat flour and changing up the spices a bit, I didn't make any changes to the recipe.  Oh, and I also added chopped pecans to the filling.  I have tried to make cinnamon rolls before using all whole wheat flour and they turned out kind of dense & hard.  But these came out so soft and delicious...I think maybe adding pumpkin to the batter kept them softer than otherwise?  The pumpkin flavor isn't very strong but it's just enough to make these good for Fall.

1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon melted butter
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 stick butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Chopped pecans (I didn't measure them out, oops, I guess it was about 1/2- 3/4 cup.)

1 - In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast on top of warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Stir yeast into water.
2 - Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.  Beat for 2 minutes.
3 - Gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead.  (Actually since I was using all wheat flour, I ended up using less flour...probably more like 2 3/4 cups.)
4 - Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead, adding flour until you have a smooth, elastic dough. (I just kneaded it right in the bowl.)
5 - Put dough into an oiled bowl (I just kept it in the same bowl).  Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil.  Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
6 -  Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, & pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.
7 - Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle.  Spread softened butter over the dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

8 - Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll.  

9 -Slice it into about 15 slices and place them in a greased 9" x 13" baking pan.  Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

10 - Bake in a preheated 375 degree over until they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.

The author of Good Life Eats, Katie, included a note for if you make them the night before which was helpful because that's what I had wanted to do.  You can put them in the fridge after you have placed them in the dish.  They'll still need to rise the next morning before baking.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pesto Provolone Hamburgers

Usually, I am not much of a fan of hamburgers, but these are to die for.  We took a recipe for Turkey Pesto Sliders from Annie's Eats and made regular-sized hamburgers, instead.

1 - I made hamburger buns using the recipe from her site, but I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and I left off the sesame seeds.  Next time I might make double the recipe so I can keep some in the freezer; they took a long time to make and a short time to eat (but they were worth it).

2 - My husband cooked some hamburgers made from grass-fed beef.

3 - We filled the hamburger buns with a burger, some Spinach Basil Pesto (we usually just keep a container of it in the fridge because we use it so often), and a slice of provolone and popped them in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melted.

Since I normally just have ketchup with hamburgers this was a nice change.  What is your favorite way to eat a hamburger?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Low Sodium Cashew Chicken

I wanted to try a recipe from Annie's Eats called Thai Chicken with Cashews.  However, the recipe has soy sauce, which my husband won't touch with a ten-foot pole because of the high salt content, even if it's the lower-sodium version. 

It also calls for red bell pepper.  Our grocery store doesn't sell organic red bell peppers so, because they are on the Dirty Dozen list of foods that contain the most pesticides, I left them out too.

I also left out the salt.

So, after taking out these ingredients, I figured this dish would be just a step up from regular chicken but not very tasty.  I was actually surprised at how delicious it was, even without the soy sauce.  I think I'll be making this often.

Low Sodium Cashew Chicken


1 bunch scallions
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (we didn't use this much since it was just the two of us)
Pepper to taste
A few tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried; but I think using fresh ginger really added a lot of flavor)
1/4 tsp. roasted red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup roasted whole cashews (I put them in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes; if they come salted you could rinse them first to get rid of the extra salt)
Brown rice

-Begin cooking the brown rice.
-Chop scallions, separating white and green parts.
-Cut the chicken into small pieces and toss with pepper.
-Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and then add olive oil.
-Stir-fry the chicken until cooked through (5-6 minutes).
 -Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and scallion whites to skillet and stir-fry about 5-6 minutes.
 -Stir together broth, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir it all into the skillet.
-Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
-Stir in cashews and scallion greens.
-Serve with brown rice.

p.s. If there are other vegetables you like to eat with stir-fry I'm sure you could add as many as you like.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I really love the Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, but they are so expensive and I'm sure they have a ton of sugar.

So, I found two recipes on to make at home.

Today I tried this one. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte

-Brew a cup of double-strength coffee.
-Heat up a cup of milk.
-In a blender, combine the hot milk, a heaping teaspoon of sugar (or sucanat), 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
-Blend until frothy.
-Pour the milk mixture into a mug about 2/3 full.
-Add coffee until the mug is full.
-Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (and whipped cream if you like).

The verdict:  I still prefer the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, but since it is too expensive to get often this homemade version will suffice.

Update on Fri. 11/5
Today I tried the other recipe and it was so awful that I won't even bother writing a separate post for it.  It is similar to the one above but uses two tablespoons of pumpkin puree.  It tasted like melted pumpkin pie and I could barely drink the whole mugful, so I definitely don't recommend it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple Blueberry Crumble


I saw this dessert at Rachana's blog and decided to try it a few months ago.  I make it several times a week now either for breakfast or a snack. 

Organic Granny Smith apples seem to taste the best.

 Here is our favorite type of blueberries:

I made just a couple of changes to her recipe...

Apple Blueberry Crumble
1 organic apple, chopped 
1/3 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
Dash of cinnamon

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour or oat flour
2 tablespoons oats 
1 tablespoon sucanat (or brown sugar)
Handful of chopped walnuts
1-2 tablespoons butter

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cook the apple, blueberries, honey and cinnamon powder in a pan on medium heat until the fruits are slightly soft.  (You can throw in some ground flaxseed too if you like.)
-Mix all the ingredients of the topping, except for the butter, in a bowl.
-Place the cooked fruits in a small baking dish.  
-Use that pan to melt the butter and then add it to the topping ingredients.
-Spoon the topping over the cooked fruits and spread evenly.
-Bake for about 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lentil Tacos

A very interesting and surprisingly yummy way to eat lentils. 

Here is the original recipe:  Tasty Lentil Tacos from

We thought the original recipe was too spicy so this time I used less chili powder.  Here it is with my modifications:

Lentil Tacos

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon organic olive oil
1 cup dried organic lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
1 cup organic salsa
Up to 12 taco shells

Shredded organic lettuce or spinach
Shredded organic cheddar cheese
Organic sour cream

-Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until tender.
-Add lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute.
-Add broth and bring to a boil.
-Reduce heat.
-Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
-Uncover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
-Mash lentils slightly.
-Stir in salsa.
-Spoon in some lentil mixture into each taco shell and top with your favorite toppings.

I was able to find some really good organic taco shells made from blue corn so I used those.

Also, here is the cheese I like to use:

The reason I like this cheese (and also this brand of butter) is that cattle in Ireland are grass-fed most of the year (see Kerrygold).  Look at all these benefits of milk, butter, cheese, and beef from grass-fed cows as opposed to grain-fed.  Cheese from grass-fed cows, in particular, "is more than four times richer in conjugated linoleic acid—a cancer-fighting, fat-reducing fat—than cheese from standard, grain-fed cows. (Dhiman, T.R., "Conjugated linoleic acid: a food for cancer prevention." Proceedings from the 2000 Intermountain Nutrition Conference, pages 103-121.)" (source)

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

These are really good - my husband and I made them for breakfast one day and then ate all 12 that day.

Ingredients and directions:

-3/4 cup sucanat
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 eggs
-1 cup canned pumpkin
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 cup oat flour
-1 cup wheat flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix wet ingredients.  Mix dry ingredients and then add to wet mixture.  Add pecans last.
Fill 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Original recipe:  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from