Pumpkin Banana Pecan Bread

If overripe bananas can’t get me back in the kitchen, I don’t know what can!

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I am totally out of the habit of cooking and baking.  Although we did impose our meal planning and lunch prep on my parents when we lived there, I didn’t do too much of the making of the food.  After 2 weeks in Chicago, I am beginning to adjust to my new schedule. I still work 4 long days but now I have Fridays off instead of Mondays. I must say, I liked it best when I had both Fridays and Mondays off this summer, but it was just temporary : )  Fridays off is a bigger change than you think…especially since I’ve been working the same schedule for like 7 or 8 years.  It means that my Sundays need to be productive.  Ugh!

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The BOY and I were out late last night at a wedding dancing our hearts out and making new friends.  It was a slow start to our day, but we had to shake off the sleep because we were hosting the BOYs aunts for lunch!  There was still a bit to do making our house a little neater…you know like piling boxes in the corner. Ha ha!

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We had a fantastic time showing them our new place and catching up over lunch and tasty food.  They left around 3:30pm and the BOY and I decided that we needed an afternoon of lounging around.  I don’t think we’ve had a lazy day of TV in a LONG time.  I walked over to the grocery store (with my cart) for a few week day essentials and then prepped veggie bags and snacks.  I threw an easy Monday night dinner in the crockpot and turned those overripe bananas into bread.

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Although I didn’t have much success with the oven on Friday, I wanted to give it another try!

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I had the bananas but was feeling for a bit of fall, so I chose a banana and pumpkin bread from Skinny Taste.

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This bread is really soft and delicious and I love the addition of pecans.  PERFECT!

I am bringing one loaf to work tomorrow and saving the other for our upcoming trip to Door County!

Don’t get too excited about hearing from me again as I have a busy week ahead but as we head into fall, I figured you all could use a bite of this bread : )

 

Pumpkin Banana Pecan Bread

From Skinny Taste

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cup (3 medium) ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz (3/4 cup) chopped pecans
  • baking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8×5 inch loaf pans with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, pumpkin, bananas, apple sauce and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Add flour mixture and pecans, then blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into loaf pans and bake on the center rack for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Fall Into Winter

Yea…it happened!  The storm that everyone was talking about has arrived and I have only one word to describe our street…

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WHITE!  When I woke up this morning both of our cars were covered.  Surprisingly, the BOY didn’t give me too much hassle to wake up early for our training sessions.  Dare, I say, he actually likes working out ; )

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He cleaned off the car, while I warmed up inside…

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Our workouts were tough, but good (I hate jumping lunges more than anything else…well, except maybe burpees) and the snow continued to fall while we worked up a sweat.

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Our big plan was to go straight to the Target to pick up necessities for the day.  As is our snow day tradition, ingredients for chili, snacks, and wine found their way into our cart along with a few other household things.  After Target, we swung by the dry cleaner and then Starbucks for a post workout ‘recovery’ latte.

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We were happy to get back inside and warm up.  Our original plan for the day was to get a bunch done and go out for dinner.  Since I wasn’t working this morning, I took advantage of some down time and a few old bananas.

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I turned them into the amazing Flour’s Famous Banana Bread (using the recipe from Averie’s blog) while watching college football.

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Cooper has anyone ever told you how helpful you are in the kitchen?

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No I didn’t think so!

Our fail for the day was that we only planned for one meal, chili, and because of timing it needed to be dinner. We thought about ordering our favorite delivery food, Thai, but the BOY  has been eager to try the new Mexican restaurant that opened up near our house.  A plan soon developed as we decided it would be quicker to walk the .4 miles there than clean off one of our cars (for the second time). 

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We bundled up and braved the first big snow storm of the season.

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Then, came home and devoured or lunch before taking an afternoon nap.

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I woke up first and decided I wanted to bake again.  What can I say, the snow has me in a nesting mode!  The BOY said that after last week, he wasn’t in the mood for cookies but that if I made oatmeal cookies, he might have a few.

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Rough life…right?  I found a fun pumpkin oatmeal recipe and instead of chocolate chips, subbed in white chocolate and cranberries.

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In an attempt to make them look blog worthy, I even added a few extra chips on the top.

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The addition of pumpkin to the oatmeal cookies makes them a little cake like and totally delicious!  I think if I make them again, I would add a little more spice. I can see where if you were doing chocolate chips, you wouldn’t want too much nutmeg, but with the white chocolate, I think more spice would work well.

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Around 3:30pm, the snow seemed to be stopping, leaving us immersed in a winter wonderland…just in time for tonight’s big freeze!  If I’m reading the preliminary reports correctly, it looks like we got at least 10 inches of snow in the last 18 hours.  WOW!

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When the BOY (and Cooper) woke up, we regrouped in the family room for more Big Ten College Football.

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Meanwhile, I did a million loads of laundry (including rugs and blankets), treated the BOY’s back pain, and managed to feel really relaxed and pulled together at the same time.

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I was telling the BOY that I love our newish snow day tradition of staying in and laying low.  We always have a lot of fun together, and I’m looking forward to staying in tonight with wine and games…and probably some more football!

Enjoy your Saturday Snow Day!

 

Pumpkin Oat White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Slightly Adapted from Cooking Classy

 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips + more for the top of the cookies
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy (occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chips and cranberries (if you want some chips to show through, set some aside to press into tops before baking). Let batter rest 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so batter isn’t so sticky and cookies don’t spread so much).
  3. Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (I used a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, which I recommend using for evenly shaped cookies and fill it heaping), and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Soft Pants, Baking, and Comfort Food

It was a great day for soft pants! 

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After an early morning yoga class and my typical Monday errands, I happily climbed into my comfies for an afternoon at home.

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My mom signed me up for Thanksgiving baking, so I spent yesterday searching for new recipes to try.  My parents are leaving for New York next weekend so I figured I could bake cookies ahead of time, freeze them, and they could drive them out.

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My first batch was a seasonal cake-like cookie full of delicious pumpkin and sweet butterscotch chips.

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I was so excited to bake that I brought out the big guns…my mixer.  Oh mixer, how I love thee!  I wish I was able to see pictures of the dough because I was a little nervous when I poured it out onto my baking sheet.

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But my cookies baked up puffy and bright.  Actually, they would be perfect to make sandwiches if you stuffed them full of frosting or ice cream…Mmm!  The cookbook doesn’t lie as they are some really BIG cookies!

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They aren’t the most attractive looking batch, but totally worth giving them a try this fall!

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I ended up with more than enough cookies for Thanksgiving and a few for the BOY and I this week : )

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He has wants me to add that they should be called ‘muffin tops’ but I tried to explain that might make them even less attractive…ha ha!  Before this batch was cooled, I had already whipped up a second bowl of dough…

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But I’m going to leave you hanging on that recipe!

With the weather turning cool, I was craving a comfort style meal.  Blame it on this weekend’s trip to the city for fried chicken (the BOY’s favorite chicken place just opened in Chicago) or the fact that Thanksgiving is next week…I dunno!

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But, I have a hearty chicken and veggie recipe in the crockpot now, so I’ll let you know how it turns out!

 

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

I LOVE Sweet Potato Pie (which we had with our fried chicken this weekend)!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies

From Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment, then butter the parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer for about 1 minute on medium speed, until it’s smooth and a light yellow color. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the oil, pumpkin and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the flour mixture until incorporated, then stir in the butterscotch chips.
  5. Use a 1/4-cup capacity ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the dough into mounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Space the mounds about 2-1/2" apart. Smooth the tops of the mounds with a spatula if desired.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 16 minutes, switching racks and rotating the pans about halfway through the baking time. When done, the cookies will feel firm and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and dry. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If desired, dust the tops with powdered sugar.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, if they last that long.

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wow, I’ve been blogging up a storm recently.  Are you sick of me yet?

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We had the most gorgeous 70 degree fall day here!  It felt wonderful to be getting back into my no work Monday routine.  First stop was the gym for a session with my trainer. 

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Afterwards, I dropped off a car load of household stuff at GoodWill (from our weekend of cleaning) and then went to the grocery store.  I made a quick stop at home for a shower and to unload my groceries.  Then I was out and about for a few more errands and returns.  I ended up at Whole Foods for tasty salad bar lunch.

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When I got home, I opened all the windows to let in the clean, fresh air, threw in some laundry, and dove into this week’s recipes.  We brought a whole bunch of stuff back from Door County including a huge bag of apples.

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For this reason, my interest was peaked when I found a chili recipe that uses apples.  I got all the ingredients at the store and had some fresh cider in the fridge (also from the farm).

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This is a stove top recipe and really quite easy.  The flavors are odd but seem to blend together beautifully!

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Once my chili was simmering, I was ready to make M&M Cookie Bars.  I was super sad to discover that I did not read the recipe carefully enough to realize that I needed more oats and two different types of oats.  But, I moved on quickly with my softened butter to corn muffins.

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Only to discover that I bought too small of a package : (  I was having so much fun in the kitchen, between the sun light, clean cabinets, and new wedding gifts that I still wanted to make something.  So I cut the recipe in half and turned it into a bread.  I left the original recipe for muffins as written below.  Just know that you can half it if you buy the tinny 55 cent Jiffy package on accident.

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I have never made a pumpkin cornbread before, but I loved the idea and the smell.

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And again as odd as the combinations sound, both worked together to create a delicious meal…for tomorrow night.  But I had to try it for a pre dinner snack tonight.

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The BOY came home to grill, one last time it seems, as the grill ran out of juice.  He was able to make dinner in the oven.  We’re planning to have the chili tomorrow since we both work later and the rest of the week, I planned out on our newish chalkboard.  I’m hoping to have the M&M Cookie Bars made (and shared) sooner rather than later!

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Meal Planning 11/02/15

Monday: Steak and Tilapia

Tuesday: Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wednesday: Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thursday: BBQ Pork tenderloin and Veggies

Friday: TBD!

 

What are you cooking this week?

What’s the oddest ingredient you ever added to your chili?

 

 

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili

From Pass the Sushi*

*Recipe is mostly the same…I just rewrote it a bit to make it easier to follow!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green apples, (1 peeled and diced; 1 sliced) NOTE: I used a red apple
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cider
  • Shredded super sharp white cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or honey corn bread, for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until brown,  breaking it into chunks while cooking.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, puree the chipotles and 2 tbs of the adobo sauce.

Once turkey is browned, drain liquid.  Then stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining puree to adjust the heat at the end of cooking.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika,  onion, and garlic.

Peel and dice one apple into 1/2″ chunks, add it to the chili. Slice the remaining apple and toss with the lemon juice; Set aside.

Add the cinnamon and bay leaves to the chili, cover and cook, stirring and lowering the heat, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the stock and cider; bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.

Top the chili with the cheese, reserved apple and the toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

 

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

From Together as Family

Ingredients

  • 1 package (15 oz) Cornbread Baking Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup milk, 2% or higher is best (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. (can also use 8×8 pan for cornbread and bake 15-20 minutes)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cornbread baking mix, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk together.
  3. Add in canned pumpkin, milk, softened butter, and the egg. Whisk together gently just until combined.
  4. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter and divide evenly into the muffin cups. They will about 2/3-3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes.

Five for Friday XXXV

1. I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done a Friday post (although this last Cooper edition is pretty cute).  In fact, I’m sorry I’ve been a not-so-good blogger in general lately.

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2.  It’s Friday and that makes me VERY happy!  Especially this particular Friday because the BOY and I are leaving for our mini moon in Door County after this morning’s joint gym session.

 

3. I’m super excited to welcome pumpkin season!  Have you had your PSL or Pumpkin Blizzard yet?

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Even better, the BOY’s homemade pumpkin ice cream!  He nailed it on the first try!

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4.  Exciting news…we booked our January honeymoon.  Can’t wait to share all the details!

 

5. I only have one sneak peak photo from our photographer and I am obsessed.  A HUGE thank you to the incredibly talented woman who created my look, Jaycie, and our fun, and amazing photographer, Gisselle!

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What’s going on with you guys this Friday?

Keep Calm and Wedding On

What is one to do two weeks before 15 months of planning finally comes together?

Or should I say…How do you spend your second to last weekend before your wedding?

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Truth be told, I am close to losing my mind!  I am way less organized than typical me and I spend a lot more time getting my nails done.  It’s quite odd : )  My weekend started Friday night meeting my mom for a manicure.  Still trying to finalize my color…

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Then we went home for a late dinner and an early-ish bed time.  Saturday morning started bright and early with a workout.  More kick boxing which should be on every bride’s list of things to do and of course a bunch of pre wedding push ups and sled pulls.

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Then I was off to teach my kids yoga class.  We had a special guest, my friend who just took the Rainbow Kids Yoga class in Chicago and her adorable daughter, who joined us for yoga showing the kids that every body and every age can yoga!

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From there, I was back home to meet my mom for lunch at our favorite local sandwich place, followed by some wedding related shopping.  We lured my sister in law out to the suburbs with the promise of wine and of course a morning espresso from our new machine. I should mention that the BOY, my brother, and a crew of guys were down in Louisville sampling the bourbon and BBQ for the BOY’s bachelor party this weekend.

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The night began with a cheese plate and pink bubbles (aka rose) and proceeded as expected.  We abandoned dinner and sat out back for hours eating cheese and snacks, sharing stories of the past, and making many plans for the future.  Eventually, I put everyone to work prepping flip flops for the dance floor bins.

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As always, we stayed up WAY too late and drank WAY too much wine.  So everyone was more than pleased to start their Sunday with a frothy espresso!

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After breakfast, we attacked Home Goods with enthusiasm filling our cart with fall décor and household goodies.  We had a few other shopping stops before settling onto a bench in the afternoon with well deserved full bowls of fro yo.  By afternoon, everyone parted ways and I got myself to work around the house while listening to the Bears game.  I took a huge zucchini from a coworker’s garden last week and promised to return with bread.  Sadly, he wasn’t looking so good.  Since I was still in the mood to bake, I switched over to pumpkin bread.  I mean, it is officially fall!

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This bread baked up perfectly, turning out moist and delicious!  It was a nice end to my busy weekend cleaning up the house with the windows open and the smells of fall flowing throughout.

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Monday was just as busy as the rest of the weekend. I packed in a workout, my last dress fitting, a meeting with the hotel, a phone conference with my florist, a trip to the grocery store, amongst everything else and was done just after the BOY returned from his weekend away.  With just 11 days to go, life has been a bit chaotic, so I’ve been keeping calm with tons of yoga…as noted by all my post yoga selfies…

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And surrounding myself with the support of my friends and family!

Just trying to Keep Calm and Wedding On : )

 

Pumpkin Bread

From Simply Recipes

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée
  • 4 ounces (1 stick, 112 g) butter, melted (can sub 1/2 cup light olive oil)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions

1 Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

2 In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin purée, the melted butter, beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined and there is no more dry flour in the batter. Do not overmix! If adding chopped pecans or walnuts, stir them in.

3 Butter the insides of an 8 x 4 x 3 -inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Put in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a tester poked in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a blunt dinner knife around the edges of the pumpkin bread to gently separate it from the pan. Invert it to loosen it from the pan and put the loaf on a rack to cool completely.

Getting into the Pumpkin Spirit

I love pumpkin just as much as the next blogger and even though I’m a little late to the pumpkin game, I dove right into the spirit with a few orange recipes this week.

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To start, I made a pumpkin chili in the crockpot.  With talk of the first PV (polar vortex) of the season on the horizon, I knew that I would want some chili this week.  Last year, I made an awesome Pumpkin Quinoa Chili, so I was willing to give the combo another try.

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After I got everything in the crockpot, I busted out my food processor (I swear my kitchen does not have enough counter space or outlets to support all my toys).  I have been wanting to make some raw energy balls to bring into the office for an afternoon pick me up.

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Of course I went with the pumpkin ones.  Although my texture was a little off, the flavor of these balls was great!  I will have to try them again…

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You can check out this website for the full Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites Recipe.  If they turn out a little gooey, then I suggest freezing them. It worked like a charm!  Back to the chili…my pumpkin chili turned out thick and spicy!  I happen to love it, but it has a mushy texture.  So if you don’t like that kind of thing in your chili, then add in some extra beans or lentils.

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And although they look pretty funny, check out the Whoopie Pies I made for the BOY’s 33rd Birthday today!  He ate 4 of them!

Recipe to come…

 

Meal Planning 11/11/14

Monday: Chinese Leftovers

Tuesday: Crockpot Pork

Wednesday: Turkey Tacos

Thursday: Leftovers

 

What was the first pumpkin recipe you made this fall?

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Adapted Slightly From Garnish with Lemon

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground turkey (lean)

2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (drained lightly)

2 – 15 oz cans pumpkin puree

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons cumin

2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped

Directions

In a large fry pan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add turkey and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Spray the bottom of a crockpot and add the turkey mixture.  Layer on the tomatoes, sauce, pumpkin, spices, and chipotle peppers.  Stir and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Serve with avocado, cheese, sour cream, chips or corn bread.