Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Exhausted from holding on and worn out from trying hard, I yell "take!" to my belayer. The slack in the rope tightens and I can sit back in my harness. I stare at the rock wall, analyzing it's seams, and it stares back at me, full of tricks and secrets and history. My forearms ache from holding on: my endurance for sport climbing is lacking right now. 

Three feet from me, a spot of golden yellow with a tinge of red catches my eye.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

There, in the middle of the rock, a miniature tree grows, it's leaves turning orange with fall. In fact, an entire micro ecosystem sits within the crack in the rock. A tiny but steady stream of water from above trickles across a pile of dead pine needles, and a bug crawls up to see the view from the edge of the crack.

I imagine a bird visiting that spot a year ago. He drops a seed, and flies off. And then I imagine that seed getting just enough water to sprout--and a bit more, enough that the sprout grows into a tree right there, on the side of a rock face. It's no larger than 1 foot tall, but it clings on to the side of the rock with might and patience. It doesn't have a belayer; it can't call "take."

There is a breeze and I am reminded of the task at hand. I climb on while that baby tree just stays there, clinging for life. Imagine the view from it's home! 

This pumpkin smoothie bowl is the breakfast to eat when the leaves are crunching underfoot and the air is crisp but still not too cold. It's spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and is super creamy. Top it with toasted pecans, and for an extra special treat add a dollop of whipped cream (coconut cream for dairy free!). 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

In the ingredient list you’ll find an outlier (cauliflower) and if you’ve never put cauliflower in a smoothie, this might make you run and hide. BUT I promise you: once that cauliflower is all blended in, you will not taste it. What you will taste: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Toasted pecans if you choose to put them on top (please do!). And it will be a thick, creamy smoothie. That texture? That’s because of the cauliflower, which at this point you’ve forgotten is in there.

Try it!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Published October 12, 2017 by
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Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese (or plain greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 frozen bananas, sliced 
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves 
  • Optional: 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
  • Dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins (I use this brand)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pecans

Directions:

  1. Add pumpkin, cottage cheese, milk, bananas, cauliflower, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and protein powder to blender. Puree until no chunks remain. Pour smoothie into two serving bowls.
  2. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, raisins, pecans, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie smoothie bowl
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Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

With gusto, I let fall into my home. I'm not talking about pumpkins or mums, either. I'm talking about the breeze.

I’m rarely home alone but when I am I take advantage of it. This time, I threw open all of the windows and let the breeze rip through the house. There are only two times of the year that allow you to do this at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, and fall is one of them (Spring is the other; summer is far too hot and winter far too cold). I put Elephant Revival on and turned the volume up high as if to drown out other noise, even though the house was silent. I threw my hair into a messy bun on the top of my head (or tried— half of my hairs fell out, and I didn’t bother putting them into place), and I whipped out the pots and pans. 

It was going to be a good afternoon: I had cheese to melt. 

Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

Even though cauliflower is a fall crop, I abuse the fact that modern grocery stores carry it all year around. I can't lie about this with over 19 recipes using cauliflower on this blog, and almost none of them fall-related. 

This cauliflower gratin is rich and hits your "I really just want cheese for dinner" spot, but feels a little more grown up because 1) you're eating vegetables and 2) the cheese is gruyere, which I almost can't say out loud without second guessing myself (groo-year? gru-air?). There's even a little thyme stirred in. 

It pairs well with a glass of red wine, a cold beer, or a dry cider. Fancy enough for something like Thanksgiving dinner, you could cook this cauliflower gratin up for party. But best of all, you can just reheat it as a lazy couch dinner. 

Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

I hope you'll invite fall into your home like I did: it will come out bubbling and strings of cheese will follow as you serve yourself the first bite. Maybe, if it's cool enough, you can get away with wearing your slippers, too. 

Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

Cauliflower Gruyere & Thyme Gratin

Published September 26, 2017 by
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Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 60 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets
  • Water, for steaming
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded gruyere, divided
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash cayenne

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Fill a medium pot with 1 inch of water and place steam basket in pot. Place cauliflower in steam basket, and heat over medium heat until water is simmering. Allow cauliflower to steam for 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat. Drain any water from cauliflower, and then put cauliflower in a 8x8inch baking dish.
  3. Now, in a small sauce pan, melt the butter. While the butter melts, whisk together the milk and corn starch or arrowroot powder until no clumps remain. Pour milk into melted butter and whisk. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly so as not to scald the milk, for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of gruyere cheese. Continue to whisk and simmer until sauce thickens (it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon), and cheese is fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir thyme, black pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne into cheese sauce. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and use a spoon to ensure the cauliflower is all coated and the sauce is distributed.
  5. Top with remaining gruyere and the parmesan. Place in oven, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and top is golden brown. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Usually the words "secret ingredient" bring visions of mashed banana, finely chopped veggies, or some other secretly healthy add in. Like chocolate cake made with zucchini, or cookies made with avocado instead of butter. But not this recipe. Oh no. 

The secret to getting rich, buttery potatoes in this recipe? (Hint hint, it's in the title, so not that secret!) It's the same thing I will sneak into baked good to make them taste extra rich. Browned Butter. 

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts
Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

If you have not tried it yet, use browned butter in the next batch of cookies or coffee cake you make. You will never look back. You will fall, like I have, deeply in love with the caramelized flavor of butter that has been gently heated until golden. 

Brown butter's nutty flavor pairs well with things like dessert, but in this recipe it adds dimensions to mashed potatoes you've never visited before. These mashed potatoes take one look at gravy and laugh: there is no need. They are soft and creamy and rich on their own. Eat a bowl for dinner, or try them out at breakfast, like I did. Do not be ashamed. 

I top them with toasted hazelnuts to accentuate the nutty flavor of the browned butter and add texture. Then, a sprinkle of chives for color! But if you like to just keep things simple and traditional feel free to skip these and focus on just the browned butter. That's the most important part (and maybe the potatoes).

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Published July 4, 2017 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 40 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 5 yukon gold potatoes, chopped into quarters (skin them if you like, I leave the skins on)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped and toasted (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced (optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into a pot and fit pot with a steamer basket. Place potatoes in steam basket, and heat over medium-low heat with lid on for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened through.
  2. While the potatoes cook, brown the butter: heat butter in a sauce pan over low heat until it melts. Continue to heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to foam. Watch closely to prevent it from boiling over, and continue to heat until the butter becomes golden and fragrant. Here is a great tutorial.
  3. Strain the water from the potatoes, and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a fork. Add milk and 2 tablespoons butter and continue to mash until it reaches your preferred consistency (I prefer my mans potatoes a little bit chunky). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of browned butter over top of potatoes just before serving. Optional: Add toasted hazelnuts and chives as garnish.

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