Healthier Brownies

100_1200A few years ago, I learned a Weight Watcher recipe that uses cake mix and pumpkin. The taste of the pumpkin cooks out but you get the added benefit that pumpkin is a vegetable making the recipe healthier for you.

I recently ran across this recipe for pumpkin brownies. I used a low-fat brownie mix with a can of pumpkin. I think they turned out pretty good. Plus, they had 78g. less of fat. They were thick and chewy. I threw mine in the fridge to prevent mold (an issue with using pumpkin) and they lasted over a week and half that way.

Pumpkin Brownies from Interest
1 box of brownie mix
1 can of pumpkin

Mix ingredients and pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish. Cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Pumpkin Spice

Who doesn’t love the taste of pumpkin spice in the fall? This recipe is an easy way to capture the taste of pumpkin pie without all the mess.

Mini Pumpkin Pie CroissantsMini Pumpkin Pie Croissant from Pinterest
1 tube crescent rolls
2 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 T. sugar

Topping
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Cream together pumpkin, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar. Spread 1 1/2 tsp. of filling on each crescent roll and roll up. Sprinkle sugar and pumpkin pie spice on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used spreadable light cream cheese and reduced fat crescent rolls.
  • I would suggest maybe cutting the amount of filling by 1/3 or 1/2. It seemed to be a lot. I had to bake for 15 minutes to fully cook the pumpkin.
  • I would also suggest cutting the amount of topping in half. It was twice as much as I needed. I also would suggest maybe even cutting the amount of pumpkin pie spice if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by it.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

My friend Michelle and I go way back. She was one of my first friends in Kansas City. I don’t remember what classes we had together but I know we met in graduate school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. We were both working on our Masters in Public Administration. Like me, she loves to cook and enjoys great food. When she first moved to Kansas City, Michelle nannied for people who were great friends with some of Kansas City’s best chefs. Needless to say, she introduced me to a couple of great places in town. Michelle loves Brookside so she took me to a lot of great places by UMKC – Aixois and Bella Napoli to name a few. Michelle also used to host dinner parties at her apartment where everyone would bring different dishes based on a theme like “Caribbean”. A great way to sample a lot of new recipes.

Last fall, Michelle invited me to her new house for dinner and to help handout Halloween candy. This recipe is what she made for dinner. It’s from one of her favorite food blogs – The Smitten Kitten. One of the things I love about Michelle is her willingness to try adventurous recipes. Although this recipe isn’t pretty in appearance it is quite delicious. A hearty, healthy recipe for soup made with black beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and onions.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup by Gourmet, November 1996 posted on The Smitten Kitten Blog

Photo by: blogs.babble.com

Photo by: blogs.babble.com

Three cans of black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
1 c. drained diced tomatoes
1 1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. minced shallot
4 garlic cloves minced (I would substitute jar garlic)
1 T. plus 2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 c. beef broth
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. dry Sherry
1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced
3 to 4 T. Sherry vinegar

In a food processor, puree beans and tomatoes. In a stock pot/Dutch oven, cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onions is softened. Stir in bean mixture. Add broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until well combined. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally f0r 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Just before serving, add ham and vinegar to soup, stirring, until thoroughly heated. Makes 9 cups.

Note – We ate this with crackers and corn bread muffins. Original recipe suggest sour cream or pumpkin seeds.

Snickerdoodles

I have lots of fond memories as a child baking cookies with my mother. We usually made chocolate chip and snickerdoodles. What could be more fun as a kid that rolling cookie dough in colored sugar? Licking the beaters of course.

Christa Dubill posted the recipe from the Kansas City Star on her Facebook page about a month ago. Since it’s fall and I love pumpkin flavors, I knew I had to try this recipe. I quickly scribbled it down on a yellow sticky note. This recipe fell in the – I’m going to make that one immediately. I decided to bake it for National Boss Day and my co-workers loved it. The pumpkin makes them the softest/fluffiest snickerdoodles I have ever made.

Make it with your children or by yourself.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
1 stick of softened butter (8 oz.)
1 and 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
3 c. and 2 T. flour

Sugar Mixture
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat butter, sugar, and pumpkin. Add seasonings, vanilla, and egg. Beat again. Slowly add and stir flour. Chill for at least 1 hour. Scoop into balls and roll in sugar mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Pumpkin Crunch

I can’t believe I almost forgot to share this pumpkin recipe. It’s perfect for your holiday feast.

I got the recipe from on our volunteers at SAFEHOME. Nothing better than a personal chef as volunteer. She made lots of great recipes for our monthly tours. I made this recipe for my family two years and last year for our Komen Thanksgiving luncheon. It was a big hit. I hope you enjoy this dish that got me to eat finely chopped nuts.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package of yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. melted butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely serve with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sweet and Salty

One of the reasons we love sweet and salty combinations is because it tantalizes two totally different taste bud sections on our tongues. This recipe was a must with words like “pumpkin”, “salt”, and “caramel” in the title. It came from Pillsbury.com. I have to say, this is one of the best new recipes I have tried this year. But I should warn you, it does have a few more steps than I usually prepare.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
4 T. butter, melted
6 oz. cream cheese, soften
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 sugar
5 T. flour
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 c. pecans, finely chopped
2 cans seamless crescent rolls
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
5 T. caramel syrup
4 T. cinnamon sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush baking sheet with 2T. of melted butter. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixture on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 T. flour and pumpkin pie spice, beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 tsp. of pecans; set aside. Stir remaining nuts into creamy mixture.

Unroll a one can of dough onto a slightly floured surface. Press dough to 14 x 12. Lightly score dough with pairing knife in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half into 12 squares (approximately 3 x 2 1/4 in.). Spoon heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling into center. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press down with handle of a wooden spoon to seal. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole into the top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter, cut between each ravioli, place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining 1 T. flour, dough sheet, and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 T. melted butter.

Bake 9-14 minutes or until golden brown.

In the meantime, beat whipping cream and salt with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Beat in 2T. caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle with 2 T. cinnamon sugar, turn, and sprinkle back side. To serve, place 2 raviolis a dessert plate. Drizzle each with caramel syrup and a sprinkle of pecans. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream onto plate. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information: (12 serving) 380 calories (220 from fat), 25 g. fat (13 saturated and .5 g. trans fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 35 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 4 g. protein. 45% Vitamin A and 6% calcium.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and used regular crescent rolls.
  • I used only 1 T. of butter by baking on an Air Bake cooking sheet.
  • I used Egg Beaters egg white instead of an egg yolk.
  • I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese.
  • I substituted fat free Cool Whip for the heavy whipping cream. I think it worked and had less fat.
  • I didn’t have cinnamon sugar so I mixed cinnamon and sugar together to make 1 T.

Giving Thanks

Yesterday, my co-workers and I hosted a special thank you luncheon for our Komen Kansas City volunteers. These women and men are some of the most passionate volunteers I have ever worked with. It was just our little way of saying “thank you” for your ongoing commitment to ending breast cancer.

The following is a recipe I made for the first time for this Thanksgiving themed meal. A few of our volunteers requested this recipe for pumpkin bread pudding. I found it a few weeks ago in the coupon section of the paper. I had to go to C&H Sugar’s website to get the sauce recipe so I’ll provide you with both to save you a step.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • 4 cups white bread, cut into cubes (about 7 slices of bread)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (I substituted vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13×9 baking pan. Dry bread cubes on cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes. Place dried bread cubes in sprayed pan. In large mixing bowl, whisk together all pudding ingredients except butter. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Let sit for 10 minutes to make sure bread is fully soaked. Dab butter over top. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Pudding should be set in center, but not dry. When baking, pudding edges will puff up higher on the sides, but will deflate once it’s removed from the oven.

Crème Anglaise Sauce

  • 1 cup milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoons ginger, ground
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, bring milk, cream and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. In medium mixing bowl, beat yolks with sugar until pale and thick, 3-4 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine strainer over egg mixture, discarding ginger and skim from sauce. Stir constantly until blended. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, just until thickened. Do not boil or sauce may curdle (this happened to me – see Quick Tip). Add vanilla. Pour into small container; cover and chill. Warm sauce before serving over warm bread pudding.

Quick Tip – If sauce curdles (which it did for me), remove from stove and whirl in a blender. As hot liquids tend to splash (and they did for me), be careful the hot sauce does not splash out of the blender while blending.

Note: I used an empty water bottle to pull out the egg yolks. Crack egg in bowl. Invert empty water bottle with air deflated over egg yolk. Release and as air fills bottle it will pull up egg yolk into bottle. To release into recipe, deflate air and yolk will release into your bowl. It wasn’t as simple as it looked on The Today Show but it worked. I would recommend using a bottle with less ridges to make it work right. Dispose of water bottle after doing this. Save egg white for future egg white omelets.