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Poor pumpkins! They’re completely ignored in this house, rarely making it into the kitchen, let alone be turned into nourishing meals. They decorate the front stoop, get turned into jack-o’-lanterns, propped on a table in a centerpiece, then left alone to rot and thrown in the compost bin. And to think they’re a superfood!

Their days of being insignificant are over from now on, starting from today. I’m set for a cooking marathon, with pumpkins as the star ingredient. I have my comfy fluffy slippers on, and I’m not afraid to take a stand (Sorry Eminem, couldn’t resist). I can stay all day on my feet, cooking. And the family had better eat what I cook.

Or at least, eat half of it. A couple of friends have invited me over for dinner/sleepover to celebrate my birthday (it’s already past). It’ll be a potluck for everyone else, except the birthday girl. The instruction was explicit. I was to bring nothing. But did I listen? Of course not. I never go to a potluck empty-handed, and I’m not about to start now. Some of these goodies are just too yummy not to share, anyway. Who hoards yummy food to themselves? Certainly not me. I’m a sharer, not a hoarder. 🙂

Well, first let me tell you what happened. I roasted a whole fresh pumpkin, the kind sold as pie pumpkin, not the kind you use as decorations. I’m assuming there’s a difference, since the pie pumpkin kind costs more.

I was going to use fresh pumpkins in my recipes, but when I tasted the roasted pumpkin, I thought it was…uh…horrible! Not sweet at all, and slightly bitter. Apparently, I can’t pick the right pumpkin, just like I can’t pick a watermelon. I should stick to canned pumpkin and cut-up watermelon. So, the following 2 recipes use canned pumpkin, instead.

pumpkin & chia seeds muffins

Pumpkin & Chia Seeds Muffins
I read this recipe on Oprah.com, and thought it sounded healthful and easy. I’ve been trying to incorporate chia seeds into my diet. Except it was odd that it also listed “salt & pepper to taste”. And 2 cups (16 oz) of pumpkin for 1 1/2 cups of flour? Does that sound right to you? Looks to me someone didn’t edit the recipe. Should I trust it? I decided I couldn’t, so I tweaked it and came up with a recipe of my own. But the inspiration did come from Oprah.

1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or a mix of both)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg (I mean it; it’s very strong!)
Pinch of salt
1 cup (8 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 water
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup mini chocolate morsels, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients.
3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, fold in chocolate morsels as well.
4. Spoon into oven-safe paper baking pans or paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle more chocolate morsels.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. You can drizzle chocolate ganache on top of muffins, if you like.

When you eat one of these, remember all the healthful ingredients that went into it and the unhealthful ones that didn’t. You’ll be surprised how good it really is!

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread
Gerard from Tortillas and Bread always comes up with bread recipes that sound too good not to try. Well, Gerard, I finally made one your breads. I just shaped it differently, that’s all. And I drizzled caramel sauce on it instead of piloncillo sauce.

The recipe for the bread is here, and the caramel sauce here.

Here’s how I shaped my pull-apart bread:

how to make pull-apart bread
First, I rolled the dough into a rectangle, brushed on the melted butter, sprinkled the cinnamon sugar mix, then cut the rectangle into several strips.

how to make pull-apart bread
Then, I stacked up the strips, and cut the stack into squares. The whole thing was then stacked again into a tower, and the tower was then placed sideways in a loaf bread pan.

The recipe makes 2 loaves, by the way. And don’t forget to check on the bread after it’s been in the oven for 20 minutes. If the top was turning too brown too soon, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

pumpkin pull-apart bread
Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread

What happened to the roasted fresh pumpkin, you ask? It’s been turned into this.

pumpkin chicken rice

Recipe will have to wait. I have a potluck dinner to go to, right now. But I do have something pretty for you to look at.

fall centerpiece

table centerpiece for fall
Fall Centerpiece, using pumpkins

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