Pumpkin Walnut Drop Scones

Pumpkin Walnut Drop SconesIf you’ve been looking through some of my posts, you might think my selection of recipes is a bit eclectic. Ranging from super-sweet treats to nutritious paleo delights, they can surely seem strange.

Why do I do it? It’s easy. Family.

Sure, some of the recipes are enjoyed by all, but some are just for me. I used to try to force my family to eat healthy, but it only led to fights and upset feelings. So now I try to find a balance between healthy and delicious, with some treats that only I enjoy. I figure that they can make the decision to eat healthier for themselves.

And, to be honest, I like making things that are sticky-good.

But for me, I make nutritious things that I can love. These scones certainly fit that bill.  They fulfilled all my autumnal wishes for flavor and still were healthy.

Plus they also utilized one ingredient that I had on hand from a failed project: xylitol. It had been hanging around my cupboards feeling forlorn after its rejection. It was good to give it a purpose.

These scones were super easy to make. The only problem I encountered was in sifting the dry ingredients; some of the xylitol grains wouldn’t make it through the sifter. Other than that, mixing and baking were a breeze.

And the taste? Good! They were soft in texture with a subtle flavor. Definitely a must for autumn mornings.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

spicybutternutsquashsoupThis morning I decided to bake a huge butternut squash that we purchased last weekend. As it was a rather large squash, I knew that we would be able to use it for multiple recipes. And what would be the first dish to utilize the cooked squash? I decided that it would be a spicy butternut squash soup, just the thing to warm us up in the cooler weather.

I began with the basic recipe for Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup Recipe. This seemed like a great beginning for our own soup, but with some alterations that fit our pantry—as well as my energy level. The result? It turned out to be a hearty, spicy soup that brings out the best of the squash.

Changes I Made to the Recipe

As I had already cooked the squash itself, I spooned the flesh of ½ of it into a crockpot. I then sauteed the carrot, ½ of an onion, 2 chipotle peppers in sauce, and garlic until tender. That was put in the crockpot as well.

I didn’t want to bother with a blender, so I knew it would be more of a stew than the creamy soup pictured in the recipe. I therefore added to the crockpot the following ingredients: 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (undrained), 1 can kidney beans, and broth. I also added some additional seasonings, such as garlic pepper, salt, and mixed herbs. All of that combined will cook in the slow cooker until we’re ready to eat.

Perhaps I’ll find one of those handy submersion blenders at the thrift store one of these days. Until then, I probably won’t bother putting soup in the blender just to make it creamy. To be honest, it’s just not worth the cleanup.

So is this frugal? You betcha. The only fresh ingredients—butternut squash, onion, and carrot—were all very cheap in the grocery store. Taking advantage of vegetables and fruits that are in season is certainly a great way to celebrate the cooler weather as we approach fall. And with some homemade bread, this soup will make a great dinner.

Will You Be Celebrating Halloween?

Will You Be Celebrating Halloween?

As October is upon us, many have begun planning their Halloween celebrations. Some, though, do not observe the holiday for various reasons.

I’m curious as to how many of us will be celebrating Halloween this year. Also, if you want to share anything else about the holiday–whether ideas, concerns, recipes, whatever–then that would be most appreciated.

I’d love to hear from you!

Cookie Wars: Autumn Edition

cookiewarsautumnThere is a war going on in my household. It is a cookie war. Yes, dear friends, I have learned an important lesson this week, one that might prove instructional for others. When your family members express their desire to become healthier, take this with a grain of salt when choosing recipes to make. Their desire for a healthy lifestyle may be less strong than the pull of their sweet tooth, thus producing a cookie war, one that can potentially cause dissension within the ranks—and lots of healthy cookies for you to eat.

pumpkinspicebreakfastcookiesIn an effort to keep breakfast a bit simple and healthy, I decided to make Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies. This recipe not only utilized ingredients already stocked in our pantry, but it also featured the key ingredient for fall, pumpkin. And who doesn’t like pumpkin around this time of year? Too, the recipe seemed very healthy and packed full of nutrition.

When looking at the recipe and the use of whole wheat flour, I decided to take a chance that my freshly ground soft white wheat could be used in the batter. Rather than go with my usual half and half rule in regard to using whole wheat flour, I used a whole cup. I excitedly mixed these babies up and cooked them to perfection. The texture was soft and very nice; the sweetness was light and not overpowering. The smell of pumpkin and spices in our kitchen was heavenly. I personally couldn’t wait for coffee and cookies the next morning!

The reaction among my family members was less than enthusiastic, however. My husband remarked that they could have used more sugar, and his daughter frowned as she ate her breakfast. I admit that I was perturbed. I had found a cookie that could be eaten for breakfast, and they didn’t approve. Well, I decided I would show them who could bake up something sweet.

instantoatmealpacketcookiesSome time in the not so distant past, my husband decided that he would buy a couple of boxes of instant oatmeal packets so that we could have an easy breakfast. A few of these packets were used, but most languished in the box, forgotten like an old rag. Well, I wanted to remedy that situation. Enter the Instant Oatmeal Packet Cookies. These cookies seemed like a solution to all my problems in the cookie realm. They used up some old ingredients and provided my family with a super sweet cookie.

Mixing up the batter, I realized that it was a bit dry, and so I would recommend possibly adding a bit more milk if you find this to be the case in your home. However, the cookies themselves had a great texture and were sweet as could be. I couldn’t leave it at that, though. I whipped up a batch of Maple Cinnamon Glaze just to add a final punch to the cookies. And yes, that definitely took them over the top in the sweet department and was a perfect addition to the dessert.

The final verdict? If you have a family like mine, you might want to begin healthy cooking a bit more slowly. A cookie battle is never pretty. We all know who the winner will be—the glazed beauty with the sweet goodness. I’ll keep eating my pumpkin cookies, though, and tuck away this learning experience for future examination. For husbands and kids, sweet is everything when it comes to cookies.

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