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Best Ever Brownies

Hello again, friends,

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Here, in my second post of the day, I am about to share with you something incredible. These brownies were so. So. So good. Before I get much further in my discussion of these brownies, let me warn you: they are made with almond flour, so if you’re in any way allergic to almonds/dislike them or something, I apologize for getting your hopes up. But really these are SO GOOD. It is taking every ounce of will power I have to not eat the entire plate. I’ve only had one today–well, on top of all the batter/crumbs I ate, but those don’t count–which is a huge victory for me. I’ll definitely have another one after dinner. Definitely.

I used this recipe for these brownies…didn’t even adapt it at all. The only thing I changed was that I used vanilla extract instead of almond, but only because I didn’t have any. I wish I did! That would’ve been even more fabulous. Almond meal is kind of hard to come by–I happened upon a cute little nut/dried fruit shop downtown that had tons of it (as well as walnut meal! Imagine the possibilities!), so naturally I stocked up. It’s just such a wonderful thing to have. I use it to “bread” everything that requires breadcrumbs! And now that I have successfully experimented with baking with almond meal, I can’t wait to try more. Yippeeee! The only thing is, if you’re going to use almond meal as “almond flour”, you need to make sure it’s super fine. If it’s too coarsely ground, it won’t bake quite right. As soon as I finish writing this post, I’m going to eat another one of these little morsels of awesomeness. I simply cannot wait.

3/4 c. almond flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. baking cocoa

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. sugar

3 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla (or almond extract if you’re lucky enough to have it and want things almond-y!)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. butter

3/4 c. chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips (separated into 1/2 c. and 1/4 c.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Put half a cup of your chocolate into a microwavable bowl with your butter and microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out, stir it up, and put it back in for 20 seconds at a time until the mixture is completely melted, then set it aside and let it cool. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl until they’re combined, then slowly add the cooled butter/chocolate mixture, stirring constantly, until it’s all mixed together. Then, add your vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together your almond flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and cinnamon (make sure to get rid of any lumps!). Pour your dry mixture into the wet one and stir until combined. Fold in the leftover 1/4 c. chocolate and pour into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center has completely set and is slightly crackly on top. Let them cool in the pan before you cut them, then enjoy!

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Make sure you are around to enjoy the smell of these brownies as they bake…it’s really one of the best smells in the entire world, I’m pretty sure. I’m almost positive that’s how my own personal heaven would smell. Like almond-y, cinnamon-y brownies baking. Ugh. It kills me.

Again, be safe in this hurricane, lovelies! Being a California baby, this is my first hurricane, so it’s a little intimidating. I’ll be sure to keep bakin’ and cookin’ (assuming the power stays on), so you’ll be hearing from me again soon!

Love, Emily


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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Hi hi,

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So APPARENTLY there’s a gigantic storm a brewin’. Frankenstorm, if you will. So naturally, my first thought when faced with the harsh reality that we may not be able to leave our homes for three days straight was: I BETTER BAKE SOME THINGS ASAP. I planned on baking a bunch. I have perishables that could be baked into things, so why not use them while I still can, ya know? (There is also a chance that we might not lose power at all and that all of this baking will end up being a little unnecessary…but where’s the fun in that?) But seriously, guys! What am I supposed to eat if the power goes out and all our refrigerated things go bad? Well, muffins of course. And some brownies…but we’ll get to those later. All of my friends/roommates/their parents/my parents are freaking out about being safe in the storm and staying away from windows blah blah blah and my biggest concern is “what’s going to happen if all my food goes bad?! And WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO IF THE POWER GOES OUT AND I CAN’T USE THE OVEN OR THE STOVE?” But really though. What on earth am I supposed to do. Looks like I’ll be living off of dry granola, almonds and room temperature soup for three days. It better not come to that. I will be heated.

My first order of business was to bake something that could kiiind of maybe pass as somewhat healthy, since we were going to be eating a lot of this for the next couple of days. Soooo muffins with chocolate chips? Of course. I loosely based this recipe on this one from allrecipes.com. These really aren’t that bad though! And they’re quite yummy. Just a pretty standard muffin, but it does the trick when a muffin craving strikes. Or as a hurricane survival snack, ya know.

1 1/4 c. old fashioned oats

1 c. milk

3/4 c. plain greek yogurt

1 egg

3/4 c. brown sugar (separated into 1/2 c. and 1/4 c. portions)

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the milk and oats and set aside to sit for a little. Preheat the oven to 400 and grease/line a muffin tin. Add the egg, yogurt, and 1/2 c. of your brown sugar and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and combine the two mixtures together until juuust incorporated. Fill your muffin tin with the batter and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on top. I made exactly 12 (rather full and round, but not too full) beautiful muffins. Bake for 18-25 minutes depending on your oven; the original recipe said 20-25 but at 20 minutes mine were already the teensiest bit toasty so I’d recommend you check them a little early!

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Stay safe, east coast buddies! Stay tuned for my hurricane brownies recipe. Let me tell you, it’s a good one.

Love, Emily


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Hello lovelies,

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This was an experiment. It turned out rather beautifully, if I do say so myself! My one complaint: these were not super solid. In fact, they were rather crumbly, which was unintentional, but unavoidable. Allow me to explain. I had been waiting for a few days until I had time to make something delicious with my sweet potatoes and was shocked and upset to discover upon opening their little bag that I’d been stashing them in that two of them were moldy! I don’t understand why, seeing as they were in a nice, dry spot in my cupboard but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Hmph. (Can you tell I’m bitter?) Anyways, I salvaged two scrawny sweet potato babies, but the two heftier ones were not so lucky, hence my slightly crumbly quinoa cakes. I’m going to write the recipe as I intended to do it and hopefully it will work out better for those of you who might try it. When I make these again (which I certainly will, they were yummy!), I’ll update this post as needed if I alter the recipe. Sound good? Good!

1/2 c. cooked quinoa

1 c. uncooked spinach (once cooked, it will wilt down a ton)

2 cloves garlic

1 large egg, lightly scrambled

1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted

1/4 c. almond meal (or bread crumbs, if you’re feelin’ it)

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

First, cook your quinoa and set it aside to let it cool. Saute your spinach in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until it’s wilted–this should take about 5 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Throw your garlic and spinach into your quinoa pot and get ready to toast your pine nuts. I wiped out my pan with a paper towel and just used that to dry toast them on medium-low heat until they were lightly browned. Throw those in with the rest of your cooling ingredients. Next, peel and dice your sweet potatoes and place them in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking them for about 10 minutes until they are tender. Drain the water, place them in a separate bowl and mash them up with a fork. Add this to your quinoa pot also. Make sure everything is cool before you move on, you don’t want to cook your egg! Add your parmesan, almond meal (or bread crumbs), egg, and salt and pepper and mix well. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil on medium heat in a skillet and form patties with your hands (I made 4!). Cook each quinoa cake for a few minutes on each side (mine took 5ish minutes per side) and enjoy!

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Ugh I’M SORRY my pictures are horrible. I’m getting increasingly frustrated with my broken lens issue. Although apparently not frustrated enough to get it fixed. The time will come soon.

Oh and on another, more relevant note, I have a confession: I ate my quinoa cake with a rather weird condiment. And by rather weird I mean very weird. Please don’t make fun of me…….I spread pumpkin butter on top……..I KNOW IT’S STRANGE I don’t even know what possessed me to reach for it when I was surveying my options in the fridge. But I must say…it was oddly delicious. I was super into it. I’d recommend it to you, but most people probably aren’t as weirdly pumpkin-obsessed as I am. Whatever, guys. It was yummy.

Love, Emily


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Hi guyz,

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I had some leftover pumpkin to use (shocker) so I made (my version of) a half recipe of these! These cute little oatmeal cups are basically like a solid form of delicious pumpkin oatmeal. They were quite convenient to grab on the way out the door as a quick snack; I definitely nibbled on a couple of these on the subway on the way to work. Yummy. Even though I only made half a recipe, I’ll post the full one for you guys. Here ya go:

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1/2 c. milk

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3 c. old fashioned oats

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 c. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and let sit. Grease or line a muffin tin and fill each muffin spot with the batter almost all the way to the top–since there’s no flour or anything, they won’t rise too much at all. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the centers are firm to the touch and the edges start to look a little browned. Let them cool for a bit before removing them from the muffin tin so they keep their shape!

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These did not take much effort to prepare, but the baking was a bit of a struggle. It took quite a while to get them to bake all the way through…initially I took them out of the oven after about 20 minutes thinking they were done and they were rather mushy. I took them out and put them back in probably 4-5 times; I probably had them baking for at least 35 minutes. They turned out fine eventually though! Patience was key.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Go outside and see some fall leaves, New Yorkers! They’re beautiful.

Love, Emily


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No-Knead White Bread

Hi friends,

I made bread! No-knead bread. So no knead for stress. No kneading. Ha. Ha ha. I am so not funny, I’m sorry. (That was for you, Armen.)

Anyways: I don’t think you understand how proud of I was of this lovely loaf. I’m a complete bread-making newbie. I have never in my entire life made my own bread before, and I was so excited to see this come out of the oven. Oh my goodness it was SO PRETTY and smelled SO GOOD and it was SO EASY. Sooooo easy. As in, foolproof, first-time-bread-making-success kind of easy.

I found this recipe here for what promised to be super easy, low maintenance bread and it was exactly that. I barely did anything! Basically all my friends thought it was hilarious that I made a loaf of bread. Most people that encountered it flat out refused to believe that I made it myself. I got a lot of “you did not make that loaf of bread” and “what kind of college student makes their own BREAD?” comments. Whatever, guys, it’s delicious and easy and super cheap. I’d recommend you do the same, in fact. Sheesh. What college student doesn’t love delicious, fresh bread (helloooo, toast is such a 20-something food staple, am I right) as well as bragging rights that you make your own? I’ll definitely make this a lot. Maaaybe weekly. Although this is ambitious, I’m kind of looking to replace buying bread; this is way better. And way cheaper. The only special thing you have to get is yeast which is less than a dollar for a few packets sooooo no excuses. I was a little stressed out by the fact that I don’t have a cast-iron pot (haaa I wish) but I used the big ceramic insert thing from the crock pot and it worked fabulously. I’m sure you could use a big pot with a lid as well, as long as it doesn’t have any plastic or anything on it that would melt. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. yeast

1 1/2 c. water

(Yes, that’s really, truly all you need. I  kid you not.)

In a large bowl (emphasis on large–it needs room to rise), mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Then add water and stir until the mixture is combined and doughy. Do this in the evening, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight (at least 12 hours) for the dough to rise. When you’re ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 450. Once the oven is hot, put your pot and lid in to preheat that as well for at least 30 minutes. While the pot is heating, dump the dough out of the bowl onto a heavily floured surface. Flour your hands (the dough is suuuper sticky, beware), shape the dough into a ball, and cover with the plastic wrap you used to cover the bowl until your half hour is up. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and drop the dough inside, covering and baking for 30 minutes. Take the lid off (again, carefully–450 degrees is hot) and bake for another 15 minutes. You may take this opportunity to get a good first look at your beautiful bread-to-be. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Don’t be stressed if it looks to you like it’s done at this point; I thought if I left it in for another 15 minutes it would burn but I bit my tongue and followed directions and it turned it great. See? I know nothing about baking bread and it still turned out great. After that final 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and put your amazing bread on a cooling rack.

Breathe in the incredible smell of freshly-baked bread, pat yourself on the back, and take some pictures of your masterpiece with your camera and its regrettably shattered lens. And then instagram it and add to your 32897 other food related instagrams, probably annoying the vast majority of your followers. Or at least, that’s what I did.

Love, Emily


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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Chers mes amis,

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See? I told you there would be more pumpkin goodies. And I’m SURE there will be more this entire week, seeing as we have the leftover pumpkin puree to have tons of fun with (heh heh heh BRING ON THE PUMPKIN). Oh and this post goes out to mah main gurl MARIANNE aka my only loyal blog-reader and my best fwiend. Thanks for loving me always, boo. ❤

So guys! I bought a cookie jar today! His name is Francois–he’s very French, as you can see. My roommates and I decided it was about time we have a cookie jar in the apartment; I can tell we are going to get along great. Francois has a lot to offer, really. Just look at how happy he is to offer us cookies! What a guy.

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Ugh okay also: I’m really irritated at how gross my pictures are lately. I am so, so sorry. It probably isn’t nearly as big of a deal as it seems to me at the moment, but I’m FREAKING OUT about how not nice-looking they are. Long story short, my camera got knocked off of a shelf, fell lens-first onto the ground, and the lens survived (thank GOD), but the UV lens filter shattered and got dented, so I can’t get it off. And clearly I haven’t had any time to take it in somewhere to get it looked at…so funky, blurry photos it is. Sorry ’bout it.

Alright, down to business. Pumpkin snickerdoodle business–the best kind of business there is. I adapted this recipe here (although I’m sure there’s an original somewhere, this one worked out just fine). These were lovely cookies. Very puffy and soft. I was super into them. The ooone thing is, they weren’t all that pumpkin-y! They had a nice pumpkin aftertaste kind of flavor, but other than that, they were mostly just a really good snickerdoodle. Which, seeing as I consume more pumpkin than the average person, was kind of okay with. If you want a PUMPKIN-Y pumpkin cookie, however, I would suggest the chocolate chip pumpkin bars I have in my Pumpkin Appreciation Post. Those are really just the best.

Cookie:

2 c. flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. dark brown sugar

A very heaping 1/4 c. pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Sugar coating:

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and set aside. Cream together the butter and the sugars with a spoon (or electric mixer, if you’re one of the lucky few with one of those…I’m a little bitter, it’s fine) until combined. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and stir together. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring constantly until all is combined. The next part is the hardest–cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about an hour (ooor as long as you can stand it; in my case, 47 minutes). I KNOW it’s tempting to skip this step, but it really helps the cookies stay thick and soft! I recommend sticking with it. Although I know it’s torturous. I know. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 during the time you’re waiting for your dough to chill! Once your hour is up, take the dough out and combine your sugar-spice coating mixture. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough in your hands until round, into the sugar mixture until covered, and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten them slightly with your hand so they don’t come out completely round–that would be silly. Bake them for 10-12 minutes (mine took exactly 11) and let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them elsewhere. Like your mouth, for example. Or your cookie jar.

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Saturday night well spent. My bed is calling. Sweet dreams, friends

Love, Emily


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Quinoa and Eggplant Stuffed Peppers

Hellooooo friends,

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Today, I was downtown and stumbled upon this AMAZING ethnic food specialty grocery store kinda thing. I spent probably 15 minutes just looking at all the awesome things before I even picked anything up; when I finally did, I ended up buying crystallized ginger, pine nuts, and peach preserves. Don’t ask me why, it just seemed right. I had been craving pine nuts lately, so I really really needed these. They turned out to be a wonderful addition to my stuffed peppers, so thank goodness for this chance bulk pine nut discovery.

Ohhhhhhh my goodness. I was so so happy with these. I got some red bell peppers from my co-op, as well as a bunch of funny-looking (but delicious!) mini eggplants and I figured combining them would be nice. Stuffed peppers are so fabulous. I enjoyed every bite of these. I didn’t want them to end. In fact, I ate all four halves; no shame. They were so delicious.

 ALRIGHT SO: I made this recipe for just me, so it was just enough filling to stuff inside 4 halves. If you want more, you could very easily double the recipe or whatnot.
2 red bell peppers, cut in half and de-seeded
1/3 c. quinoa
2/3 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. (ish) eggplant, diced (I used one medium sized “mini eggplant”)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. (ish) goat cheese for on top
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
First and foremost, preheat your oven to 350. Next, toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they’re nice and toasty. Make sure to keep moving them around so they’re evenly toasted! On a separate burner, cook your quinoa in the chicken stock. I did this so the quinoa was more flavorful, and I’m glad I did. If you don’t have chicken stock, you can always use water, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Bring the chicken stock and quinoa to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Once your pine nuts are done, set them aside and use that skillet to cook your eggplant. Heat the olive oil in the skillet and throw in the garlic. After about a minute, add your eggplant and cook until soft–about 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Once your eggplant and pine nuts are all ready, add them to the quinoa and mix together. Spoon the mixture evenly into the halved bell peppers and place on a baking sheet. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, then take them out and add your cheese. Sprinkle your goat cheese on top (I pushed mine in a little bit so I could get as much as possible in there without it falling off the sides), drizzle lightly with olive oil and place back in the oven without the foil for another 15 minutes. Cheese should be lightly toasty-looking and peppers should be crinkly and soft. Remove and enjoy!
I ate my peppers while sitting on the floor in my bedroom, watching Breaking Bad in the dark and I do not regret this one bit. It was a great end to a long weekend.
Happy Columbus Day! GO STUFF SOME PEPPERS RIGHT NOW, I insist.
Love, Emily


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Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Hi friends,

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I made soup! Nothing says fall quite like a warm bowl of soup. I absolutely love soup. I love the preparation, I love eating it, I love how it makes you all warm and cozy from the inside out. Ahhh. So, update on my food-related life recently:

I joined a veggie co-op! Once a week, I get 6-8 lbs. of seasonal fruits and veggies delivered to me. It’s super fun. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of leafy greens, some radishes and turnips, bok choy (lol what), sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and some varieties of peppers and things. It’s quite interesting cooking with things I would never even think of buying (i.e. bok choy); I get to try new things, expand my cooking horizons, and eat delicious organic produce everyday. So far, I’m a big fan.

As you probably guessed, the sweet potato and butternut squash soup idea came from the fact that I had an entire butternut squash and 3 potatoes waiting to be made into something delicious. It has cooled down quite a bit  and been rather drizzly over the last couple of days over here in New York, so in my mind, it is officially soup season. I will be making a lot of soup this fall, get excited.

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2 c. chicken stock

2 c. water

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the garlic, cooking it about a minute until it is lightly browned. Add the water, chicken stock, and all the diced squash and potatoes and let it heat throughout. Once it starts to simmer, turn it down to low, cover, and let it sit for about 45 minutes until all the veggies are nice and tender. Take your pot off the heat and use your immersion blender (don’t have an immersion blender? Get one! This is my baby and I love it) to puree the entire mixture until fully blended and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and there you have it! Beautiful fall soup!

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I was so proud of this soup. Not that it was really that complicated of a recipe it all, but I figured it out all by myself! Also I took on quite the challenge peeling and dicing all of those things…you guys should have seen my kitchen. It looked like a disaster zone. Or like squash and potatoes spontaneously combusted in my sink and the surrounding areas. It wasn’t pretty. Thank god none of my roommates were home, otherwise I definitely would have gotten some questioning looks. It’s clean now! That’s all that counts. Heh.

This soup is so comforting and delicious. And easy! I’ve seen packages at Trader Joe’s of pre-diced and peeled butternut squash–GET THAT and make this! It would be so easy and great; potatoes are nothing to peel/dice. It was the butternut squash that was the killer. I feel like that was mostly because of the fact that it was such an odd shape and our knives are not the best (in fact, they’re pretty much the worst), but it worked out. Also, if you’re a vegetarian, this soup can easily be made with vegetable stock instead of the chicken, or even just water. I added the chicken stock for some extra body and flavor, but it definitely could stand alone; the potatoes and butternut squash made it plenty creamy and thick.

Happy soup season, friends!

Love, Emily


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Pumpkin Appreciation Post

OKAY HI GUYS.

Hi. It’s been a while. My camera lens shattered–hence the weird blur thing I’ve got going on in the pictures, I’ve been a busy busy girl, etc. Anyways: IT’S FAAAALL, EVERYONE. I absolutely adore fall. I am such a southern California baby; any sort of weather change makes me SO EXCITED. Especially when it involves beautifully colored leaves! And big comfy sweaters! And boots, and tights, and thick socks, and tea, and apples, and crisp autumn air, and scarves, and pumpkin flavored things. I repeat. Pumpkin flavored things. What’s not to love? Come October, I search the city of New York high and low for the best pumpkin themed treats and products (FYI New Yorkers: Stand Burger on E 12th and University has FABULOUS pumpkin milkshakes, and the pumpkin scone that I’ve tried so far is definitely at Alice’s Tea Cup) and I’d say I’ve done a pretty good job with my findings.

By that, I mean that I have been going pumpkin crazy. Literally though. I think my roommates are starting to get a little annoyed by my compulsive need to purchase any product with the word “pumpkin” in it. For example, I have recently eaten/have recently made/currently have in my pantry or fridge:

-pumpkin spice coffee
-pumpkin spice rooibos tea
-pumpkin pancake mix
-pumpkin bread mix
-3 cans organic pumpkin puree
-pumpkin chocolate chunk bars–my favorite (recipe to follow)
-pumpkin spice simple syrup, for coffee! (recipe to follow)
-pumpkin spice oatmeal (recipe to follow)
-pumpkin pie smoothie (recipe to follow)

Now that I actually look at a list it does seem rather excessive…whatever. Sue me. I’m just a girl who loves pumpkin more than anything, that’s all.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bars:

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You’ll note that this picture was taken towards the end of the life of this batch of pumpkin bars…they go fast. I made this yesterday, so the fact that a 9×13″ pan of them are already in this state is saying something. Apologies for the terrible quality of the photo, the camera lens issue plus the state of the pumpkin bars when I actually got around to photographing them was not idea, but oh well. These pumpkin bars are my absolute favorite pumpkin dessert to make for my family when I go home in the fall/winter. They are much appreciated by my dad and brother especially. I really, strongly believe that you will love them just as much!

2 c. flour

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves (if you have it! I omitted)

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 c. sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. pumpkin puree

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chunks (or chips, but preferably chunks)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13″ pan and set it aside. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking soda, and salt) and set this aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fully combined, then add in the egg and vanilla it all together. Next, add the pumpkin puree to your butter and sugar mixture and mix well. This will look a little curdled and funky; you didn’t do anything wrong! It’ll all come together in the next step: gradually mix in the dry ingredients to the large bowl a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Once completely combined, dump that entire bag of chocolate into the batter, mix, and pour into your prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took the full 35, plus even a couple extra for the middle to set) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Voila! There ya go.

Prepare for these to be eaten very quickly; they’re pretty wonderful.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

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See that mason jar of gritty-looking, thick, brown liquid? Yep, that’s what you’re making! I understand it looks highly questionable, but let me tell you. It is delicious. I adapted this recipe from this one for a pumpkin spice latte, but since I do not have an espresso machine (I wish), I just pour it in my coffee and it does the trick just the same! It’s my own version of the obscenely expensive–but equally addicting–Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. It certainly does the trick!

1 c. water

3/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ginger

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring every once in a while. Do so for about 10-15 minutes; it should thicken a little but it will do most of the thickening once you take it off the stove. Once it has cooled enough, you can strain it if you’d like to get rid of some of the gritty situation caused by the spices that will inevitably settle to the bottom, but you don’t have to! I don’t mind the spices, nor do I have a strainer or cheesecloth on hand, so I just stuck it in a mason jar in the fridge and called it a day.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal:

Sorry guys, no picture! This was just done on a whim since I had extra pumpkin puree that I needed to use (as was the pumpkin pie smoothie). It’s a super simple recipe. You could probably figure this out for yourself, but here ya go anyways

1/4 c. cooked steel cut oats

2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger to taste

Mkay guys, all you have to do is mix this all together. Maybe add some dried cranberries or whatever else you like (I did that plus some walnuts, it was delicious).

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie:

Also no picture for this one. Apologies. This was DELICIOUS. I am absolutely in love with my banana smoothies, so this pumpkin version nearly killed me. In a good way. Death by pumpkin deliciousness.

1 frozen banana, broken up into pieces

1 scoop whey protein powder

2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

2 Tbsp. old fashioned oats

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste

1 c. milk

Ice (optional)

Blend this all together, and there ya go! The oats add a nice “pie crust” kind of taste; and honestly this is just all around delicious. I want one right now, but I don’t have an open can of pumpkin puree (blasphemy!). I can imagine blending some dark chocolate chips into it would make it a pretty fabulous healthy dessert…think about it…

For all of you who do not understand what the “big deal is” with all this pumpkin stuff: shame on you. Pumpkin is magical and wonderful in every way. It is the epitome of FALL FLAVOR. I will definitely be making more pumpkin things soon (pumpkin snickerdoodles have been on my radar recently, along with my eventual pumpkin apple crumb pie eventually for my Thanksgiving masterpiece), so pumpkin fans, stay tuned. It’s going to be a great fall for food.

Love, Emily