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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

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Watermelon Slush

Meow,

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Apparently, August 3rd was National Watermelon Day. To be quite honest I’ve been celebrating for weeks. And by that, I mean I average approximately 1/4 watermelon per day, all by my onesies. I wish I was kidding; I am not. I used that day as an excuse to eat half of a watermelon by myself…I eat a lot of watermelon, okay? It’s just such a happy, summer fruit. And it’s pretty.

This is literally the perfect summer drink. Only two ingredients (ice and watermelon…shocker), it’s beautiful, and it’s delicious. And easy! Next time you’re reading a book outside or whatever you do when you have free time during the summer to enjoy the sunshine, make one! It’ll be worth it.

1/4 watermelon, cubed

ice

Blend the watermelon and strain out the pulp and seeds. Blend with ice until it’s the perfect slushy consistency, and drink! (I garnished with basil just to make it look pretty.) It’s as easy as that.

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LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL THAT IS. I can hardly stand it. Ugh.

Love, Emily


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Ice Blended Coffee

Hey hey,

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So I really like coffee. Being a part-time New Yorker (in training), I do a lot of Starbucks-hopping and there are few things I love more than finding a cute little cafe with delicious pastries and usually exorbitantly overpriced cappuccinos. Being a foodie in NYC is so hard. I would venture to say the large majority of the money I spend on a regular basis is on food, which I’m perfectly okay with. Back to the coffee for a moment: I’ve found that I drink a lot less coffee in the summer. It just isn’t really part of my summer routine I guess. Regardless, I still love it! And what’s better than a cool, refreshing coffee drink when it’s hot out? Preferably one that is not as grossly unhealthy for you as the Starbucks ones. How they pack that many calories into those frappuccinos astounds me. As exceptionally delicious as they are, I’d rather have one of these (and be able to eat for the rest of the week), thank yooou.

Mkay I know this doesn’t really count as a recipe, but I wanted to share anyways. It was yummy and easy (my favorite thiiiings):

12 oz brewed coffee

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. sugar

1/2 c. milk

Brew your coffee however you so choose (I used my french press), pour it into a shallow container and stick it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen (at least 4 hours) break it up into blendable sized pieces. This was not glamorous, ladies and gentlemen. I had my frozen coffee in a shallow, rectangular tupperware and I was literally standing there stabbing it with a butter knife until it broke up into smaller pieces. Blend all the ingredients together and there ya go. This will probably make about 2 servings (or one, if you like a ton of coffee) so share, half the recipe, or save some for later!

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Welcome to my lazy, summer life. La di da

Love, Emily


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Banana Protein Smoothies (edit)

Hello there loves,

I probably got my love of smoothies from my dad. Every single day he makes one, sits outside to drink it, and puts the cup down for my dog Oliver to lick when he’s done. My dad has always put the oddest things in smoothies; from flax seed to raw eggs to other strange things, there are always some questionable ingredients involved. I usually keep my distance from these things and make my own smoothies (with a little bit of my dad’s influence of course) involving slightly more normal ingredients. Smoothies are so great. They’re meals you can drink or eat with a spoon! What’s better than that?

3/4 banana

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 scoop whey protein (I used vanilla)

1 c. milk

A bit of ice (optional)

Throw all these things in a blender and blend until smooth! Yummy.

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Edit: Another recipe I use a lot for my breakfast/lunch smoothies (depending on when I wake up…heh heh) is my Green Banana Smoothie. And I do not mean “green banana” as in, underripe and literally green. I mean banana plus spinach! It makes the smoothie this lovely light green color–which happens to be my favorite–and it doesn’t even taste remotely “green”.

3/4 banana

1/4 c. or “small handful” of raw walnuts

1 scoop of vanilla whey protein

1-2 handfuls of fresh spinach (however much/little you want! It blends down to practically nothing)

1 c. milk

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

A bit of ice (again, optional)

Isn’t it pretty? The cinnamon and walnuts add a nice banana-bread-esque kind of taste, plus the nuts help keep your tummy full and happy. I do really love this smoothie.

I always keep some frozen bananas in my freezer so I can make these smoothies whenever. It makes them creamier and you don’t have to use too much ice (or any, if you don’t want to). I peel each banana and break it into 4 pieces, then stick them in a ziplock bag for my eventual smoothie-making. This way, they don’t get too ripe. I find that 1 whole banana is a liiittle bit too much in my opinion, which is why I usually use about 3/4 of one. And if you freeze some bananas, you can break 3 of them into fourths and you have a perfect amount for 4 smoothies (woooooo).

I saw a recipe online somewhere for a similar peanut butter banana protein smoothie, but it had TOFU in it. I kid you not. Tofu. First of all, tofu is creepy enough when it’s not blended into a smoothie. It’s white and squishy and has a texture reminiscent of porous jello (except it’s WARM ehhhhhhh). Second of all, soy protein is not even good for you. So if you’re really wanting some protein in your smoothie, stick to the whey protein instead, it’s yummy and not white and cubic…ewwy. This smoothie is better, I promise.

Happy weekend, guys! Have a smoothie to celebrate.

Love, Emily