Pumpkin Puree

While out on our weekly shopping trip at Trader Joe's two weeks ago my son noticed the pumpkins they had everywhere and begged me to get one. So I, being the nice mommy I am, said of course! I threw in a pie pumpkin and let him hold it all the way from shopping to check out to the car. He had to place it on the seat when it came time to get his stickers but happily held it all the way home enjoying the "heby" pumpkin.

When we went to Trader Joe's the next week he insisted we buy another one. So of course I obliged and told him that we'd have to bake them up soon so we could make things with the pumpkin. He said "I hep" and I said of course. So I had to let him help me roast these up and puree them. And I'll also let him help when I start baking and cooking with the puree!

This is the exact same thing I did when I pureed pumpkin for him last year when he was eating purees and he LOVED it. You may want to strain it a bit more to get a smoother texture if your feeding it to a younger baby but the consistency of this puree was pretty smooth. 


Source: Ruth Yaron's Super Baby Food

Pumpkin Puree

  • 2 sugar or pie pumpkins
  • Lemon juice
  • Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut both top and bottom of pumpkins off. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds and stringy guts. Place seeds aside if you want to bake them up for a healthy, yummy snack for later (or to use as a topping on many pumpkin goodies).

Place cut and cleaned pumpkins in a baking dish with the skin side down. Sprinkle the pumpkin flesh with a little lemon juice (or butter if you prefer). Bake for 30-45 minutes or until flesh is soft and a little golden brown on the tops (very little). I baked mine for 35 minutes.

Set aside and let cool. Once cool to the touch remove skin from flesh with either a peeler or a pairing knife. I find it easier to use a pairing knife. The cooked pumpkin's skin should come off easily. Dice flesh up into cubes.

Place cubed pumpkin into a food processor and pulse until smooth. You may have to add a little water to get things going. I added about 1/4-1/2 a cup depending on the batch and how many cubes were in the processor at once.

Once the pumpkin is very smooth place it in a mesh strainer over a bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes to an hour to remove excess water from the puree. Once this is done the puree is ready to use! You can use it to make pies, muffins, and other sweet or savory dishes.

My little helper making sure he was a part of the whole process...

Seeds of Love

After we gutted (or shall I say I gutted) our pie pumpkins we discarded the stringy mess and saved the yummy seeds. I knew this would be a great snack for me to munch on as we made our way to Halloween. You know, so I'd stay out of the candy :)

The seeds were yummy and just a little salt went a long way! I'm hoping to use some to top pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread if I get the chance to make it.

Source: Ruth Yaron's Super Baby Food

Pumpkin Seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried off
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325. Lay out pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an un-greased rimmed cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.

Make sure you watch you little one or else they may try to come up and steal some while you aren't looking :) I caught my little guy doing exactly that...

Pumpkin at its Best

I'm always in search of fun changes to my go to pumpkin muffin recipe. I just knew that this one would be a hit since it came from the Smitten Kitchen. I've loved most everything I've made from her website. Super delicious!

So I started in on making these and for some reason had it in my head that the recipe called for 4 eggs. Nope... just two! I wondered why I had so much batter and why it was thinner than most pumpkin batters I've worked with in the past. I already had the cupcakes in the oven before reading over the ingredients again and realizing my mistake. Oh well!

With just an hour of time left to finish and frost the cupcakes I had no choice but to suck it up and hope that they were good. I was lucky and had a few taste testers on hand to test out the cupcakes before I took them to the party I was going to. My BILs, SIL and nephew all loved them so I thought they were good enough to take. And boy was I right! These were delicious! And even better when left in the fridge overnight and eaten for breakfast the next morning with a hot cup of coffee ;)

Source: Smitten Kitchen (with a few adaptations)

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans (unless using liners)
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs (I accidentally added 2 more!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

  • Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (I added)

 Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy but firm. Frost the cupcakes using either a spatula or a pastry bag w/ a large tip. Refrigerate the cupcakes for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

Root Beer Alternatives

Joseph had a mini keg of Virgil's rootbeer left over from our son's 1st birthday party and he wanted it to get used up before it went bad. So he requested some pork. Last time I made pork with root beer I made pulled pork sandwiches so this time I wanted to do something a little differently.

I also made a yummy side of veggies and potatoes by boiling the potatoes and than sauteing them with olive oil, butter, green beans, baby carrots, rosemary and salt and pepper. YUM! Everything pulled together nicely. Sadly we started eating quickly after I made the food so I wasn't able to get a pretty shot of the sauce on top of the meat. It was tender and juicy... pure perfection!

Source: The Feast Within

Rootbeer Braised Pork Tenderloin

* 1 pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
* 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic (I used chopped garlic)
* 2 Tablespoons olive oil for marinating plus a little extra for searing the tenderloin
* 1 12ounce bottle of Virgil’s Rootbeer
* 1 white onion chopped (I used 2 small shallots)
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 2 Tablespoons Port Balsamic Vinegar

Remove the silver-skin from the tenderloin. Place in a shallow pan or a Ziploc bag and rub with the olive oil and garlic. Let marinate in the fridge for an hour or so. Remove from the fridge and let warm up a bit while you prepare the rootbeer sauce. Place the rootbeer and the onion in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until reduced by half.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan and then try to remove any garlic clinging to the tenderloin so it doesn’t burn and sear the tenderloin on all sides. Brush a little rootbeer from the sauce pan on the tenderloin and cover and place in a preheated 300 degrees oven for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile add the mustard and vinegar to the reduced rootbeer onion mixture.

After the 10 minutes remove the skillet from the oven and add the rootbeer to the pan, replace the cover and return to the oven for about 25 minutes or until the interior temperature of the pork tenderloin reaches about 155 degrees. It will reach the safe temperature of 160 degrees while it rests.

Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Slice into medallions and serve with the sauce from the pan.


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