Tag Archives: autumn

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin!

Though Autumn has probably been upon most of the United States for the last month, it has only just arrived here in Sunny Florida. In most states you may know Fall has fallen when the air is crisp and the leaves are falling. In Tampa, we know it is Fall when the Pumpkin Spice Latte shows up at Starbucks :). It has been nice and cool this last week though, and I have been thoroughly enjoying stepping on crunchy acorns as I walk up to my front door. Why is it that the feeling of a dried acorn crunched under foot is so satisfying?

As an homage to what is possibly my favourite season of all (but mostly because it is the titillating time that leads up to Christmas, and the suspense is absolutely divine!) I am dedicating this entire post to PUMPKIN! As you know I am a huge fan of butternut squash in the roasted form, but I have never roasted a Pumpkin (I cheat and buy the canned stuff). This year I am entirely committed to roasting and eating a real live pumpkin. Here are some amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try! Click the images for recipes.

First up is Pumpkin Soup. This will no doubt be my first Pumpkin foray this year.

Here is a lovely traditional soup. I love the idea of serving the soup in Jack-b-littles. I feel warm and cozy just looking at the picture!

Of course I’ve had traditional pumpkin soup before, but when I saw this recipe for THAI pumpkin soup I was super excited and intrigued! What a clever idea to blend the smooth creamy texture of pumpkin with the exciting and spicy flavours of Thai cuisine. I definitely cannot wait to try this recipe.

Who doesn’t like a good fritter? Its fried, its crispy, and in this recipe its Pumpkin! Yum! These adorable little fritters would be a great appetizer for thanksgiving day.

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Speaking of thanksgiving day, here are some other great ideas for appetizers. These Pumpkin pillows are not only darling, they are light and sweet. With a crisp pastry outside and a caramel cream cheese pumpkin inside, they are sure to delight your guests.

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Apparently in the movie Harry Potter there is a food called Pumpkin Pasties. I’m not sure of the significance in the film but I’m sure that I LOVE pasties. Pasties are a staple in England and I grew to love them during my time in East Anglia. The Baker’s Oven made this amazing cheese and onion pasty that always made me feel warm inside. This version of the pasty is like a little pumpkin hand pie. Yum!

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I really shouldn’t write when I’m hungry because I want to stop right now and make this Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe! These pictures are just lovely, and the recipe looks delicious! Can you imagine this with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce? I’m in heaven.

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While we’re on the topic of pasta, check out this recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli. What is is about sage and pumpkin that just feels so right? This recipe is simple. Pumpkin, fresh herbs, cream… All together now… MMMmmmm.

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I feel really dumb for never thinking of this idea. Bake two bundt cakes and stack one upside down on top of the other to make a really cute pumpkin shaped cake! How adorable is this? Even better, make a spiced pumpkin cake with a maple glaze over the top.

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Or if you’re not the bundting type, here is a lovely recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. Oooh these look so good.

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What goes better with Pumpkin Cupcakes than Pumpkin Spiced Latte? Who needs to spend $5 for Starbucks when you can make it at home? Here is a recipe for making that delicious fall drink right in your own kitchen. Here’s to saving money for Christmas presents!

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Crockpot Beef Stew with Pumpkin Beer

Well in Florida the weather is still balmy and warm, but the odd breeze gives me hope that Fall will be falling on us in the coming weeks (okay maybe months).

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of crockpot recipes on Pinterest and I figured it was time for me to invest in one of my own. I had one awhile ago but it was broken during a move and I never replaced it. I saw this really cute damask pattern crockpot at Target for only $25 so I picked it up along with some beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, celery and mushrooms.

Here’s a super easy recipe for a hearty fall stew.

What you need:

  • 1 lb stew beef cubed
  • 4-5 small/medium potatoes (or 3 large ones), cut into medium cubes
  • Half of a red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of baby carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1-2 cups chopped celery
  • 1-2 cups whole baby mushrooms
  • 2-3 teaspoons of thyme
  • 2-3 teaspoons of tarragon
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1 beer, ale or dark beers are best

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the crockpot, turn it on high. Mine takes a good half hour to heat up, so you may want to start this before you even chop the veggies.

Chop all your veggies. No need for precision here. This is a rustic stew, so make them as large or as small as you want. I try to make all the pieces uniform in size, about 2/3 of an inch.

Next, toss all the veggies plus the whole mushrooms (you can cut them too if you want but I like them whole) and the beef into a large bowl. Add the herbs, salt & pepper, and garlic and toss so everything gets coated. Then pour everything into the crockpot. (If you have a larger crockpot you could do this inside the pot but mine isn’t large enough to toss everything, so I find it easier to do this step in a large bowl.)

If you like my thyme spice bottle, here’s how I made my spice bottle collection.

 

Pour one entire beer over everything. I used Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat because that’s what was in my fridge, but normally I’ll use a darker beer like guinness or Newcastle. You can use whatever you want. I recommend a more deeply flavoured beer to compliment the beef, something like Corona or Budlight wouldn’t really give you the nice round flavour that you’re looking for. Any kind of autumn ale would go nicely in this stew. Fill the empty bottle to the top with water and pour that into the pot too.

 

Sometimes the beer can give a slightly bitter taste to the stew. If you don’t prefer that flavour you can add about 2 Tbsp of sugar and stir it in. This will cut the bitterness and I promise it won’t make the stew sweet. Put the lid on, and forget about it for the next 6-7 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like a nice thick stew. If you do too, you can make what is called a slurry to thicken it up. When you’ve got about an hour left, ladle out about a cup of the beef stock from the pot into a small bowl. Add 2-3 Tbsp of flour to your hot stock and whisk until it is completely incorporated and there are no lumps of flour. It may help to sprinkle the flour in a little at a time to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Pour the slurry back into the pot and give it a good stir.

 

 

Let the stew cook for about another hour to cook out the flour, and then you are ready to serve! This stew is delicious with some nice buttery biscuits. Enjoy!