Falling into Fall (for the last time) with Cruciferous Vegetables

Today’s post is the last one for the Falling into Fall segment. I chose something a bit different this time. Cruciferous Vegetables are everything earthy, leafy, root-like, and many of them are considered to be super veggies. I know a lot of you tend to shy away from them because most tend to have a strong flavor or seem to be difficult to cook but with some roasting or sauteing they can become your family’s favorite.

So what are the Cruciferous Vegetables? I’ll name some of the more common: Broccoli•Cauliflower•Brussels Sprouts•Kale•cabbage•Bok Choy•Arugula•Collard Greens•Daikon•Horseradish •Kohlrabi•Rutabaga•Watercress•Squash•lotus root…. The list can go and on.
Not only do all these vegetables taste great but they are high in Vitamin C, K, A, packed with fiber and phtyochemicals.

Need a few cooking ideas? Simply take a squash, cut it in half, scoop the seeds out and then bake the squash in the oven until tender. It generally takes 45 minutes to an hour for a squash to cook. You can microwave it for about 10 – 15 minutes but you won’t get that roasted flavor. To serve, sprinkle with your favorite herbs and a dash of salt and pepper.

Another simple idea is to turn a head of cauliflower into what your kids will think are mashed potatoes. Wash and then dice the cauliflower into small pieces. Bake or microwave until soft. In a large bowl smash the cauliflower, adding a bit of milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Blend with a hand mixer and serve immediately. Garnish with your favorite fresh herbs.

Enjoy your VEGGIES!!!

Combine colorful combinations to entice little ones into trying new vegetables
Combine colorful combinations to entice little ones into trying new vegetables

Falling Into Fall…with the 3 P’s

OK, so my three P’s are all pumpkin. I know, I’ve posted a lot of pumpkin and/or squash items but I just can’t get enough. I swear this is the last one; or at least until Thanksgiving. I want to share three of my favorites: Spicy Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and my all time favorite Pumpkin Coffee Cake. This coffee cake is huge. It’s baked in a 10 inch spring form pan. You can substitute the canned pumpkin with fresh or with any other sweet squash. Acorn and Butternut Squash make wonderful substitutes.

So what is you favorite food obsession of the Fall? Besides pumpkin, I’d have to say I have a deep attachment to Fall spices. You know, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and everything in that category. Add extra whenever it’s called for and I’m in heaven.

I’ve posted the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Don’t be afraid to use white chocolate instead or to add in nuts as well. Anything goes when using pumpkin and spices!

Add Extra Spice for even for zip
Add Extra Spice for even more zip

Pumpkin Coffee Cake for  a Crowd
Pumpkin Coffee Cake for a Crowd

pumpkin chocolate chip2

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2-3/4 cups white sugar (I use less sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 cups semisweet or extra dark chocolate chips or white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks. The cookies may be stored up to one week when sealed tightly. Cookies may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Falling Into Fall With ICE CREAM (no machine needed)

Oh yeah, ice cream! I know for some of you it may not be ice cream weather but honestly I used to be an ice cream addict. I’ve learned to curb the addiction but every so often I love a cone or cup of a ice cold creamy concoction. Whatever your favorite flavor is, please give my Kabocha Ice Cream a try. It really is good and if you add some nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, or other spices, you can really taste the “fall” in it
I’ve also included a photo of my Avocado Ice Cream as well. It is good too and gives you a healthy dose of good fat. It’s creamy and very smooth tasting. I always top my own with raspberry puree.

Perfect for a Fall treat
Perfect for a Fall treat

Not just for Fall
Not just for Fall

Kabocha Ice Cream
250 grams Kabocha (cooked and pureed)
1 tbsp brown sugar or as needed
1/4 cup milk
5 tbsp condensed milk
Spices, add a tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or any other spice you like

Cook the kabocha and then mash it. Mix in the brown sugar, milk and condensed milk. Using an immersion blender or blender mix everything together until smooth. Pour into a shallow freezer safe bowl.
Place in freezer for several hours or overnight. Serve in small bowls topped with maple syrup, mint sprigs or a dash of cinnamon

*For Avocado Ice Cream. Substitute 2 – 3 large Haas Avocados. Use only 3 tbsp condensed milk and add 1 – 2 tsp lemon juice.

Falling into Fall with Cinnamon Bread

Welcome to October! I know some of you are already into the Fall mode. It’s getting cooler, leaves are falling and you awaken to crisp cool mornings. On the flip side for many of us, it is still in the 80’s and we are trying to still get some beach time in. Whatever the weather, bread is still a wonderful way to get you into the Fall mood.
Cinnamon Bread is wonderful way to make your house smell wonderful and the heat of the oven takes that chill out of the house. Plus warm Cinnamon Bread smothered with maple or honey butter is absolutely divine. Just a reminder you can add other spices besides cinnamon. Cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, etc make a wonderful addition. I’ve also made a squash puree, combined it with some warm spices, spread the puree on the dough, rolled tightly and then baked as normal. Not only does it look great but it gives the bread another layer of flavor. Feel free to add or take away what you please but on your next cool morning, bake some bread.

Serve warm with maple or honey butter
Serve warm with maple or honey butter

Cinnamon Bread

1 cup milk
6 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar (or as needed)
2 tbsp cinnamon and or other spices (or as needed)
Egg And milk, mixed together for brushing
Softened butter, for smearing and greasing

Melt butter with milk. Heat to 40 °c (104°f). Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and salt. In a large bowl, mix sugar and eggs until well combined. Pour in yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.
Knead dough on a lightly floured work space for ten minutes or until smooth and elastic. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour or as needed and continue to knead.
Warm a glass mixing bowl. Drizzle in a little canola oil, toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled.
Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle evenly over the butter smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough towards you, keeping it tight. Pinch seam to seal.
Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven. Remove from the pan and let bread cool slightly. Slice and serve