Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Shake

The past month has been an absolute whirl wind.  I need to thank EVERYONE who helped Chris and myself with all of the wedding planning, creative ideas, keeping me sane, and for making the trip to Wisconsin to help us celebrate. We had such an amazing time! We were in Wisconsin a week before our wedding and then we honeymooned in Hawaii for almost two weeks and when we finally returned home to Denver, it was FALL! I absolutely love it. The beautiful trees and crisp weather is making my return to reality a little more tolerable.

I was maybe a little too relaxed on our honeymoon, so now, I am trying to eat smarter and I was looking for a healthy post- workout protein shake recipe that didn't involve spinach. I had "pinned" this awhile ago thinking it would come in handy and I love it.  Not only does it involve our obvious favorite, pumpkin, but it was honestly so good that I wanted more (and I normally don't say that about protein shakes.) All you have to do is blend and enjoy, such a great way to start the day!!


1 cup skim milk (or almond milk)
1/2 - 1 frozen banana
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 pinch ginger
1 scoop vanilla protein powder **

** I have protein powders that I am partial to.  Being a woman, I try to find protein powders that are meant to build lean muscle: high in protein, low in carbohydrates and lower calories.

Isagenix - the IsaLean Shake (recommended by my trainer) which I really like. It tastes great mixed with water in shakes like the one listed above.   I also use whatever Chris has around the house. Currently he has Syntha-6, which again is high in protein, low in calories and in carbohydrates.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

whole grain pumpkin-banana bread

Yep, another pumpkin recipe.  I can't stop and I feel like my skin might have an orange tint to it.  This bread turned out moist and the pumpkin & banana combo has the perfect amount of sweetness.  My girls loved it and  the fact that I used whole wheat flour made me feel good about letting them have it for their afternoon treat.  

Whole Grain Pumpkin-Banana Bread 
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 cup puréed pumpkin
2 mashed bananas, the riper the better
2 tablespoons orange juice or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped  nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, honey, eggs, pumpkin, banana, orange juice or water. and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and pumpkin spice, stirring to combine.  Mix in the dried cranberries and nuts, if you're using them.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.  Bake the bread for 55 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean; and that same tester inserted about 1/2" into the top of the loaf doesn't encounter any totally unbaked batter.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. When it's completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every fall is the same.  We start spending more time indoors and I begin to notice all of the mini house projects that we have been putting off during the fun summer months... My closets should be cleaned out, the basement needs to be organized, our baseboards need a good scrubbing/painting, and let's not even get into the ridiculous leaf situation going on in our backyard.  Despite my mountain of a "to-do" list, all I want to do (during the girls' nap time)  is drink tea and bake, which is exactly what I have been doing.

Still on my pumpkin kick, I made these cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction and they were delicious. I am a sucker for the pumpkin/chocolate combo, and if you haven't tried it, this is the perfect way to jump start your addiction. 

Notes: I doubled the amount of chocolate chips and I used 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg, cloves and allspice. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies  - Sally's Baking Addiction

makes 12-16 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Roll the dough into balls, about 2 Tablespoons of dough each. Slightly flatten the dough balls because the cookies will only slightly spread in the oven. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Keeping them in the oven for longer may dry them out. Remove from the oven and press a few more chocolate chips onto the tops, if desired. If you find that your cookies didn't spread much at all, flatten them out when you take them out of the oven.

Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack. The longer the cookies cool, the chewier they will be. I let them sit out for at least 1 hour before enjoying. I find that their chewiness and pumpkin flavor is more prominent on day 2. Cookies stay soft, moist, and chewy stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Freezing directions: Roll the chilled dough into balls and freeze in a large ziplock bag for up to 2 months. Baked cookies may also be frozen up to 2 months.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies

Some how my girls are sleeping though 5 guys tearing
our roof off (obviously my girls are amazing).  These guys are sawing, pounding, stomping and blasting loud music.  

I can barely think straight with all of the noise, so instead of thinking I am eating.  I made these super easy caramel apple krispies and they taste deliciously like fall.  I had all intentions of sharing them with the roofers, but the supply is getting dangerously low.  If the girls continue to sleep, I'll make a second batch for them.  

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz. bag of marshmallows
1 1/2 cups caramel apple cake mix (I used pillsbury's seasonal mix)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Rice Krispies
15 soft caramels unwrapped and roughly chopped

Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan with butter or non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a microwaveable safe bowl, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring occasionally.
Once marshmallows are melted and mixture is creamy, stir in cake mix and vanilla. Gradually stir in Rice Krispies until combined. Add caramels and stir. Pour mixture in prepared pan. Set aside until cool and cut into squares.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pumpkin Place Cards

Congrats Mrs. Lucas!!

Bridget was a stunning bride last weekend and the wedding went off without a hitch.
The new bride will have to post about her gold painted vases, table numbers and all of the other DIY wedding projects, but I wanted to show off these cute place cards so you could try making them for your fall family gatherings.

What you will need:
mini pumpkins
hot glue gun & glue

Write or print guest names on whatever you are using for the place cards.  Bridget purchased these from paper source and then using double sided tape, affixed a different colored backing card.

Start by using a larger and stronger pin to make a hole through the stem at a 45 degree angle.  Make a hole with the same pin through the bottom of the place card as well.  Then using a hot glue gun, place a few drops of glue on the back of the place card and then stick the card to the pumpkin stem and secure with a smaller pin. We actually ended up sticking the back of the pin into the pumpkin (so secured it at an angle).  The place cards didn't move even after transport!  Happy Fall!!