Easy Pumpkin Bread

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I’ve made pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin coffee cake, 42-calorie pumpkin cookies, pumpkin lasagna and even pumpkin chili, but I’ve never made a simple loaf of good old fashioned pumpkin bread. And after a recent trip to the Pumpkin Patch where they were selling one loaf of pumpkin bread for OVER 7 DOLLARS, I thought, hey, no better time than now to make my own.

fluffy pumpkin bread

Because $7 dollars for a small loaf of bread? Ain’t nobody got time for that. We’re not in the movie Contagion, there is no need to have bread cost more than $3.

fluffy pumpkin bread2

The reason I haven’t made my own pumpkin quick bread is kind of shameful, actually. My husband and I love the Pillsbury pumpkin quick bread mix. Like, seriously love it. It’s so easy to make and tastes pretty amazing. Plus, at the end of the day after making 4+ recipes for work, sometimes I don’t want to cook for the two of us. Sometimes I just want to eat bread that I don’t have to measure and can be done in less than 20 minutes.

Best pumpkin bread

But as my slightly pudgy belly will tell you, prepackaged bread mixes are filled with things I don’t know and aren’t doing any favors for my already tight jeans. So in a continued effort to lose weight (6 pounds down, only 14 more to go!), I thought I’d make my own and lighten it up.

Best pumpkin bread8

This bread is so soft, so fluffy and so filled with rich pumpkin flavor, you won’t even know it’s got more than half the fat as regular bread (even my trusted Pillsbury recipe!) The best part, though, is that it’s just as easy as a box mix. So now I have absolutely no excuse to buy boxes of bread mix when I can just make this even better recipe at home.

As good as this bread is, I’d still never sell it for $7. Crazy rich Virginia people.

Easy Pumpkin Bread

Fluffy and delicious pumpkin bread

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 8 – 10. Inspired by Once Upon a Chef.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 65 – 70 minutes
Total time: 80 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a standard size loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the bread, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice together. In another bowl, beat the brown sugar, applesauce, butter and eggs, one at a time, until light, fluffy and fully mixed. Add the pumpkin puree and flour mixture, stir to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 65 – 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 5 – 10 minutes, then remove and completely cool on a wire cooling rack.
  4. Prepare the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Serve with butter or your favorite topping.

Nutritional information per slice:

Calories: 300 
Fat: 8.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 49.3 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 6.8 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 7

Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza

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Today’s recipe, my friends, is a very indulgent one. But it’s pouring rain, dark and dreary and oh so chilly here, so let’s just have a little pizza today, okay?

Amazing cheesy stuffed crust pizza

Not just regular pizza, this one has a stuffed crust. In my defense, though, the cheese stuffed in the crust is part-skim, so that counts, right? I actually originally made this for work but they decided against another pizza recipe (which is crazy to me, because one can never have enough pizza) so instead of letting a perfectly good recipe go to waste, I thought I’d share it with you. I mean, what kind of person would I be if I let a cheesy and delicious pizza recipe go to the trash? A bad person, that’s who.

super cheesy stuffed crust pizza

Plus, I’m kind of toying with the idea of changing things up around here. But that is something y’all already know, right? In addition to sharing a travel spotlight every week (starting tomorrow, Travel Thursday!) I’m thinking I might share a fun and indulgent recipe a few times a month too. Because sometimes, I eat stuffed crust pizza and I definitely don’t feel bad about it.

Amazing cheese pizza

This blogging world is hard, sometimes. You have so many people telling you to stick to one niche and never branch out. And then there are others who say blog whatever you want since it’s your online world. I’m constantly torn between sharing recipes that I love to make (which aren’t healthy at all) and ones that are lower fat, lower calorie and fit with my whole theme.

Best amazing pizza

But to be honest, I’m so different than I was when I started this blog. I’ve replaced my desire to get a masters in nutrition with one to attend culinary school abroad. I still eat healthfully most of the time and love making healthy foods delicious, but I also love baking with butter and stuffed my pizza crust with cheese.Sometimes I’m not sure what to do and where to go with this blog. So in the meantime, I’m just going to have a little fun and share every amazing recipe I make with you guys, even if it’s not skinny, healthy or low fat.

Because who wants to eat like that EVERY DAY? (Says the girl eating a spoonful of peanut butter for breakfast).

Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza

  Cheesy stuffed pizza

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves 8 – 10.
Prep time: 10 – 12 minutes
Cook time: 16 – 18 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the crust: 

  • 1 package of active dry yeast (0.25 ounce package)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of salt
  • 7 part skim mozzarella cheese sticks

For the toppings:

  • 1/2 cup your favorite pizza sauce
  • 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 16 – 20 slices of turkey pepperoni
  • Crushed red pepper

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, honey and warm water together. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until foamy. Add in the flour and olive oil and stir until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle the flour on a hard surface and knead with floured hands until soft and elastic, about 4 – 6 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll the dough out to 12 – 14 inches using a floured rolling pin. Grease a 12 inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with a bit of cornmeal.
  3. Place the cheese sticks around the inside edges of the crust, leaving a one-inch border on the outside. Carefully roll the dough over the cheese sticks and press tightly into the other dough to secure. You want the cheese sticks to be completely covered by dough and the edges pressed down tightly.
  4. Spread the pizza sauce over the center of the crust. Top with mozzarella cheese and crushed red pepper. Decorate with the turkey pepperoni.
  5. Bake for 14 – 18 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Nutritional information per slice:

Calories: 265.5
Fat: 12.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 24.4 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 16.2 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

One Skillet Sweet Potato Lasagna

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As a girl with a little bit of curve, finding jeans isn’t easy. Actually, it sucks. I’m stuck between two sizes right now (and one size is teetering on one I’d rather NEVER be), so different brands fit drastically different. So when I find a pair that fits me like a glove, I don’t just buy that pair in that color. I buy every single color I can possibly find in that exact fit and walk out. That might sound foolish, but when you find something that fits you so perfectly, you buy it in every color.

sweet potato lasagna

Duh.

creamy potato lasagna

Well, that’s exactly what this lasagna is to me, too. This skillet lasagna recipe is like those perfect jeans. Instead of trying 15 different recipes for other types of lasagna, I’m going to make this kind every way I can before it just stops working. Like those jeans. I’ll buy them in every color until they start coming in colors like periwinkle or neon pink. Then it’ll be time to move on to a new fit and a new brand.

the best skillet lasagna

For now, this lasagna still fits like a glove and I already have three different ways to make this before I think it’s time to retire it. For now, let’s revel in these “perfect fitting jeans” for a second.

one skillet lasagna

Sweet potato pasta is probably one of my all time favorite indulgences. I first saw the idea on my friend Julie’s blog and made it that night. Since that night, I’ve been making it monthly, with additions and changes of my own. Now, instead of regular pasta, I thought I’d add this luscious cream sauce to my favorite skillet lasagna recipe, with a few other meaty additions as well, like chorizo and tons of sage.

one skillet sweet potato lasagna

This may be my favorite version yet. The addition of the spice and chorizo balances the sweet, creamy earthiness of the sweet potato cream perfectly. But that’s not the best part of this recipe. You can make it for less than $20 and it’s all in one simple skillet. Which means less dish duty and more wine drinking. The low calories and fat doesn’t hurt either.

Hey, I gotta make sure those perfect jeans fit, right?

One Skillet Sweet Potato Lasagna

sweet potato pasta with walnuts

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 4 – 6. Sauce adapted from Table for Two.
Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the lasagna: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 links of chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 sheets of cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese

For the pasta sauce: 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. To make the cream sauce, mash the sweet potatoes to remove all lumps. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour to make a paste. Gradually add the milk and cream, whisking well to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the sage, salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  3. To make the skillet, heat the olive oil in another large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms, cooking until softened, about 4 more minutes. Mix in the chorizo and cook until browned, about 4 – 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and mix with the cream sauce. Save half of the sauce for later.
  4. Mix the ricotta, egg and parmesan cheese together.
  5. To make the lasagna, layer 3 – 4 lasagna noodles over the cream sauce/chorizo mixture in the pan. Top with half of the ricotta and parmesan mixture. Add remaining sweet potato sauce, remaining lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese. Top with remaining parmesan cheese, pepper, walnuts and fresh herbs.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 500
Fat: 31.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 39 grams
Fiber: 4.5 grams
Protein: 22.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 14

French Onion Beef Stew

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Woooh, it’s a little dusty in here. I might have even spotted a few tumbleweeds in the corner. And yep, there’s a few cobwebs over there too. I’m not going to make up any excuse as to why it’s been almost 3 weeks since I posted because I don’t have any.

beef stew

Simply put, life got crazy. As many of you know, I spent 10 days in Fiji, one day in LA and three days in Cleveland the first two weeks of October. That meant I had two weeks worth of work to get done before I even left on October 1st. That means each day I had 3 – 6 recipes due a day versus the manageable 2 – 3. That makes it hard to focus on blogging (or showering, eating normal meals, etc).

french onion beef stew

I want to say I’m sorry but I’m kind of not, to be honest. When I started this blog, I never wanted it to take over my real life. I never wanted this thing I loved to turn into something that left me stressed when I was on vacations or weekends (I have a full-time job for that!) I always wanted this blog to be my place of solitude, a small corner of the internet where I never had to worry about deadlines or traffic.

ingredients

And it’s remained that. Although I have no intentions of leaving you hanging for that long again (no more waffles, Tracy!), I can’t say it’ll never happen again. But I can make you promise, when I do come back I’ll have a ton of new recipes to make up for it.

crispy french onion beef stew2

Which is why you’re looking at an amazing little bowl of stew this morning! French onion soup is one thing I can never get enough of (ask my mother about the time we went to Paris and that’s all I ate). I also love beef stew. So one morning, I had the crazy idea to mate the two together to create one insanely delicious flavor packed stew that’s complete with a crispy, cheesy crouton on top.

best french onion beef stew

Holycow. You guys, this stew. I can’t believe I managed to keep it secret for three weeks because I’m already planning a remake this weekend. I hope this stew makes up for my absence, if not, don’t worry, I have plenty more recipes and stories that should :)

French Onion Beef Stew

best beef stew french onion

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 4.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 4 cups sliced onions
  • 6 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 medium red potatoes, sliced
  • 1 cups mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons italian seasoning
  • 4 slices of french bread
  • 4 slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1.  Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix in 4 cups of broth and 1 cup of beer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from direct heat after but keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, dredge the beef stew meat in flour and shake off excess. Heat olive oil in another pot over medium heat. Add the beef stew meat in batches and cook until browned on each side, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set in another bowl.
  3. Add beef to the same pot and stir in the remaining 2 cups of broth. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and then reduce to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or mixture is thickened.
  4. Gradually mix in the onion and beer/broth mixture, mixing well. Stir in the carrots, celery, potatoes, mushrooms and italian seasoning. Cover the mixture and simmer for another 30 – 45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  5. Preheat broiler. Fit a slice of bread over four ramekins or bowls. Add a slice of cheese to the tops of the bread. Broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. Serve warm.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 675
Fat: 24 grams
Carbohydrates: 44.5 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 32 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 14

Apple & Cranberry Whole Grain Granola Waffles

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These luscious apple & cranberry whole grain granola waffles are the perfect fall breakfast and brunch treats!

fluffy waffles with apples

I am a walking cliche when it comes to fall.

pumpkinspiceecard

My house is already decked out with my fall decor, including cute mini plush pumpkins, gold and pine cone accents, fresh fall flowers in every vase and a homemade burlap wreath adorned on the door. My cozy sweaters have already replaced the maxi dresses in my closet, I wear boots with  just about everything now and I’m gearing up to dye my hair a vibrant shade of red. Whether my husband likes it or not, I’ve already scheduled our weekends until the end of November with pumpkin patch outings, apple picking, haunted houses and fall getaways to rustic cabins.

apple waffles7

And I have absolutely NO shame in admitting that. Nor do I have shame for replacing my favorite summer recipes with hearty, apple and pumpkin filled masterpieces like this apple granola whole grain waffles.

Fluffy apple waffles

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss those plump tomatoes and fresh zucchinis. But boy am I ready to bake all the things with pumpkins, apples and squash. I know that’s so cliche because apparently loving fall is like the “new” thing for girls in my age range, but I’ve loved fall before it was the thing to do. I grew up craving the crunch of leaves under my boots. I’d dance around outside in piles of leaves with my sweaters pulled over my fingers as my mom made chunky stews and my dad raked. Fall was my time. It was the one time I truly felt excited, nostalgic and me. I looked forward to fall the way most kids looked forward to Christmas and summer vacation.

waffle toppings

So yes, I may be cliche, but it’s how I’ve always been. So call it whatever you like, but I’m going to continue to wear my yoga pants, drinking my PSLS and going to every single pumpkin patch in the Virginia, Maryland and DC region.

Apple & Cranberry Whole Grain Granola Waffles

amazing waffles9

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 6. Inspired and adapted from All Recipes.
Prep time: 5 – 8 minutes
Cook time: 4 – 6 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons apple butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 2/3 cup chopped apple
  • 6 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • About 1/4 cup apple blueberry granola (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your waffle maker to medium and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, apple butter, applesauce, vanilla extract and honey until fully mixed. In another bowl, whisk the flour, ground flax seed meal, almond meal, baking powder and apple pie spice together.
  3. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until fully combined. Mix in the apple and cranberries.
  4. Pour batter (about 1/2 cup at a time) into the waffle maker and cook until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Serve each waffle with granola and maple syrup!

Nutritional information per serving (1 waffle):

Calories: 300
Fat: 7.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 47 grams
Fiber: 4.5 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

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