Tag Archives: Fall

Fresh Pumpkin Purée

So I know that buying pumpkin purée in a can at the store is convenient and all, but I truly believe that you can taste the difference between canned, store bought and fresh, homemade pumpkin pureé. And who doesn’t like knowing exactly what’s going into their food? Ok, 80% of America doesn’t…but I know I do. And you should too.

There is something magical about taking an entire pumpkin and turning it into a deliciously smooth pureé over a couple of hours. Use it to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin pie, or to spice up your oatmeal. If you can’t use all of it at once, freeze it in 2 c portions for use later. Once you make fresh pumpkin purée you’ll never go back to canned.

Fresh Pumpkin Purée

1 pumpkin (sugar, crooked neck,…really any kind of pumpkin)

1 tbs canola oil


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut up your pumpkin into chunks. Mine are always different sizes but if you are talented enough, then try to get the pieces similar in size. Remove all of the seeds and stringy bits (set aside the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds!). Drizzle oil on a cookie sheet, put the pumpkin pieces on the sheet, and flip them so that they are lightly covered in oil. Cover with a sheet of foil and place in the heated oven. Roast for about 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on the size of your pieces. The pumpkin is done when it is fork/knife tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool for about 5 minutes with the foil off then remove the skin from the meat. Using a potato masher or food processor, mash/blend the pumpkin until smooth.

Now, it’s ready to use in all kinds of delicious fall/winter dishes. Enjoy!


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Gorgeous pumpkins at Banducci Farms

Earlier this week my mom and I took my cousin and her 3 adorable little boys to the local pumpkin patch. I haven’t seen the boys since before I left for Chile to teach English in March and since they’re all so young I wanted to make sure that I could break the ice with them if they didn’t remember me (They didn’t…I’ve either been in Chile or Santa Barbara their whole lives). How can you ‘break the ice’ with 3-year-old twins and a 17 month old? Make snickerdoodles!  They instantly warmed up to me and I even got cinnamon-sugar filled hugs!

Check these tasty little guys out!

You better believe these disappeared in minutes

Snickerdoodles (slightly adapted from allrecipes)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
We want these cookies to be nice and puffy, so we need to cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. I used to think creaming the fat (let’s face it butter + shortening = fat) with sugar was a waste of time, but skipping this step is asking for flat cookies. Why? Because creaming incorporates air into batter and makes a perfectly puffy cookie. We like perfect puffy cookies.
Ok so after you do that creaming action, add the eggs and vanilla.
At this point, I put the hand mixer away and whip out the wooden spoon to mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt into the creamed butter-sugar-egg-vanilla mixture.  In a separate bowl or plastic bag, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Using a small cookie scoop, drop balls of dough into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and place the coated cookie dough balls on your cookie sheet (don’t forget the parchment paper!).
Bake for exactly 8 minutes and immediately transfer the parchment sheet over to a wire rack to cool.

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