I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.
I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients
Marin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.
Finding Butternut Squash puree in the freezer section at the grocery store last week was like finding gold. I don’t know why I never knew about it but, boy am I happy I found it
In our house butternut squash might be one of the most adored veggies. We love it in ravioli, pasta, soups, and alone as a side dish. One of our favorite comfort foods is risotto and I am always looking for ways to make it as healthy as possible so when I found the butternut squash puree in the freezer section, I knew exactly what to do with it.
We always experiment with a lot of pumpkin recipes every fall. The hands-down favorite of all our pumpkin creations has to be these pumpkin waffles. With a subtle spice flavor, they're moist on the inside with a crisp exterior, just like a waffle should be.
Serve them for breakfast with butter and maple syrup, or even for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream. They're a great fall treat that's so good we'll probably start making these year-round, since canned pumpkin is easy to come by!
They're easy to make, too, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.
In many families—ours included—it can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy. While our kids aren't particularly picky eaters, they do gravitate toward the kid staples like mac-and-cheese and pizza, but that all changes if we get them involved in the kitchen to try new things. That's also the premise behind the new book The 52 New Foods Challenge (336 pages, Avery, 2014; $20) by local San Francisco Bay Area author Jennifer Tyler Lee.
In this welcome addition to any parent's kitchen library, Lee offers a guide to getting kids to eat fresh, healthy, seasonal food by experiencing cooking adventures like exploring the farmers' market, growing food in the backyard, and of course making fun, delicious recipes together. This week-by-week guide features over 150 recipes and activities designed to inspire your kids' creativity and build confidence in the kitchen.
My daughter wanted to make something for dinner with pumpkin in it, it being that time of year and all, and I suggested pumpkin soup. She countered with the idea of serving the soup in little scooped out pumpkins instead of bowls, and we both decided it was a great idea!
The soup turned out better than I imagined, and using the pumpkins as bowls is fun and easy, if a bit labor intensive. This soup is really simple, so make sure you use high-quality ingredients so that all the flavors come through. We found wonderful little locally grown organic sugar pie pumpkins from Full Belly Farm on sale at our local market, and we used yellow potatoes that we dug up ourselves at the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch a couple weeks ago.
You don't have to use the pumpkins to serve—the soup tastes fine eaten out of a regular bowl, but they look festive and would be great for a pre-trick-or-treak Halloween supper or as a starter for Thanksgiving or an autumn dinner party. You could save the sugar pie pumpkins for the soup itself, and hollow out some inexpensive mini pumpkins, which you can usually get for 50¢ or $1 apiece. Try to use organic pumpkins for your serving bowls, so you know they don't have any pesticides on them.
I love it when I find a dish that everyone in the family loves and that's healthy, economical, and easy to make, too. This Chinese-inspired chicken and broccoli stir fry is all of those things. Serve it with some plain rice or Asian noodles and it's a complete dinner that comes together quickly.
Sometimes I find myself making the same things over and over again for dinner, or grabbing takeout more often than I probably should. That's why I was so interested in Pernilla's Pantry, a mom-run business here in Marin that offers creative healthy meals for busy families.
Pernilla's Pantry is a little different from other meal delivery services in that the food is not prepared for you in advance. Instead, you get a recipe cards and all the ingredients that you need to make four fantastic family meals for the week. Pernilla's Pantry was created by Pernilla, a Marin mom and Swedish native who loves to share her passion for food and good cooking with others.
We had the opportunity to try out a week's worth of meals from Pernilla's Pantry recently, and we were all very impressed! Here's how it works: log in to the Pernilla's Pantry website and choose your meals for the week. You can also choose to order dinner for two or a family of four. During our week we had grilled salmon with orzo and brocollini; roasted chicken with creamy broccoli slaw; tomato, olive, and spinach pasta; and pork tenderloin with snap pea salad.
With fall here and the evenings getting cooler, it's time to make some delicious comfort food for dinner. This classic Mexican soup features little meatballs cooked in broth with tons of fresh vegetables. It's tasty and healthy, too!
For this version, I added green beans and chunks of summer squash to complement the usual carrots and potatoes. One of the great things about this dish is that you can vary the vegetables depending on what's available or what your family likes. Cabbage, kale, corn, and peas would all be welcome in the pot.
We used lean ground beef for the meatballs, but you can use half beef and half ground pork, ground turkey, or even chicken. My kids love to get involved and help make the meatballs, too.