>Pumpkin Time!

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What I made yesterday: applesauce!
After I finish writing this, I’m going to pick up some glittery silver pipe cleaners for my costume. And I may make this candy corn fudge, if time allows. When the elementary school up the street let out today, all the kids went haphazardly parading by in their adorable costumes. Life is good today.
Here are two pumpkiny recipes I’ve made this week. Except for the honey, these are vegan. Either one would be good with the addition of pumpkin seeds as well.
Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Molasses Granola 
The key to good granola, in my opinion, requires two things: a long cooking time to make the oats nice and toasty, and big chunks. Even if you aren’t a “big chunks” person, please try the long cooking time. You just may find that anemic, undercooked granola is a thing of your past. Hooray!
1/3 c oil
1/6 c honey
1/6 c molasses
1/2 c pumpkin puree
4 c oats
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c wheat germ
1/4 t each: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and cardamom

Preheat the oven to 300˚. Grease a large jelly roll pan, or line it with parchment paper.
Measure oil into a medium bowl. In the same 1/3 c measuring cup, fill it halfway with the honey, then top it off with the molasses. (The oil left in the cup allows the viscous ingredients to slide right out.) Whisk in the pumpkin until smooth
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Pour the oil mixture over and stir to combine well. (Clean hands are the perfect mixing tools for this.) Spread evenly on the prepared sheet, and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. If you like big chunks of granola, use a spatula to carefully turn it over. If you like “crumblier” granola, stir it up well with a spatula. Return it to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. 
Let it cool completely. If desired, stir in the dried cranberries. Put in an airtight container. Makes about 6 cups. 

Pumpkin Pasta Salad
If Waldo had spatula, it would totally be this one.
1 lb penne or ziti pasta
salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c prepared salsa
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 t cumin
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c halved and thinly sliced carrots
Bring a large pot of water, with the garlic and a generous portion of salt added, to a boil. (It should taste as salty as sea water.) 
While the water is heating, combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. 
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until cooked but still slightly firm. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste and add more salt, pepper, vinegar, or whatever else, as needed. 
To make this a little more rich, you could let it cool slightly and then add some salty  crumbled cheese like Cotija, or some shaved Parmesan. You could also take this in a sweet-salty direction by added some raisins. 
Makes a big bowlful. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Keeps well in the fridge. Great for potlucks.
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