Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

I received the most amazing pumpkin kit from Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  To see what all was in it, check out my Instagram (whatkatiesbaking).  

One of the the items included was canned Organic Pumpkin. 

The options for pumpkin puree are pretty limitless.  When I grabbed this can of pumpkin to make something with, it was a crisp, chilly evening and I was craving something warm, salty, spicy and comforting. I think the most comforting food on a fall-like evening is soup.  Not thin, watery soup, but thick, hearty soup.  So, I found a recipe for spicy pumpkin soup.

Oh. My. Gosh. This soup is amazing and incredibly easy to make.  It’s perfect for cozy fall nights or Sunday football parties.  I highly recommend it!

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Recipe from: All Recipes

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) Sprouts Organic Pumpkin (canned) 
½ an onion, cut into small pieces
1 clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic salt
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
½ cup heavy cream (or whole milk)

Directions:

1. Heat chicken broth, pumpkin puree, onion, garlic, and Cajun seasoning to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
3. Stir in heavy cream before serving.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Happy September!  It’s still so hot out, but I can’t hold off any longer on the pumpkin recipes.

I love the fall season. Pretty sure there’s nothing better than fall colors and decorations, the smell of crisp air, comfy sweaters/scarves/socks, changing leaves, autumn scented candles, and pumpkin everything.

I’m very excited because I’ve got a pumpkin basket coming in the mail!  I’ll be recipe testing soon.  :)

Pumpkin Banana Bread
Recipe from: Skinny Taste

Ingredients:  

  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 very ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, egg, bananas, pumpkin and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  4. Add flour mixture and nuts (if using), then blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake on the center rack for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the pan cool at least 20 minutes, bread should be room temperature before slicing.
  7. Spread with pumpkin cream cheese.  Enjoy.

Blackberry Crisp

I can’t wait to start bombarding you all with fall recipes, but I thought I’d give a few more summer recipes before that.  I’m trying really hard to hold off on everything fall related, but it’s been hard with the cooler weather and school starting.  Plus, Bath & Bodyworks just got its fall collection in and I’m a huge sucker for candles.  

Anyway, summer recipe: blackberry crisp.  I loove crisps.  They’re my favorite…and this one is basically healthy enough to eat for breakfast. I mean, I wouldn’t do it every day, but I also wouldn’t judge you if you did.😉

Healthy Blackberry Crisp
Recipe from: In it for the Long Run 

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups blackberries
¼ cup cane sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together berries and sugar.  
2.  In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, coconut oil, and honey until combined.  Mix half of this mixture in with the berries.  
3.  Lightly grease a 9×5 inch pan with oil.  Place the berry mixture in the greased pan and sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top.
4.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Then let cool and serve with ice cream!

Back-to-School Breakfast Burrito

Who has time to make a super tedious breakfast when you’re rushing out the door?  Nobody.  But, who still wants a healthy, delicious breakfast?  Me!  It’s possible!  

Whether your time is limited because you’re trying to get your kids ready for school or because you have to get to work on time or both, this breakfast is for you.  It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s healthy!  What more could you ask for?🙂 You might even laugh at me for posting the recipe because it’s that easy.  

What’s your go-to quick breakfast?

Breakfast Burrito
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 (or 2, depending on how hungry you are) egg
1 oz. shredded cheese 
½ an avocado, smashed
1 tomato, cut into slices
1 tortilla
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
butter

Directions:

1.  Melt a small amount of butter in a skillet on the stove on medium-high heat.  Scramble the egg and cheese together in the skillet.
2.  Place the egg mixture on a plate and place the tortilla in the skillet.  
3.  Layer the avocado, spices, sliced tomato, and egg on top of the tortilla.
4.  Roll the tortilla into a burrito and allow the outside to get golden brown.  Enjoy!

Healthy No-Bake Cookies

I love no-bake cookies, but, they’re not exactly healthy…duh.  But, the ingredients are so easy to substitute with healthy ones, I’m not sure why I’ve never done it before!

These turned out really well, I just suggest keeping them in the refrigerator so they stay hard.  The coconut oil softens at room temperature.  I also suggest eating these with milk.😉

Healthy No-Bake Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup oats
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon Stevia
salt 
vanilla

Directions:

1.  Mix together coconut oil and peanut butter in a pot on the stove at medium-high heat.  Once melted, add in the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
2.  Place heaping tablespoons on a plate and refrigerate.  Once they’ve hardened, eat them!🙂

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a cookie recipe!  

Have you tried Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Frappuccino?  I loooove them. If you haven’t tried one, now is the perfect time since it’s finally starting to get hot out.  It’s been such a mild summer and I’m not complaining (I pay the air bill at our house).  Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to transform their drink into a cookie.

If you love sweet and salty combinations, you’ll definitely love these cookies.  I suggest freezing the caramels first and really oiling your parchment paper/silpat/pan before baking.  The caramel gets stuck to the pan easily.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup (7 ½ ounces) packed brown sugar
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 ¾ cups (11 5/8 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ cups (9 ounces) chocolate chips
1 ½ cups chopped caramels
sea salt

Directions:
1. Place the very soft butter in a medium-large mixing bowl. Add the sugars, salt, vanilla, and stir well.
2. Add the egg and stir until well blended.
3. Add the baking soda and flour, mixing until blended.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramels.
5. Scoop rounded teaspoons of dough onto light-colored baking sheets (the light color will prevent the caramel from burning).
6. Flatten into disks, using gentle pressure from your fingers.  You can also flatten with the bottom of a cup or something.  
7. Sprinkle a little pinch of sea salt on each of the cookies.
8. Bake the cookies in a preheated 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned; the tops shouldn’t brown, they should still be slightly gooey.
9. Remove the cookies from the oven, let them rest on the pan for 5 minutes, then slide them onto a rack to cool completely.  

Red, White and Blue(ish) Kettle Corn

It was just like an episode of Chopped in my kitchen today.  I wanted to make something for the 4th of July, but coming up with creative red, white and blue desserts isn’t as easy as it sounds.  

I thought, “Okay, what can I make without going to the store?” because I’m lazy.  The only red and blue edible things in my house right now are food coloring (which is questionably edible) and blueberries.  I went with food coloring. I ended up making 3 pots of kettle corn, each a different color… pink, green and tan.  Good enough.

Red, White and Blue Kettle Corn
Recipe from: AllRecipes

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter (divided into 3, 2-tablespoon segments)
6 tablespoons (¼ + 1/8 cup) sugar
¾ cup popcorn kernels
salt
food coloring
M&Ms

Directions:
1.  Place 3 pots on 3 burners on the stove (or you can do this one color at a time).   Place 2 tablespoons of butter in each pot and heat the butter in the pots over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn.
2. In one pot, place a couple of drops red food coloring, in another, a couple drops blue food coloring, and leave the other pot alone.
3. Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat immediately and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour popcorn from all 3 pots into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps. Garnish with M&Ms.

Crumble Topped Brownies

I’ve been infatuated with crumble topping since I started baking.  You can’t beat sugar, butter, flour, and salt.  That’s all a crumble is, but it’s baked and turns a little crunchy.  

It turns out, you can top anything with it.  I thought it was exclusively for pies and muffins, but that’s just limited thinking.  I added cocoa powder (yeah, chocolate crumble!!) and put it on top of these brownies and created my new favorite brownie.  Ooey and gooey is no longer good enough for me; I need the crunch on top now, too.  

If you’re a fan of amazing chocolatey flavor and varying textures in a dessert, you’ll love these.

Crumble Topped Brownies
These fabulous brownies are from Life Made Simple Bakes

Ingredients:

Crumble Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
8 tbsp butter, cubed and very cold

Brownies:

½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ cup sugar
11 tbsp butter
2 eggs, cold
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extra
½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

For the crumble:
1.  Place all of the crumble topping ingredients in a bowl and combine with hands or a fork until the mixture resembles sand.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.

For the brownies:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter a 9×13 inch pan or line it with parchment. Set aside.
3. In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter and sugar. Heat until melted.
4. Remove, stir, and cool on the counter for 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the warm butter/sugar mixture. With mixing speed on low add one egg at a time, mixing just until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. With mixing speed on low, gradually add dry ingredients to wet.
7. Mix until no flour pockets remain, but don’t overmix.
8. Remove bowl from stand and fold in the chocolate chips.Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.
9. Evenly sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
10. Place in the oven and bake for 24-25 minutes or until you can place a toothpick in the middle of the brownies and it comes out clean.
11. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes before cutting and serving.

Dialectic:  Have you heard of it?

Life is full of paradoxes and balancing them is something that I constantly strive for.  It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.  I think that’s why I love yoga so much; it’s chock full of paradoxes.  I’m going through yoga teacher training this summer and last weekend we learned about something called dialectic, which is the “inquiry into metaphysical contradictions,” or that constant internal debate in your head.  eg: You want safety, but you also want freedom.  You want friends but you also want to be alone.  You want to be healthy, but you also want an entire box of cookies.  I’m fascinated with it because I think it completely embodies the human experience and how we make things so difficult.    

I’m currently experiencing my own dialectic:  I want a high paying job that utilizes my degree, but I also want the freedom to follow my passions uninhibitedly. I recently got rejected for a job that I was really invested in and now I’m questioning myself…what do I really want to do with my life?  Honestly, I have no clue.

I’m the same person as I was before I got the rejection email, but now I’m suddenly plagued with self doubt. Not in a bad way, but in a “what the hell do I do next” kind of way.  It’s crazy to me how one small thing can happen and completely rock your world.  It just goes to show that contentment is a product of thoughts.

If you’re in the same boat as me, just know: no decision is the wrong decision and the worst thing you can do is nothing.  I really like this quote by Deepak Chopra:

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.

The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.

If this sounds too mystical, refer again to the body. Every significant vital sign- body temperature, heart rate, oxygen consumption, hormone level, brain activity, and so on- alters the moment you decide to do anything… decisions are signals telling your body, mind, and environment to move in a certain direction.”
Deepak Chopra, The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

I don’t know if it’s a mid-twenties dilemma, but figuring out life right now is hard. It’s like going to a restaurant with too many options.  I get overwhelmed and then I can’t pick anything, but I guess that’s the beauty of life in America.

image

Are you struggling or have you struggled with a dialectic before?  What’s your experience? I’d love to hear them!

Baked Marinara Eggs

I love Italian food (I am Italian), but I’m vegetarian and it’s kind of a meaty class of food.  I like to look for variations and this is one of them.  However, my dad is 100% Italian and when I told him about these, he sounded disgusted.  Sooo… I originally called these “Baked Italian Eggs,” but I suppose they’re not a “true” traditional Italian dish.

They are incredibly delicious, though.  I tossed some broccoli in olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice and then sprinkled it with Parmesan and baked it for about 30 minutes to pair with the eggs.  Oh, and some garlic bread, too.  Oh my gosh… such an amazing meal.  Highly recommend!  Plus, it’s effortless!

(Sorry, the pictures I took of these were all terrible because I was eager to eat them, but I had to post the recipe. For fantastic pictures of the recipe, check out Damn Delicious.)

Baked Marinara Eggs
From:  Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup shredded or grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup basil leaves, chiffonade (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10-ounce ramekin or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Divide marinara sauce evenly into the ramekins. Top with eggs, milk, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place into oven and bake until egg whites are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with basil leaves, if desired.