Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe

Other than boiling an egg - which is the world's easiest kitchen task, nothing else comes close to making a smoothie. After all, all that one needs to do is gather the necessary ingredients, put them in the blender and blend them till everything is smooth. But is that really what it takes to make a good, no, a perfect pumpkin spice smoothie? Before jumping into the recipe, here are a few things that will help improve the quality of your smoothies.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Tips and tricks

  1. a) Always use fresh and organic ingredients: This is because fresh ingredients give birth to a smoothie that's both nutritional and better tasting.
  2. b) Use natural sweeteners: Instead of using sugar to sweeten your smoothie, use the likes of stevia, honey, maple syrup or dates.
  3. c) Spice it up: Use of spices helps in enhancing the smoothie's flavor. Examples of spices that you can use include cayenne pepper, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
  4. d) Include seeds: Seeds such as hemp, chia and flax seeds play a key role in not only boosting the overall nutritional value of the smoothie but also giving it texture.
  5. e) Last but not least, remember that it's never about what you're blending but how you are blending. As such, you ought to use a high quality blender and, blend according; from the lowest to highest speed setting.

Going by this guide, here's a pumpkin spice smoothie recipe that will ensure that you get more than satisfactory results.

Ingredients

  1. a) Two tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey
  2. b) One fresh banana
  3. c) A cup of ice cubes
  4. d) Two thirds cups of fresh pumpkin puree
  5. e) Half a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  6. f) Half a cup of almond or skim milk
  7. g) A quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  8. h) A quarter teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Directions

Start by adding the almond milk into the blender. Only add the recommended amount as too much of it can make your smoothie runnier cum watery. Next, add the main base - a banana. This is what ends up giving texture to your smoothie. Then, add the fresh pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt. Following the pumpkin puree and yogurt should be other additional add-ons like sweeteners - maple syrup and spices - ground cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

Once all the ingredients have been put in the blender, blend them up. The best way of blending a smoothie is by starting on a low setting before going up to the highest blending speed.

Just in case the smoothie ends up being too thick, add a little bit of milk and if too watery, add ice cubes. While milk makes the smoothie less thick, ice makes it thicker and frothier. All the same, too much ice can easily water down the smoothie.

Serving your smoothie:

Pumpkin spice smoothies are best enjoyed as soon as they are out of the blender. The reason behind all this is, if let to sit for a couple of more minutes, they may end up separating or thickening. And as earlier mentioned, fresh smoothies are a lot tastier than refrigerated ones.

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How To Bake With Pumpkin

Bake With Pumpkin

If you've never baked using pumpkin before, it can be a little intimidating. Here's a huge squash just sitting on your kitchen counter. How can you turn it into a delicious pumpkin pie, cookies, or other baked goods? Where do you even start turning this enormous vegetable into a dessert that your family will enjoy?

Your first step is to choose the right pumpkin. You'll want to buy a sugar pie pumpkin or another smaller, flavorful type. The big jack'o'lantern pumpkins tend to be a little tough and stringy for baking. You can use the seeds from the jack'o'lanterns for roasting, but it's typically not ideal for making baked pumpkin goods such as bread or pie.

The second step is to make a pumpkin puree that you can later mix in with flour, sugar, and baking ingredients. There are a few different ways to make the puree: you can bake it, boil it, or use a microwave. Here's how to make your puree three different ways to fit your time and kitchen needs.

Baking Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and throw away the strings, stems, and the seeds (or save the seeds for roasting later).
  • Place the two halves on a baking dish and cover them with foil.
  • Bake for an hour and a half on 375 F to ensure the pumpkin gets nice and soft.
  • When it's finally cooled, scoop out the insides of the pumpkin and mash into a puree.

Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stem and strings. Again, if you want the seeds you are welcome to keep them for roasting.
  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks about two inches long.
  • Boil the pumpkin until it gets soft.
  • Put the chunks through a food processor or mash them with a potato masher to get a silky puree.

Microwave

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, similar to the first steps listed above.
  • Cut the pumpkin into chunks about two inches long.
  • Microwave on high, turning the chunks over every few minutes. The general rule is seven minutes per pound of pumpkin, so you'll want to weigh the amount of pumpkin on a food scale before doing this.

Once you have your puree, you don't have to use it immediately. You can keep it in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze it for up to six months. It's an easy way to get ready for Thanksgiving a little early so you're not stressed at the last minute. Or you can save your puree for months when pumpkins aren't in season, and enjoy a nice pumpkin bread in February.

Your pumpkin puree can be used in a variety of baked items. Pumpkin pies require a good deal of puree, while other items like cookies and breads don't require as much. The puree is a versatile ingredient that can be used in pretty much any baked good you can imagine. For fans of the pumpkin taste, you can mix it into brownies and cupcakes as well.

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Easy Homemade Donut Recipes

Homemade Donut

There's no way around it: no matter what season, everyone loves a donut. But you don't need to leave the house to make one or buy a box of super-sugary processed donut holes. These easy homemade donut recipes are quick, simple, and fun for kids to make. Best of all, you can customize them however you like. So try some of these easy homemade donut recipes and enjoy a donut from the comfort of your own house!

 

Stephanie's Easy Homemade Donuts

Ingredients: 2 TBSP white vinegar, 3/8 cup milk, 2 TBSP shortening, 1/2 cup white sugar, one egg, 1/2 tps vanilla extract, 2 cups white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • Mix white vinegar with milk and let stand.
  • Mix shortening and sugar until mixture is smooth.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • Stir flour, baking soda, and salt into sugar mixture, then add to vinegar and milk.
  • Roll out dough on floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
  • Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Heat skillet to 375 degrees F with one quart of oil
  • Fry the donuts in the hot oil until they appear golden.
  • Place on paper towels to dry and immediately dust with confectioners' sugar.

(Note: you can substitute other types of flour for white flour, such as wheat or pumpkin).

 

Easy Homemade Donuts With Sugar Glaze

Ingredients: 1 TBSP dry yeast, 1 tsp dry yeast, 2 cups white flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 egg yolks, 2 TBSP white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 stick softened butter, 1 cup whole milk (warmed).

  • Add 1 TBSP yeast with 3/4 cup warm milk and 3/4 cup flour, then let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Combine remaining yeast and milk.
  • Add vanilla and egg yolks; mix on low.
  • Add 1 cup flour, then sugar and salt. Mix on medium.
  • Add butter and mix on medium.
  • Gradually stir in flour and use dough hook to knead the remaining flour into the dough.
  • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes before chilling for one hour.
  • Cut the dough into donut shapes and allow it to sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • Heat deep-fryer to 360 F and fry until done.
  • For sugar glaze, combine one and a half cups of confectioners' sugar, 3 TBSP milk, and 2 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour over finished donuts for a sweet, crunchy glaze.

 

Gluten-Free Homemade Donuts

Ingredients: 2/3 cup rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/3 cup white sugar, 2 TBSP instant vanilla pudding mix, 1/2 tsp xantham gum, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup oil, 2 eggs, and 2 tsp vanilla extract.

  • Mix oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk together.
  • Mix rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, salt, pudding mix, baking powder, and xantham gum together. Add to other mixture.
  • On floured surface, knead dough and cut into donut shapes (rice-floured surface, of course).
  • Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Let sit on cooling rack before serving.

(You can also add the sugar glaze from the last recipe to these donuts; it's gluten free as well.).

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Winter Squash is Here!

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Fall is here, and that means that squash season is in full swing! Whether you get your winter squash from the grocery store or the farmer's market, you'll find that pumpkin, butternut squash, and others - such as acorn, kabocha and hubbard - are healthy make ahead options that your entire family will love. By cooking and freezing these delicious gourds, you will be able to plan out meals and dishes well into the winter. Squash will also keep a long time when stored in a cool place.

Squash will need to be cooked and mashed before you can freeze them. You can do this by washing them and removing the tough outer skin and any inner pulp or seeds. Cut the squash into even cubes, and boil or steam them until a fork easily goes though the flesh. You can use a potato masher if the chunks are soft enough, but you will get the best results from a food processor, a hand blender or food mill. Make sure that you have a large enough bowl in which to mash the squash, as they tend to become rather messy! When the squash is cooled, you can put it into freezer-safe Ziploc bags or tubs. This is a great way to evenly portion your puréed squash for future meals, as you can freeze the exact amount for specific recipes. Plastic containers will work well for ease of pouring in your squash and many even have measurements. All squash tends to freeze well, aside from spaghetti squash, which should usually be eaten fresh.

Frozen squash purée has a number of uses. You can use it as a base for soups and stews, or add it to delicious baked treats. For example, you can use frozen puréed pumpkin to make your Thanksgiving pies special with little extra effort. (Tip:  sugar pie pumpkins are a good choice.) Butternut squash can be mashed and used as a unique topping for shepherd's pie. You can also make delicious quick-breads with a variety of frozen squash purée, as well as homemade ravioli filling. The delicate flavor of squash pairs well with nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. If you love risotto, you can set aside some cooked squash chunks to dice instead of mashing.

As a rule of thumb, properly sealed frozen squash will last up to a year in the freezer. (Don't forget to label with the date.) You can enjoy winter squash all year round if you try some make ahead ideas. These wonderful veggies are a great way to feed your kids filling and nutritious meals.