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Tag Archives: pumpkin

Fall Fun Day

Two Saturdays ago, my family and I celebrated our 4th Annual Fall Fun Day. What is Fall Fun Day? It’s one of the best days of the year and basically a holiday. I pick a Saturday in mid-October when everyone is free and we pack in all the fall activities we can! This year included the farmer’s market, apple picking, baking, hiking, and had the weather cooperated, a corn maze.

Baking

For me, the festivities began Friday afternoon as soon as my I got done with my monogastric nutrition class. I stopped at the store for a few baking essentials and was soon scurrying around the kitchen making a Pumpkin Cheesecake for dinner on Saturday night.

Come Saturday morning, I was out of bed at 4 AM because there was still lots to be done in the kitchen. My first task was French pressing a piping hot mug full of Purity Coffee, so I’d have plenty of energy for a long day. I quickly whipped up a loaf of pumpkin bread to keep in the freezer for later in the week and then a batch of Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Glaze for breakfast. By 7:30, Daniel and I were heading out the door to Dane County Farmer’s Market.

Farmer’s Market

There are quite a few farmer’s markets in the Madison area, but nothing compares to the Saturday market on the capital square. Vendors line the sidewalks, selling produce, meat, cheese, flowers, honey, maple syrup, herbs, and baked goods. The market opens at 6:15 am and the earlier you can arrive the better. The crowds are lighter and there’s just something about the downtown atmosphere with the crisp air on a misty fall morning as the sun is just coming up.

Daniel and I met up with his mom and my sister around 8 o’clock. We took a couple laps around the Square, stopping by our favorite vendors’ booths. After that, our next stop was Appleberry Farm.

Apple Picking

Even though it’s getting late in the season, we were still able to pick our own Empire and Ida Red Apples. Just a quick PSA for anyone planning to go apple picking: it doesn’t work that well to sit on someone’s shoulders to reach the high ones. Let someone tall grab them or just let them be. There are plenty more within arm’s reach. 🙂 We did actually find a lot of apples despite being told that the trees were pretty picked over. Last night, I decided to use them to make a cranberry apple crisp, so stay tuned for that recipe coming soon!

With our apples and fresh cider, we made a quick stop at my parent’s house. We dropped off our goods from the morning and then everyone plus Macy, the dog, piled in two cars for the short trip up to Devil’s Lake State Park.

Hiking

We first hiked up the East Bluff Trail. It’s a pretty strenuous climb with lots of uneven “stairs” in the rocks. Macy, of course, had absolutely no problem, scaling the rocks like a little mountain goat. I, on the other hand am much less nimble, but I’ve hiked the trail enough times to handle it well.

And even though it hike is difficult, when you see the view from the top, it’s completely worth it. From the colorful bluffs in the distance to the serene lake below, it’s really a breath-taking sight!

Instead of taking the trail down and all the way around the lake, everyone seemed about ready for lunch, so be opted for the direct route back to ground level. After a picnic, Lauren was cold and tired, so she went home with my parents and Macy. Meanwhile, the rest of us took a nice walk along the lake shore.

Dinner

When we arrived back at the house, Lauren and my mom were making a fall inspired charcuterie board. Basically, it’s a big platter of various cheeses, meats, fruits, crackers, and other little snacks. To learn how to make one yourself, check out Lauren’s blog here!

Everything was so delicious, but we had to save room for buffalo stew, homemade bread, and of course pumpkin cheesecake! The plan was to go to the Treinen Farm corn maze that night, but by this time it was cold and rainy. A little further north they were even getting some light snow! So after a long day outside, we decided to stay home, play some games, and just relax.

Overall, I’d have to say that the 4th Annual Fall Fun Day was a success! I hope you all decide to give it a try this year or next!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Happy Thanksgiving! Despite this being a clean eating blog, I just have to share my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. (Comment below with your favorites!) Besides, as long as it’s in moderation, a homemade dessert from scratch is always acceptable! This cheesecake features a buttery, chocolate chip cookie crust and a pumpkin spiced filling, topped off with a smooth, creamy, chocolate ganache. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try piping a buttercream border around the top. 

This recipe is a bit involved, especially if you want to make your own cookies for the crust first, so I’d suggest reading through the whole recipe before you get started. Also, refer to some general cheesecake tips below:

  • Don’t open the oven at anytime will the cake is baking or resting in the hot oven. Rapid temperature fluctuations can cause cracking and caving.
  • Place a baking sheet under the spring-form pan. Sometimes butter leaks out the bottom which can cause a real mess in your oven otherwise.

Ingredients

Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup cookie crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese

1/2 cup sucanat

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbs. cornstarch

1 tsp. Penzeys ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Penzeys ground ginger

1/4 tsp. Penzeys ground nutmeg

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. melted butter

Directions

Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8-inch spring-form pan. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of the spring-form pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese can pumpkin using an electric mixer until smooth. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the other dry ingredients and add to the cream cheese mixture. Again, use the electric mixer, but do not mix more than necessary.

Place the filling in the spring-form pan on top of the cookie crust. Smooth it out using an offset spatula. Be sure that the filling is even and there are no large air pockets underneath. Set the pan on a baking sheet to catch any dripping butter and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let cake rest in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.  Do not open the oven at all during this time! Any rapid changes to temperature will cause the cheesecake to crack or cave in. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely before refrigerating. The cake will need at least three hours in the fridge to set up.

Chocolate Ganache

Place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream and melted butter to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Let the chocolate and cream sit for 5 minutes before stirring to combine. Pour over cooled cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator to allow ganache to set up.

Optional

  • Use vanilla buttercream frosting to pipe a border around the cheesecake for an extra touch. 
  • Serve with whipped cream. 

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Glaze

Hi! So I’m super excited to announce that today is my family’s second annual Fall Fun Day! “What is Fall Fun Day?” you ask. Fall Fun Day is any day in the middle of October dedicated to doing every fun fall activity one can think of in one awesome day! It originated last year as my birthday celebration because I had day off school the Friday before my birthday. I decided I wanted to spend my last days before legal adulthood doing all the fall things I love, but never have time to do anymore. We baked, went apple picking, hiking, picnicking, and ended the day with a corn maze.

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Lauren and I almost had too much fun at the apple orchard last year!
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What is Lauren doing with that apple cider doughnut? That’s not clean eating! 🙂
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Hiking at Blue Mounds State Park

We had so much fun that we decided it would be an annual event, so here we are one year later with me still being a kid at heart. This year’s itinerary consists of baking these scones, going to the Dane County Farmer’s Market, hiking and picnicking at Yellowstone Lake State Park, apple picking, and ending the day with the corn maze once again. Hopefully I can follow up with some new pictures of this year’s festivities. For now, here is the recipe for these mouthwatering autumnal scones! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Scones

  • 3 Tbs. skim milk*
  • 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar*
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. + 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 7 Tbs. cold butter
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • Mini chocolate chips (optional)

Glaze

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
    .
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir the milk and apple cider vinegar together. Set aside as this will make a “buttermilk” after 10-15 minutes. *
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter and mix it together with the dry ingredients by hand or with a pastry blender. (I recommend using your hands as always.)
  5. Add the pumpkin and maple syrup to the “buttermilk” and then combine with the dry ingredients.
  6. When everything is well mixed, add some chocolate chips if you would like. If the dough is still pretty sticky, add some extra flour.
  7. Turn out half the dough onto a well floured surface and form it into a circle about six inches in diameter. Cut the circle into six pieces and place the scones on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. When they are cool, whisk all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and drizzle over the top.
  10. Enjoy!

*Instead of using skim milk and apple cider vinegar, regular buttermilk will work as well.