spice it up

homemade pumpkin pie spice

It’s here. It’s been here for quite some time. It happens every year. It’s pumpkin spice season. Like it or not.

spices ready

The funny thing is that everyone’s freaking out over pumpkin spice like it’s something new. It’s been around for years. There’s no reason to hate on it intensely. Sure, it seems to be flavoring an excessive number of items nowadays, but no one hates on chocolate peppermint during the holiday season. There’s just something about pumpkin pie spice seems to enrage everyone. Yet so few people hate actual pumpkin pie.

whole nutmeg

We love it. To me it signals fall and makes it a little easier to embrace the chill in the air. I’ve never bought pumpkin spice in a jar, I always make some fresh every season so that I have it on hand to sprinkle onto whatever I wish. I sprinkle it on top of coffee grinds before I brew my coffee to add some guilt-free flavor. I sprinkle it onto my oatmeal, onto sweet potato fries, or even sprinkle it onto some bacon before cooking it. You can, of course, also make pumpkin pie with it. But why not make your own? Go ahead, sprinkle it on something new and ignore the haters!

freshly ground nutmeg

pumpkin pie spice

printer-friendly version

2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon allspice

Combine all spices in a bowl and stir together. Store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Posted in condiment/sauce, kitchen essentials, meatless monday, thanksgiving, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

a little healthy

quinoa stuffed mushrooms on twothirtyate.com

We used to only eat stuffed mushroom caps for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They were considered a special treat when I was growing up. When I started cooking I’d whip them up a little more often- usually to sit alongside steak dinners or when I was feeling the need for some comfort food.

healthy things

It never occurred to me to turn these heavily cheese and breadcrumb stuffed into lighter fare until now. Filling them with herbs and quinoa makes them a much healthier option that you don’t have to feel guilty about. With the holiday season rapidly approaching (yes, it’s coming no matter how hard we try to deny it) it’s nice to know that you can have a healthier side dish or appetizer on hand.

all in one

Since I’m constantly learning, I’m making an effort to clean my mushrooms the right way. Did you know you shouldn’t just rinse them under a heavy stream of water to get the dirt off? Additional bit of knowledge: 1/3 cup dry quinoa cooked in 2/3 cup water should yield 1 cup cooked quinoa for this recipe.


quinoa stuffed mushrooms
makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

1 pound white button mushrooms
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 rib celery, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable broth or milk
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the mushrooms clean, removing all the dirt. Remove the stems and finely chop half of them. Discard the rest. Add the remaining ingredients to a bowl with the mushroom stems. Stir together until well combined. Pack the filling into the mushroom caps and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Optionally, drizzle each with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Posted in appetizer, rice/grain, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

age old battle

pumpkin spice smoothie

In the age old battle between apple versus pumpkin, I am decidedly team pumpkin! Although the good old Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from a certain coffee spot is a bit too sweet for my grown-up tastebuds, I do love the idea of pumpkin spice– in everything!

all in the vitamix

After making some pumpkin bread recently, I was left with about a half a can of pumpkin puree. In the spirit of waste not, want not, here’s what I made with it: a pumpkin spice smoothie! It’s kind of like a grown up version of the PSL, you know, without the cloying sweetness (or the coffee).

healthy psl

pumpkin spice smoothie
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from Serious Eats
makes: 1 large serving, or 2 normal sized ones

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 medium frozen banana
1/2 cup ice
1 cup milk (I used almond)
2 Medjool dates, pitted, or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon store-bought pumpkin spice blend or spices below
pumpkin spice:
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Posted in beverage, meatless monday, paleo, random, vegan | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

comfy cozy

chicken spaghetti

Ahhhh. Fall is here! I’m loving the cooler weather and the excuse to make and eat comfort food meals. I am generally weary of casseroles, what with their cream of whatever soup and who knows what kinds of meat, but this chicken spaghetti is a guilty indulgence.

oodles of noodlespeppers and onionsall mixed upready to bake

Made with shredded rotisserie chicken, this casserole is ridiculously easy to put together and makes for a pretty delicious warm and comforting meal during these cooler weather days. Make it for dinner tonight, or freeze and save for a busy weeknight in the future.

ooey gooey casserole

chicken spaghetti
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
serves: 8

Shredded rotisserie chicken (at least 2 cups)
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 jar (4 Ounce) diced pimentos, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While shredding the chicken, cook spaghetti until al dente. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients reserving 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly.

Posted in cheese, chicken, dinner, pasta | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

an apple a day

cheery morning

Muffins are one of the more sweet treats that you can have for breakfast. They’re cake-like in their deliciousness and usually have a little fruit in them so you don’t feel too badly about the indulgence.


Alex won’t eat cooked apples…because of course he won’t. I, however, think they’re delicious when they get all soft and fragrant. So I make apple baked goods and bring them to work. These particular muffins were brought on a team build to the aquarium with my co-workers who liked them a whole lot.


The only thing that can really improve on a muffin is a good crumble topping. Similar to the top of a coffee cake, this crumble is just enough to add a little extra sweet to the top of the muffin. Go ahead, make a batch and share ‘em.


apple crumb muffins
makes 12 muffins

printer-friendly version

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups of your favorite baking apple (gala, granny smith), peeled and coarsely chopped

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment to combine the dry ingredients. Add in the butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the chopped apples to the mixer and combine on a low speed just until they’re mixed into the batter, careful not to over beat and break down the apples. Grease a standard muffing tin and fill each section 2/3 of the way with batter. In a small bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients with a fork until it stays together when squeezed between your fingers. Crumble the topping evenly over each portion of batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Cool completely before serving.

Posted in breakfast, eggs, fruit, meatless monday, snack, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

everything season

fowl full of fall

What happens when you’ve so eagerly anticipated Fall that you just have to eat as many seasonal foods as possible?

what a pain

This side dish. Colorful butternut squash and crisp Granny Smith apples are tossed with just enough maple syrup and chipotle to add sweet kick. They’re roasted alongside onion to add enough savory to balance everything. It’s basically Fall on a plate.


Grab a cup of cocoa and a pair of boots- Fall is here!

happy apples

maple butternut squash with apples
makes 6 servings

printer-friendly version

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 Granny Smith apples, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium yellow onions, cut into bite-sized chunks
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until everything is neatly coated in the spices and syrup. Scatter in an even layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Serve warm.

Posted in dinner, meatless monday, side dish, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s a wrap

day two: added tabasco

So. This isn’t much of a recipe, but I feel like I have to post it since I’ve eaten this egg and avocado wrap four times in the last week. Yeah– it’s that good! And a super fast meal to make for breakfast, lunch or, dare I say, brunch.

day 3: with goat cheese

It’s endlessly customizable: a handful of baby spinach leaves would boost the nutrient content and I’ve used a variety of cheeses from shredded Mexican blend to goat cheese crumbles. I think the key for me is the habanero lime tortilla (a Trader Joe’s specialty), but any flour tortilla would do.

day one: the original

egg and avocado wrap
printer-friendly recipe
makes 1 wrap

Pat of butter
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper
8″ flour tortilla
1/2 avocado
2 tablespoons cheese
Tabasco sauce, optional

Melt the butter in a medium pan over low heat. Add the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir the eggs with a spatula in the pan until cooked through and season with salt and pepper to taste. While the eggs are cooking, place the tortilla on a plate. Scoop the avocado half onto the tortilla and gently mash and sprinkle a little salt on top. Add the scrambled eggs to the tortilla and top with cheese and Tabasco sauce, if using. Roll up the wrap like a burrito and enjoy!

Posted in breakfast, cheese, eggs, meatless monday, random, vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment