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Pumpkin Duffins

Pumpkin Duffins with Cream Cheese

October 30, 2014

Here is another version of our favorite healthy dessert- duffins. I wanted to make something for Halloween and the first thing I think of – is pumpkin. When I think of pumpkin, cream cheese frosting comes to mind- it really is a match made in heaven.

So, in order to make duffins, I decided to invert the two and use the cream cheese as a filling in the middle.

The result was delicious- well, eventually. I made one batch and had a few friends taste test for me and give me some critical analysis. My daughter is the most honest taste tester I have- she has no qualms about telling me when things are not right. She told me the duffins didn’t have enough pumpkin flavor and the filling tasted too much like cream cheese and not like a frosting. She was right- I had forgotten to add vanilla extract in the cream cheese mixture.

The second batch included more spiced including cinnamon, ginger and cloves. It also included the missing vanilla extract. The result was delicious.

Make these for halloween…

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra light olive oil
  • ¾ cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger


  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Keep aside.


  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ cup fine raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease a 12 muffin tin with a bit of oil in each cup.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg till light and fluffy. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and pumpkin puree. Mix to combine.
In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Pour into the egg mixture and stir well.
Add a quarter cup batter in each cup. Add a teaspoon of cream cheese on top. Top each cup with the rest of the batter to cover the filling.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
While muffins are baking, melt butter in a small bowl. Pour ½ cup sugar into another small bowl.

Once the muffins are done, lightly brush the top with melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in the sugar, coating all parts of the duffin.

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Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Bread I love this weather- it’s perfect for such treats. My daughter loves pumpkin muffins and bread and has been asking me to make something with pumpkin for a while.

Now that I can see pumpkins everywhere- it was just a matter of time- well I had to make the time and bake something for my darling. It’s funny how they can make you feel guilty even without trying.

So, I made the time and came up with this concoction. I didn’t want to make the regular pumpkin bread you get outside- I needed it to be a little different. I of course made it healthy by using the white whole wheat flour, turbinado sugar and extra light olive oil. I also added dark chocolate in there- it is good for you- in small quantities that is.. I also used walnuts instead of any other nuts since they are the most healthy to eat. There is healthy cinnamon in there too.

All of that said, it is a very delicious bread- really it is. The pumpkin flavor goes very well with the dark chocolate and of course all the spices in there a match made in heaven.

Definitely try this one- yet another treat to pack for your kids…
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Pumpkin Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Cranberry Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

October 27, 2014

Another delicious way to have pumpkin flavored desserts!

  • 2½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1½ cups turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves into a medium bowl. Keep aside. Cream together the oil and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and beat for another minute. Add the cranberries and chocolate and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. Scoop with a tablespoon measure and drop the cookies onto a lined cookie sheet, flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 and 20 minutes. Cool on a baking rack and serve.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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Spiced Orange Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries

October 26, 2014

This is a different version of my delicious chocolate pumpkin bread. I decided to add orange zest and dried cranberries instead of chocolate to get a completely different flavor. It was a very successful try! Great for the fall and cold season.

  • 1¼ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl, set aside. Lightly brush a 9X5X3 inches loaf pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add one egg at a time mixing in between. Add 1 cup pumpkin puree and orange zest and mix for about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the cranberries and transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes before taking it out. Cool completely before serving.

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Besan Burfi

Besan and Nariyal Barfi (Indian Confection Made with Chickpea Flour and Coconut)

October 22, 2014


Here is one of my favorite Indian sweets! Happy Diwali! Enjoy…


This was the first time I attempted an Indian confection. I really enjoy eating them, but somehow never made them at home. I would either buy them or my Mom would make them for me. She would tell me how easy they are to make but I never seemed interested.

This time, I decided to give it a try and see what the fuss was all about. Well, it is quite simple to make. All you need is chickpea flour, butter or ghee and nuts. You have to saute the flour in ghee for a bit – kind of like risotto. Once the flour is similar in color to milk chocolate, you add the sugar and any other flavorings you like. The mixture is smoothed onto a platter and refrigerated. Once it is set, cut it up and serve.

Try something different this New Year, your guests will love it…

  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • ¼ cup ghee or butter
  • ¼ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 5 green cardamoms (seeds taken out and crushed)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • Sliced almonds
  • Pistachios, chopped

Heat a medium frying pan and add the ghee and oil. Add the besan and sauté on medium heat for at least 30 minutes (or more) till the mixture turns a light caramel color.
Add the ricotta, coconut and cardamom seeds. Mix well and let the moisture from the ricotta cook out- about ten minutes.
Turn the heat off and add the sugar. Mix well until all is incorporated.
Spread the mixture on to a shallow platter with edges. Smooth with a spatula and sprinkle the almonds and pistachios and press down with fingers. Keep in fridge for half an hour to set. Take out and cut into small squares and serve.

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Fresh Roasted Corn Bread

Toasted Corn Bread with Fresh Corn

October 21, 2014

This is a yummy recipe adapted from Michael Symon. The cornmeal is toasted and I added fresh corn, cilantro and some roasted chilies. It is delicious, especially with the cheddar cheese! Perfect with chili!

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped

Fresh corn off a cob, chopped

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¾ cup whole milk

1/3 cup honey

1 large egg, beaten

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup canned roasted chilies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 8 by 8 inch pan.


In a medium frying, toast the cornmeal over medium heat, stirring constantly until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in flour, baking powder, salt, cilantro, corn and cheese. In a separate bowl whisk the milk, honey, egg and butter. Mix well and add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix till smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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Chicken Chili

Chili with Leftover Chicken

October 21, 2014

This is a great recipe for leftover chicken- any kind, really. I had roasted quite a bit of chicken on a Sunday and I made a bunch of different dishes with it including some homemade stock. It is a great idea to do so on a Sunday afternoon…

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 cup fresh or canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 14 ounces black beans, drained
  • 4 to 5 cooked chicken drumsticks or any kind of leftover chicken, chopped
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cilantro, chili powder, chipotle powder and cumin. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, black beans and chopped chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes on a low heat. Take the lid off and continue cooking, add the half and half and salt. Check for seasonings and serve with corn bread.


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