Pomegranate Coconut Pumpkin Butter

Wow, is it nice to be back! I seriously missed blogging when I was insanely busy doing college applications, schoolwork, signing up for (one too many) extracurricular, and other high school stuff. While it’s all far from over, yesterday, I was able to record my tapes for pre-screening (the step before auditions), so now I can finally submit all of my applications and have that part of the process done with!

One of the crazier things that I’m doing this year is playing in 5 separate chamber ensembles. If you’re a musician, you can realize how much I actually signed myself up for, but even if you aren’t, that means that I’m rehearsing 7 hours a week without counting any orchestra or solo practice. What’s fun about it is that they are all different groups (as in the structure of the group), so it’s not like I’m playing 5 pieces all within the same category. For example, I’m in a flute quartet at MSM, which is the first time I’ve played chamber with a flute player. Not to mention, all of the music I’m playing is just spectacular, which can never get boring.

But that’s enough about me. It’s time to get to the real deal stuff- this pumpkin butter. I love fall baking (although by the amount I’ve been posting recently you can’t tell), but I didn’t want to have to worry about the mess that I tend to create when I bake. And, since the rule in my house is I have to clean up everything after I bake, I wanted to make something that would be delicious but at the same time save a lot of clean up time. So, I found this pumpkin butter over on Smitten Kitchen that I knew would fit the bill exactly. It’s a nice blend of spices that create the warm, fuzzy feeling that we all love about pumpkin baking, but I wanted to have more than just pumpkin puree heated up with some spices, so I added coconut milk and pomegranate juice. The pomegranate gives it enough of a bite that you get flavor as soon as you taste it, but the coconut milk makes it creamy, so as not to make the entire thing too acid. Really, you can add whatever flavors you want, but I like this variation.

rayna's pumpkin butterPomegranate Coconut Pumpkin Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups
  • 3/8 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3/8 cup coconut milk (I used Blue Diamond)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup vanilla coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Juice of half a lemon

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, pomegranate juice, coconut milk,  spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sometimes a simple homemade butter can brighten up your early school mornings. More recipes coming soon!

-Rayna 🙂

 

 

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip and Pecan Granola Bars

First off, Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful holiday full of delicious foods 🙂

Once in a blue moon, having tons of cookies and brownies and other sugar-filled treats around the house can get very monotonous. Sometimes, my family isn’t as willing to have cake for breakfast (and every other meal of the day) as I am, which leaves me with a great big plate of delicious calorie-laden treats. However, being smack in the heart of pumpkin season and with Thanksgiving close enough to touch, these granola bars will be a great way to get into that Thanksgiving spirit without overdosing on pumpkin before you eat the entire pie.

Typically before school in the mornings, I don’t have enough time to have a “real” breakfast, so granola bars tend to be my breakfast of choice. Once I made these, school mornings got so much easier! The crunch of the pecans is a great contrast to the sweetness of the cinnamon chips, and the pumpkin granola with the aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg are like a party in my mouth. Not only do these smell and taste amazing, but they’re a nice way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit without eating turkey every day this week. 🙂

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip and Pecan Granola Bars- From Brown Eyed Baker

Makes 10-12 Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups rolled oats (Regular, not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Fresh grated is better!)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8×8 baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, pumpkin, honey, applesauce, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until the oats are fully coated. Add in the cinnamon chips and pecans.
  3. Scoop into the prepared baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars and serve!

Don’t be surprised the morning after when only crumbs are left!

– Rayna 🙂

(Sorry for the not-so-fantastic pictures, it was dark when I took photos :/)