Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Sometimes during the hectic holiday season, we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to make time for the things that are important to us, and get wrapped up in balancing holiday preparations, year-end work projects, and the usual plague of household chores. The past few weeks have been a bit more difficult to balance as Michael focused on defending his thesis (success!) and I had a number of work projects dividing my time unevenly. Last week I opted to postpone this blog post in favor of a little self care; working late always makes me want a relaxed evening by the time I make it home.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

One thing that always helps me during these periods is to ensure I’m eating well even when life is full. I always prep my lunches over the weekend and I try to prepare a couple breakfasts for my weight-lifting days as well. This makes my mornings a little more relaxed and provides a healthy and filling lunch even if I only take a fifteen-minute break to eat it.

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If you are also feeling a bit rushed in the mornings, this is a great option to prepare for the week ahead. Make enough jars for the week all in one go and they will be ready to eat as soon as you need them. I typically enjoy mine with a cup of hot cold-brewed coffee, a quick and healthy breakfast that is just the right amount before a weight-lifting session. I sometimes add a scoop (or half of one) of protein powder, but just as often I don’t. Know that it will change the texture slightly (and the taste, depending on your powder of choice) but it’s a great way to bump up your morning protein intake.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

 

Enjoy those fall flavors and give yourself an extra couple of minutes in the morning to enjoy a ready-to-eat meal. As an added bonus, making these in a jar gives them portability for those of you that don’t eat until you get to work, or want to wait until after your gym session. I like to make two on Sundays so my Monday and Wednesday breakfasts are all set. (One of these days I’ll share my Tuesday/Thursday recovery meal with you guys too.) If you’re making several servings, it works great to mix it all at once and then portion it into jars, but I don’t usually bother dirtying an extra bowl when I’m just making two at a time.

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PS – Not a pumpkin fan? I haven’t personally tried it but I’m pretty confident sweet potato puree would work just as well. Just make sure it’s blended smooth before you mix it into your pudding.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 – 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp maple syrup, to taste

1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree (I buy Libby’s)

optional toppings
1-2 Tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
extra drizzle of maple syrup
cinnamon

Directions

  1. In 12oz jar, whisk together milk, chia, protein powder (if using), spices, and syrup until completely combined.
  2. Gently stir in pumpkin until well mixed.
  3. Seal jar and place in the fridge overnight, or until ready to eat (up to one week).
  4. Enjoy plain or top with hemp hearts and/or toasted walnuts.
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Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

In the onslaught of pumpkin recipes that is autumn, there always seems to be a vast majority of them leaning sweet. Excepting the occasional soup, pasta, or chili, nearly all recipes (and certainly most of the baked goods) play with the sweet side of pumpkin’s uses. While I love a sweet pumpkin bread as much as the next girl, I was intrigued with the idea of going savory.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Much like the other breads, a few tweaks to the standard recipe resulted in just what I was going for. Definitely savory and with a prominent beer flavor, this one has gentle notes of pumpkin and sage that work well on their own or will pair nicely with your favorite fall chili.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

In addition to the subtle flavor change, the pumpkin adds a little moistness to the finished product. Lightly toasted, it works beautiful with butter or a spread, or to dip into soup. The savory beer flavor would be a lovely complement to a slightly sweeter squash soup, or make your chili extra hearty.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The pumpkin-ness of this bread will depend largely on your choice of beer rather than the amount of puree. I made this recipe twice with the same pumpkin beer and the results were only vaguely different. On the plus side, it makes it a great recipe to use up leftover pumpkin, but on the downside it means you need to choose your beer wisely. As someone that doesn’t actually consume beer in its beverage form, I don’t have a lot of experience in beer picking, but the particular beer I chose was not hugely pumpkin flavored on its own. Choosing one that that is heavier on the pumpkin aspect would likely result in a stronger flavor within the bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

 

I opted to top my bread with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. This is largely for show (the pictures are way prettier, amirite?) but it also adds a nice crunch and gives some expectation as to what the bread flavor might be.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If, like me, you get burned out on the overwhelming amount of sweet pumpkin recipes, tone it down several notches and make a cozy loaf of bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar1
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

12 oz pumpkin beer
1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin puree1

Garnish, optional
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried sage
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan. If desired, mix together seeds, oil, and sage until seeds are coated, and sprinkle on top of the batter.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or to accompany your favorite fall dinners.

Notes

There is not a great difference in flavor with this range, so just use whatever amount of pumpkin you need to use up. The larger amount results in a slightly more moist bread but that is the only noticeable difference.

If you do want a little sweeter bread, add up to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast for all but the hottest months of summer, and somehow I rarely get tired of it. My default is peanut butter and banana with copious amounts of cinnamon, but depending on the season and produce availability I’ll occasionally concoct new flavors. As a huge fan of pumpkin pie, blending that flavor into my morning meal seemed an obvious advancement.

I always buy pumpkin puree from Costco, in those delightful 3-packs of 29oz cans, which typically leaves me with some leftovers after making whatever recipe for which I’ve opened the can. Oatmeal is a great way to use up leftovers but also an excellent reason to open a brand new can. All the cozy feelings of pumpkin pie in a much healthier version to start your day.

I opted to complement the pumpkiny goodness with a homemade pumpkin spice mix, but you can absolutely substitute a store-bought pumpkin pie spice if you prefer. With my cinnamon obsession I like to tailor mine a bit more cinnamon heavy, and mixing up your own allows you to kick up or tone down the individual spices to suit your preferences. If you do use the store-bought version, I *highly* recommend twisting a tiny amount of freshly ground pepper into each bowl, as it really adds a little extra something. I patterned this off of my favorite pumpkin pie recipe, and I now consider it a necessity in all things pumpkin.

For protein boost, I stir in chia seeds and chopped walnuts, but these are completely optional additions. If you’re more of a pecan person, use those instead. Since pumpkin is not sweet on its own, a little maple syrup brings out the pie flavor we all know and love. I keep my oatmeal fairly low on the sugar content, but no judgement if you want extra maple syrup stirred in or drizzled on top.

The final touch is a dollop of heavy cream; this is non-negotiable in my personal opinion, as it really improves the texture, adds a wonderful creaminess, and balances the whole flavor profile. Half and half could be substituted in a pinch, but the heavy cream is the more delicious option. A single tablespoon won’t hurt you, as fat and protein are both things your body needs. (If you are vegan, you could probably substitute full-fat coconut milk, or whatever your favorite cream replacement might be. You *can* just leave it out, but it’s really better with something creamy stirred in.)

Start your fall mornings off right with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, plus all the happiness of a pumpkin pie. (But if you prefer to start your day with the real thing, you’ll get no judgement from me.)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Makes one serving

Ingredients

pumpkin spice mix
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of freshly ground pepper

oatmeal
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
1 T maple syrup
1-2 T chia seeds, optional
3/4 cup water
chopped walnuts, optional

1 T heavy cream (or half and half, or vegan alternative)

Directions

  1. In a small jar, combine spice ingredients. Stir or shake until well mixed.
  2. Layer pumpkin, chia, spice mix, walnuts, and oats in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Carefully pour in water and transfer to the microwave.
  4. Microwave on medium power for 4 – 5 minutes (stirring after 1-2 minutes), or until oats are softened and desired texture is reached.
  5. Stir in maple syrup and cream, then serve immediately.

Notes

You can also substitute store-bought pumpkin pie spice, if you prefer.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

For years and years I’ve used the pumpkin pie recipe found on the Libby’s cans of pumpkin puree. It always turned out consistently delicious so I never really thought to try another recipe.

This was a mistake.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie {{Baking Bytes}}

Last year my mom linked me this recipe and was like “make this immediately and ditch the usual recipe.” She was quite right! This pumpkin pie is amazingly dense, superbly flavorful, and has zero of that occasionally slightly watery texture I sometimes noticed with the Libby recipe. I don’t often use qualifiers like “best” or “perfect” in my recipes, but trust me when I say Sally definitely figured this one out.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie {{Baking Bytes}}

Deliciously creamy and superbly spiced, this is sure to be your new favorite pumpkin pie recipe and a go-to staple for the upcoming holidays. M is not much of a pumpkin fan, so I’m looking forward to having this whole pie to myself over the upcoming holiday weekend. Don’t worry, I’ll make him a pie he can enjoy too; I’m not a complete monster.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a rich pie but very smooth, and goes best with homemade whipped cream and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. I like my pumpkin pie cold, but it was also excellent at room temperature if that is your preference. Like every pumpkin pie, it works just as well for breakfast as it does for dessert, and I’m sure after your first piece you’ll already be planning your second.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie {{Baking Bytes}}

It does require some overnight chilling, so make sure you plan your Thanksgiving preparations accordingly. This pie could easily be started Tuesday and finished Wednesday, leaving Thursday free for the items that can’t be made ahead. As long as you have fridge space (or a cold garage) you are good to go. I will say that if you are planning to add the pie crust cutouts (which are super easy and really fun), you should wait until just before serving to do so in order to avoid sogginess.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie {{Baking Bytes}}

Try out your new favorite pumpkin pie recipe this year, and don’t forget to thank Sally.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes one deep-dish pie

Ingredients

pastry for a double-crust pie (see below)

15 oz pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar (light works great too)

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
dash of ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. The night before: in a large bowl whisk pumpkin, eggs, and brown sugar until completely combined. Add cornstarch, salt, spices, cream, and milk, and whisk until combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day: if you haven’t already, prepare your favorite pie dough, or use the recipe linked above. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Roll out slightly more than half the dough and gently place into your pie plate. Trim edges to about 1″ then fold over and crimp as desired. Optionally, sprinkle edges of pie crust with cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Briefly whisk filling then pour carefully into the prepared pie plate. If you have extra filling, you can bake it separately in a glass dish (no crust necessary) next to the pie.
  5. Optional: With remaining pie dough, roll out to about 1/8″ thick (or slightly thicker) and cut leaves or other designs. Place on a lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  6. Bake leaves for about 20 minutes, they should be golden in color. Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. Bake pie for one hour. Pie should still be jiggly in the middle but look solid otherwise. To avoid cracking, turn off the oven and open the door but leave the pie in there while it cools down a little. Once it has settled (hopefully without cracks), move it to the counter to cool completely, at least four hours. I prefer pumpkin pie cold, so I placed mine in the fridge after two hours.
  8. Just before serving, decorate with pie crust shapes. (Eat any extra shapes, or serve them in a small bowl next to the pie). Top slices with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers.

No-Fail Pie Crust

Makes 2 deep-dish pie crusts

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp shortening
5-7 Tbsp ice water

Directions

  1. Measure shortening into a small bowl and place in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Pour water and a few ice cubes into a bowl or cup and set aside. (I typically pour 8 oz of water and then use what I need.)
  2. Mix flour and salt in a larger bowl. Using a pastry blender (or two table knives), cut in the chilled shortening until the pieces are pea-sized.
  3. One tablespoon at a time, add water into mixture and gently mix with your pastry blender (or knives). Repeat until all is moistened and the dough will stick together as one ball, about 6 tablespoons. Divide dough in half and gently roll each half into a ball.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten one ball of dough into a disc. Gently roll into a circle large enough for your pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate, and trim to a half-inch larger than the rim. Fold pastry under itself and crimp, if desired.
  5. Roll out second ball of dough for a second pie, or cut into strips or decorations as desired.

Pumpkin Pie Jack-o-lanterns

Fall actually hit Montana while I was gone so I woke up to frost this morning for my bike ride to work. It was glorious. I just returned from my whirlwind half marathon tour yesterday so I am pretty tired, but very glad to be home. Three great races and lots of fun seeing new places and old faces in all four Lower 48 timezones. This week I have a bonus post for you! I actually thought of this idea last year, but never got around to implementing it, so I decided I should definitely get it done this year.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies and I will happily eat it all year round. Unfortunately M doesn’t super care for it so mostly I just make it in the fall when I don’t mind having it for breakfast all week (yum). It’s a traditional dessert this time of year, which can be boring (according to some) so I thought I’d try giving it a new package.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

I used my normal pie crust recipe and pie filling recipe, and then used mason jar rings to form little pies. The jack-o-lantern faces make them great for Halloween but with a different decoration (like the leaf cutouts below) they’d be great for any fall potluck. They are way easier to serve and eat which makes them great for when you aren’t having a sit down dinner. They do have a high crust to filling ratio, so make sure you use a crust recipe that you like; I have mine linked below if you don’t already have a favorite.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

They are a little time consuming, especially if you cut out faces, but not difficult and I’d say pretty beginner friendly. I got 9 out of my recipe but that could vary based on how thin you roll your crust and how many times you are able to reuse the scraps. (I wouldn’t recommend more than once or twice as the dough gets very tough the more you handle it. Tip: you can drip a little extra water to help the scraps stick together again to re-roll.)

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

Your usual pumpkin filling, yummy pie crust, and a dusting of cinnamon sugar makes a great treat that’s easy to portion control and is a wonderful whipped cream vessel. The cuteness is an added perk. =)

If you need a dessert for your Halloween parties this weekend, give these a try.

Pumpkin Pie Jack-o-lanterns

Makes about 8 double-crust handpies

Ingredients

Pastry for double-crust pie

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch ground cloves

1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

cinnamon & sugar mixture (optional)

Other Supplies

8+ wide-mouth jar rings
1 small-mouth jar ring with lid
1/4 cup of water or one egg white

Directions

  1. Line a cookie sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or wait a bit since some of these steps can be time-consuming.)
  2. Whisk together sugar, spices, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir in egg, pumpkin, and whipping cream until combined. Set aside.
  4. Take half of your crust pastry and roll it out slightly thinner than you normally would. Use a 4″ biscuit cutter to cut out as many rounds as possible. Repeat with remaining pastry.
  5. For jack-o-lanterns, cut faces into half of the unbaked pie crust circles. (Totally optional, of course.)
  6. Place appropriate number of wide-mouth jar rings (not lids!) upside-down on your prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. (Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit if you haven’t already.)
  7. Using the small jar ring with lid inside, gently place one pie crust circle on top of it (yes it will hang over the sides, that’s important.)
  8. Carefully spoon about 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture into the center of the pie crust, such that it is contained by the jar lid ring.
  9. Brush the circumference of the circle with water or egg white, and top with one of your jack-o-lantern faces, pressing the edges together to seal completely.
  10. Gently remove the sealed pie from the small ring/lid and transfer to one of the wide-mouth rings such that it is centered and the edges are supported by the ring. Your pumpkin may overflow a little, but with practice you’ll get better.
  11. Repeat steps 7-11 with remaining pastry and pumpkin mixture. If you have a decent amount of pumpkin mixture remaining, pour it into a (sprayed) ramekin or small glass baking dish and bake the same as the pies.
  12. If desired, sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixture over the pies (I do this with pretty much all my pies), then bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a small knife inserted into the pumpkin mixture comes out clean.
  13. Let cool completely, then serve with whipped cream.