Three years ago today I started Bella Eats. This little site was much different then, dedicated to a healthy diet and my progress in training for a 10-mile race. Today I bring you cupcakes. My, how things have changed. :)
Thank you to all of you still here from that first year, and all of you who have found me along the way. I can't wait to see what year four has in store!
Frosting Ingredients (you may want to doule this if you like a lot of frosting. this recipe makes enough for a decent dollop on each cupcake)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, sugars, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Divide the batter among the prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
Cream the butter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and beat on medium high until fluffy. Scrape the bowl again. Add the maple syrup and beat until well combined.
Across the nation, many dining tables have looked like this over the last week:
Today, Brian and I will join a few friends and make a similar mess as we celebrate Halloween and Bella Eats' First Birthday! There will be pumpkin carving and fondue making, apple dipping and kettle corn popping along with a tad bit of hard apple cider drinking. We'll front porch-sit and hand out candy bars to costumed kids (from our friends' house, as the kiddos seem to skip our street every year) as we, or maybe just I, marvel at how quickly the last year has gone by.
I find it pretty hard to believe that it has been one year since I, on a whim one Friday evening, decided to start Bella Eats. How time flies. Thank you to all of my old friends, those of you who stood by even after the big change from food diary to recipe blog. Thank you to new friends, those who found their way here via Tastespotting, Foodgawker, and other esteemed food blogs. Thank you to my family and local Charlottesville friends, many of whom have only recently learned of Bella Eats because for so long I was too shy to share it with you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing your comments. Thank you for being here.
For you, dear readers, I have a recipe that you simply must make this Autumn. In fact, I hope that you will read this in time to carve out a spare pumpkin today, on Halloween, to fill with strong swiss cheese, bread and heavy cream. Its a grown-up spin on a classic favorite, warm and gooey and eye-rollingly good. It is absolutely a dish that one shares with friends - nothing this good should be kept to oneself.
Enjoy, and have a Happy Halloween!
Don't forget to save your seeds. They are delicious toasted with a dash of cayenne pepper for a little kick.
Pumpkin Fonduefrom Gourmet, November 2008serves 8 as an appetizer or side dish - the recipe is easily cut in half if you want to use a smaller pumpkin
1 (7-lb) orange pumpkin
1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (6 oz)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 oz)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 450*.
Toast baguette slices on a baking sheet until tops are crisp (bread will be pale) for about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Cut a 3-inch diameter hole from the top of the pumpkin. Scrape the seeds and any loose fibers from the interior of the pumpkin with a large spoon. Save the seeds for another purpose if you wish. Season the inside of the pumpkin with 1/2 tsp of salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mixed together the grated cheese.
Place a layer of toasted bread in the bottom of the pumpkin. Cover with about 1 cup of grated cheese and 1/2-cup of cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese and cream until the pumpkin is filled to 1/2-inch below opening. Make sure to use all of the cream mixture, but you may have some bread and cheese left over.
Cover pumpkin with top and place in foil lined roasting pan. Rub the outside of the pumpkin with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 60-90 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, making sure to scrape some pumpkin flesh into bowls with the bread/cheese mixture.
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 375*.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread seeds over foil and spray with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir with spatula and spread seeds evenly across sheet.
Toast seeds until golden brown, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes.
...and back to reality. The hubb and I head back to Virginia tomorrow (sniff sniff) and enjoyed the last of our meals with my family today. The food and company have been fabulous, but I think we're going to need a week of detox to recover from all of the decadent foods we've been consuming! Today wasn't too bad, but I did manage to fit 3 pieces of Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake in. Here's today's eats...
Breakfast: Another fabulous smoothie, this one heavy on the pineapple, and a piece of the pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake.
Lunch: My momma and I went to Olive Garden while our hubbs were out fishing. Olive Garden is a tradition for us...we loaded up on the all you can eat salad, soup and breadsticks, my fave! We also had calamari to start. It was a fantastic lunch! :)
Snack: Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (unbelievable, I know).
Exercise: I went for a run this evening! It was so much more pleasant at 5pm than at 9am...we had a great breeze coming off the ocean and the sun was set behind the trees and houses. I only did about 2-1/2 miles running with some walking warm-up and cool-down. I'm REALLY proud of myself...I ran 4 times while on vacation and am planning a run tomorrow morning before we get on the road. Last year at Christmas, even though I was training for the 10-miler then too, I only managed to run once on our week-long vacation. Yay for progress!!! :)
Dinner: The hubb and I brought my stepfather sausages from our favorite farmer in Virginia, Babes in the Wood. We grilled them up and had leftover Indian potatoes and cauliflower, cranberries, and a huge salad.
I had 1/2 a hot italian link and 1/2 a bratwurst link. We also had some homemade nectarine preserves on top of the sausage after I took this picture, which was very tasty. My stepfather gave me a jar to take home to Virginia so you'll be seeing it prominently featured I'm sure...
Dessert: Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (they are tiny pieces, but this is really getting embarassing...).
After dinner my stepfather taught me how to can preserves!!! I'm so excited, I want to be able to can this summer when we get our garden going again. Tonight we made the cranberry "ketchup" I made last week (email me if you want the recipe) so that he could teach me his methods.
So I'll be on the road a good part of tomorrow and Wednesday. We've decided to get a hotel on the way back to break up the trip a bit (yay!) so depending on internet availability I may or may not have a Tuesday evening post. Rest assured, the eats won't be all that interesting as we hit Subway on our way up the east coast... :) I am going to be thinking about some resolutions during the long car ride so stay tuned for some breathtaking, soul-defining thoughts when I'm back in VA......kidding. :) What are you all thinking about for New Year's Resolutions?
First of all, thank you all for being so supportive! You are all sogreat, I really appreciate your kind thoughts and suggestions for ways to work with phyllo dough! I meant to post a question asking if anyone had any suggestions, but I was so tired last night when I posted that I completely forgot. Thanks for offering some up anyway! :) I guess I no longer see it as a complete disaster because I still like the original concept, I just need to execute it in a better way. The flavors were great together, so I'm not ready to give up on it yet!
Now, just to be clear, I didn't rush on to do a second BSI just because my first failed. I would have just submitted the first but I've been wanting to try and "healthify" a classic favorite of mine and Brian's for awhile now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Thank you Lindsay for choosing pumpkin!!!
I give you...
Pumpkin Cranberry Bread!!!
This has been a favorite in our household for a few years now. As soon as the leaves start to change and the air cools down I am ready for this bread. It has become a classic fall recipe for me and, until last night, has been listed under my "dessert" recipe folder rather than "breakfast" or "bread" because of its high sugar and fat content. I've been inspired by the recipes onsweet + natural, and have really wanted to try and "healthify" this classic favorite of mine for awhile now.
I replaced all of the sugar in the original recipe with a combination of Fruit Sweet and applesauce. Fruit Sweet (FS) is an all-natural sweetener made from concentrated pear and pineapple juices. The ratio I use (recommended by the company, Wax Orchards) is to substitute 2/3 FS for the amount of sugar in the recipe. They recommend to reduce all other liquids by 1/3 the amount of FS used.
I removed all added fat from the recipe, turning 4 eggs into 4 egg whites and completely eliminating the vegetable oil required, figuring the added liquid from the FS and the applesauce would keep the bread moist enough. I also replaced the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (WWWF).
The result? I think these numbers speak for themselves...
Original (per one slice of bread)
calories: 253 total fat: 5.6g sat fat: .6g carbs: 48.5g fiber: 1.6g sugar: 30.9g protein: 3.8g"Healthified" (per one slice of bread)
calories: 116 total fat: .4g sat fat: 0g carbs: 25.7g fiber: 3.5g sugar: 10.1g protein: 3.6gPumpkin Cranberry BreadNOTE: this recipe is for 2 loaves of breadIngredients:
2 cups pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup applesauce
1-1/4 cups Fruit Sweet
4 egg whites
4 cups WWWF (I think this should be reduced to 3-3.5 cups, the dough was a bit too dry)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two standard-size loaf pans.
Blend together the pumpkin, applesauce, Fruit Sweet and egg whites.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and spices.
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together until blended. Do not overmix!
Chop cranberries and fold them into the dough.
Pour dough into loaf pans and bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before releasing. Cool on rack out of pans for 20 minutes before slicing.
I am beyond pleased with the result. The bread is sooooo good, and so much better for you than the original!!! Its not too sweet, and the cranberries add a wonderful tartness. Brian also loved the flavor, but we both felt like the bread is a bit too dense. The flour amount in the recipe is pretty high, so I think I will try reducing it to 3-3.5 cups next time I make it. Does anybody know if whole wheat pastry flour might be fluffier than WWWF?
For breakfast this morning I had two pieces of my new bread smeared with almond butter. Yummy combo!
Paired with a cup of plain Oikos topped with fresh raspberries and sliced almonds.
And now I am off to yoga! I'm sorry I haven't commented on blogs in the last day or so...I promise I've been reading!!! Its been a whirlwind of activity around here getting ready for our Turkey Day guests, so I've been struggling just to get my posts uploaded. I'm hoping to have some catch-up time tonight!
Enjoy your Sunday!!! I can't wait to see all of the BSI entries tonight! :)
Thank you ladies for your kind thoughts regarding my BSI and your faith in me in the kitchen! I hope I don't disappoint you but, BSI pumpkin attempt #1 was definitely a disaster. However, my goal for myself with these BSI entries is to try something new for me, which I did, and I feel like I learned something, which is good. So that is why I am still going to share the recipe + experience with you all (but Lindsay, please don't submit it! I have another recipe that I am going to post in the morning...). So, here goes.
Pumpkin Creme "Disasters"Ingredients:
8 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 roll of frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 apples, cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp turbinado sugar
Combine all pumpkin cream ingredients together.
Combine apples with cinnamon and turbinado sugar in separate bowl.
(this step has many modifications as evidenced by the photo above, but this is what seemed to work best...) Unroll phyllo dough. Take two sheets and lay them on cutting board. Cut in 1/2 down the length of the sheets. Spread pumpkin cream across one of the strips of dough. Pile a couple of spoonfuls of apple mixture at one end, and roll phyllo dough to form a little packet.
Place packets on greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg white (I used butter, which was not good. I think an egg white would be better.) and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 375* for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
pumpkin cream cinnamon apples
They all look different because I was having a lot of trouble with the phyllo dough and was trying different methods of wrapping/rolling. I realized that what I really needed was puff pastry (lesson #1) and that phyllo dough doesn't work well with more liquid fillings because it gets soggy and the filling seeps through (lesson #2). I was pretty bummed because the flavor was good, the form however was not. This photo pretty much sums it up...
Oh well. I'm over it now and have moved on to a new BSI recipe which I will post tomorrow. It satisfies another goal of mine, the "healthify classic favorites" challenge I set up for myself last weekend, so I'm pretty excited about it.
On to the food diary.Dinner: Brian and I met a friend at our favorite Indian cuisine restaurant in town, Maharaja (sorry, no website). I LOVE Indian food. This restaurant gets me so excited because I know I am always going to have a great meal there with plenty of leftovers for the next day. Our meal tonight definitely brought the food dance out of me (reserved only for stellar eating experiences.) Sadly, the pictures are pretty awful (iphone + dark restaurant = grainy photos). I'll have better ones tomorrow when I eat my leftovers for lunch.
I had the Dal Saag (lentils and spinach in a cream-based sauce) and Vegetable Masala (veggies and chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce) along with 2 pieces of naan (nobody can resist the naan!) and some white rice.
I had double what you see on my plate below, about 1/2 the total entree you see in the picture above.
And 1/2 this glass of wine. Brian finished the rest for me...
We went to Whole Foods afterwards, nice and full so we didn't buy the whole store. We did manage to spend a stupid amount of money per usual... It really got me thinking about all of you bloggies that are participating in the Thanksgiving Challenge. I am SO IMPRESSED with all of you and can't wait to see your final numbers. When we got home I looked through our freezer and pantry and realized that we have A LOT of food. I am hoping to next month adopt a similar challenge for Brian and I, even if just to cut our grocery bill in 1/2 for the month. It seems like great timing to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry before going home to Florida for Christmas, and the perfect time of year to be saving money and giving thanks for what we have.
Here's our loot for the trip. We decided to do a separate Thanksgiving trip on Tuesday (hello crowds!!!) to get the veggies and other miscellaneous items we need for the big dinner.
whole wheat bread for bri's lunches
whole wheat pizza dough (should be in the newbies)
clif mojo and clif z-bars (we got clif builders for Brian b/c he LOVES them)
fancy cheese for fancy grilled cheese sandwiches one night
canned beans for chili
canned tomatoes for tomato soup
raspberries (not in season here, but 2 for 1...can't resist that!!!)
whole wheat pizza dough
cinnamon roll Larabar! (still no pb cookie or coconut!!!)
adriatic fig spread!!!
new tea - honey vanilla chamomile for night time and nutcracker sweet for work
I'm sipping on the honey vanilla chamomile right now and it is yummy! It also means that I'm about ready for bed...chamomile is the perfect evening relaxer for me. I will post my official BSI entry in the morning, along with some preliminary Thanksgiving plans! I can't wait to hear what you all are doing for Thanksgiving!