May 17, 2011

101 Ways to Eat Pumpkin Mush, or An Extremely Out-of Season Post

I'm going to let you in on a little secret about my newest food obsession, but you have to promise one thing: don't tell my scale, ok? I've been eating so much of this stuff lately, but so far I've managed to keep it quiet during those morning visits with my friend/enemy/enforcer-of-truth the scale. So I think this can stay just between us, right?
A few weekends ago, I was wracking my brain (and my favorite food blogs) for a quick and simple but yummy dessert. I have kind of a thing about making dessert when people come over for dinner -- Dan and I usually work together to plan and cook the meal, but dessert is my area of expertise interest, and I set a rather high standard for myself. I feel compelled to make something new and impressive every time, and even though I tend to stress about it a little more than I should, the compliments and smiles and moans of pleasure (not that kind of pleasure) I am rewarded with make it so very worth it. The first thing that frequent visitors (ie Dan's brother and his girlfriend) ask when they walk in is "What's for dessert?" and I'd much rather eat only broccoli for the rest of my life than let them down. In the past two months, I've whipped up devil's food cupcakes, s'mores pie, sugar-free chocolate cupcakes, cake mix cookies, and carrot cake cupcakes
So on the weekend in question, I was short on time but determined to come up with yet another new and fantastic recipe. In my search, I came across a pumpkin recipe of some sort, and immediately my mind wandered back to last Thanksgiving and the incredible pumpkin cannoli I whipped up in a determination to make something with a "little more character" to go with my pumpkin pie. I've never met a pumpkin that I didn't like, so around that time of year I eat as much of it as I possibly can, and I had been searching at the time for something unique. When I first came across the recipe I was a little intimidated (maybe it was the authentic Italian sound), but this is, in fact, one of the simplest recipes you will ever find. So a few weekends ago, I thought about it and realized that no one coming over that night had tried these the first time around. I was sold.
Except I couldn't remember the ingredients. Or find the recipe on my phone at the grocery store. I remembered there being just a few components to the filling (and I knew one was pumpkin), so ended up buying several things I thought might be right. Luckily, I made it home with the vanilla pudding mix and heavy cream (and a tub of ricotta cheese that's still sitting in the fridge). The best part is that our grocery store sells "homemade" cannoli shells for almost nothing -- unfortunately I don't have the little aluminum tubes to make my own shells, although these are definitely on a wish list.
That evening, I heated and mixed up the pumpkin, pudding mix, and cream, stuffed the shells, sprinkled mini chocolate chips on the ends, and gave each plate a little side of whipped cream all in about 10 minutes (not including the time it took the filling to cool). Everyone loved them and I'm pretty sure they were even better this time around. The filling is similar to pumpkin pie but light and delicious, and it goes perfectly with a little bit of chocolate and the shells for texture. I wish I'd had the sense to take a picture, but these barely hit the plates before we were shoveling them in.
Around rolls the next morning, and as I searched for breakfast, my eyes fell on the extra filling sitting in the fridge. Yum. But as tempted as I was to fill another shell or two and have dessert for breakfast (don't judge), I compromised with myself and instead made a bowl of oatmeal, which I topped with a few spoonfuls of the pumpkin mixture. I wasn't sure how it would work, but I was a little excited to try, and It was one of the best breakfasts that I've ever tasted. I'm pretty sure heaven has a midnight buffet full of this stuff. And I immediately started brainstorming what else I could mix into this delicious... mush.
A few nights ago, I added it to vanilla ice cream with a little granola (and more whipped cream, of course):
remember... what my scale doesn't know won't hurt it... right?
Today for lunch, I mixed it up with greek yogurt and granola (no whipped cream though):
... and I'm pretty sure that's what I'll be bringing for lunch for the rest of the week. Heavenly! I'm also considering some kind of cream cheese and pumpkin mix, and spreading it on toast may have crossed my mind once or twice. Really, I'm pretty sure that there is no wrong way to consume this incredible stuff. I'm already on my second batch, and have stocked up on pumpkin for the next several months weeks. I should probably warn Dan that by the time his 4 day pass rolls around, his wife may be exhibiting a bit of an orange tinge (like this guy?). I'm sure lucky we added that whole "in sickness and in health and in times of pumpkin obsession" clause to our vows.



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