Tag Archives: Holiday Open House

Easy Pumpkin Pie Dip

If there’s one flavor that defines the holiday season for me (besides maybe peppermint for Christmas) it’s pumpkin. (Have I mentioned this before?) :)

I love pumpkin. I love it in pies, cakes, breads, lattes, fudge, you name it. But, those things don’t always fit in with my mission to stick with wholesome, natural, real foods. Pumpkin is very healthy and nutrient-rich, but all the sugar, whipped cream, and other things we muck it up with are most definitely not.

That’s why I love the days between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when pumpkins and winter squash are abundant, and super cheap! If you haven’t already visited your local farm stand, drop what you’re doing and go. NOW!

I did, and I brought ALL these beauties home for a mere $3 total! The Cinderella pumpkin alone should yield at least 16 cups. How’s that for maximizing your food dollar? :)

What? You’ve never cooked a pumpkin? You’re not alone. Most people I come across tell me that they would, but they don’t know how. Pumpkins (and all winter squash), with their hard, intimidating exterior can be offputting.  But, fresh pumpkin has SO  many benefits:

  • Your purchase can help support a local farmer.
  • Fresh produce hasn’t lost any nutrient content through processing.
  • No can! Cans can leach toxic things into your pumpkin, not to mention they have to be transported, recycled, blah, blah, yuck.

If these things are important to you, you’re in luck! It really is extremely easy to prepare a pumpkin for your favorite recipe! There are several ways, but here’s my method:

  • Wash pumpkin.
  • Split pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Cut halves into wedges if they are large.
  • Put pumpkin, cut side down, into a baking dish with about 1″ of water. (Check water and add more if it gets too low during baking.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.
  • Remove from oven, let cool. Scoop out flesh (use an ice cream scooper!) and use in your favorite recipe! (I like to put mine in the food processor for a quick whirrr if it looks fibrous. )

My favorite way to use our stash of fresh pumpkin puree? Pumpkin Butter!


Find details on my recipe here.

Keep pumpkin butter in your fridge throughout the fall and winter. You can use it on toast, in oatmeal, for baking, even over ice cream. And if you’re heading to or hosting a party, here’s the easiest holiday recipe ever!

Pumpkin Pie Dip

  • 1 cup pumpkin butter (the thicker, the better)
  • 8 oz neufchatel cheese

Combine ingredients in a bowl; whip until smooth. Add extra cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers. (For a little extra flair, serve dip in a tiny, hollowed out sugar pumpkin!)

*This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Is it healthy? Well, that’s all relative, isn’t it? Sure, it has a little fat and some sugar, but if you’re looking for the true taste of fall made with real ingredients, fresh produce and nothing artificial,  this might be right up your alley (and you’re probably supporting a local grower while you’re at it!  :D )

Put it on the buffet and watch it fly! Happy entertaining, everyone!

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Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food

After the Holiday Feast: Turkey Pot Pie

In the spirit of holiday giving, I bring you my favorite Turkey Pot Pie recipe! It is in keeping with my mission to feed my family real food while sticking to a budget and stretching your holiday dollar…and now I’m happy to share it with YOU!

Origin of this recipe: While my husband is totally down with our mission to eradicate processed food from our household, there are a few things he missed from his bachelor days. Those nasty $.69 pot pies from the freezer aisle rank at the very top of the list. One look at the ingredients list on those things and you’ll understand why I love this recipe. During the holidays, there are two things you can count on: a craving for comfort food and lots of leftover turkey. This warm, hearty pie takes care of both, with real, natural ingredients you can feel good about.

This is my own recipe, based on one I found years ago. I will not cite that one, however, because it was terrible and didn’t work at all. I ended up tossing all of my ingredients, and starting over with my own very modified version.

(Note: this recipe makes enough filling for 2 pies. Bake one now, and freeze the rest to toss into a crust later!)

ABCGP Turkey Pot Pie

  • Your favorite crust recipe for a double-crusted 9″ pie
  • 2 T butter
  • 2/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans (14.25 oz each) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups diced leftover turkey (use more or less if desired)
  • 1 cup fresh peas, steamed
  • 1 cup fresh corn, steamed
  • 3 large carrots, steamed and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Saute onions and butter in deep skillet until onions are translucent and starting to brown.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Whisk in one can of broth until there are no lumps. Pour mixture into pan, stirring to incorporate onions and butter. Add the other can of broth; blend.

Add all vegetables* and turkey to mixture in pan. Whisk in milk.

Allow mixture to bubble over low to medium heat until slightly thickened, approx 10 minutes.

Spray a 9″ pie pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Line with bottom pastry crust. Fill with 1/2 turkey mixture (place 1/2 of turkey mixture in freezer for future use, or make 2 pies.)

Place top crust on pie. Cut slits in top crust to vent steam. Trim and seal edges.

Bake at 425 degrees for 35–

40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes; serve.

* I use different vegetables each time I use this. It is especially good with fresh vegetables (including corn cut from the cob) but frozen work just fine, too. Try using leftover vegetables from your holiday meal! Or leave out the meat and double the veggies, vegetarian-style!

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Holiday Open House!

Are you starting to plan your holiday blog posts? I have some fun news!

As I told you all in a previous post, I have teamed up with the Blogmania 2011 Dream Team to help bring our blog readers some really incredible prize packages that will be given away during the HUGE Blogmania event in April. But …there will also be an event in November!

Here’s how it works:

We will be hosting a Holiday Open House from Nov 1 through Nov 10.

Every member of the Dream Team will be posting fun tips, recipes, gift suggestions, etc pertaining to holiday entertaining! Each will highlight the blogger’s own specific niche (Mine will focus on whole foods for Thanksgiving!)

The Big Bonus: There will be a prize package given away by the team’s “PartneRs” worth over $2000!

The Best News: You can join in the fun (and win BIG!) by writing a holiday post and linking it up! (If you post each day and link, you can enter up to 10 times!)

You get to share your expertise, pick up some holiday ideas, and increase your blog traffic!

What could be better?

(Answer: Winning! Seriously…..it’s a big one. Prizes will be announced closer to the date…I will list them right here. **Update: Our Sneak Peek says Oreck is sponsoring! Just grab the button from my sidebar to save the date and remember the details. It links to this post!)

****I know, I know. Some of these contests can get a bit confusing. I have a lot of trouble with that, and I often just bag it and try to find an easier one if the rules are too hard. That’s why this one is fun. Just write a holiday post (which you would probably do anyway) and link it up. Voila!

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Filed under The Everyday