Not your mama’s pumpkin pie

This pie is technically called Ginger pumpkin pie with toasted coconut, but Brian insisted that I title this post Not your mama’s pumpkin pie. I spotted this recipe in the October 2011 Cooking Light. Having recently made a pumpkin pie with fresh roasted pumpkin, I wanted something different for our Thanksgiving.

Boy oh boy, did I made a good choice. Brian and I decided that this was the best pumpkin pie we had ever eaten. The ginger really ups the flavor and makes this pie something to write home to mom about. I can’t fathom making a plain old pumpkin pie ever again.

Adapted from Cooking Light Oct 2011:


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger(peeled, of course_
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine first 8 ingredients into a large bowl. Stir with whisk until smooth.

Pour into pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool for one hour then refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.

Slice and top with toasted coconut.

This pie is so easy to make and is amazingly flavorful.

Oyster stuffing

I’m not a fan of stuffing. I would have been happy to not have it at the meal, but Brian really wanted oyster stuffing. So, being the adventurous girlfriend that I am, I made the oyster stuffing. Still not sold on the stuff, but Brian loved it.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.


  • 1 loaf of wheat French bread, torn into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 5-6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil(if needed)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup oysters, shucked, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven 325F.

Spread bread cubes in shallow baking pans and bake until golden brown 25-30 minutes. Cool bread in pans, then transfer to a large bowl. Or if you’re like me, you can get busy other things and burn half of the bread cubes and have to bake another pan.


Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Turn as necessary. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towel and tear into small pieces, once cool. Leave bacon fat in pan.

If bacon renders less than 1/4 cup of fat, add enough oil to skillet to total 1/4 cup fat. Cook onions, celery, thyme, sage, garlic, salt and pepper in fat.

Stir occasionally, until vegetables are softened(8-10 minutes). Transfer to bowl with bread cubes, stir in bacon, parsley, butter and oysters. Combine well.

Transfer stuffing into a 2 quart shallow baking dish. Drizzle with broth. Bake, covered in middle of oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake about 30 minutes more(until browned).

Bacon wrapped turkey breast

Brian and I decided to make a turkey breast for Thanksgiving dinner. Neither of us are big fans of dark meat and we didn’t need a giant turkey for just the two of us.

My mom recommended making a turkey breast wrapped in bacon. This method lends to and extremely moist and tender meat with excellent flavor.


  • 3 pound turkey breast
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 8-9 slices center cut bacon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Clean turkey breast per instructions that came with turkey. Evenly coat entire breast with softened butter. Place turkey breast in roasting pan and drape bacon over entire turkey breast.

Cover roasting pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 80-90 minutes. Pull out of oven and leave covered for 20-30 minutes. Do not peek! This will make your turkey amazing.

Take bacon off turkey and discard. Slice. Eat.

This is pretty much a fool-proof way to make amazing turkey meat. If you make it like this, you will never have dry turkey again.

Cranberry sauce with orange zest

This year, I made my first every Thanksgiving dinner. I made it after coming home from work for 8 hours. I tried to halve some of the recipes and it was still way more food than the two of us could eat. Brian and I decided to stay in Chicago for the holiday and celebrate together. We started talking about what we wanted to have for dinner about 2 months ago. We originally talked about doing zero traditional Thanksgiving foods, but the holiday spirit caught up to us and since then I have been reading blogs, buying piles of magazines, choosing and nixing recipes right and left. It’s been a lot of fun. I will blog one a day for the next week, so you can start planning now for Thanksgiving next year.



  • 12 oz of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of one orange
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Squeeze juice of one orange into a one cup measuring cup. Fill the remainder of one cup measuring cup with water to total of one cup of fresh orange juice and water. Pour into a sauce pan. Add one cup of sugar into sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Add in 12 oz of cranberries

Simmer 10-12 minutes until cranberries start to burst, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon orange zest after sauce has formed.

Chill and serve with turkey. There is no other way to describe this other than zesty, tangy, sweet and delicious.

Thanksgiving pizza

Do you need a good way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers? Here’s a quick and easy recipe to make a dent into the food stashed in your fridge.

I used a left over frozen pie shell from Thanksgiving, but you could easily use a premade pizza crust or make your own. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix 3 tablespoons each of spicy dijon mustard, low-fat mayo and honey in a bowl. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix. Cube or shred about 2 cups left over turkey. Toss with mustard sauce until well coated.

Spread turkey mixture out evenly on crust. Sprinkle with a little pepper.

Top with 3-4 sliced mushrooms. Top with about a half cup of left over stuffing.

Top with swiss cheese (or provolone or mozzarella if you prefer).

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Dip in cranberry sauce, if you like.

This pizza is surprisingly delicious. It has a lot of flavor and feels a lot lighter than normal pizza, making it the perfect meal for the day after stuffing yourself.

A word on TSA and peanut butter

This past weekend I flew home to surprise my mom for her birthday(early) and to see my family since I won’t be home for Thanksgiving. Since my mom had expressed excitement about the chocolate coconut peanut butter, I decided to make her a big batch and take it home. Sadly, it got confiscated by O’Hare’s TSA. They informed me, since I obviously didn’t know, that peanut butter can’t be in your carry on. They offered to let me check my bag, but at that point on a Friday evening the security line was so long that I told the TSA agent that he was one lucky man to be winning a container of homemade chocolate coconut peanut butter.

The surprise turned out to be a huge success, we had a great weekend and my mom made me a fresh blueberry waffle for breakfast. Oh, the joys of being at home.

Pumpkin biscuits

Slightly sweet. Super moist. Very delicious.

After roasting some pumpkin I was on a new hunt for pumpkin containing recipes. I ran across this pumpkin biscuit recipe and thought they would go great with this autumn stew recipe.

Adapted from The Crepes of Wrath:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk(not the canned in Asian food aisle. Or use regular milk)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can do this with a pastry cutter or a food processor.

In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, molasses and honey until well combined.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined and moist.

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to about 3/4 inch thickness.

Using a 2 1/2 biscuit cutter, cut out 10-12 biscuits. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

Eat for breakfast or a snack with butter and honey for with a nice Autumn stew.

Autumn stew

Still needing to use some of the pumpkin that I roasted, I decided to tackle (never home)maker’s Autumn Stew.

I made several changes to the recipe. I kept doing taste tests as I was cooking it and it just kept tasting so starchy and bland. Finally, at the end I added some extra things to make it taste a little brighter and was content with the results. Addendum: The left overs were even better than the original product. The flavor was awesome the next day.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into coins
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes(I used one fire roasted and one regular)
  • 29 oz roasted pumpkin puree(or canned pumpkin)
  • 32 oz broth of choice(veggie, chicken or beef)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 1/2 cup corn(I used frozen from this past summer)
  • 1 sweet potato, diced and parboiled
  • 1 yukon gold potato, diced and parboiled
  • 1 cup of autumn spiced beer(I used Hoptober)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons wing sauce(I used Frank’s)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion until translucent. Add carrot, tomatoes, pumpkin and broth to pot.

 Bring to a boil. Immersion blend the soup, until it’s slightly chunky. Add chickpeas, beer, potatoes, peas, corn and spices.

Simmer for 45-60 minutes.

When ready to serve, stir in juice of one lime and wing sauce in pot. Scoop into bowls and serve with pumpkin biscuits or crusty bread.

Roasted pumpkin

Have you ever wondered how they get that pumpkin into a can? I recently had my first pumpkin roasting and pureeing experience. Easy enough.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Wash and dry the outside of the pumpkin.

Using a large, sharp knife cut the pumpkin in half.

Scoop out the seeds.

Place 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of a glass casserole pan. Next, place the pumpkin cut side down in the pan.

Roast for 45-60 minutes. Or until tender, use a fork to check.

Remove from oven. Scoop insides out, discard skin.

You can store as is in the refigerator or let cool to room temperature, place in blender and puree until smooth.

Use to make pie, smoothies, pancakes, muffins, bread etc…