Pumpkin / October Desktop Wallpaper

I'm a big fan of simplicity. There's a time and place for more than that, but not when it comes to my desktop wallpaper.

I went on a hunt for simple pumpkin desktop wallpaper and I found a whole bunch that were very busy or they looked like Halloween threw up all over them.

So, I made my own.

And now they it's available for download. Select from the sizes below to download your own.

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1680 x 1050
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Outrageously good pumpkin pie (paleo) pancakes

Please, don't let the "paleo" part scare you. 

Back in the summer we did a Whole30, which we loved (lost 25 pounds in 30 days). When it ended, we moved to a more "paleo" cooking style. I won't call it a diet. It just so happens that the food we eat and the food that makes us feel our very best (full of energy, focused, not bloated, happy) happen to align with paleo.  

With that said, you could easily adapt this recipe to include white flour, for instance, but I say, why change something that's already SO good! It's not necessary.

It's also not necessary to have seven, but I bet you'll want to. 

I could eat these every day...breakfast. lunch. and dinner.

Enjoy!

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Category:Breakfast

Whipped Pumpkin Nilla Graham Cup

Have you seen the pumpkin dip recipe, like everywhere?  Yeah me too and I finally caved and made some this past weekend for a little family get together. It was soooo good. Like beyond what you'd expect and it's crazy simple to make.

Mine was a little different, in that I used only 8oz of cool whip and a 1oz box of vanilla instat pudding. That's just what I happened to purchase, so I went with it.  It was delicious.

Since I had leftovers I decided to make another dessert with the whipped pumpkin dip. You could make these with smaller shooter type glasses, or even a martini glass.  

The bottom layer consists of about 6-7 nilla cookies, then the whipped pumpkin dip, then a layer of chocolate graham crackers, then more whipped pumpkin dip, another layer of chocolate graham crackers and on the top is mixture of cool whip, some vanilla extract and cinnamon. Chill for a few hours and then dive in. 

I could eat this every day.

Category:Mini Treats

10 DIY Pumpkin Wreaths

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't have a pumpkin wreath up yet. I've been going back and forth about what I want and when that happens, I end up becoming so overwhelmed with the options that I do nothing.  Anyone else get that way?

I did go shopping at the brand new Michael's that opened up in my small little country town, and I'm now well stocked for pumpkin wreath making. I'll share with you mine once it's done.  In the meantime checkout my round-up of festive pumpkin wreaths. 

  1. Yarn Ball Pumpkin Wreath - for the knitters among us..and those who like lil pumpkins. This is precious.
  2. Mini Pumpkins Wreath - very rustic and impressive.
  3. Pumpkin Mesh Wreath - fun and colorful
  4. Houndstooth Pumpkin Wreath - earthy and natural.
  5. Felt Pumpkin Wreath - I dig the look of things made from felt.
  6. Pumpkin Patch Wreath - moss and pumpkins just go together
  7. Heart Pumpkin Wreath - this one's rustic and playful
  8. Pumpkin Tulle Wreath - I'm a sucker for tulle
  9. Simple White Pumpkin Wreath - ah, there's something to be said about simplicity
  10. Non-Traditional Blue Pumpkin Wreath - and uniqueness. I love the blue here. It's pefect for you non-traditionals out there.

My favorite is Pumpkin Patch Wreath. I love the combo of the pumpkins with the moss.  What's your fav?

Category:Decorating

10 Simple No Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

Yes there's the old standby, carving them. But how could you cut open such a beautiful plump pumpkin? Every time you do, a kitten dies. 

Seriously, I've done the jack-o-laterns o-plenty (did you see what I just did there? yeah *groan*) and now my pumpkins call for something different.  Plus carving pumpkins is so much work. How has time for that?

There are soooo many ways to decorate without carving.  But I don't know how much time you have to dedicate to decorating a pumpkin. Being a pumpkin lover, I could spend a good deal of time, but I can recognize that we all aren't in that same boat.  So I've rounded up some of my favorites that are pretty quick and easy. I hope you enjoy.

  1. Paint - adorable chevron stripes, or regular stripes, or anythign you want.Glitter - probably a little messy, but so worth it. 
  2. Stud - quick and easy
  3. Fabric - possibilities are endless here -- think outside the ric rac
  4. Ribbon - this is oh so chic
  5. Lace - I think orange with black lace would look hot, so skip a step and don't paint
  6. Paper - bats, spiders, cats, the possibilities are endless
  7. Confetti - so fun, too fun. 
  8. Jewels - this is really pretty and feminine with a variety of patterns and options
  9. Buttons - as cute as you would expect
  10. Decoupage - I think we've crossed a line, and I'm loving it.

What's your favorite? 

Category:Decorating

Make your own pumpkin spice coffee

This isn't a fancy latte or creamer recipe.  It's simply pumpkin spice flavored coffee, using your favorite coffee blend.

I drink half-caff coffee and it's almost impossible to find half-caff with flavors. So I've started to experiment with making my own blends.  And of course, it made perfect sense to try a pumpkin spice flavor. It's simple and easy and you'll wonder why you haven't been doing this all along.

Are you ready?

Take 1/4 cup of coffee and add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Mix it up, add to your coffee maker, with 4 cups of water and brew. 

You can easily adapt the spices to your preferred "pumpkin" flavor.  I like a bit of a stronger flavor, so I'll increase each spice a little more or add a pinch more allspice. It's totally up to you.

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Category:Beverages

Slow Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Chili?  Not the biggest fan.  Until I tried this one.  It doesn't pack a lot of heat (which I like) but I'm sure you could amp it up a bit if heat is your thing.

The pumpkin takes a backseat here, but lends to the earthyness of the dish.  It's not sweet and your normal pumpkin flavor, which is a nice alternative. 

The best part? Throw it in the crockpot and forget about it.

I  made no changes to the original recipe, because it's simply that good. Check it out on Skinny Taste. You will NOT be disappointed. 

 

Category:Main Course

Brownie with Cheesecake Topper

This little brownie is to die for.  The richness of the brownie is offset nicely with the sweetness of the cheesecake topper.  I originally was going to make this more of a swirl, which you could easily do by mixing the cheesecake topper into the brownie mixture but I decided to leave them stacked.  

Grab a cup of milk or coffee and enjoy.

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Category:Mini Treats

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Thank god Monday is over.  Now that we got through it, we deserve some cake. 

Pure, decadent, chocolate cake. 

This cake doesn't have a strong pumpkin flavor; instead it lingers in the background. The leading role is the chocolate for sure, but the pumpkin is no doubt a supporting character; lending itself to create a rich and moist crumb that only enchances the chocolate in just the right way.  Paired with a Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese frosting, together it's a delight.  The bittersweet glaze is just the perfect touch to slice through the sweetness of the frosting and fullness of the chocolate cake.

I used these icing colors to tint the frosting orange, but you could certainly skip that altogether or go with any color. I could see a dark red for Christmas or Valentine's Day, or green for St. Paddy's.  Then all you would need to do is swap out the Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese frosting for any of your favorite frosting or buttercream.  The chocolate cake is so good it could just stand on it's own with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar or as cupcakes. The possibilities are endless and oh so delicious.

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Category:Cake

Pumpkin Spice Zeppole

Zeppole are pastries that are deep-fried dough balls, similar to doughnuts and can range from very light and airy to bread like, usually sprinkled or rolled in powdered sugar.  They are also sometimes filled with custards or cannoli pastry cream. The one's that remind me of home are a little crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  

For these I took a standard zeppole recipe and incoporated pumpkin for some of the water and then added in pumpkin spice for flavor.  I'd never made a plain zeppole before so I wasn't sure how these would come up.  Overall I'm quite happy with them. They have more of a bread-like consitency than light and airy, but they were still quiter delicious. 

I was going to sprinkle them all daintily with powdered sugar, but the way we get them in NY, is usually in a white paper bag filled with a bit of powdered sugar.  Then you shake 'em up. That's a zeppola!

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Category:Mini Treats

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donut Holes

These little bites of delicious are made using a mini muffin pan, which I have been dying to use because I love little treats. I also love cakey donuts.  This combines that love into bite sized portions. Of course that doesn't necessarily help when you eat 10 of them.

I made in the afternoon and brought them with us to my sister-in-laws for dinner at her new house. This meant that I could pawn most of them off on her, so I didn't have to consume 10 or more.

I love baking, but I just can not possibly consume everything I bake.  And my husband isn't big on baked things....he's more a chips and ice cream junkie.  He did like these though and required that we take a few home with us for later.  I'm sure you'll have no problem getting rid of these. They are too good.

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Category:Mini Treats

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

I wasn't sure if I wanted to make mini donuts or cupcakes today. I got a new mini donut pan that I really wanted to try out, but I went with cupcakes today.  You can't really go wrong with cupcakes. 

I found these in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book and had never tried them before.  The crumb is full of flavor and not too dense. When you pick one up, they are definitely heavier than a regular cupcake.

My go-to-frosting is a swiss meringue buttercream.  I personally love it because it's not too sugary.  But for these I choose a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream/Frosting.  It's not as sweet as a regular sugary frosting but it's not as light as a buttercream.  It's somewhere in the middle, which turned out really well for these cupcakes since they are so rich.

You must make these.  There's something about the browned butter and pumpkin...just to die for. Just the right mixture of spice and sweetness. 

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Category:Mini Treats

Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats

I mentioned previously that pumpkin is really good for dogs. Pumpkins are very rich in fiber and adding a few teaspoons of canned pumpkin to your dog’s food helps the digestion process. I won't go into all those details here, but feel free to read more about how pumpkin can be beneficial to you dog. I'm also a firm believer in all-natural food (see my other site TreeHuggingPets) so clearly a logical step here would be to make homemade dog cookies and treats.  

These use human grade ingredients, are easy and quick to make, plus you can enjoy them with your pup. 

 

 

I just happened to have a dog bone cookie cutter, but any cookie cutter will do. You could even just shape them freeform and bake them. Your dogs won't care one bit.  

The thing I love about this recipe is that you can use other fruits (except for grapes/raisins which can be deadly to dogs) and veggies. However if you do replace the pumpkin, you'll want to add about a 1/3 cup of vegetable oil.  I prefer to keep the pumpkin and swap out the apple for things like carrots, zucchini, pears, or bananas. 

 

 

I make mine on a thin side, because I have tow dogs that don't really chew. They are more whole-treat swallowers, so I find the thinner the better.  You could easily roll these out to be 1" or thicker if you prefer. 

 

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Category:Dog Treats

Pumpkin Soufflé

Last night Sean and I were watching Master Chef's Top 4 Compete episode.  In that episode, the elimination round required the two losing home chef's to bake not one, not two, but three different soufflé's. 

After the episode was over, I really wanted a soufflé. It was just all that talk of them on top of how delicious they all looked.

I'm not going to make three different soufflé's.  I'm not insane.  Instead one single Pumpkin Soufflé...which I've never made before. Actually, I don't think I've ever made any kind of soufflé before.

This one is pretty basic. Eggs, cream of tartar, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.  

The butter is used for your ramekins...apply a nice even coat and then sprinkle some sugar inside of each and coat all sides.  Once done, place these into the fridge until you are ready to fill them.

In a large bowl mix together the egg yolks, pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for about 5 minutes.

 

Be sure to let your dogs lick out the plain pumpkin cup. Oh is that just me? Well trust me, they will love you for it (plus plain pumpkin is good for their digestion).

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or you could do this by hand I suppose) beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form and then start adding in the 1/4 cup sugar a little bit at a time.  

Then fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture...little bit at a time. It should remain quite fluffy and light. 

Then take your ramekins out of the fridge and fill to the top. You might want to run your finger along the side of the dish to help the batter to stay within the edge of the ramekin. I like a more natural/rustic look, so I left mine alone.

Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

The tops should be golden brown and appear dry, while the center moves/jiggles just a little bit. 

I probably could have cooked this one for about a minute more. You can see the little wet spots on the side, but I didn't notice them until I was taking photos. 

Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and serve. 

The texture of these was really light and delicate but with a lovely sweet pumpkin spice flavor. The only problem was that I made too many and they don't keep well...so it's eat them now or never.  

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Category:Mini Treats

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Growing up in NY one of the staple foods that we ate was crumb cake, fresh from the bakery up the block.  We'd enjoy these thin little slivers of cake piled high with crumbs. It was probably one of my favorite desserts growing up. 

After we moved to NC, it was apparent that baked goods here are quite different than NY. And not just the bagels and cannoli's, but the cookies and cakes too. I had been on a search for a long time for a good NY Style Crumb Cake that was really so much more crumb than cake. I found that perfect recipe and adapted it into a rich pumpkin crumb cake. 

The first step is the crumb topping. 

A little bit of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon...and lots and lots and lots of butter.

Looking for a healthy crumb cake?  Not it.

We could stop right here and I'd be totally cool with it. 

But we must go on...

Now there's two ways that I make this cake.  The original recipe calls for a 12x17" jelly pan, where you spread the pumpkin batter out really thin and then pile on the crumbs.

That's a very acceptable way to make a traditional NY Style Crumb Cake, but I wanted to be a little different this time. So instead I got out a 9x13" baking pan and poured half the batter in.

Then half the crumbs went on top of that.

Then more batter.  This part can be a little tricky cause it looks like you won't have enough batter, but keep going. Eventually you'll get most of the crumbs covered.

Then the last of the crumbs are piled up on top. This is packed almost to the top of the pan and weighs about 10 lbs. 

Bake in a 325 degree pre-heated oven for about 60 minutes. If you go with the traditional style, only bake for 35-40 minutes.  

When the cake is done, the crumbs will have a nice golden brown color. I think I overbaked this one by about 5 minutes because the crumbs were a little on the hard side, so be sure to keep checking with a toothpick around the 50 minute mark. 

I loved the different textures here with the layered version. The crumbs and then the cake with softer crumb middle.  The pumpkin makes the cake a bit more moist which is different than a traditional crumb cake. 

Even Frosty enjoyed it....though he only got a little piece. I'm sure he would have been quite happy with all of it.

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Category:Cake

Pumpkin Bagels

Bagels.  How can you even think about making a bagel better? Make 'em pumpkin flavored.

This was a bit of trial and error recipe. I love bagels and have a really good NY Style Bagel Recipe, which I'm perfected. So the next logical step was to use that recipe as the base and start to experiment with pumpkin. 

These bagels are lighter than your normal, as the pumpkin provides an extra bit of moisture that regular water doesn't in the plain recipe. 

There really is no great trick to make the perfect round bagel. And personally, I prefer a little character to my bagel, so as you can see these are not perfectly uniform.

And once they hit the water, they blow up and become all sorts of funky looking.  But don't fear, they might be ugly now, but they get better.

After baking them, they carmalize a bit and get smoother. It's a wonderful thing. 

Add a schmear of cream cheese or two and enjoy all your hard work.

These babies will keep for about 5-7 days in a ziplock bag. You can also freeze them for a pumpkin bagel anytime. 

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Category:Bread

Pumpkin Pie Brioche

Bread!  We're going to start with bread?  

YES!  But don't be scared. Bread doesn't have to ensue panic.  It doesn't have to mean spending all day kneading and rishing and kneading and rising. Trust me.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (if you want to be healthy) or just regular Artisan Bread in Five Minutes is where it's at. 5 MINUTES?  Sounds crazy, right? It's not and it is the only way I make bread now. And I make a lot of bread.

To break it down, it goes a little something like this:

  • Less than 5 minutes to mix all ingredients and form into a wet dough
  • Let rise for 2 hours
  • Place in fridge for 5 days to 2 weeks (depending on the recipe - recipes with milk for example, will only stay for 5 days)
  • Cut off a piece of dough on baking day, form into a ball/loaf whatever (3-5 seconds) and let rise for about 30 minutes before baking
  • No kneading
  • No sitting watch
  • No fuss

So we're starting with bread!  And not just any kind of bread. Brioche.

Buttery, fattening, delicate, oh so delicious Brioche.

Not this one.  It is delicious, don't get me wrong, but this is the lighter version, using pumpkin to replace some of the not-so-good for you things, like all that butter. 

Pumpkin Pie Brioche
adapted from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

makes two 2 pound loaves

  • 4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast, or 2 packets
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp ginger*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1/4 tsp all spice *
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup neutral flavored oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree or one 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • egg wash
  • raw sugar for sprinkling on top

Ingredient Notes: Instead of the individual spices, I used 3 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice - adjust according to taste. I prefer a strong spice flavor.  Also the original recipe calls for 3 cups white whole wheat and 4 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, but I love wheat so I boosted the white whole wheat up and reduced the unbleached white flour accordingly.

Mixing & Storing the Dough:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a 5 quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Combine the liquid ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14 cup food processor (with dough attachment), or heavy duty stand mixer (with paddle). You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you are not using a machine.
  3. The dough will be loose, but it will firm up when chilled. Don’t try to use it without chilling it for at least 2 hours. You may notice lumps in the dough, but they will disappear in your finished products.
  4. Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  5. Refrigerate the dough in a lidded (but not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.  Freeze it in 2 pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow usual rest/rise times.

On Baking Day:

  1. Grease a brioche pan or an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch nonstick loaf pan
  2. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound piece of dough. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball (should take less than 10-15 seconds)
  3. Place ball in the prepared pan and allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour 45 minutes
  4. Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350F with a rack placed in the center of the oven. If you are not using a stone in the oven, a 5 minute preheat is sufficient.
  5. Just before baking,  use a pastry brush to paint the loaf’s top with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar (totally optional)
  6. Bake near the center of the oven for approximately 45 to 50 mintes. Brioche will not form a hard, crackling crust.  The loaf is done when it is medium brown and firm.  Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time
  7. Remove the brioche from the pan and allow it to cool (upside down) on a rack before slicing or eating

Preparation Notes:

Do not over blend the dough.  I find doing it by hand a lot better than using a machine because you won't be as inclined to over mix it.  You should only mix until the dough comes together and you don't see any dry flour. This is NO KNEAD dough, so the less you mix it up, the better.  This was hard for me to deal with in the beginning.

If you are using a nonstick pan, I would coat it with oil/butter/shortening. This type of dough, which is very wet, can become glue like and stick to even the best nonstick pans. If you do get a loaf that sticks, wait about 10 minutes after removing from the oven and it will usually steam free from the sides.  I've saved quite a few loaves by just being patient.

So after the bread is out of the pan, allow it to rest for about 5 minutes upside down.  This prevents the bottom from collapsing.  Then slice in and enjoy.  I added a dolop of low-fat cream cheese, but it's also great plain or with a little non-fat spray butter on top. Also a cup of coffee wouldn't hurt!

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Category:Bread