A Very Autumn Meal: Apple Acorn Squash

Acorn squash!

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

After purchasing this lil’ guy at the grocery store at the beginning of October, he was relegated to the “produce basket” for several weeks.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and Veggies

I didn’t want to disturb him because he added such a nice touch of fall flare to the mix. (Looks like it’s time to use those bananers, huh?)

Alas, D-Day for the squash arrived last night.

Ahhhh

Ahhhh

I’ve never prepared an acorn squash and I didn’t even realize they were used for anything other than autumn decoration until this year! I turned to my favorite resource (Google) to figure out how to prepare the squash.

First, as instructed by the MayoClinic’s Web site, I pierced the squash all over with a knife to allow steam to escape when I microwaved it on high for five minutes (turning at three minutes).

This made it suuuuper easy to cut into the acorn squash, unlike any experience I’ve had cutting into it’s spaghetti or butternut brothers.

Once the acorn squash was halved, I removed the seeds.

Lots o' Seeds

Lots o' Seeds

I Don't See Any Seeds

No Mo' Seeds

Because I didn’t just want to eat plain squash for dinner, I turned to autumn’sĀ  favorite fruit to fill the squash – the apple.

Ambrosia Apple

Ambrosia Apple

I sliced the apple with my handy-dandy apple slicer before cutting it into chunks and topping it with brown sugar.

Apple Slices

Apple Slices

Chunk-a-Chunk of Apple

Chunk-a-Chunk of Apple

Because Apples Apparently Aren't Sweet Enough...

Because Apples Apparently Aren't Sweet Enough...

I distributed the apple mixture between the two halves of acorn squash.

Apple Acorn Squash

Apple Acorn Squash

I placed the apple-stuffed squash back in the microwave for another three minutes until the apples were warm, but still slightly crisp.

When the squash was done, I plated one half and smooshed it out, topping the squash with lots of cinnamon.

Cinnamon Apple Acorn Squash

Cinnamon Apple Acorn Squash

It was delicious!

About halfway through my squash, Ryan casually mentioned he thought it would taste good with syrup, so I added light syrup to the mix and WOW. My fiance is an acorn squash genius.

For lunch today, you can bet I smothered my leftovers with syrup!

Leftover Lunch

Leftover Lunch

This dinner and lunch was yummy and I’m excited to make it again, adding even more fun additions.

Possible recipe additions:

  • Pecans
  • Honey
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Peach Slices
  • Pear Slices
  • Craisins or Raisins

All in all, this was a tasty (and festive) meal!

Streusel Topped Pumpkin Loaf

Tomorrow night Ryan and I are heading out to an annual pumpkin-carving hoopla at our friends’ apartment.

Pumpkin carving for our twosome is the same every year… Ryan cuts into the pumpkin and removes the seeds (which we save and I later bake) and I carve the face! Here’s a picture of one of our previous creations:

Me, Ryan and Pumpkie

Me, Ryan and Pumpkie

Since the wonderful hostess Merri has promised homemade chili at the event this year, I wanted to bring something festive and tasty to share.

After browsing the internet for pumpkin-inspired breads, desserts, cheesecakes and more, I stumbled upon a recipe for Crumble Top Pumpkin Muffins and knew I had a winner.

Crumble Top Pumpkin Muffins

Crumble Top Pumpkin Muffins

As if the crumbly streusel topping wasn’t reason enough to make these muffins, I have a box of Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix chillin’ in the pantry dying to be used in a delicious recipe. I think I found a winner!

Though the recipe calls for muffins, I decided to make a pumpkin loaf because I figured it would remain fresher than individual muffins might since we won’t be enjoying the loaf until tomorrow night.

Here are all the goodies required to make this bad boy:

Pumpkin Loaf Ingredients

Pumpkin Loaf Ingredients

Following the recipe (which I cut in half), I combined the Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix, oats, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. (I omitted the raisins because I didn’t have any on hand.)

Dry Mix

Dry Mix

In a separate bowl, I combined the pumpkin pie mix and egg before stirring it into the oat mixture.

Pumpkin and Egg

Pumpkin and Egg

Talk about easy-peasy! The loaf was nearly complete and I poured the batter into a lovely lil’ disposable loaf pan, so we may leave any remains with our wonderful hosts.

Lots of Batter

Lots of Batter

You Know I Licked That Bowl CLEAN

You Know I Licked That Bowl CLEAN

Yummy Batter

Yummy Batter

To create the streusel topping, I combined flour, sugar and cinnamon before slicing in the butter to make the mixture crumbly.

Streusel Topping, Pre-Crumbled

Streusel Topping, Pre-Crumbled

Crumbly Streusel

Crumbly Streusel

After topping the loaf with the streusel, I let it bake for approximately 35 minutes.

Pre-Cooked Pumpkin Loaf

Pre-Cooked Pumpkin Loaf

The aroma was unbelievable. We could hardly resist having a slice when I pulled it out of the oven.

Done!

Done!

Since we’re saving it for tomorrow, I cannot speak on how it tastes, but if the batter and smell are any indication, I think we’ll be swapping Halloween high-fives! šŸ™‚

Festive Fall Loaf

Festive Fall Loaf

Crumble Top Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

Ingredients
  • 4 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1 cup raisins, (optional)
  • 2/3 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (30 oz.) pumpkin pie mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • Streusel topping (recipe follows)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 400Ā° F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.

COMBINE baking mix, raisins, oats, sugar and cinnamon in large bowl. Combine pumpkin pie mix and eggs in medium bowl; mix well. Stir into oat mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle with Streusel Topping.

BAKE for 14 to 16 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans to wire rack; cool slightly. Serve warm.

Streusel Topping

COMBINE 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly.

Makes 24 muffins with 180 calories each.

Floats, Frapps and a First

Yesterday

Ryan and I were still in vacation mode throughout the day yesterday. Ryan even refused to unpack until 8:30 last night so the vacation wouldn’t be officially over until the evening. šŸ™‚

Since the vacation mindset still plagued us, we decided to keep the yummy vacation eats going and enjoy two ice-cold favorites: a light pumpkin spice Frappuccino for me and a root beer float for Ryan.

Light Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

Light Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

I ordered this while we were running errands at a nearby outlet mall and the icy cold drink definitely cooled me down… a little too much! I was freeeeezing in every store for an hour after I finished the delicious drink.

Made Just For Me! :)

Made Just For Me! šŸ™‚

Shocking news of the month: Ryan and I left the outlet mall and he was the only one who bought anything! Victory!!!

We stopped by the grocery store on the way home where Ryan was instantly drawn to the ice cream freezers. He picked up a pint of vanilla ice cream and a two liter of root beer to make a good old fashioned root beer float.

Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream

Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream

Cold and Creamy

Cold and Creamy

Mug Root Beer

Mug Root Beer

Naturally I enjoyed quite a few spoonfuls of his vanilla ice cream before it made it into the float. šŸ˜‰ I’m not a huge root beer float gal. I like ’em, but I prefer milkshakes about 1,000 times more.

Root Beer Float

Root Beer Float

Close Up

Close Up

We sure do love our ice-creamy treats in this household. šŸ™‚

Today

My day started on a good note when the morning BodyPump instructor heard that Ryan and I recently got engaged and gave me a big ol’ hug at 5:40 a.m.Ā  Hugs that early in the morning feel great! Other women in the class were also excited, so I started the day with a big smile on my face (that quickly disappeared as soon as we started doing squats. šŸ˜‰ Ugh! )

Last night I planned ahead for my breakfast and made my first attempt at baked chips! I baked a Joseph’s lavash bread into cinnamon sugar chips for dipping into my Greek yogurt.

Lavash

Lavash

I cut the lavash into chips with kitchen sheers and placed the chips on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I then lightly sprayed the chips with cooking spray and topped them with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.

Lavash Chips Pre-Cooked

Lavash Chips Pre-Cooked

I baked them at 350 degrees until the edges were slightly brown and the lavash bread became slightly crispy.

Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Cinnamon Sugar Chips

The chips came out perfectly… very tasty! They reminded me of cinnamon sugar pita chips.

For breakfast today, I used the chips to dip into my Greek yogurt. I stirred freshly sliced strawberries into the yogurt and then scooped ’em out with the sweet lavash chips.

Dippin' Chips

Dippin' Chips

Monday Breakfast

Monday Breakfast

I paired the chips and yogurt with a tumbler of hot Barnie’s cinnamon butter cookie, complements of my gym! Gotta love free coffee.

Question: What are your favorite kind of chips (healthy or not)?

I think my favorite chips are sea salt and vinegar chips or cheddar and sour cream chips. Yummmm. Greasy goodness.

Inspired by the Scent of Cinnamon

On my morning walk with Sadie we pass a Panera Bread. Some days the wind doesn’t blow the bakery aroma our way… but on the other days we’re hit with the most delectable scent of cinnamon, buttery pastries and freshly baked bread.

Today was one of the other days. As we watched people rushing in and out of the breakfast hot spot, the overwhelming scent of cinnamon hit me and I think I may have been drooling more than the dog.

Inspired by the scent of cinnamon, I decided to make a big bowl of cinnamon oats for breakfast. If time allows, I opt for steel cut oatmeal, but old fashioned oats are a wonderful second choice. Today it was old fashioned oats!

Me and Mah Oats

Me and Mah Oats

I began by placing half a cup of old fashioned oats in a bowl. I topped the oats with half a scoop of All the Whey cinnamon bun protein powder and half a scoop of All the Whey cup cake batter protein powder.

Oats

Oats

1/2 Scoop Cinnamon Protein Powder, 1/2 Scoop Cup Cake Batter Protein Powder

1/2 Scoop Cinnamon Protein Powder, 1/2 Scoop Cup Cake Batter Protein Powder

The Mix

The Mix

I added water and microwaved the oats for a minute, stirring two times to ensure the mix did not overflow.

Creamy Oats

Creamy Oats

I topped the oats with two freshly sliced strawberries…

Punch of Color

Punch of Color

…and served them with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Eating oatmeal for breakfast makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. šŸ™‚ Since the frigid 60-degree Florida weather continues today, this was the perfect fall cinnamon-rich breakfast.

Question: What are your favorite smells?