MMM … pumpkin, one of my fall favourites. I love to do a traditional carve every year for Halloween and nothing compares to a delicious pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte. But one tricky part about living abroad is not all your staple foods and favourite home comforts are available or easily accessible. I’ve actually yet to find a can of pumpkin puree anywhere here (if you’re reading this and know where to buy some near Brussels, please let me know!). Yes I know, I know, I can roast my own pumpkin but I haven’t had the time to try that out yet.
Thankfully, with the much anticipated visit of my big sister at the beginning of October, I didn’t have to wait long to get my pumpkin fix. Not only did she fly across the ocean to visit me, but she came to celebrate Thanksgiving, AND she lugged along a large can of pumpkin puree!! Big sister to the rescue.
We packed a lot into the short week that Kat was here. We explored Paris for the better part of two days, went on an amazing beer tour, did a day trip to Bruges and she even joined practice with the team. She played amazing but I had to share (below) this massive bruise she got courtesy of one of our outside hitters. I still think my favourite day of her visit was Thanksgiving dinner with my roommates. We planned ahead, I ordered a turkey from the local butcher and Kat packed three boxes of stuffing (necessary) and of course the pumpkin puree. We spent the whole afternoon cooking and to our delight Thanksgiving dinner turned out just like at home! I think the turkey was actually the best I’d ever eaten, likely because it came straight off the farm (with some feathers still attached) and not due to our cooking skills.
We decided instead of baking the traditional pumpkin pie this year, we would do these small pumpkin pie squares from Taste of Home. They were delicious but a couple tips if you want to test out the recipe. First, bake the crusts longer than 20 minutes to make sure they are a darker golden brown. I thought a few were burning but they were the ones which tasted the best. Second, if you are going to use cupcake tins like we did, I would leave off the crumble. It made our squares very greasy from the butter.
We opted out of seconds after our Thanksgiving dinner and hit the city centre in order to indulge in some delicious Belgian beer at Delirium. It was an amazing Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for this year and it was nice to have family around to celebrate! The rest of Kat’s trip flew by and I was so sad to see her head home knowing I likely won’t see her again until May.
After saying our goodbyes at the train station, I came home and saw the leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge. With only about a cup left I had to choose my recipes wisely. After doing some Pinterest surfing, I came across a few recipes for Pumpkin Pasta and was sold. I’m a huge pasta fan, I eat it before every game and it’s one of my favourite comfort foods. I actually mixed ideas from two different blogs, Avocado Pesto and Health Bites, because of the ingredients I had on hand. No doubt I will be making this one again!
Pumpkin & Sage Pasta
- 15 sage leaves
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- top with pepper and parmesan cheese
Heat oil and sauté onions until slightly softened. Add the garlic and sage leaves for the last 2 minutes and fry until slightly darkened. Add the pumpkin puree, greek yogurt, salt and cinnamon and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and let simmer. If you enjoy a thinner sauce you can add a splash of almond milk and continue to simmer. Serve over your favourite pasta noodles!
With just a few tablespoons of pumpkin remaining, I scraped the insides of my jar and decided to test out pumpkin spiced overnight oats. Overnight oats have become a new favourite of mine, they are so easy to take on-the-go for a healthy and delicious breakfast. Seriously, if you haven’t tried them – do it. I use half a cup of oats with half a cup of almond (or coconut) milk and whatever I have on hand to add some flavour. I’ll be posting some of my favourite combinations, but for now here’s a few recipes for inspiration!
For my pumpkin spiced oats I used:
- 1/2 cup rolled or old fashioned oats
- 1/2 almond milk (you can use coconut too)
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- Top with walnuts (or almonds)
If you like a little more sweetness (like me) you can increase the maple syrup or add a touch of brown sugar with your walnuts. Heat these up or eat cold, either way they are delicious!
Well, that’s all the pumpkin deliciousness that one can could make but don’t be surprised if you see more pumpkin popping up soon. I think it’s finally time to roast my own pumpkin and try out a fresh puree!