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Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes To Use Well After the Fall Season

Pumpkin is a harvest classic and shows up in many iconic fall dishes. But just because pumpkin is frequently used in autumn dishes doesn’t mean you can’t use it later in the year as well. Here are a few ways to make use of this healthy vegetable in baked goods throughout the year, even in some dishes that might not be quite as healthy, but just as delicious. Keep reading for three Pumpkin recipes to enjoy well past the fall season.

Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin Roll Photo from Food Network

This take on a dessert classic is perfect for a rich treat the whole family will love. Pumpkin rolls incorporate pumpkin puree into a layer of pumpkin cake, spread with a layer of ice cream, and then rolled to create a swirl in the center of the dessert. It’s great for the holidays, but there’s no reason you can’t indulge in this sweet year-round.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Photo from POPSUGAR

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert that is sure to please every palette. Adding pumpkin and a bit of pumpkin pie spice takes this common cookie jar staple and adds a bit of a harvest flavor to it. Experiment with the spices if you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie to find a combination that’s perfect for your personal tastes.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits Photo From Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen

Not all pumpkin foods have to be sweet to be utterly delicious. Parmesan can add the perfect savory taste to accompany the pumpkin in this hearty side. The flavor pairing is complex but goes perfectly with the many hearty main dishes of winter.

Before doing any baking with pumpkin, make sure to account for the high water content of this ingredient. Pumpkins are 90 percent water, so be sure to properly prepare your pumpkin ingredients before incorporating into any baked good, or it might throw off the moisture content of your final product.

Even if pumpkin is typically used for fall classics, it can be an excellent ingredient to make use of year-round that adds excellent depth of flavor to many baked goods. What are your thoughts on these Pumpkin recipes? How will you make use of this unique vegetable in your future baking?

Pereg Natural Foods Ancient Grains

The Latest Exotic Spices and Ancient Grains From Pereg Natural Foods

One of our favorite things about attending the Summer Fancy Food Show is the introduction of new foods, food trends, and seeing what’s new from our favorite food brands. One of our favorite brands, Pereg Natural Foods, a brand we’ve previously written about, has added lots to their lineup. Along with new flavor additions to old favorites, like their exotic spices and ancient grains, they’ve introduced new products to make your meal even more healthy and delicious. Let’s get to know them……..

Fine Breadcrumbs & Seasoned Panko

Pereg Natural Foods Ancient Grains

Pereg’s seasoned breadcrumb collection just got even bigger with the introduction of three delicious new flavors: Thai Sweet Chili Panko Crumbs, Whole Wheat Panko, and Golden Crisp Bread Crumbs. They join a crunchy family that includes Classic, American, Viennese, Mexican, and Italian Fine Bread Crumbs and their Japanese cousins Spicy Panko, Coarse Panko, and Fine Panko. Grab the 9 oz re-sealable bags for $4.85 each.

Pereg’s Whole Wheat Panko Crumbs are baked to an airy, lightly textured goodness to enhance your favorite recipe. They add a distinctive crunch to vegetables, baked macaroni & cheese, meatloaf, seafood, or chicken dishes. You can use it as a coating on sliced potatoes and bake as an alternative to frying.

Pereg’s Thai Sweet Chili Panko Crumbs are also baked to an airy, lightly textured goodness to enhance your favorite recipe. They add a deliciously flavorful crunch to chicken wings, seafood, and pasta dishes. Boasting a delightful balance of sweet and spicy, your taste buds will love the kick of flavor. Try it as a coating on sliced potatoes and bake as an alternative to frying.

Flavor Infused Quinoa

Pereg Natural Foods Flavored Quinoa

In addition, Pereg features new flavors of Quinoa side dishes, including ginger sesame, quinoa with lentils (pictured above), quinoa with nuts and berries, and quinoa with roasted garlic in 6 oz boxes retailing for $3.99. Quinoa, the “mother of all grains”, is a healthy and easy food to prepare. It holds a pleasantly light, fluffy texture when cooked, with a mild and slightly nutty flavor. We love the flavor varieties and how they paired perfectly with things like Freshé ready-to-eat superfood; a meal in a tin (see them pictured together above).

Freekeh Grain 

Pereg Natural Foods Freekah Grain

If you’re tired of rice or just looking to cut it out of your diet. We have a great alternative for you. Freekeh is a young, green wheat that is roasted over an open flame for a rich smoky flavor and cracked to reduce the cooking time. This grain makes a great alternative to rice or couscous for a delicious and healthy side dish. Grab a 5 oz bag for only $3.99.

Gluten-Free Flours

Pereg Natural Foods Gluten-Free Flours

Gone are the day when only one type of flour existed. Thanks to Pereg Natural Foods, you now have six flour varieties to bake with, including Almond, Banana, Buckwheat, Chickpea, Quinoa, and Coconut.  Available in 16 oz. re-sealable stay-fresh bags, the flours are the perfect healthy alternative when you want to create sweet treats and savory dishes. Imagine Buckwheat, Quinoa, or Chickpea dumplings or homemade pasta. How about flavorful cookies made with banana, almond or coconut flour. With these Gluten-Free Flours, the possibilities are endless. Get them all for $4.99 each.

Are you up to trying out these specialty flours, exotic spices and ancient grains from Pereg?

Explore the Tastes of the World with Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends

We always say the best way to experience a country’s culture is to dive right into their local cuisines. Sadly not all of us can afford to travel around the world indulging in international foodie fantasies. However, there is a way you can enjoy these culinary delights, especially if you’re not blessed enough to have access to international chefs and restaurants. What do we mean? Cooking with international spices and seasonings of course. Pereg Natural Foods & Spices, the people who brought you fiery Harissa from Tunisia, exotic Moroccan Ras Al Hanout, and the bold flavors of Cajun country, has launched two new international spices, Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, and Latin Adobo Blend. Let’s get to know Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.

Pereg’s ever-growing selection of international ingredients now includes 5-Spice Seasoning, an aromatic anchor of Chinese cuisine, and Adobo Blend, a zippy mainstay in kitchens from Spain and Peru to Mexico and the Philippines. These two spices join the wide range of Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.  Pereg’s Chinese 5-Spice mix, a happy marriage of sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter has the power to elevate dishes of all kinds.  With its balanced blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper, and cloves, it delivers an intriguing, pan-Asian complexity to braises, soups, stir-fries, and sauces. It pairs beautifully with lamb, chicken, and duck. You can even use it in cocktails!

Adobo, which originated in Spain and Portugal, wears many hats. Latin adobo usually refers to a sauce or marinade typically made from paprika and stewed chipotle chilies. However, some Latin and Caribbean countries think of adobo as a seasoning mix, either wet or dry, to rub on meat before cooking. And in the Philippines, where adobo is the national dish, it’s a style of cooking in which meat, fish, or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, salt, and spices, browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade. Adobo seasoning is endlessly versatile. It adds a rich dimension to chicken, turkey, burgers, and your favorite chili. Use it as a dry rub for steaks and whole fish. Mix it with quinoa, add it to fish tacos, spice up your guacamole, or sprinkle it on popcorn.

Are your ready to bring international cuisine to your life and kitchen? What are your thoughts on Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends? Will you start cooking more international dishes?

Spice Up Your Life: Spice Islands Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings

Repeat after us – when it comes to cooking, spices, herbs, and seasonings are absolutely needed. We love food, that’s why we do restaurant reviews and eat out as much as we can. The best thing about being a foodie is enjoying the various flavors, so we need our meals to be seasoned to perfection. We need much more than just salt and pepper. If you have less than ten varieties of spices, herbs, and seasonings (not including salt and pepper) in your kitchen cupboard, you’re not properly seasoning your food. But worry not, we, and Spice Islands, are here to help you. We are here to introduce you to the vast variety of Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings boasting rich flavors and premium quality. Get ready to amp up your spice rack and cooking with an amazing array of wonderful flavors.

Whether you’re cooking something savory or sweet, Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings have exactly what you need. They search the world for spices and herbs of the highest quality. Then they craft and package them to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible. It’s as if you sourced these spices and herbs out of your own garden.

Spice Islands offers everything from A to V – Allspice to Vanilla, with many spices available in multiple forms (think whole, ground, and organic). They go far beyond the basics like chili powder, basil, cayenne pepper, chives, cilantro, etc and offer gourmet options like Jamaican jerk seasoning, Louisiana Cajun, Garam Masala (a hot spice blend of Northern Indian spices), a flavorful blend French countryside blend of spices, extracts, and panko mixes.

It’s a fact that cooking with the right spices can turn any recipe from okay to absolutely mouth-watering and that’s exactly what you get with Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings. Another thing we love about Spice Islands is their recipes. They offer lots of entrees, appetizer, bread, soup, salads sides, sauces, beverages and dessert recipes. They provide the level of difficulty, prep and total time, and of course the correct spices, herbs and seasonings to use for each recipe. Spice Islands is here to make cooking fun and to wow your family and friends with your cooking skills. What more can you ask for? To learn more about Spice Islands and their variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings, visit www.spiceislands.com.

National Spaghetti Day – Gluten Free Version (it’s pasta-ble!)

Although you may be completely preoccupied with the current snowstorm, today is January 4th, and you know what that means? National Spaghetti Day!!! If you’re like me, finding a gluten-free pasta that doesn’t taste like it is missing gluten and can hold its weight is hard. There are so many brands out there, it’s like kissing a ton of GF frogs to find the one wheatless carb Prince. Well, my Prince in noodle armor is Explore Cuisine. Explore Cuisine offers delicious spaghettis (and pennes, and lasagna noodles) made from ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, black beans, edamame, and more.

I am thankful for brands like this because you don’t feel like you’re missing out when it comes to pasta dishes. But I am also a label reader. So seeing that it is organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and gives you a serving of protein, what better way to indulge without the guilt on National Spaghetti Day. Find me a glutinous pasta that can do all of that.

I am such a major fan of the Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti. Who says pasta has to come in one color? To be honest, when I purchased it I didn’t think I would like the taste as much because…….black bean pasta! I mean I love black beans…over rice. However, when it comes to GF foods, I like to try everything once so I can speak on it. But surprisingly, I wound up loving the flavor as a spaghetti pasta! The black bean flavor was not overwhelming and added a nice element of taste with my spaghetti sauce. It became one of my fave pasta go-to’s. And while I am not totally committed to it yet, I can be vegan-ish, and this line of vegan pastas really help for when I want to Carbe Diem!

Since it is a snow day and National Spaghetti Day, I like to cook even more because I am home and I eat. It’s what I do. You might not have a box of Explore Cuisine pasta in your cabinets (of which I highly suggest you stock up), but for those of you that do (or will), here’s a couple of good recipes for you to try –

Simple Vegan Chickpea Spaghetti

1 box Explore Cuisine Chickpea Spaghetti
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup organic pasta sauce
Cook the spaghetti until soft according to the packet directions. Drain the water from the pasta, and stir in the pasta sauce. Add more if you like more sauce. Serve in bowls and then sprinkle the nutritional yeast on each one. Season with salt and extra nutritional yeast if desired.

Southwestern Black Bean Spaghetti

Recipe and Image Credit: Lee Tilghman (Lee From America)
Serves 1 person
Preparation 30 minutes + 10 minutes cooking

1/4 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti
1/2 zucchini spiralized into “noodles”
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
2 handfuls Baby Spinach
1/4 cucumber
1/4 cup corn (canned in water works great- just rinse them)
1/4 avocado mashed with fresh organic lemon juice
1 tbsp. vegan cheese (I used Leaf Cuisine Plain Cream Cheese) pumpkin seeds + dill for garnish
Start by boiling a big pot of water for your black bean spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and let cook for 6 minutes.
Once done, remove from heat, rinse under cool water and set aside.

Prep your veggies! Finely dice your cucumber, bell pepper, mash your avocado, spiralize your zucchini. Next, add a spicy adobo chipotle sauce to your noodles and zucchini noodles. Combine the ancho and guajillo chiles in a large bowl and add plenty of cold water to cover. Let them soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Place the soaked chiles in a blender along with the ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend until very smooth. Stop the motor a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula and give things a stir, just to make sure everything’s getting puréed. Don’t be tempted to add liquid—you want the final sauce to be thick. Scrape the purée into a small bowl if you plan to use it soon, or into a jar with a tight-fitting lid if you want to save it for later. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Add a few handfuls of baby spinach to a big ‘ol bowl. Add some noodles, guac, then add cucumber, red bell pepper, vegan cheese, pumpkin seeds, and freshly chopped dill!

Explore Cuisine and their awesome pasta varieties are also oh-so-perfect for National Gluten-Free Day on January 13th! Enjoy!

**P.S. I need to know when it is National Lasagna Day because I will definitely be making my lasagna with these Explore Cuisine Green Lentil Lasagna Noodles! What spaghetti dish are you enjoying on this snowy National Spaghetti Day?

PEREG Natural Foods Launches Six New Gluten-free Flour Varieties

Calling all bakers, celiac suffers, foodies, and fans of all things gluten-free, have we got some cool culinary news for you. PEREG Natural Foods, makers of gourmet spices, herbs and seasonings, launched a range of alternative, gluten-free flours for your baking pleasure. Six alternative gluten-free flours to be exact! Get ready to bake up a storm with the following varieties: Almond Flour, Banana Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Chickpea Flour, Coconut Flour, and Quinoa Flour.

PEREG_Natural_Foods_Gluten_free_Flours_www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

All of the PEREG Natural Foods flours are gluten-free, 100% natural, non-dairy, GMO-Free, Vegan and certified kosher. They are packaged in 16 oz. resealable stay-fresh bags which retails for $4.99 each. The 100% blanched Almond Flour is made from multi-purpose flour made from Almonds. It’s wonderful for use in pizza crusts, shortbread cookies, and as a coating for chicken nuggets. The Banana Flour, which mimics wheat flour, is made from ripe, peeled bananas. It boasts a light and fluffy texture, is a great addition to your morning smoothie, and as you can imagine, makes great banana bread. The Buckwheat Flour is made from whole ground buckwheat (the seed of a plant that is related to rhubarb) and makes great crepes, pancakes, English muffins, cookies and buns, and to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. We’ve actually enjoyed a Buckwheat pasta at Ornella Trattoria Italiana in Queens, so if you make your own pasta at home, we highly recommend using this. The high in protein, iron, and fiber Chickpea Flour is made from ground chickpeas and great for making delicious falafels, pancakes, cookies, and fritters. We all know the benefits of drinking coconut water, get ready to create healthy recipes with the PEREG Coconut Flour. Think cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, bread, etc. The possibilities are endless. The high in protein and fiber Quinoa Flour is one very versatile, gluten-free flour. It has a very slight sour flavor, especially after toasting, that adds a wonderful flavor to bread, tortillas, and English muffins.

“According to industry statistics, sales of gluten-free products will exceed fifteen billion dollars by 2016, twice the amount of five years earlier. PEREG is pleased to introduce an extended choice of gluten-free and ancient grain flour types, which offer health-conscious consumers more variety for delicious cooking and baking,” says Gill Schneider, PEREG Natural Foods president.

The PEREG Natural Foods Gluten-free Flours are available at select retailers throughout the US, Canada, and on www.pereg-gourmet.com.

Cookware Essentials for Easy Thanksgiving Cooking and Preparation

To say cooking thanksgiving dinner is a huge undertaking is an incredible understatement, especially if you don’t have the right tools. We could our first turkey class Thanksgiving and although it came out perfect, we absolutely did not have the right kitchenware and utensils to properly handle, carve, and serve our turkey. Thanks to some wonderful cookware and kitchen appliances from brands like All-Clad Cookware, and Bella Housewares, cooking for Thanksgiving will be a breeze. Today we share the latest in Roasters, Slow Cookers, and Cooking Utensils, the must-have cookware essentials for easy Thanksgiving cooking and preparation. Our list is sure to make your Thanksgiving preparations easier….you’re on your own when it comes to dealing with your family.

BELLA HO– USEWARES 18QT Turkey Roaster

Bella 18QT Turkey Roaster
The BELLA Turkey Roaster is the second oven you’ve always wanted on Thanksgiving. It roasts up to a 22lb turkey and has an 18QT capacity. Not only does it free up your oven for other parts of your Thanksgiving feast, it saves you a lot of back pain from the constant bending while checking on your turkey. A metal rack is included with the Bella Turkey Roaster for cooking convenience and the temperature may be set from 150 degrees up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

ALL-CLAD ROASTING PANS

ALL-CLAD ROASTING PANSAll-Clad Stainless Steel Covered Roaster            All-Clad Stainless Steel Roti Combo                       All-Clad Hard Anodized Roti Combo

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Covered Roaster is ideal for roasting large cuts of meat and turkeys. It’s made up of heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel which makes cleaning up a breeze and features large loop handles for maneuverability. This roaster features a unique rack with lifting handles for easy removal of large foods after roasting. This covered roaster also features a pressure release on the lid for easy removal.

The stainless steel All-Clad Roti Combos are ideal for turkeys and rib roasts. The V-shaped nonstick roasting rack elevates foods to generate even cooking and browning. Stovetop safe for pan gravies after roasting. The roaster comes with a set of 2 stainless turkey forks, ergonomically designed for comfort.

The versatile All-Clad Hard anodized Roti Combo is best suited for roasting large cuts of meat or whole poultry and boasts a nonstick v-shaped rack allows for even browning of meat and collection of natural juices in the pan for basting, glazing or a gravy base.

BELLA TRIPLE-SLOW-COOKER

Bella 3 x 2.5QT Triple Slow Cooker with Lid Rests

When all your stovetop burners are going, the BELLA 3 x 2.5QT Triple Slow Cooker with Lid Rests (in gorgeous rose gold – one of many available colors) adds much more needed cooking capabilities. No more waiting until something is done cooking to start on another. This triple slow cooker is perfect for entertaining family and friends. It boasts individual temperature control knobs to ensure that each meal is cooked just right while its non-skid feet help prevent spills.

ALL-CLAD STOVETOP SLOW COOKER

All-Clad d7 8 Qt. Slow Cooker

For those of you who prefer stovetop slow cooking (and has a free burner), you will love this innovative pot from All-Clad. This stainless steel beauty boasts seven-layer bonded-metal construction, offering doubly uniform heat conduction with 25% less weight than cast iron. Count on this kitchen-to-table cooker for perfect browning, caramelizing and slow cooking of everything from tender pot roast to hearty stews and braises.

ALL-CLAD COOKING UTENSILS

All-Clad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

All-Clad Measuring Spoons                                                                                                                                     All-Clad Potato Masher

When following recipes, precise measurements are key, especially if it’s a recipe you’re trying for the first time. The beautifully crafted stainless steel All-Clad Measuring Spoons set comes chained together to keep the entire set easily accessible. This set includes a 1/4, 1/2, 1 teaspoon and 1 Tablespoon measures. The rounded spoons are also conveniently designed to glide into small openings of spice jars and small containers.

No one likes lumpy mashed potatoes or sweet potato pies, with the All-Clad Potato Masher, you will easily mash vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, avocados and bananas.  Thanks to its thin slits which efficiently mashes while its high sides reach into corners of most bowls and pans, so food pieces don’t escape.

Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Crowns a Winner

We had the pleasure of attending the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off where five previous Manischewitz Cook-Off competitors were invited back to submit their recipes for a second chance at a $25,000 Grand Prize. Five finalists were chosen from various states (including one from New York), to go head-to-head against each other using Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth. Their dishes were judged by a prestigious judging panel including Helen Rosner from Saveur Magazine, Sharon Franke from Good Housekeeping, Claire Suddath from Bloomberg Business Week, Rosie Saferstein from New Jersey Monthly, and Jen Goran from JCC (Jewish Community Center).

The event started with a recipe tasting event, two recipes from Jen Goren, the JCC’s Test Kitchen Director, and Kristin Magnani editor of Saveur magazine, the dishes included Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup) and Pappardelle with Duck Sago, also made with Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth.

The competition continued with the Live Cook-Off Contest between finalists, Jamie Brown-Miller, Napa, CA – Chicken and Waffled Latkes (2010), Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, FL – Halibut Couscous (2011), Ronna Sue Farley, Rockville, MD – Beef Tenderloin Puffs (2012), Dina Burcat, New York, NY – Latke-Crusted Chicken with Apple Cider, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce (2011), and Joe Carver, Philadelphia, PA – Bubby’s Noodle Strudel (2008) – whose dishes, we had the wonderful opportunity to sample.

Each candidate presented their dishes to the judges, shared a bit about themselves and their recipe entry. After a brief intermission, the five entrants were called upon stage where four were presented with Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Finalists awards and a surprised and tearfully happy, Jamie Brown-Miller from Napa, CA was crowned  the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Champion for her delicious and inventive Chicken and Waffled Latkes.

As the winner, Jaime was awarded the Grand Prize worth $25,000, including cash, a beautiful trophy (see above), a Saveur Magazine subscription, and various Maytag kitchen appliances. We had a chance to speak with Jaime after the announcement, see our interview below:

Along with samples the delicious dishes, we also got a peak at some of the new and delicious snack offerings from Manischewitz® including Coconut Crisp Cookies, Almond Pecan Granola, Pistachio Orange Macaroons, and more!