Friday Finds

Pumpkins, pumpkins, and let’s see… more pumpkins? And not just the pie, but some decor as well!

Chalk Paint Pumpkins by Shaunna of Perfectly Imperfect:

chalk paint pumpkins

DIY Decorated Pumpkins by Caitlin of The Glitter Guide:

decorated pumpkins

Pumpkin Centerpiece by Courtney of French Country Cottage:

pumpkin centerpiece

Neutral centerpiece via Freshideen:

pumpkin centerpiece

Fabric Covered Pumpkins by Liz of Love Grows Wild:

171006-friday-finds-pumpkin4

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Baked Oatmeal 3 Ways

baked-oatmeal-3-ways-title

Update: For those of you with lactose intolerance, I’ve made the recipes with almond and soy milk too, they both work fine. Simply substitute 1:1 

You guys over there in the US of A seem to have a national day for just about everything, and I love you for that. Why yes, it’s always a good idea to celebrate and/or raise awareness! I honestly think we should copy-paste your National Day Calendar as-is.

Now I know it’s only Monday, but let the preparations start in time because this Saturday marks not just one, but 3 of your National Days. October 29th is National Cat Day, National Oatmeal Day and also National Hermit Day. Not sure about the latter, but please allow my humble Hungarian self to join in on for the other two.

We share a home with two cats and our feral rescue fur babies are literally the cutest, so that one is obvs. And then, there is oatmeal. Oats, the base for “America’s favorite breakfast” oatmeal, are grown mostly for forage here, but started gaining a footing in our kitchens as well. I personally am a big fan and always keep a few packages of Lidl’s Norwaldtaler or Aldi’s Kunsperone Old-Fashioned Oats in my pantry.

Oats are good for you because they contain a type of soluble fibre that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream: this slower digestion prevents spikes in blood sugar. Also, oats are a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks, aiding the heart muscle and regulating blood pressure.

While all oats start off as oat groats after harvest, there are a variety of table oats depending on how much the unbroken grains were processed. If you need clarification on roasting, steaming, and the difference between steel-cut, rolled and instant oats (like I did), this article will answer all your questions.

For my taste, oats are a little bland on their own, but luckily you can dress this ingredient up nicely to make a warm, delicious and deeply comforting meal to start your day off right. It’s just a texture preference of mine and you don’t need to follow suit, but I buy both coarse and fine oats, and mix the two.

We love oat biscuits (the family fav is a walnut-oat biscuit, a particularly guilty pleasure the recipe of which I plan on sharing as we go deeper into the cold season), and I’ve been making a lot of baked oatmeal as well lately for lazy weekend mornings.

The 3 most popular flavors turned out to be banana, apple pie and pumpkin pie (considering fall is in full swing, no surprise there). They are a total no-brainer and reheat beautifully: just store in the fridge and pop the leftover in the microwave. Enjoy with a huge cup of latte!

You can cut down on the sugar if you like, all the added fruits contain plenty of sweetness. Optionally, toast almonds or chopped walnuts in a dry pan to sprinkle on top of your steaming bowl of a hearty breakfast.

BTW, the HF Coors Shirred Egg French Round chefsware in the pictures? Thrifted at the Negreni Fair for $1.25 each. I can’t help but wonder at the food and the kitchens they’ve seen since manufactured in Inglewood, CA up until they got – undamaged! – to a tiny village on the other side of the globe to be found, bargained at, and taken home by me. All that history!

Without further ado, I give you my baked oatmeal recipes:

banana bread baked oatmeal

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

2 ripe bananas, smashed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and banana.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

apple pie baked oatmeal

Baked Apple Pie Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

1 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp apple pie spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and applesauce.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

Love,

Fruzsi

“Healthy cereals for breakfast” photo featured in title image © evening_tao via freepik

 *Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship or gifts.*

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

make your own pumpkin puree title image

This post was written out of pure necessity. As someone who likes broadening her cooking’s horizon with delicacies from all over the world, incorporating pumpkin and pumpkin spice in my fall meals was obvious. (I mentioned before how in Hungary we don’t really think of pumpkins as dessert. Yet, that is.)

I was determined to make this Pumpkin-Chiffon Pie when, after coming home empty-handed from 3 different supermarkets, I realized canned pumpkin puree is yet another item that might not be available where I live. Major FOMO, right there. After an extensive google search, I found only one place to get it, a shiny gourmet deli for the snobs of Budapest.

The rich snobs, to be precise: a 425 g (15 oz) can of Libby’s is exactly twice as expensive as in the US. In comparison, I paid the equivalent of about $0.4 for 1 kg (35.3 oz) of fresh butternut squash a few weeks back at my local Aldi. That’s such a huge price gap I’ve decided ready-made pumpkin puree is not something I’m willing to splurge on.

No big deal! I will not let such an inconvenience stop me from introducing pumpkin pie to my loved ones, so another google search later I was ready to make my own. Homemade pumpkin puree will do just fine, right until the evil canned Western threat makes its way to the shelfs of our supermarkets. (Can someone start importing it please? Like, now?)

So, if you are lucky to live somewhere so civilized to be able to go to a shop and just buy it, know that we hate you (but keep your eye out for the recipe anyway to avoid colourings, preservatives and stuff like that). But if you are as unfortunate as I am when it comes to canned pumpkin puree, don’t fret because I have the solution.

What you need to make pumpkin puree is – surprise! – just pumpkin. Or squash. There are the sort of people who will be quick to resort to violence over the pumpkin vs. squash question, but since they fall under the same genus and even if ingredient labels read 100% pumpkin, there may also be squash mixed in (full article on the subject here), I hereby declare the debate over. Whichever lifts your skirt!

I find it’s best to roast pumpkin slowly to achieve maximum sweetness and tenderness, without burning it. Depending on the type of pumpkin, the flesh of some are more fibrous. Also, some are moister than others, but these characteristics will not alter the taste of the puree. If you are making a bigger batch using several pumpkins, mix the puree of all the flesh to balance out taste differences of each individual pumpkin.

baked pumpkin chunks

My 4 medium butternut squash filled 2 baking sheets (36×45 cm or 14×17 inch) and yielded 9 cups puree. I froze the batch in cup-sized (250 ml) portions in plastic containers, than turned out the ‘pumpkin cubes’ from the moulds and packed them in individual, labeled plastic bags for convenient use.

baked pumpkin scraped out

Pumpkin Puree

Ingredients

pumpkin or butternut squash

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F), line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Wash pumpkin(s) and cut them to approximately equal chunks. Discard fibrous strands, keep seeds for later use.
  3. Place chunks skin side down on baking sheet and roast until tender, about 1 h 15 min (insert knife to a few slices to check for doneness).
  4. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Scrape out flesh with a spoon, discard skin.
  6. Pulse in a blender or food processor until puree is homogenous. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed.
  7. Store in the fridge for a few days, or freeze for later use.

Love,

Fruzsi

“Watercolor pumpkin” illustration featured in title image © freepik

Friday Finds

 October is about trees revealing colors they’ve hidden all year.

Jm Storm

Look at these robin’s egg blue pumpkins! (Photo by dhrenjilian, via Flickr)

robins egg blue pumpkins

Trust the Finnish architect on this one:

beauty is the harmony of purpose and form quote by alvar aalto

This place… It makes me want to believe in wood nymphs. (Nordvika beach, the Lofoten Islands, Norway via Tumblr)

Nordvika beach, the Lofoten Islands

This grey cashmere sweater looks so cozy. Also, I want the nail color! (Photo source unknown)

light grey V-neck sweater

Love the mood of this photo. Dinner rolls by Kristen of Dine & Dish.

dinner rolls on grey fabric

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Mentés

Pantry Staples: Apple & Pumpkin Pie Spice

pantry staples apple and pumpkin pie spice cover

Ah, apples and pumpkins on the stalls of the greengrocer. A sure sign of fall, and a cheerful one at that. These two offer so much opportunity, and I personally can not get enough of them.

Apple equals pie, that is indisputable. For most of us here in Hungary though, pumpkin pie still sounds kind of exotic.

Not that we don’t eat pumpkin: my relatives have fond memories of fall evenings and the smell of roasting butternut squash emerging from their sparhelt (a typical cookstove every household used before gas was introduced to villages).

But that was about it: roasting pumpkin. Cream soups become popular not so long ago, and we are just getting used to the idea of a vegetable (when it’s actually a fruit) as dessert.

Apple pie and pumpkin pie spice are two blends that seem to be so common in the U.S., they are sold alongside regular spices in the baking isle of supermarkets, and are frequently called for in recipes without much explanation.

Well, we don’t happen to have them here just yet, so I did some digging and decided to mix my own at home. And you can, too! There’s no need to buy packaged anyway when you most likely already have the ingredients sitting in your pantry.

apple and pumpkin pie spice

When thinking of these sweet fall staples, cinnamon pops into mind first and indeed, it is a key component in these spice mixes. We could stop right there, but let’s add more flavor to the equation!

The beauty of making your own spice blend is (aside from being a lot more economical than buying ready-made) that you can tweak ratios to complement your taste perfectly. Use this as a guide and adjust to taste if you prefer.

apple and pumpkin pie spice

Apple Pie Spice

Ingredients

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground allspice

2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Ingredients

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

2 tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Since you’re going to be storing the mix, it is not crucial to use freshly ground ingredients. Measure spices into a small plastic or ziplock bag, and shake to mix well. Store mix in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Oh, and don’t feel restricted by the word ‘pie’ above! Absolutely use these spice mixes in just about every recipe calling for apple and pumpkin, even pears and plums.

Fruzsi

“Store shelves with goods” illustration featured in title image © Redspruce