Easy Pumpkin Pie

Easy Pumpkin Pie

Easy Pumpkin Pie

About this Recipe

Pumpkin pie is wonderfully nostalgic for me.  It brings back happy memories of our time living in Colorado and all the fun, tastes, smells and sights that fall and Thanksgiving offered.  Up until very recently, it was really hard to buy a simple tin of pumpkin pie mix in the UK shops – but to my delight, it’s now possible!  I love to make this pie when our girls come home for a visit as nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a pumpkin pie!  There will be the Scotty McCreery song ‘ Back on the Ground’ playing when they walk into the kitchen – and even though it’s a pumpkin and not a pecan pie I’ve been putting the final touches on.. the sentiment of the song is perfect for us empty nest mumas.  Give it a listen!

Now if you’ve read or tried many of my recipes, you’ll know I generally love to cook from scratch. This pumpkin pie is a wonderful exception that I’m happy to embrace.  The pre-prepared ingredients make for a simple but delicious pie.

I hope it becomes a much-loved November tradition in your home.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

Yields 1 pie
Preheat the oven to 220℃ (425℉)
  • 1 pastry shell (Shortcrust pastry)
    (I use a 215g shell)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 x 425g can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice. 
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (I use about 300g of a 397g can)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg – You could add ground cloves and ground ginger as well or instead.

Many traditional US recipes use evaporated milk instead of the condensed milk that I prefer.  I love the creaminess of condensed milk, and because it’s so sweet I don’t add any additional sugar to my recipe.  Feel free to vary the spices too – for example, our family LOVE cinnamon, so I use lots, but we aren’t so keen on ground ginger so I omit that.  Nutmeg also gives a great smell to the final pie and I like to grate some on top of the pie when baked.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Simply mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, salt, spices and about 300g or 3/4 can of condensed milk in a bowl.

 

Mixed pie
Easy Pumpkin Pie

Step 2

Spread the pumpkin pie mix inside the prebaked and bought pastry shell.  Don’t overfill – you might have pie mix leftover.  Pop in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until set and slightly golden.

Step 3

Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to cool before serving.  You could serve it with ice cream, whipped cream or drizzle with a spoon of the leftover condensed milk.  It’s delicious with a mid-morning coffee too!

Pie ramekins

Extra pumpkin pie mix

If you have leftover pumpkin pie mix that won’t fit in the pastry shell, spoon it into small oven-proof ramekins or dishes and bake in the oven alongside the pie.  You can top it with granola for an autumnal breakfast or squirt on cream for a simple dessert. 

 

Spinach Blueberry and Feta Salad

Spinach Blueberry and Feta Salad

Seafood and Chorizo Paella

About this Recipe

This spinach, blueberry and feta salad is one of the most summery dishes I can think of! Bursting blueberries, crunchy apples and tangy cranberries offset the slightly bitter brussel sprouts and tangy feta.  It’s a salad packed with goodness as it provides 8 different whole-food fruit/veggies/nuts. It keeps well too – so make a double portion to enjoy for lunch the next day.

Spinach Feta and Blueberry Salad

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts
  • 2 large handfuls watercress
  • 1 apple
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 block of feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1 punnet blueberries

Dress it up

To complement this fruity salad – make a delicious and creamy lemon dressing to dress the salad.  Blend together – 1 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey, juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tsp salt, some ground black pepper. 

Thrive on 30  – this salad is perfect for thriving on 30! 

Eating 30 different plants a week can boost your gut health and have a whole range of health benefits.  30 may seem like a lot! But it includes fruits, veggies, salads, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Plants contain prebiotics which are a fuel source for our good gut bacteria. The Prebiotics in plants are also a great source of fiber, carbohydrates and polyphenols which provide colour in foods and can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Wash all the fruit and vegetables ready to prep.

Blend together the dressing ingredients in a nutri bullet, or by hand and add to a glass jar or container.

 

Spinach salad ingredients
Onion and Feta

Step 2

Chop the red onion into small pieces and cut the feta in to small chunks.

Step 3

Slice the apple and mix a little dressing over the apple so that it doesn’t brown.

Apple slices
shredded Brussels

Step 4

Coarsely grate the brussel sprouts.

Step 5

Mix the brussel sprouts, spinach and watercress together in a bowl  – add a little dressing and mix together well. Then add the blueberries, apple slices, onion, cranberries and pecans and mix together.  Sprinkle the feta chunks on top and pour over a little more dressing to taste. .

Mixed ingredients
Spinach Feta and Blueberry Salad

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

About this Recipe

This homemade hummus is a delicious veggie dip that goes so well with pitta, toast, and sliced vegetables. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home and uses store cupboard ingredients.  What a fantastic go-to lunch when you need something quick, and delicious but the fridge is a little empty!  Tailor the flavours as you like, make it smooth or crunchy and then store it for several days for lunches and snacks. 

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups tinned chickpeas (1 can)
  • 1 garlic clove – peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked salt (or regular)
  • 1/3 cup smooth tahini paste
  • 1/2  lemon (juiced)

Hummus health benefits

High in fibre, chickpeas can have a positive effect on our gut. Beans and pulses, like chickpeas, are protein-rich and high in resistant starch, slowing the speed at which we digest them. This means they release energy more steadily which may positively manage blood sugar levels.  Chickpeas, sesame seeds in the tahini paste and olive oil are valuable sources of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats. These ingredients also have beneficial properties including being anti-inflammatory.

Why is homemade better?  Some store-bought hummus brands use cheaper sunflower oil rather than healthier olive oil. Making your own hummus also allows you to control the levels of salt and cuts out the need for additives or preservatives.  

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Drain the chickpeas reserving the juice and a few chickpeas to top your dish. Then, to a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, salt, peeled garlic, and tahini paste.  Mix well until you have roughly your preferred consistency – ultra smooth or crunchy.

Hummus ingredients
Whizzed chickpeas

Step 2

Add lemon juice a little at a time until you reach the right wetness and smoothness you desire.  If you need more moisture without the sourness of lemon juice, add some of the reserved chickpea juice.

Step 3

Serve the hummus in a pretty dish and top with the reserved chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Homemade hummus

Have fun with toppings and flavours

When I was on my charity trek in Jordan, hummus was a staple for lunch and breakfast.  Our local crew taught me to sprinkle Za’atar spice on my hummus to add a big flavour hit.   Other great toppings are pine nuts, sesame seeds, chilli flakes, or chopped herbs.  If you’d like to change the flavour and colour of the hummus, try blending in sundried tomatoes or fresh basil, coriander or parsley.  You could even make a fun hummus bar for lunch with choices of bread, vegetables, and an array of flavoursome toppings. It’s such a fun and versatile lunch!

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

About this Recipe

I love this fresh pineapple salsa because it’s so versatile.  My go-to fruit salsa is mango, but one day I didn’t have a mango and so I thought I’d see if I could make a pineapple version.  That night I served a freshly grilled tuna steak on top. It was a perfect and light summer supper.  The next day, the leftover salsa was a great side dish to BBQ meat with some potato wedges.

Fresh pineapple salsa

Ingredients

4 portions

  • Half a fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2  juice of a fresh lime
  • 1 small red onion
  • Small bunch fresh coriander / cilantro
  • 1 fresh chilli
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tomatoes 

No need to dress up!  One of the lovely things about salsa is that you don’t need to make a separate dressing.  Simply add some lime juice and salt and voila!  The lime juice also helps keep the salsa nice and fresh so it will keep in the fridge for several days.  In my recipe, I’ve given a range for the number of tomatoes.  Sometimes very juicy tomatoes will make the salsa a little sloppy. So I’ll leave you to decide how juicy you want your salsa!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Prepare the pineapple by removing the skin, top and bottom.  Then halve the pineapple and remove the hard core.  Chop the pineapple into small pieces.  You can use the other half for smoothies or cut into snack size wedges.

Ingredients on board
Chopped up ingredients

Step 2

Deseed and dice the red pepper  (click on this link for my Easy way to deseed a pepper).  Dice the cucumber, red onion, tomatoes and cucumber.  Then chop the chilli into tiny pieces. Always taste the chilli to determine how much to add.  Better to leave extra chilli for everyone to add later if they like more of a kick.

Step 3

Juice the 1/2 lime and add to the salsa, sprinkle over the salt and add the chopped coriander/cilantro. Mix gently.  

Final fresh salsa

Cos-no-politan (non-alcoholic) cocktail

Cos-no-politan (non-alcoholic) cocktail

Cos-no-politan (non-alcoholic cocktail)

About this Recipe

In our house, Friday night is cocktail night. It’s a way to mark the start of the weekend and celebrate what we’ve achieved in the week.  I love to sit at the end of our kitchen island while my husband goes into Tom Cruise mode making his cocktail of choice.

This Cos-no-politan is a fantastic non-alcoholic alternative to its Cosmopolitan sister!  It’s proven so popular with guests at our house that we’ve been asked for the recipe – so here it is! And as it’s alcohol-free, you could celebrate on Friday, Monday, Tuesday…..

Cos-no-politan

Ingredients

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 1.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz sugar syrup (simple syrup)
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz tonic water

During the Covid lockdown, Jason took an online bartender & cocktail course as part of our ‘make the most of time at home’ efforts.  His most significant takeaway from the course was the difference that using fresh ingredients makes.  Previously, we used bottled lime juice in this Cos-no-politan, but the difference that fresh lime makes is fantastic! So if you can take the time…you won’t regret making fresh lime juice. Plus you get a bonus arm workout!

Homemade Sugar syrup  – Why pay over the odds for shop-bought sugar syrup when it’s so easy to make and store at home? First, sterilise a glass container/bottle (I use diluted Milton fluid). Then simply add 1 cup of white sugar to 1 cup of water in a saucepan.  Bring this to a boil and then let it simmer for a minute or two.  Take the saucepan off the heat and leave it to cool to room temperature.  Add the syrup to your sterilised bottle.  Store for up to a few weeks in the refrigerator. (Of course, you can increase or decrease the quantity as desired).

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Chill the cocktail glasses in the refrigerator or by adding ice water. (Empty before serving the cocktail). Prep the lime juice. We use a metal lemon/lime squeezer but feel free to use your juicer of choice.

Ingredients
cos-no-politan

Step 2

Add the cranberry juice, sugar syrup, tonic and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.  Add ice. Put the lid on the cocktail shaker and very gently shake (the tonic will froth if you mix too vigorously). Divide the cocktail into the chilled, empty glasses.  Cheers!

Oat cookies with cacao and raisins

Oat cookies with cacao and raisins

Oat cookies with cacao and raisins

About this Recipe

These oat cookies with cacao and raisins are tasty and filling thanks to the oats and spelt flour. They are definitely a healthier cookie too – using a small amount of coconut sugar, butter and coconut oil and replacing traditional chocolate chips with cacao nibs balanced by the natural sweetness of raisins. A perfect and substantial treat or snack and are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee or great in a lunch box. They are just sweet enough and absolutely delicious.

Oat cookies

Ingredients

  • 160g oats
  • 75g spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 60g melted coconut butter
  • 60g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 50g cacao nibs
  • 50g raisins or sultanas

These cookies are fantastic to make in advance and freeze until you need them. Batch make the cookies by doubling up the recipe so you have some for this week and some to freeze! Place the raw cookies on baking paper, layered in a freezable container. When you are ready for another batch of freshly baked cookies, simply remove the required number from the freezer and bake on a lined baking sheet direct from frozen for approx. 15 minutes (or until golden). It’s a great way to make sure you always have a healthier snack alternative on hand!

What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Well cocoa has been processed at high heat, which destroys much of the nutritional benefits of the cacao seed. Cacao powder or nibs are made of fermented, but not roasted, seeds that are processed at low temperatures and then ground into a powder or left as nibs. This ensures that its nutritional benefits—and its bitter flavor—are preserved. 

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper / parchment.

Oat cookies with cacao and raisins ingredients

Step 2

Spread the oats out on the baking trays and toast in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden.  Mix them half way through.

Step 3

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

Step 4

In another bowl, whisk together the butters, sugar, egg and vanilla extract.  Add the ingredients from the flour bowl and mix.  Then combine the oats, cacao nibs and raisins. Place heaped spoonful’s of the mixture on the lined baking trays – ensuring there is room for the cookies to spread.  (If you want to freeze the cookies – follow the instructions at the top of the recipe)

oat cookie mix on baking tray

Step 5

Bake for between 10 – 14 minutes until golden brown and fairly firm to the touch.  Set the trays aside on a cooling rack.  Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

oat cookies with cacao and raisins on cooling rack

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