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. 

 

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
Healthy Pineapple Muffins

Healthy Pineapple Muffins

Healthy Pineapple Muffins

Introduction

About this Recipe

I love a fluffy blueberry muffin, but I wanted to try something just as juicy but a little different in my next batch of muffins.  These healthy pineapple muffins are a totally tropical, pina colada delight.  Pineapple is a perfect fruit for a muffin with a delicious and sweet flavour but enough substance to hold its texture well.  Adding to the tropical flavour is banana and shredded coconut – adding softness, sweetness, and that unmistakable coconut texture. 

Pina Colada Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain / all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 cups chopped tinned pineapple (in juice but drained)
  • 1/2 cup (small pot) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut

You will need:

Muffin tin lined with 12 greaseproof paper muffin cases

Healthier muffins

With no added fat and only a small amount of coconut sugar – these muffins are full of fruit and are much healthier than most muffins.  The use of spelt flour means the muffins are more nutrient-dense, more digestible, and less processed than using only regular flour.

Juicy and delicious – totally tropical, guilt-free muffins!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F.  Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and desiccated coconut together in a bowl.

Pina Colada Muffin ingredients
Step 2

In a separate bowl whisk together all the remaining wet / fruit ingredients.

Step 3

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl and mix together gently until fully combined.

Step 4

Use two tablespoons to divide the muffin batter into 12 muffin cases inside the muffin tray.  There should be approx 1 large tablespoon of batter for each muffin case.

Muffin batter
Step 5

Bake for approximately 16 minutes.  Test the muffins by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean then the muffins are baked.  They should look slightly golden and be firm to the touch.  Bake for another couple of minutes if necessary. 

Step 6

Remove the muffins from the tray and cool them on a cooling rack.  Once room temperature, store the muffins in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  Alternatively, pop them in the freezer and defrost as required, either naturally or by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Chocolate Orange Energy Balls

Chocolate Orange Energy Balls

Chocolate Orange Energy Balls

About this Recipe

Energy balls or bites are simple to make and can be enjoyed for breakfast, a snack or for dessert. They are grain-free and have no added sugar whilst still giving you a nice protein and energy hit.  A great snack to keep in the freezer so you have something healthy to reach for instead of the biscuit tin. The chocolate orange combo makes for a real treat to enjoy with your mid morning cuppa or coffee!

Chocolate orange energy balls

Ingredients

  • 1 mug whole almonds
  • 2 mugs medjool dates
  • 1 orange – Zested
  • 4 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Blitz the almonds in a food processor until they are in very small pieces.  Destone the dates.  Add all the ingredients into the food processor. Blitz together until it forms into a sticky, pliable texture.

ingredients

Step 2

Scoop out roughly dessert spoon sized portions and roll quickly into balls.  (If you take too long the chocolate will start to melt and you’ll have very messy hands!). Pop each ball on a lined baking sheet. Repeat to make evenly sized energy balls.  

Step 3

Store the energy balls in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.  I love to freeze the balls in between layers of greaseproof paper.  Take them out as required and either defrost at room temperature or in the microwave for about 10 seconds. 

Homemade Jerk Seasoning

Homemade Jerk Seasoning

Homemade Jerk Seasoning

About this Recipe

One of the easiest ways to change up a BBQ is to swap out your regular seasonings. Jerk Seasoning is a delicious blend of aromatic spices giving a full depth with a little smoke and a tiny hint of spice. It’s fantastic to rub into meats as a marinade or even to try sprinkled on large pineapple slices before you add them to the BBQ. This homemade Jerk seasoning is easy to mix up with the added advantage that you can make it to suit your family preferences.

Homemade Jerk Seasoning ingredients and wooden spoons

Why is homemade jerk seasoning so good?

With homemade seasoning, you cut out all the additives, preservatives and coloring. You can keep salt / sodium to the level that you are happy with for your family too. If you don’t like cinnamon you can cut it out. If you prefer a more smoky seasoning? No problem – just swap the salt for smoked salt or increase the quantity of smoked paprika.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries (crushed finely)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cloves (crushed finely)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • A good grinding of black pepper

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Grind the allspice berries until they are fine – add to a small bowl.

Homemade jerk seasoning - ground spices in a bowl

Step 2

Grind the cloves until they are a fine powder and add to the spice bowl.

Step 3

Add all the other spices and mix very well until evenly combined.

How to use homemade jerk seasoning

This delicious homemade jerk seasoning is delicious rubbed on chicken, vegetables or even fruit as a marinade before adding them to the BBQ. Cold jerk chicken is perfect cut into strips for a picnic and it’s delicious in a summer salad. If it’s not a BBQ type of night, try the seasoning sprinkled over a pork loin, wrapped in foil / aluminum wrap and cooked in the oven with a touch of apple juice to add moisture.

Homemade Jerk Seasoning used to season Jerk Chicken

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