Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Is posting a pumpkin recipe after Thanksgiving some sort of faux pas? Kind of like wearing white after Labor Day?

I’m not really sure, but I personally like to continue my pumpkin obsession through the holiday season. After posting these polar bear marshmallows earlier this week, a hot chocolate recipe to follow seems only natural! Plus, I figure maybe you guys have some extra pumpkin puree leftover and this Pumpkin Hot Chocolate is the perfect way to use up that last bit of it! I think I always have extra puree in the fridge during this season every year and I love using it for recipes like this hot cocoa or pancakes!

This hot chocolate is a mug of comfort. And unlike a lot of pumpkin spice drinks, this hot cocoa does actually contain pumpkin! Instead of having a bunch of cinnamon that often gets clumpy and stuck in your teeth, I toss in cinnamon sticks to infuse that flavor into the hot cocoa.

You can use regular cocoa powder in this recipe OR dark cocoa powder (as pictured). I always prefer dark chocolate, but either one works here. I don’t like my hot cocoa to be overly sweet, so I recommend starting off with the amount in the recipe and you can always stir in more if you want it sweeter.

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Polar Bear Marshmallows

Polar Bear Marshmallows

The holiday season is now here and it’s finally starting to get chilly here in the OC! The hot cocoa cravings have definitely hit me and today I have what is quite possibly the most adorable way to dress up your hot cocoa – with a Polar Bear Marshmallow!

Polar Bear Marshmallows

Polar Bear Marshmallows

I can’t take credit for this idea as I’ve seen it on the interwebs quite a few times, but I had to give them a try myself! These are pretty simple to make and just require a bit of time depending on how many you want to make.

Low Fat Broccoli Gratin

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

How is it possible that Thanksgiving is already this week? November has just flown by! We also celebrated Madeline’s 4th birthday over the weekend and had the most fun time at Disneyland where she got to have a special princess makeover!

We certainly can’t forget the veggies for your Thanksgiving spread! One of my favorite potato dishes of all-time is most definitely potatoes gratin. I mean, what’s not to love about creamy cheesy potatoes? It’s total comfort food at it’s best. So I made this broccoli gratin instead of potatoes this time around and it’s seriously delish. I also tried to lighten up the cheesy sauce a bit by using fat-free half and half and lower fat cheese. If you don’t care about the fat, use regular half and half and cheese!

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

This recipe will satisfy your craving for cheesy and creamy goodness without all the calories and starch. I used just broccoli here, but you could also do a combo of broccoli and cauliflower! Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables so of course, it would grace my Thanksgiving table. And who doesn’t love broccoli covered in cheese? That’s right. Nobody. I love the crispy panko topping on this too as it adds a nice crunch and texture to the dish.

One thing to note about the recipe is the second step where you toss the broccoli in some boiling water for a couple of minutes. This precooks the broccoli so it’s nice and tender when it’s done cooking. HOWEVER, I actually prefer my broccoli to be more al dente so I have also made this skipping the boiling and I actually prefer it this way. So, if you want your broccoli to be softer, boil it before baking. If you want it to be more al dente, skip the second step.

While I’m posting this as a Thanksgiving dish, this broccoli gratin is a delicious side dish to make year around, especially if you have picky veggie eaters in your house!

Low-Fat Broccoli Gratin

Pumpkin Mousse

Pumpkin Mousse

Today we are talking Thanksgiving desserts! What is your favorite? We usually make an assortment of pies, apple, pumpkin, banana cream, chocolate, etc. Pumpkin pie is my obvious favorite. Sometimes there is a total pie overload though and I like to break some of the pies up with something different.

This ridiculously easy pumpkin mousse is the perfect alternative to pie! It doesn’t require more than about 15 minutes of hands-on time and you can (and should) make it the night before because who has time to worry about dessert when there is turkey and a gazillion side dishes to make?

Pumpkin Mousse

This is a simplified mousse that doesn’t require any eggs, but I promise you it still has a rich silky texture. It’s also a little lighter than traditional mousse which I’m totally okay with after eating a big dinner.

You will start off by warming pumpkin puree, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and some spices in a sauce pan and then just have to fold it in with some homemade whipped cream and that’s pretty much it!

One thing to note – for the sake of the photos, I really filled up the glasses with the mousse, but I will say that filling a wine glass almost to the top is really too much. I recommend about 1/2 of what is pictured as an actual serving. You should get about 6 servings this way, but the exact servings may just depend on the size of your serving dishes.

Pumpkin Mousse

Pumpkin Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15-ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • crushed gingersnap cookies
  • Additional whip cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the pumpkin puree, 1 cup of heavy cream, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining heavy cream and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl (if you want extra whipped cream for topping, add another cup of heavy cream here). Beat the heavy cream on high speed with a mixer until soft peaks form (if you made extra whipped cream for topping, remove about 1 cup worth and set aside).
  3. Fold the pumpkin mixture in with the whipped cream until just combined. Divide into ramekins or serving glasses. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Serve with crushed gingersnap cookies and additional whipped cream if desired.

Slightly adapted from Food Network

All images and text ©

Pumpkin Mousse

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

I’m pretty sure I say this every single year, but stuffing is my most favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Always and forever. If someone told me they burned the turkey and every side dish and there was only stuffing? FINE BY ME! If someone told me they aren’t making stuffing? NOT FINE AT ALL!

Since I pretty much eat pounds and pounds of stuffing over the course of Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I’d try a little portion control this year and what better way to do that than with these stuffing muffins?

Pear Walnut Stuffing Muffins

Easy Creamed Corn

Easy Creamed Corn

Thanksgiving sides. How do we feel about them? Me personally, I’m ALL about the side dishes. Of course I like a delicious turkey, but I mostly fill up on the side dishes!

The truth is that I’m not sure I’ve had creamed corn. I mean, maybe at a restaurant or something, but corn is not typically one of the veggie sides we make for Thanksgiving.

That might need to change this year though because I finally made some myself a couple of weeks ago and oh my, is it yummy!

Easy Creamed Corn

Because of the season, I used frozen corn for this recipe. If you have access to good fresh corn, you can use it, but I know many might not with winter approaching. I start off by thawing the corn in some water on the stove for a few minutes. Then mix in some flour and half and half along with some other seasonings.

Easy Creamed Corn