Forget the canned stuff, learn how to make your own homemade pumpkin purée from scratch. It takes just one simple ingredient and less than an hour to make!
The recent pumpkin spice-everything craze has made it hard to ignore the rows and rows of canned pumpkin that pop up on grocery store shelves once summer starts coming to a close. I’ll be the first to admit that I love pumpkin so much I’ve been known to stock up on it right after the holidays to get me through the better part of a year.
But what if you could easily make your own and store it in the freezer to have ready to go at a moment’s notice? It’s easier than you think, and today I’m going to tell you all about it!
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Since I’ve become a mom, having some pumpkin purée on hand has become even more important as I love using it as a way of sneaking some extra nutrients into my little one’s diet. It’s super easy to mix into baked goods like pancakes, donuts, muffins and breads to up the healthiness factor. Not only does pumpkin have loads of Vitamin A, it’s also rich in antioxidants and can boost immunity – and it’s tasty to boot!
Pumpkin’s sweeter flavor is often appreciated by tiny eaters so if you have kids, take advantage of it and add some pumpkin to their diet. I’ll give you some great recipe ideas below.
What You Need to Make Pumpkin Purée
Perhaps the most exciting thing about making your own pumpkin purée (besides having it on hand to use whenever you want) is that you need next to nothing to make it. We’re talking one ingredient and a couple of common kitchen appliances/utensils. That’s my kind of recipe!
Here’s what you’re going to want to gather up before you start cooking:
A baking pumpkin
A knife and cutting board
A jelly roll pan
A food processor
That’s it! Well, you’re also going to need an oven, but I’m hoping you’ve already got one of those on hand 😉
How to Make It
The first step in making the perfect homemade pumpkin purée is to cook your pumpkin. To make the process go a bit faster, you’ll go ahead and cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and wrap each half in aluminum foil to really seal in some steam from the oven.
After just 30 minutes baking away (and a little bit of cooling time) your cooked pumpkin will be scooped into the food processor – sans skin – and puréed until smooth. I mean, could it be any simpler?? No oil, no butter, no liquid, no nothing. Just good ol’ pumpkin to make all your fall baking dreams come true.
How to Use Homemade Pumpkin Purée
Oh let me count the ways! There are so many great uses for homemade pumpkin purée. Here are just a few ideas:
Get the easy recipe for homemade pumpkin purée below. For more pumpkin inspiration, be sure to check out my Fall Foodie Ideas board on Pinterest (so many delicious recipes I’m dying to try) or sign up for my weekly newsletter where I’ll be sending out all the fun fall content in the coming weeks!
1baking pumpkinMay also be called a Sugar Pie pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and scoop out all the seeds.
Tear two pieces of aluminum foil that are each large enough to wrap around one half of the pumpkin. Wrap each pumpkin half, sealing the aluminum foil as much as possible.
Place wrapped pumpkin halves on the jelly roll pan.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until you can easily squeeze the pumpkin halves with tongs. You want the pumpkin to be soft enough that you can scoop it out of the skin.
Let pumpkin halves cool for at least 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to touch.
Scoop the inside of the pumpkin into the food processor, discard the skin and foil.
Turn the food processor on and process until smooth.
Purée can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Use as a substitute in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.
Here are the 10 best recipes featuring pomegranate syrup or grenadine – just in time for peak pomegranate season. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a bartender, barista, baker or chef.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the tail-end of summer and heading into fall. While we’ve likely all seen Halloween costumes on store shelves and debates on how soon is TOO soon to bring back the pumpkin spice latte over the past couple of weeks, there’s a lot more to get excited about this time of year – like all of the amazing fall produce!
One of my favorite fall fruits is tart and tangy pomegranate, not only for its great flavor, but because it can be used in so many different ways. It can be used for savory cooking or sweet treats, cocktails or mocktails. It can even be used for your favorite coffee, tea or espresso drink! Pomegranate comes in many different forms – like seeds, juice, molasses and syrup – so its flexibility in the kitchen should come as no surprise.
You know I’ve been a huge fan of Sonoma Syrup Co.’s products for quite some time, and this time of year I can’t help but move their Pomegranate Simple Syrup and Grenadine to the front of my pantry. They’re the perfect products to have on hand as we ease into fall, whether I’m whipping up a salad featuring my favorite seasonal fruits and veggies or mixing up a cocktail.
To celebrate one of fall’s star players, I’ve rounded up 10 of my favorite recipes using pomegranate syrup or grenadine, including ways to adapt existing recipes to use these time-saving ingredients.
While usually rife with citrus, margaritas get a colorful (and tasty!) seasonal touch with the addition of pomegranate simple syrup. It’s the perfect way to sweeten up a typically tangy drink while also adding depth of flavor. When making a special margarita like this one, be sure you use high-quality tequila. This will not only elevate the taste even more, but also prevent you from getting a nasty hangover the next day. Look for tequilas that state “100% de agave” on the bottle, as that assures that there have not been any other weird added sweeteners that will leave you regretting the drink in the morning.
Dress up your Pomegranate Margarita by adding a few pomegranate arils to the glass (you can find the arils in the produce section of most grocery stores) or by rimming the glass with sugar studded with lime zest. For an extra hit of pomegranate flavor, you could even use the pomegranate syrup to get your lime-studded sugar to stick. The possibilities are endless, and the flavor is to-die-for. This is a great drink to start enjoying now and continue serving well into the holidays, because who doesn’t love a festive, bright red cocktail come December?
Of course, we couldn’t do a roundup on pomegranate syrup/grenadine without including the classic nonalcoholic drink (and favorite of children everywhere) – the Shirley Temple! This is such a simple drink to make, and a fun treat for kiddos on a special occasion. As in this recipe from Bon Appetít, it’s classically made with grenadine, ginger ale, and garnished with a maraschino cherry. However, modern-day recipes have also been known to include such innovative ingredients as lemon-lime soda, lemonade or even orange juice.
I love that this kid-friendly mocktail can be easily elevated with the use of a good ginger ale or ginger beer and Sonoma Syrup’s Classic Grenadine Syrup. Using high-quality products like these cuts back on processed ingredients – which you know I’m a huge fan of – and should also minimize the crazy sugar rush kids our kids so easily succumb to.
Your little ones (and mocktail-enjoying friends) will love this fancy take on the classic at your next get-together or dinner party.
You read that right – pomegranate syrup can also be used in cooking! And what better way to do so than with a zesty red wine vinaigrette from the kitchens of one of the most well-known wineries in Wine Country? This tasty salad recipe hails from the kitchens of Domaine Chandon in world-famous Napa Valley and pairs the winery’s light and juicy Pinot Noir with Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pomegranate Simple Syrup to create a perfectly balanced vinaigrette. When drizzled over a bed of greens topped with grapes, pecans and pomegranate seeds, you’ll get the ultimate taste of Wine Country in your very own home.
This vinaigrette would also make a great marinade for filets or roast duck or – who are we kidding? – served alongside a loaf of freshly baked bread for dipping.
This Southern Sweet Iced Tea is another great use for pomegranate syrup that doesn’t involve alcohol. Use the base recipe as your guide as far as amounts, then choose your favorite herbal tea to perfectly complement the pomegranate flavor. It’s a no-fail recipe that’s perfect to sip on while the sunlight still lingers past 6 o’clock.
To really step things up a notch, garnish your iced tea with a fresh sprig of whichever type of herbal tea you’ve used in your recipe – fresh mint, chamomile and rooibos are all tasty options.
The Kir Royale is a French cocktail typically made with sparkling wine and créme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), but why not give it a modern makeover by subbing in grenadine? I love any kind of cocktail that involves sparkling because it turns any occasion into a special one, especially this time of year when there are tons of things to celebrate!
Try a drier style of sparkling wine for this one, as the grenadine will sweeten it up a bit. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig or some extra pomegranate arils to make your Kir Royale especially appropriate for the season.
Of course, no pomegranate syrup recipe roundup would be complete without a way to use it in a sweet treat! Make your own pomegranate soda by adding Sonoma Syrup Co.’s pomegranate syrup to sparkling water or club soda, then just add vanilla ice cream to turn it into a tasty float. With the syrup’s pure ingredients, making your own soda helps you cut back on not-so-healthy stuff that often goes into store-bought pops and control just how sweet you want it to be.
This is another one that the kids will love. It’s the perfect treat for back-to-school or a weekend get-together with friends while the weather is still warm.
No doubt by now you’ve heard of this latest frozen drink craze, but did you know you can make frosé extra-tasty with the addition of some brightly hued grenadine? It not only adds a great pop of color to an already gorgeous drink, but it also lends an extra depth of flavor that plain old rosé just can’t give you.
This recipe adds in strawberries for extra body, but you could also try raspberries or watermelon for a slightly different take on things. This is another one to make now while the weather is still warm – the perfect drink to enjoy poolside!
Alright, chefs – here’s another one for you! This Pomegranate Peppercorn Glaze is the perfect way to dress up pork tenderloins, steaks, or even grilled salmon. It’s versatile enough to use as a marinade AND a sauce on its own, or add it to your favorite cream-based sauce for the ultimate hybrid. Toss the creamy version with your favorite pasta for a hearty vegetarian dish, or use the glaze as-is to dress up roasted sweet potatoes. The possibilities are endless!
One of the best things about grenadine is that it pairs well with so many different types of liquor. These French Quarter Cocktails pair the syrup with rum in a New Orleans-inspired drink that’s sure to make you feel festive. I mean, how can you not with two different types of rum, pineapple and orange juice? It’s practically Mardi Gras in a glass.
Garnish these fun cocktails with maraschino cherries, pineapple wedges and orange slices. Get extravagant with it, because that’s exactly what these drinks are meant to be.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper pomegranate syrup roundup without me putting my own spin on a pomegranate cocktail. The Moscow Mule is one of my absolute favorite adult beverages, so when I saw this recipe from DELISH, I knew I wanted to use some of Sonoma Syrup Co.’s flavored simple syrups to give this pomegranate cocktail my own personal touch.
One of the greatest things about naturally sweetened simple syrups infused with fantastic flavor is that you can easily cut down on the prep time and number of ingredients needed and still have something fantastic to sip on in minutes flat. By using Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pomegranate Simple Syrup and Sweetened Lime Juice in this recipe, I was able to leave out the honey and still get the exact same flavor profile. Just as with every Moscow Mule, high-quality vodka and ginger beer are key in taking the drink over the top.
In your copper mug or cocktail glass, stir together the vodka, pomegranate syrup, lime juice and ice.
Top with ginger beer and garnish with pomegranate arils and rosemary sprig.
You can find the original recipe from DELISH here.
So there you have it! I hope my top 10 recipes using pomegranate syrup and grenadine inspire you to get in the kitchen and get you excited for the months ahead. I’d love to hear if you have any favorite pomegranate syrup or grenadine recipes I missed. If you do, let me know about them in the comments below!
This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.
With all of the craziness of the holidays, it’s often easier to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things than it is to slow down and take time for what this time of year is really about – spending quality time with family and friends. In this season of life where I feel like there are never enough hours in the day, I find myself craving these types of moments more than ever. That’s why, when some of my favorite ladies in the food, wine and entertaining industries decided to get together for a Fall Harvest Feast, I quickly agreed to participate – and brought this Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs as the dinner’s centerpiece. It was almost like Friendsgiving came early and I’m so excited to share all of the details (including this roast chicken recipe!) with you today.
I’m going to make a general assumption here, and that assumption is that many of you feel intimidated about roasting large cuts of meat or whole birds. Am I right? I mean, I was once in the same boat. But I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfect and, let me tell you, I have practiced and practiced roasting chicken and – no brag – have pretty much perfected a super simple recipe for you.
You may remember that a while back I posted a similar recipe – this Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – as a great show-stopper for any dinner party (or weeknight meal, for that matter.) Well, this is ALMOST the same recipe, but with a few autumn-inspired tweaks that make it perfect for any gathering you may be hosting in the next couple of months.
And yes, it is so easy. Aside from spending maybe 10 minutes prepping the bird and one flip about 15 minutes into roasting, it’s basically a “set it and forget it” recipe, so you can spend that quality time with all of your loved ones. It also looks quite stunning in its finished form, so if you’re looking for a dinner dish that will add that festive feel to your table, this Red Wine Roast Chicken is it!
But enough about my chicken, I want to tell you a little bit about the dinner itself! First off, the location and one other very important component of any harvest dinner – the wine! We were lucky enough to go back to the beautiful Folded Hills, a winery and farmstead about 30 minutes up the coast from Santa Barbara. If you want to learn more about them, I wrote an entire post about it here. Long story short, if you’re looking for friendly faces, delicious wines, the best chocolate chip cookies and cute little farm critters, be sure to plan a stop here the next time you’re cruising the 101.
And then, of course, I can’t leave out all of the other wonderful ladies who contributed their talents to this gorgeous feast. The table was set and styled by the lovely Viktoriya of Fold Santa Barbara, who makes beautiful linens both for retail and special events.
Denisse (aka Le Petit Chef Santa Barbara) added a stunning Root Vegetable Gratin that was absolutely devoured. And can you believe blogging isn’t even her full-time gig? When she’s not blogging (or slinging donuts with her husband), Denisse is a private chef in and around SB. Did I mention she’s also extremely well-versed in vegan and other special diet cooking?
Finally, I can’t leave out our very talented photographer, Silas Fallstich (aka Full Frame Fotos). If you live in Santa Barbara (or anywhere nearby), chances are you’ve seen Silas’ work. It’s featured in many of our local publications on a regular basis and we were so grateful to have such talent capturing our lovely day. We have him to thank for all of these gorgeous photos!
Sure, we call this “work” – and it is – but it’s days like these that make all of those hours in the kitchen, behind the camera, typing on the computer and with our arms elbow-deep in dirty dishwater completely worth it. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this line of work, it’s that every blogger, entrepreneur or creative truly wants to help and support one another. Forget competition, we’re all in this together. And as we inch closer and closer to the ultimate day of gratitude, I have to say I’m so thankful for each and every one of these folks I’ve met along the way and the support structure we’ve built around one another.
Here’s to a season of gratitude, thoughtfulness, positivity and support!
This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken, entertaining, entree, main course, protein
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
1approximately 5-pound whole chicken
Salt and pepper
2sprigseach fresh rosemary, sage and thyme, plus additional for garnish
1poundseedless red grapes
2large shallots, peeled and quartered
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove innards from chicken and rinse with cold water. Let drain in a large colander for 2 minutes.
Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan, breast side down. Pour red wine all over and inside the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Stuff the fresh herbs inside the chicken.
Place chicken in oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven and, using tongs or wooden spoons, flip chicken over so that the breast side is now facing up.
Return to oven and continue cooking until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the temperature after about an hour and a half. For the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add shallots and grapes to bottom of roasting pan.
Once meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven. Transfer grapes and shallots to a serving platter first, and then transfer chicken so it sits in the middle of the grapes and shallots. Garnish with additional fresh herbs. Use a carving fork and knife to serve.
A tasty twist on the classic comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie gets a fall makeover with the addition of pumpkin and the season’s best fresh herbs.
If there’s one thing that never fails to get me in the mood for fall and the impending holiday season, it’s our annual #virtualpumpkinparty! This is my third consecutive year participating in the virtual get-together and, let me tell you, it’s something worth getting excited about. Our count has now grown to over 60 bloggers and each one of us has a tasty pumpkin recipe (both sweet AND savory) that we’re sharing with you today. You can find the entire list of pumpkin recipes here, but I’ve got to tell you all about what is probably my newest fall comfort food obsession – Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie with Fresh Herbs!
Do you ever have a meal that you just love to eat but have never taken on the task of making yourself? That’s what Shepherd’s Pie was to me – well, up until a couple of weeks ago. For someone who grew up eating a lot of meat and potatoes, I sure don’t make ‘em a lot these days. But whenever someone would make me this one dish creation that happens to have meat, potatoes and veggies in one, I would be surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was about time I tried making it myself, but of course not without my own little twist!
And let me tell you, this twist just makes my version of Shepherd’s Pie over-the-top delicious. Not only did I add mashed fresh pumpkin to the potato topping, but I also cubed up some of that same fresh pumpkin and added it to the ground beef and pea filling. Oh, and we can’t forget the fresh herbs – there’s nothing like some fresh sage and thyme to make a dish REALLY feel like fall!
Now I know you’re already dying to whip up this Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, but let me make the decision even easier for you. This is a TWO-pot meal, folks. You’ll use one large pot to boil the potatoes and pumpkin for your topping, and a cast iron skillet to assemble all the pieces together and broil under the oven for a few minutes. So easy!
Oh, and hey! Where my mamas at? Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie is also a GREAT dish for baby-led weaning and for kids in general! For the little babes, I’d say just be careful with the peas. Either omit them completely or you can pick them out for your littlest ones if you just can’t give them up 😉
Okay friends, I’m going to keep this short and sweet today because, I mean, I have about 60 other pumpkin recipes to try my hand at, but I’ll tell ya – you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t give this Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie a shot. And be sure YOU also check out all of the other fun recipes for our 2018 #virtualpumpkinparty!
1whole sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes plus ¼ of a second sugar pie pumpkin peeled, seeded and cut into a small dice (about 1 cup)
2russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1/2large yellow onion, diced
3garlic cloves, minced
1tablespooneach chopped fresh sage and thyme
1/3cupbeef broth or stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add large pumpkin chunks and potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until pieces can be pierced easily with a fork. Strain out water and let cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and small cubed pumpkin and saute until onions are translucent and fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Add beef, brown slightly, and then toss in fresh herbs.
Add flour, beef stock and frozen peas and stir to combine. Let cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer bright pink.
While beef mixture is cooking, mash your pumpkin and potatoes. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and heavy cream to the pot where the pumpkin and potatoes have been cooling. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, cream everything together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once beef mixture is cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Turn off the burner your cast iron skillet has been cooking over and preheat your oven’s broiler (on high.)
Spread the mashed pumpkin and potato mixture evenly over the beef in the cast iron skillet. Top with grated Parmesan and place under the broiler until the top has a lovely golden hue, which can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Just keep a close eye on it as it is under the broiler as things can take a turn towards burnt very easily!
Serve pie by scooping the mixture out into bowls while it’s still warm.
Because every pumpkin spice latte deserves a little bourbon in it for a long holiday weekend. Am I right? Seriously, though, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Yes, me, the queen of spiking my coffee with Bailey’s and enjoying hot toddies like my OG favorite, Boilo. It only makes complete sense that we should dress up the annual favorite espresso drink with a little sumpin’ sumpin’, and bourbon sure fits the bill!
Annnnndddd, we’re making this Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte CaliGirl Cooking-friendly by using only REAL pumpkin and spices…none of this super-sweet syrupy stuff you get at your neighborhood chain coffee shop (not gonna name names here.)
That’s right, this five-ingredient recipe contains no added sugar, so it can basically be called a health food (save for the bourbon of course, which I suppose you could leave out if you really want to be SUPER healthy, but where’s the fun in that?) So here are those five ingredients we’re looking at:
Milk of your choice
Pumpkin pie spice
And, if you’re feeling fancy, a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick to garnish
Pretty easy, right?
This Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte has been largely responsible for keeping me out of the coffee shops that become so addicting with their “red cups” and special holiday drinks this time of year (well, that and the fact that I have a three week-old on my hands :-P) It’s creamy and delicious, with a wonderful pumpkin spice flavor that won’t leave you with a sugar hangover. Let’s leave that to all the pie and other fancy desserts we’ll be indulging in this weekend.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, feel free to just use a little bit of regular coffee as the caffeine source for said Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte. It won’t be quite as potent, but who needs tons of caffeine on a lazy holiday weekend, anyway?
Speaking of the holiday weekend, what are your plans? We are headed up to NorCal tonight to spend the long weekend with our families, and it will be Raia’s first long car trip. Any tips or tricks on how to make it through a four-hour drive with an almost one-month old? So far our plan is to just take our time and have no expectations about when we’ll get there. Hopefully that relaxed attitude about it all will make the trip a breeze!
We’ll be spending Thanksgiving day with my husband’s family, then heading over to Santa Cruz to see my family on Friday, with a stop to cut down a Christmas tree in between. The hubs and I have been cutting down our own tree every year since we started dating, so we’re very excited to continue the tradition with the newest addition to our family.
Other than that, we plan on doing lots of relaxing, eating and I’m sure watching allll the football, which means we’ll have plenty of time to whip up some tasty Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes while we’re at it. Who else is with me?
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
*Programming Note: I’ll be taking a break from posting on Friday so we can really enjoy the weekend with our family and friends. I’ll be back in action on Monday and can’t wait to tell you all about our trip! Xo