The Great Pumpkin

by Cate on October 28, 2005

I love Charlie Brown holiday specials and can’t wait to see the Halloween one – they have a way of totally getting you in the mood for whatever holiday is coming.

Dinner tonight was simple spaghetti with Marinara sauce, started off by a new recipe, Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing. The salad recipe is a new one for me, from Rachael Ray. I saw it mentioned on a cooking bulletin board and it was described as “heaven on a plate.” How can you not want to make a recipe with that type of description? It was very good and really quick to make. Nicholas gobbled it up, which is great because although he loves salad, had I told him he was eating spinach, he wouldn’t have touched it, so I managed to sneak some green veggies into him today! ;) All told, dinner was on the table in under 20 minutes. Can’t beat that!

After dinner, I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. I doubled the recipe and made full size muffins, mini muffins and used the rest of the batter to make a loaf. Perfect. I’ll give the loaf to The Neighbor, saved six muffins for us here, and the rest will be for the Halloween party at Nicholas and The Girlfriend’s old school tomorrow. It’s a recipe I’ve made before and it is super simple and never fails to impress. Great for the Fall season.

The special holiday magazines are starting to come out, and this is definitely one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Tonight, I found “Our Best Holiday Menus” from Better Homes & Gardens. It’s got an interesting Pistachio cake on the cover, which I think I’ll be passing by, but it’s filled with a ton of other scrumptious holiday meals, appetizers, desserts and more.

Mail Call! Sara Moulton’s new cookbook, Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals came in the mail today. As soon as I heard about it, I pre-ordered it from Amazon. I’ve never had a bad Sara Moulton recipe and this cookbook looks like it’s going to be no exception. And speaking of pre-ordering new cookbooks, for Rick Bayless fans, his newest cookbook, Mexican Everyday comes out next week, and yup, that’s on my list too.

Giada’s new show, Behind the Bash, and Warren Brown’s new show, Sugar Rush, both premiered last night, so I’m off to catch up on my Tivo. Optimum was here again today to play with the cable modem, and will be back tomorrow to hopefully finish up the job. Until then…

Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing
Rachael Ray

1 10 oz. package of baby spinach
1/3 lb bleu cheese, crumbled
6 oz. walnut halves, toasted if desired
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Place spinach on a large platter. Top with bleu cheese and walnuts. Warm maple syrup in a small saucepan. Pour vinegar into a small bowl. Whisk oil into the vinegar in a slow stream. Whisk maple syrup into dressing in a slow stream. Pour dressing over the salad platter and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add eggs, pumpkin, butter and chocolate chips. Stir until well blended. Spoon into muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina October 28, 2005 at 12:48 am

It amazes me how I can simply add a sweet dressing to spinach and throw some mandarin oranges in there, too, and the three yr old gobbles that up! Kudos to you for getting green veggies into your little man. It’s always a struggle for me as well!

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Kalyn October 28, 2005 at 2:15 am

I am sooooo going to make that salad, only I will use sugar free maple syrup. Sounds delish.

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Joe October 28, 2005 at 3:26 am

I thought both shows were pretty good last night. Warren looked a little stiff to me but it’s still one of his first airings so i’m not surprised!

I saw a new cooking with the chefs for the holidays magazine but I could not figure out who printed it. It was pretty expensive but had some great looking recipes!

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swee October 28, 2005 at 6:10 am

hi sweetnicks.. yay! u linked my site.. but i’m not from NY/USA.. hehe.. I’m from Malaysia :)

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courtney October 28, 2005 at 10:09 pm

I can’t help but confess ~ I too am charmed by Sara Moulton. It’s comforting and pleasant to watch her cook. What must that be like, to be so likeable? She’s, like, a perfect person. I bet she never swears. Gee.

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Randi October 29, 2005 at 1:22 am
Cate October 31, 2005 at 3:55 am

Christina – seems to be a worldwide preschool problem, but I’ll settle for these baby steps.

Kalyn – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. :)

Joe – off to watch Sugar Rush now. He has a cookbook coming out soon too.

swee – my bad. Couldn’t find a mention of your location and you said something about Manhattan Fish Company, so I took a guess. Fixed now. :)

courtney – My Mom and I were lucky enough to meet her about 2 years ago at a talk she gave with a book signing. She was as down-to-earth and pleasant in person and she is on TV, which is always nice to see.

Thanks for joining in, Randi.

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