The weather has finally cooled a bit Florida!  With Halloween here, it’s time to put away the lemons and get out the pumpkin!  I began my morning with mouthwatering, pumpkin pancakes.  I’ve been hitting the snooze button way too many mornings lately and this morning was no exception.  Getting out to run at 4:30 am in cold weather makes my bed suddenly feel like the most comfortable place on earth. When my toddler decides he’s hungry, he starts rummaging through the pantry scooping out handfuls of pretzels or Goldfish and then refuses to eat his breakfast, so if I wanted to make these flap jacks, I needed a super fast pumpkin pancake recipe! I want everyone to reap the benefits of this bright orange vegetable, rich in vitamin A essential for eye and skin health.  Packed with potassium necessary for muscle contraction, regulation of fluid and mineral balance as well as maintaining blood pressure, you get a real bang for your buck!  Pumpkin is also loaded with fiber, something we all need more of to prevent diseases such as diverticulosis and colon cancer.
Meringue Nests
Yields 12
Ingredients
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2/3 cup sugar
  5. raspberries for topping, optional
  6. fresh mint for topping, optional
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks start to form (they should partially stand up but still droop over at the top).
  2. 2. Turn off the mixer and add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and half of the sugar. Mix until well combined. Add remaining sugar.
  3. 3. Continue beating mixture until peaks stiffen and stand up straight when you pull the beaters out.
  4. 4. Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip or a quart size plastic bag and with the corner snipped. If using raspberry and mint garnish, make an indention in the center of each meringue with a spoon handle. Pipe in dollops onto parchment.
  5. 5. Bake meringues for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. They should be crisp, but not browned.
  6. 6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the meringues off the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Once they have completely cooled, you can fill indention with a raspberry and mint, if using.
  7. 7. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Unfilled meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.
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Adapted from Cooking Class 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love To Make (and eat)!
Adapted from Cooking Class 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love To Make (and eat)!
If pancakes don’t tickle your fancy, try a Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie!  With 12 grams of protein, only 210 calories and 1 gram of fat, this tops the list for a lean breakfast treat that satisfies the whole family! Creamy-Pumpkin-Cheesecake-Smoothie-Time-With-Thea-4
Savory Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Tart
Serves 2
A rustic and savory tart that will impress anyone and everyone
Ingredients
  1. 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
  2. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  3. 1 Tbsp margarine
  4. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp sugar
  6. 1/4 tsp cayenne, optional
  7. 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  8. 1 1/2 tsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
  9. 1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  10. 1 prepared frozen pie crust, thawed
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Toss butternut cubes with olive oil and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Roast squash on a large baking sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are fork-tender. Try not to overlap squash. Set aside to cool slightly.
Caramelize onions
  1. Melt margarine in a large skillet over low heat. Spread onions evenly over pan surface with 1/2 tsp salt and sugar, stirring ocassionally until onions are soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if using.
  2. Increase temperature of oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Combine roasted squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
Assemble tart
  1. Roll prepared and thawed dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet or round pizza stone. Spread combined ingredients over the dough, leaving approximately a 1 inch border. Fold the border over the squash mixture, pinching the edges. Leave the center uncovered.
  2. Bake tart until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then cut the tart into wedges. Serve.
Notes
  1. Tart may also be served at room temperature, making it an excellent party appetizer or pot luck dish
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Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
Don’t throw out the pumpkin seeds!  You may not want to eat the pumpkin you carve but, seasoning and roasting these leftover beauties are sure to satisfy any snacker’s desire!  There are hundreds of ideas for toasting pumpkin seeds whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer salty and savory! roasted-pumpkin-seeds 16 Best Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes Pumpkin seeds are especially rich in zinc, essential for many of the body’s processes including healing and maintaining the body’s immune system. Since you can’t have Halloween without candy corn, I’m throwing in a fun little snack for a pre-trick or treat snack…as though the kids will be needing any additional sweets for the evening. Some things you may want to have handy for these fall treats:
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