PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE BITES

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 allspice (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Glaze (optional)

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

Bites: Place the dates in a food processor and process until mostly smooth or a ball forms. Scrape the sides as needed. Divide the date paste into a few even clumps in the food processor for easy mixing. Next, add the walnuts, oats, almond flour, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and salt to the dates. Pulse until evenly mixed and no large pieces of walnuts remain. Taste and adjust the level of spice to your preference, adding more vanilla for cake flavor, more cinnamon for warmth or more ginger for spice. Scoop out 1 1/2 Tablespoons amounts and roll into balls. Repeat until all of the dough is used. For best results, we recommend placing the bites on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate and placing in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (15 minutes in the freezer).

Glaze: If using the optional glaze, prepare it once the bites have chilled. Add 1 inch of water to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and place the coconut butter in a small heat-proof bowl. Carefully place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula or spoon, until melted and loose, about 2 minutes or melt the glaze in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave in 20-second increments until melted. Using a small spoon, carefully place some melted coconut butter on top of each of the bites, letting it run down the sides slightly. Alternatively, dunk each bite into the glaze and roll around until all sides are coated. Use a fork to tap off excess glaze, then transfer back to your parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. While the glaze is still tacky, sprinkle orange zest evenly over all the bites. Serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Makes 16 cake bites.   

     PUMPKIN PASTA BAKE

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shallots, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Place saucepan on medium heat. Coat with olive oil, then pour in shallots and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add sage and thyme, stir and cook until fragrant. Bring heat down to low and add the pumpkin and ricotta. Stir until well-combined. Add milk, stir, add Parmesan, stir. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir until well-blended. Combine the sauce with cooked pasta and stir until evenly distributed. Scoop the pasta into a baking dish or a pumpkin. Top off with mozzarella cheese. Bake covered for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted. Then broil for a quick 2-3 minutes, if desiring the cheese on top to brown and get toasty. Make sure not to overdo it. Serve immediately, before it gets cold. Makes 4 servings.  

APPLE NACHOS

  • 3 apples, sliced (Gala or Courtland)
  • 3 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 easpoon vanilla extract

Optional toppings:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

Slice up the apples thin enough to make is easy to eat the slice in one or two bites. Lightly spritz the apples with lemon juice to keep them from browning too fast. Evenly distribute the apple slices onto a large plate. In a small bowl, mix almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract together until it reaches a smooth, caramel-like consistency. Using a spoon or squeeze bottle, drizzle the almond butter mixture onto the apples. Top with a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds, chocolate chips and chopped pecans (or any preferred toppings). Drizzle some additional caramel sauce onto the apple slices. Makes 6 servings.

SILLY APPLE BITES

  • 2 green apples, each quarted
  • 32 sunflower seeds
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1-2 homemade googly eyes per apple bite

Cut the middles out of each quarter of the apple to create a mouth. Coat the inside of the cut gap with a filling of sunflower butter. Place 4 sunflower seeds on the top of the “mouth” for the teeth. Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth for the tongue. “Glue” each eye above the mouth with a dab of sunbutter to stick. Makes 8 servings.

    If you have a recipe you’d like to share -

please send it to sheila.bergren@apgecm.com

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