Pumpkin French Toast with Caramelized Apples

At the risk of sounding completely basic, I will admit that I absolutely love pumpkin. Every year, when September rolls around, I’m like:

I even wrote a whole post devoted to all the different things you can do with leftover pumpkin.

This was not one of them but obviously should have been.

And since my other BAE is brunch

I thought why not marry the two?

What about….. PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST!!

I decided to top it with some caramelized apples because I went apple picking in Caledon last weekend (and by “picking”, I mean stood around directing Colin to get all the high ones) and have about 30 left to use. Plus, isn’t the best way to enjoy fresh, seasonal fruit smothering it in butter and sugar?

For the caramelized apples I used a slightly modified version of this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butt-aaaah
  • 4 apples cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used mostly MacIntosh. Some recipes say to peel them but I enjoy the skins)
  • 2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Next, add apples, brown sugar and spices, stir to blend and sauté until tender (about 10 minutes).

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aww yeah

Now set aside that delicious noise and move on to the toast.

For the French Toast (makes about 8-9 pieces): 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond because I am a weight-conscious yuppie but you could use any variety)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix- use the real sh*t) 450
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp of Pumpkin pie Spice (recipe here)
  • 8 pieces of bread (I used day-old egg bread, similar to Challah)
  • Butter or margarine for the pan
  • Maple Syrup to top

First, pre-heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat (or griddle if ya nasty) and butter that sh*t. Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and Pumpkin Pie Spice in a bowl until well combined. Pour into a shallow dish.

Next, dip the bread into the egg mixture one piece at a time, coating both sides (Tip: use your hand to dip the bread. I initially tried to do it with a spatula and it was a hot mess). Transfer to the skillet and cook until golden brown on one side, then flip to the opposite side and cook until golden brown as well.

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Guys, this smelled SO GOOD. I had to hold myself back while cooking.

Once done, transfer to plate and top with caramelized apples. I also had some leftover toasted hazlenuts because I am basically Martha Stewart so I threw on a few of those as well.

Serve warm with real maple syrup. No Aunt Jemima bid-nass up in here. (I also made some turkey bacon on the side. If you close your eyes really hard it ALMOST tastes like regular bacon.)

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Voila! Oh MAN. Let me tell you,

The only thing missing?

Question of the day: What is your favorite breakfast food? 

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A Million and One Things To Do With Leftover Pumpkin

I was deep in the middle of my Saturday morning routine (painting my nails and watching PRV’d weight loss shows), when my boyfriend announced he wanted to make pumpkin muffins.

“Great!”I said, “Love pumpkin muffins!”

“Want to help?” he asked

My immediate reaction was:

 

…but, in an effort to be more domestic, I decided to bite the bullet. Plus, he has  been watching a lot of Pioneer Woman lately, and I’m starting to develop a bit of a complex.

Damnit, Ree Drummond! Stop making the rest of us look bad!

“Sure” I responded, Tis the season right?

Since canned pumpkin just “wouldn’t do”, step 1 was  heading to the market to pick up an actual, real-life pumpkin. There, I entertained myself by taking autumnal instagrams

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while my boyfriend agonized over the perfect gourd. Since they were all $2, we ended up walking away with the biggest pumpkin we could find. Literally, it was like, country fair-winning, radioactive isotope variety.

It could happen.

With the help of a wheelbarrow, some patience, and a LOT of complaining on my part, we eventually got the beast home and set about de-gutting the thing.

“You want to do the honors?” he asked me

In my head, I was like:

But deep down I knew that the Pioneer Woman wouldn’t be afraid of a few pumpkin guts. She’d get her strong, ranch hands in there and tear those guts out with her award-winning southern smile. So, I got myself a rubber glove, and was like:

Suffice to say, it was not pretty- but in the end, we got the thing cleaned out, and used the pumpkin flesh to whip up these delicious muffins:

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Only problem was, even after making the muffins, we still had about 98% of the mutant pumpkin left.

“So, what are we going to do with the rest?” he asked “We can’t just throw it out”

Both my patience and will to live were severely compromised at this point, but instead of getting down, I thought to myself: WWRDD – What Would Ree Drummond Do?  B*tch would get in there and whip up some more delicious pumpkin specialties.

“Of course we won’t throw it out!” I choked, “let me Google some ideas!”

I found a website devoted to “50 things you can do with leftover pumpkin” and my mind was literally blown. Up until that point, my experience with pumpkin was  limited to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte, if I was feeling frisky. This website had everything from pumpkin risotto, to pumpkin flavored margaritas.

I found a recipe for lamb and pumpkin stew that sounded delicious, and decided to attempt it. Guess what? It turned out AMAZING.

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Next, I roasted the pumpkin seeds with some olive oil, smoked paprika and cumin:

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But despite these two further recipes, we had still barely made a dent in the pumpkin. I knew I had to take drastic measures, so I decided to roast the remaining pumpkin and make pumpkin puree.

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At this point, I was starting to get really into it.  I had become obsessed with using every last inch of the pumpkin – even the peel. My boyfriend looked at me with shock and awe as I peeled off the skin of the roasted pumpkin for later use.

“It’s for facials,”  I said, “Did you know pumpkin is amazing for your skin?”

“I think I’ve created a monster,” he replied.

With the pumpkin sufficiently disposed of, the only question remaining was: what to do with all of this damn pumpkin puree?

Um.. smoothies obviously!

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I started with this pumpkin pie smoothie recipe and it was damn delicious.

Ree Drummond better recognize!!
Ree Drummond better recognize!!

Things were going so well, I decided to try another smoothie- this time a “Green” variety. This one included pumpkin, spinach, frozen banana and almond milk.

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Uhhhh… guys- do not try this one at  home.

When I told my best friend about all of this, she couldn’t believe my domestic prowess, and challenged me to use the leftover pumpkin for her birthday cake.

Even though I had never baked a cake in my entire life , I’m not one to back down from a challenge- so I got my apron on and set to work.

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I won’t lie that the process was a little touch and go….

 

But with a LOT of help from my boyfriend, we did it:

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A three-tiered, pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting:

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The cake was a big hit at the party (mostly because I forced everyone to eat it while repeatedly yelling “Can you believe it?? I MADE that sh*t!!” in their faces) – and thankfully I have used up most of the remaining pumpkin (I was seriously starting to worry I was going to turn orange there for a while).

Do I have a future in food blogging? Probably not- but I’d still like to think I could give the Pioneer Woman a run for her money.

Question of the Day: What is the most ambitious thing you’ve ever cooked?

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10 Great Things About Fall (Besides Pumpkin Spice Lattes)

Fall is right around the corner, and you know what that means: crisp weather, colorful foliage, and a barrage of pumpkin-spice themed posts in your newsfeeed.

Source: http://www.someecards.com

I mean, don’t get me wrong- I love a good PSL myself, but there are so many other great things about fall that don’t get nearly the airtime they deserve. Like:

1. No more excessive sweating 

If, like me, you spent the entire summer rocking a solid 10 on the Whitney scale,

then you will undoubtedly be pumped about the cooler weather. No more sweltering subway rides, no more giant pit stains by the time you get to work, no more looking at your hairdryer with murderous intent .

Aaaah.

http://www.shemazing.net

2. Goodbye crop tops and jean shorts, hello layers

and, on a related note:

3. Swimsuit season is officially over

Celebrate with all the pumpkin flavored deliciousness you want because  you’ve got almost a full year before anyone has to see your ass in a bathing suit again.

4. Thigh chafing is a thing of the past

Put away the body glide, ladies and slip yourself into some nice, comfy leggings- because thigh chafing summer dress season is o-vaa.

5. You won’t have to listen to this song on the radio 24/7 anymore

(…..at least until next summer)

6. People will finally stop asking you to go camping

Source: giphy.com

7. Your Instagram feed will contain way less of this:

….not that I follow Justin Bieber or anything

8. Good TV is back

……goodbye outside world.

Source: indiepepper.com

 9. No more constant crowds

No more wading through intense crowds everywhere you go and trying in vain not to photobomb shots of the CN tower.

…and finally:

10.  Stay home guilt-free

No need to feel guilty about missing beautiful days outside anymore- feel free to binge-watching  Netflix and stay home alone to your heart’s content.

Question of the Day: What are you most looking forward to about fall?

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A Very Nova Scotia Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving friends! Today, I am thankful for family, friends, health, happiness, and most of all the homemade apple crisp I’ve been caning like nobody’s business.

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yeaaah buddy.

Also wine.

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Always wine.

My friend Lia, who is from Vancouver, came home with me for the holidays, and I’ve had a blast showing her all that the thriving metropolis of Pictou County has to offer. I just hope she can handle the excitement. Watching all THREE Back To The Future Movies in one day is a lot for anyone to handle.

Anyway, since I’m still in a semi-food coma from yesterday’s feast, here are a few pictures of my Thanksgiving weekend in beautiful Nova Scotia:

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Greenhill Lookoff.. not a bad view

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I don’t eat Oysters west of New Brunswick

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I don't blame her. The pumpkin is inherently a lot more interesting.
I don’t blame her. The pumpkin is inherently a lot more interesting.

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Hold onto your loved ones tight today, and have an extra piece of pumpkin pie for me 🙂

Question of the Day:

(cliché alert)

What Are You Thankful for?

Friday Five

So it’s only my fourth day of consecutive posting, and I’m already exhausted. Remind me again why I signed up for this??

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Since writing a post about one coherent topic feels like A LOT right now, here instead are a bunch of random things I’ve been thinking about lately, all wrapped up under one alliterative title! Enjoy!

1. SNL

(and the amazingness that is BLERTA)

This past Saturday, SNL debuted for it’s 39th season; and because I’m kind of a loser die hard, I skipped out on a party to stay home and watch it. (Yes, I am aware I’m dying alone.)

Hosted by Tina Fey, it was the first episode in what has been dubbed a “rebuilding year” after the departure of Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and mah boo Jason Sudeikis, and the addition of 6 new white guys cast members.

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Although I expected the night to be a total disaster, there were actually a few standout moments – like this parody of HBO’s “Girls” introducing Blerta, the Albanian refugee who keeps all those whiny white b*tches in check with her truth-telling. (and should 100% be made into a full-time cast member.. just saying).

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(Canadians can watch the full clip here)

Blerta is seriously my homegirl.

Side note: does anyone else remember those t-shirts?

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I bought one circa 2004 pretty much solely to shock my Catholic parents, and when I wore it I thought I was the SH*T. I also had a t-shirt with Jimi Hendrix’s face on it, despite never actually having listened to Jimi Hendrix. All of this serves as further proof that I am, in fact, a fraud.

2. Fall Weather

I hate to be one of those girls who just can’t S.T.F.U. about fall, but guys, I honestly can’t help it. October is f*cking amazing. Thanksgiving, Halloween, my BIRTHDAY, pumpkins, not sweating Whitney Houston styles on the subway every morning.. I mean, life really doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

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Plus, with this weather I am actually motivated to get out and run for a change. You see, since the Treadmill, Cold Weather and Too Hot Weather are BreezyK Public Enemies #1, 2 and 3, there is really only a short window of opportunity during which running doesn’t completely make me want to kill myself.

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Since we’re currently in the sweet spot, the other day, I decided to go for a run on the Lakeshore path in Toronto and it was glorious. I of course had to instagram it to show all of my friends how superior I am for exercising:

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And in doing so, nearly fell into Lake Ontario. Don’t ever let anyone tell you karma isn’t a b*tch, kids.

3. This

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4. The Return of Primetime TV

With the notable exception of Big Brother, it was a long, dry summer for TV up in here. I was seriously beginning to worry I was going to have to find a hobby or something… Or worse, actually leave my apartment.

On a weeknight?!

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Alas, I can continue my sloth-like ways, because all of my stories have returned to their rightful place inside my dream box. There’s

The New Girl,

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The Mindy Project

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Parks and Recreation, X FACTOR. I could go on. There are also a few new shows that I think might have potential- like Seth MacFarlane’s Dads starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, starring Andy Samberg as a wise-cracking cop.

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I can’t tell if it’s going to be good or garbage but I will support the co-creator of Laser Cats until the day I die.

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5. Fresh New Tracks

Besides just being the season where outfits look the best on me and my skin glows most luminous, fall is also an amazing season for music. Some of my favourite artists are out with new stuff, like Arcade Fire, and Drake (even though he jacked my outfit) as well as some cool new bands I hadn’t heard before, and I’ve got a few sweet concerts lined up. Here’s a track I’ve had on heavy rotation lately to help carry you into the weekend…..and also make you vaguely crave a pumpkin spice latte.

No? Just me on the latte then?

Question of the Day:

(get ready- because it’s a really deep one)

What’s your favourite season?

Thanksgiving 2012: The Highlights

I know, I promised you all updates on my enthralling visit home and never delivered…but hey, better late than pregnant as I always say! (I actually never say this. I read it for the first time yesterday on becomingcliches blog and liked it so much I decided to steal it. Oh well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? At least that’s what I tell my friends when I copy their outfits).

I kept trying to blog when I was home, but then I’d get all distracted by other really important things… like watching 8 episodes in a row of Ex-Wives of Rock (not joking. I actually did this… with my sister.. on Saturday night. We shared a king-sized Twix bar. )

Eating an entire pumpkin pie also took 5 minutes a lot of time.

And trying to figure out all the rules to every dance genre on Dancing With the Stars. Did you guys know that the only dance that involves a lift is the Argentinian Tango? I bet you didn’t. There’s your value added from reading my blog right there.

Oh, and also not exercising. I successfully used my lingering cold as a diversion tactic by reaching for a kleenex every time my mother asked me to go to the track and proceeding to blow my nose loudly and dramatically until she gave up and left.

I did, however, feel well enough to pose for glamorous instagram shots with her:

Love you mom!

That’s a lie, I actually did make it to the track one day… although I didn’t really “exercise” so much as take pictures and goof around with my niece, Lola. We did cartwheels and listened to One Direction while she taught me cool dance moves she learned in her HipHop Class.

For those of you considering trying this at home, make sure you wear a high quality sports bra, because there is way more jumping up and down and flailing your arms than I anticipated.

My sister (pictured right, actually exercising) also convinced me to take this crank groundbreaking new formula called “Alli-Max” to help combat my cold. I shelled out $30 for these pills at some weird health store that are pretty much straight up garlic. You are supposed to take, like 100 of them a day (ok, 10) and let me tell you.. it’s not pleasant for anyone involved. After three days of stomaching them down, my breath could’ve killed a small child. No change on the cold though.

The one other time I left the house was to accompany my sister, brother, sister-in-law and my two nieces to a gigantic corn maze in a neighbouring town.

Whoever came up with this idea is a certified genius, because that, my friends, is a gold mine. The place was just crawling with kids. (Literally. Many of them were crawling.)

This place had everything- from a game of Clue within the maze where the suspects were all barnyard animals (Spoiler alert: it was the Chicken. With the Rake), to hay rides, to a pumpkin u-pick. A pumpkin u pick!!

Plus it was just nice to spend time with the fam and be outside during that glorious time of year where everything looks like it’s naturally washed with an instagram filter.

…. but that didn’t stop me from instagramming it anyway!!

Lola, my sister-in-law Jill and baby niece Maeve.. the hand-holding kills me.

Me, being the picture of maternal instinct
Demonstrating the power of positive thinking
Siblings
Lola, fearing we might not make it out of the maze alive.
Love on a hayride. Brought to you by diet pepsi.
I ate these
Family love. Maeve still hates me. We’ll work on that.

Somehow I didn’t manage to take any pictures of Thanksgiving dinner itself?? Guess I was too busy eating. A lot. Anyway, here’s a pic I found of some random happy family eating Thanksgiving dinner instead:

I’d like to join them. Mostly because they have at least two different wine selections.

Oh, and if this post seems a little disjointed to you, that’s cause I wrote most of it on the plane while sitting in the row directly behind the first-class passengers. I kept losing my train of thought while trying to peek between the curtains. I was also distracted by the smell of their complimentary in-flight meal. It smelled like my own failure mixed with a slight hint of Asiago.

Question of the Day: How was your Thanksgiving?

…. or, if you didn’t celebrate it – have you ever been to a corn maze? This one was apparently used to film the movie Signs. I think that makes me officially more legit now.

OH and p.s. for those of you who asked- Our new sidewalk:

Is that fabulous or what?

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