pumpkin

Iced Coffee Conversations

It’s been a few months since my last “lately” post so I figured we were due for an update! If you’re new around here, this is basically a compilation of what I’m cooking/eating, drinking, reading, watching and listening to (along with any other random things I feel like sharing).

I love the opportunity to get a little bit more personal in this space, but it can be hard to find the balance between writing about my life while still feeling like I’m sharing valuable information (and keeping some degree of separation between the two) so these are a nice happy medium. If I was meeting someone for a coffee, these are some of the things that would most-likely come up in our conversation.

fairytale eggplant pearl street farmers market denver

Cooking/Eating

All of the typical fall things that seem to be making a reappearance at the grocery store including fresh figs, pumpkin things, pears, hatch green chiles and so on. I am the opposite of festive and I’m not pumpkin-obsessed or anything. I think I just like seeing different things at the grocery store so if I notice new produce come into season or see a special end-cap display, I will most likely get hooked into buying it (basically I’m a marketers dream!). As a side note, how beautiful are those fairytale eggplants pictured above? I saw them at the farmer’s market and I hope to pick some up the next time I go, so please share your favorite ways to use eggplant!

The return of football always makes me start thinking about chili, which is a serious problem because it’s still SO HOT here in Denver. Like unreasonably hot. I’ve been keeping things simple in the kitchen because my weeks have been busier than normal with a few fall trips and Girls on the Run starting up again. Lot’s of leftovers, burrito bowls and instant pot meals around here. I have really been craving a free weekend to do some intensive cooking projects. For now, here are a few things I have on my “to-make” list: Dynamite Plant-Powered Sushi Bowls, Roasted Cauliflower with Hummus, Olives and Feta, and Herby Barley Salad with Butter-Basted Mushrooms.

Drinking

Grapefruit LaCroix (never gets old), these lattes mid-afternoon, and lot’s of ice water with lemon in my gigantic stainless steel tumbler. I’m really looking forward to trying this since I was such a huge fan of their summer collaboration with the Real Dill Co. I think dry-hopped ciders are my favorite alcohol find of 2018!

Reading

The Psychobiotic Revolution. This is really interesting and relevant for work, but it always seems to take me forever to get through a more science-y book (probably because I don’t “need” to find out what happens next). So while I would recommend it for the nutrition professionals out there, I’m definitely ready to be done with this one and move on to the next. I have about 50 pages left so I’m thinking I’ll finish it this weekend on a mini-trip I’m taking.

In my queue at the library: Kitchen Confidential, The Perfect Couple, and Sharp Objects.

Watching

First, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix continues to be my favorite movie in recent months. If you like rom coms you MUST watch this one. It’s so heartwarming and just leaves you feeling plain good at the end. I recently listened to a podcast where someone described it as “cozy” and I don’t think I can think of a better word.

Jacob and I also watched Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime and really liked it. It’s only 8 episodes so not a huge commitment. John Krasinski can do no wrong (in my opinion) and I love anything that involves the CIA.

Earlier this week I went to see A Simple Favor with a few girlfriends and it was entertaining and unpredictable to say the least! It has a very Gone Girl tone to it and a great cast.

to all the boys i’ve loved before

Listening To

On the podcast front, I LOVED listening to Chrissy Teigen on Bon Appetit. Her second cookbook is now available for purchase so she was sharing stories about the creation of that, and she is just so authentic and funny. Other favorites:

  • The founder of New Belgium Brewery was on How I Built This last week and it was so much fun to listen since it was recorded in front of a live audience in Boulder. I tried to get tickets but they sold out super fast.

  • Surprise Serial fans, season 3 launched today! I wasn’t overly thrilled with the last season but of course I’ll be listening in again.

  • Dr. Death is one I have waiting in my downloads although I haven’t had time to start it yet. If you liked Dirty John (and I did!), this was created by the same network so a good follow-up. The trailer piqued my interest so I can see myself binging this one as soon as I get started.

Leave me a Comment

I would love to hear about what you are currently eating, drinking, watching, reading and listening to so make sure to leave me a comment with all of your favorites!

Pumpkin & Fig Smoothie

Apparently I’m all about the seasonal recipes lately and I’m totally owning it!

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most unplanned things end up turning out the best? This smoothie was never meant to make it on the blog. I randomly made it for breakfast one day because a) we were low on food and b) I remembered that I still had two cans of pumpkin in the pantry from last fall and wanted to use it in something besides a baked good.

pumpkin fig smoothie

Cans are perfect for when you need some produce in a pinch by the way. I think they get a bad rap for being nutritionally sub-par, but in reality some vegetables are actually more nutritious after having been cooked/processed.

A few of my favorite canned vegetable staples are:

  • Beans (garbanzo, black, and pinto)

  • Diced tomatoes for soups, chilis, marinara sauce, and a stand-in for pizza sauce

  • Corn (when out of season) for burrito bowls and Mexican stuffed sweet potatoes

  • Pumpkin for adding to oatmeal, smoothies and muffins/quick breads

What else would you add to this list?

You guys know that I’m a huge proponent for keeping a well-stocked pantry because it makes weeknight cooking a million times easier and can be a lifesaver when you run out of fresh produce but still want to make a balanced meal.

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So back to this smoothie… I knew I had made something similar to this in the past, but I cannot for the life of me remember exactly what I put in it. I rummaged through the fridge to find anything that I thought would pair well with the pumpkin and here’s what I came up with:

  • Milk for the liquid component. Use your favorite! I used 1%.

  • Frozen banana, because in my opinion, no smoothie is complete without it. This is what makes smoothies extra creamy and it also adds a little bit of natural sweetness.

  • Fresh figs because I needed to use these up ASAP before they went bad (do not procrastinate with the figs you guys)

  • PB Love Co cinnamon almond butter for fat, protein and flavor

  • Hemp hearts for more protein, texture and because in all honesty, smoothies are the opposite of photogenic without something on top, especially when they are pale orange in color

  • Cinnamon because I love it and seem to put it on almost every breakfast food out there

pumpkin smoothie ingredients

The result is thick and creamy, has a serving of orange vegetables (always impressive at breakfast) and to be honest, kind of tastes like dessert. Let me know if you give it a try!


Pumpkin & Fig Smoothie

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 1 serving | Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large frozen banana

  • 3 fresh figs, peeled and chopped

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin

  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon almond butter (see note)

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2-3 ice cubes

  • 1 Tbsp hemp hearts

  • Cinnamon to garnish

pumpkin fig smoothie with hemp hearts

Instructions

  1. Add banana, figs, pumpkin, almond butter, milk and ice to a blender and blend on high until very smooth.

  2. Pour into a glass, then top with the hemp hearts and a shake of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

*notes:

If you can’t find a cinnamon almond butter (or don’t want to buy one specifically for this purpose), add regular almond butter + 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.

I keep a gallon-sized zip top bag in my freezer for bananas that get too brown to eat raw. Just peel, break in half, and throw it in the bag to freeze. They make for the best smoothie add-in for extra creaminess and natural sweetness. You can also use in baked goods! It’s way easier to use them if you peel before freezing.