recipe

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.


Iced Cardamom Lattes

Afternoon pick-me-up anyone?

 iced cardamom latte

This might be my new fall obsession you guys. I’m going to get bold and say it - forget pumpkin spice lattes and get on board the cardamom latte train. Even better, make it iced. But first, let me back up for a second and tell you about this drink.

The weather in Denver is amazing around this time of year; crisp and cool in the morning and evening with summer temperatures still creeping in during the day. It’s a little awkward on the cooking front because I started adding soups and chili back into the meal plan but then get seriously overheated when I have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

I like to think this drink is the perfect “in-between seasons” drink because I get to incorporate fall flavors and stay cool. It’s the best afternoon pick-me-up and tastes exactly like the coffee shop drink I was hoping to recreate.

Swedish Coffee

You may or may not remember me referencing a coffee shop in Minneapolis called Bread & Chocolate in this post back in February. They serve something called a Swedish coffee that has steamed milk, cardamom and cinnamon. I don’t normally get fancy with my coffee but this was plain delicious and super unique. It had a touch of sweetness, just enough to bring all of the flavors together since cardamom can be a little bitter on it’s own.

 iced cardamom latte

How to use Cardamom

Cardamom seems to be one of those flavors you would likely recognize, unable figure out where you last tasted it. In general it’s most often used in baked goods like quick bread, spice cakes, muffins and desserts, probably right alongside cinnamon.

Interestingly, I recently learned that while the Swedish might not actually use it in coffee, it’s still a favorite spice in Swedish cooking/baking. Sweden is also one of the world’s top coffee consumers, even ahead of the U.S. one article I read. I’m part Swedish you know! It all makes so much sense.

Another fun fact: they use the term “fika” in reference to grabbing coffee together - it could mean both the act of getting together or as a noun (i.e. “see you at fika”). I’m not sure if this iced latte would be worthy of any of the menus over there, but I’m still a big fan and I think you will be too!

 iced cardamom lattes

Iced Cardamom Lattes

A seasonal afternoon pick-me-up featuring fall flavors of maple, cinnamon and cardamom.

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 1 serving | Prep time: 5 minutes

ingredients

  • 6 oz strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature and then chilled

  • 2-3 oz milk of choice (I used 1%)

  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

  • 1/8 tsp each: cardamom and ground cinnamon

  • Plenty of ice

instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar, then screw the lid on tightly and shake well until frothy.

  2. Pour into a fun glass and top with a shake more of cardamom.


Did you make this recipe? Remember to Tag @LeanneRayRDN on Instagram!

Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches with Basil & Bleu Cheese

 proscuitto wrapped peaches

I made this fun appetizer for a party last weekend and wanted to share the recipe today! Shocker, it involves peaches. It was kind of a whim of a dish that ended up turning out really great so unfortunately I only have a couple of photos (and none during the assembly process), but I figured you guys wouldn't mind.

The inspiration for these came from The Pretty Dish, one of my current favorite cookbooks (affiliate link - the book is currently on sale!). I was perusing for something that involves fruit and came across a nectarine and prosciutto crostini situation that looked really delicious. Since peaches are fantastic right now, I figured I could use those instead and while I LOVE a good crostini, sometimes the bread can get hard after sitting out a while so it's a more unpredictable appetizer choice. 

I had an insane amount of basil to use up so I knew I wanted to incorporate that, though I would imagine that mint would work really well too if you have that growing in your garden. Bleu cheese and balsamic drizzle seemed like a natural finishing touch (doesn't it always?). 

How beautiful is this presentation though... Theses got great reviews from tasters so I will definitely be making them again! Dare I say these would also make for good football food? Maybe fancy football food. Honestly I might just make them again to keep on hand for snacking throughout the week! Find the full recipe below.

 proscuitto wrapped peaches with basil and bleu cheese

Planning to make this recipe? Be sure to let me know by posting a photo on Instagram and tagging me (@LeanneRayRDN) so I can see your creations! I would love to feature you on my feed.


Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches with Basil & Bleu Cheese

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: Serves 15 (2 per person) | Prep time: 35 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-large peaches, halved and pitted
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • One small package fresh basil (you won't need the whole thing!)
  • 4 oz proscuitto
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles 
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set your oven broiler on high and line a sheet pan with foil. Spray the pan with oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Slice each peach into 6-8 wedges, then lay them on the pan in a single layer with space in between each. Broil 7-10 minutes watching closely to prevent overcooking (rotate the pan about halfway through). You will know they are done when moisture starts to bubble out.
  3. Take the pan out of the oven, drizzle peaches with the honey and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Let cool slightly (probably about 10 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, cut your prosciutto into small rectangles - just big enough to wrap all the way around the peach wedges. While you wait for the peaches to cool you can setup an assembly line by laying out the prosciutto pieces and then placing a basil leaf on top each. 
  5. Once the peaches are cool enough to handle, lay each one on top of a piece of prosciutto/basil and roll up, securing each with a toothpick or cocktail skewer. Arrange on a large platter.
  6. Sprinkle the bleu cheese crumbles over the top and then finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze plus more basil leaves (I used all of the tiny ones for this!).