Tex-Mex Pumpkins

October is generally regarded as pumpkin month, because this fruit (yes, it’s officially a fruit–a member of the gourd family) is usually harvested in October.
In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier reported his “discovery” of pumpkins in North America (though pumpkins are native to Central America and Mexico).

These days, limited-time offerings in coffee shops and restaurants include pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin sorbet, and more…

If you’re looking for a unique, spicy pumpkin appetizer, try the Tex-Mex idea below!
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Pumpkin Tacos

SLAW AND CHILES:
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
PUMPKIN SPREAD:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ground ancho chiles
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée
3 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange juice
TORTILLAS AND ASSEMBLY:
36 small (4 in.) corn tortillas*
1/2 cup salted toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 orange, cut into small wedges
Kosher salt

Preparation

1. Make slaw: Mix cabbage, cilantro, and onions in a bowl.
2. Toast chiles: In a small frying pan over medium heat, cook sliced chiles in oil, stirring often, until some turn reddish brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chiles to paper towels, using a slotted spoon; reserve oil.
3. Make spread: In a medium saucepan, cook butter over medium heat, swirling often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ground chiles and allspice all at once and stir until foamy, about 10 seconds. Reduce heat to low and stir in pumpkin, cream cheese, and salt; cook, stirring, until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in juice; scrape into a bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with reserved chile oil.
4. Warm tortillas: Divide into 2 stacks, wrap in a cloth napkin, and microwave until hot, turning over once, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Set tortillas, spread, slaw, pumpkin seeds, toasted chiles, and orange wedges on a tray and let diners make their own tacos, adding a squeeze of orange and more salt to taste.

Recipe from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-tacos-50400000107261/
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Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe?
Feel free to share a Pinterest or Instagram link!

Healthy Snacks: Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins

Disclaimer: I received samples from the Naturally Savvy blogger program. Learn more at: Naturally Savvy http://naturallysavvy.com/

Time for a healthy snack. Hmmm…nuts or crackers?
How about both!
I just tried Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins.
These just might be THE crunchiest crackers I have ever eaten. They would be great with soft spreads or creamy dips and would DEFINITELY not get soggy!
The Nut Thins do NOT melt in your mouth like buttery crackers.
If you want something super-crunchy they will satisfy your cravings.
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There are three options:
1. Sesame Seeds are paired with brown rice and almonds in this baked cracker. The gluten-free Sesame Seed Artisan Nut Thins provide three grams of fiber with every serving.

2. Multi-Seed Artisan Nut Thins are made from brown rice, almonds, and six kinds of seeds (quinoa, flax, millet, amaranth, sesame, and black sesame). They have 21 grams of whole-grains per serving.

3. Flax Seed Artisan Nut Thins combine brown rice and almonds baked into a cracker. You get 400 mg of ALA omega-3 per serving.
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Learn more on on the Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins page: http://www.bluediamond.com/index.cfm?navid=677

Each box has 4 servings (at 130 calories per serving), so you don’t have to worry about portion distortion (as in a huge bag of chips).
What is YOUR favorite topping for crackers?

Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes

Making “S’mores” is a quintessential summer activity. We always bring graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars when we go camping so we can melt up some gooey treats around the campfire. The S’mores experience is hard to replicate, but the flavors can be captured in other goodies. I just tried S’mores Kandy Bar Kakes from the Tastykake® company.
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There is a graham-flavored cake and a marshmallow-flavored layer of frosting that is enrobed in a chocolate coating. It’s like S’mores-on-the go (no campsite required)!
This is what the inside looks like:
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The chocolate coating is super. I would have preferred a thicker marshmallow layer (frosting, after all, is my favorite food); however, overall, it was a delicious dessert.
I would recommend cutting the bar into 2 or 3 pieces to serve kids. I would also suggest freezing it and eating it right out of the freezer (sort of like an ice cream bar).
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Kandy Bar Kakes are available in S’mores, Peppermint, and Peanut Butter flavors.
Learn more at the Tastykake® website:
http://www.tastykake.com/
The Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes are sold at grocery and convenience stores across America, in boxes or individually.

Which flavor would you like to try?
What’s YOUR favorite summer treat?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample for testing and review purposes.
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Coincidentally (while on the subject of S’mores), Dairy Queen just announced that S’mores Blizzard® Treat is its Blizzard® of the Month and will be available all summer long at DQ®!

Balance Bars: Giveaway

I have been a fan of Balance Bars since I was in college. The first time I tried one of the peanut butter & chocolate combinations I could have sworn it was an ordinary candy bar. But, all 28 flavors are based on the 40/30/30 nutrition model that gives you sufficient energy for any workout!
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Check out a fun Balance Bar review & giveaway at Susan’s Disney Family Blog:
http://www.susansdisneyfamily.com/search/label/Giveaway?updated-max=2013-01-14T10:55:00-05:00&max-results=20&start=3&by-date=false

Do you have a favorite energy bar?

Teeccino: A Healthy Coffee Alternative

Are you a coffee person or tea person? Some people have a strong preference, but I have always been a drinker of both, depending on time of day or depending on my mood.
Teeccino Herbal Coffee is a unique beverage that combines some of the healthy aspects of both coffee and tea.
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Teeccino is naturally caffeine-free and non-acidic, but it still provides a natural energy boost. It comes in ground form, like coffee, or in tea-bag form. You can choose from light, medium or dark roast. There are even tasty flavors like Chocolate Raspberry or Caramel Nut!
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You can learn more at
http://teeccino.com/category/11/Herbal-Coffees.html

Disclosure: As a Naturally Savvy Team Blogger, I received free samples of Teeccino for review purposes.
Visit Naturally Savvy at: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/

Keep it Together with the LunchBlox™ Kit!

The kind people at Rubbermaid sent me a new LunchBlox™ Sandwich Kit.
It’s a set of BPA-free containers that snap together, so you can efficiently use the space in your lunch box or bag.
There is a Blue Ice™ pack to keep everything chilled.
It’s convenient and much more organized than tossing everything in my bag (as I used to do).

Some of my favorite healthy foods to pack in the LunchBlox™ Kit are
–Jicama, carrot, and celery sticks
–Spinach/hummus wraps
–Fresh blueberries
–Whole grain crackers
–Greek yogurt dip with basil

I would love to get one for each of my family members!
You can find all the details at
http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP092020

Happy lunching!

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

My grandma always made oatmeal cookies when we went to visit her in Connecticut.
The kitchen would smell heavenly when we stormed in to give her big hugs.
I’ve never been able to replicate the deliciousness of her warm cookies—and now, as a mom but not yet a grandmom, I don’t seem to have time to bake my own cookies as often as I would like.
I was excited to try Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies!


I won’t try to convince you that they are as fantastic as my grandma’s cookies.
You can tell they are store-bought, not homemade…but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. As far as packaged cookies go, they passed my tests.
I loved the texture; the kids loved the taste.
I appreciated fact that they are made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats; they are low in fat (6 g per serving); and they are a good source of fiber.
The kids liked the “plumpy” raisins.

I had no trouble devouring an entire cookie, but a single package is actually rather large for a child.
So, you might want to split one between two children.
Aside from that, I was pleased with the product and look forward to trying the other flavors—Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Almond, Cranberry & Yogurt, and Banana Nut.

You can find Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of 6 cookies.

When I’m a grandma myself maybe I’ll have more time to bake big soft cookies, but for now I’ll lean on Quaker for a bit of assistance!

(disclosure: a complimentary Quaker cookie sample was provided to me by Influenster for testing and review purposes for the Mom VoxBox).

Best Food Blog Awards 2012


Do you write a food blog? Do you have a favorite food blog that you visit regularly?
Nominate yourself or another for the Saveur 2012 Best Food Blog Awards!
Starting on March 6, visit saveur.com/blogawards
to send in nominations

Starting on April 5, come back to vote for the winners.
Winners last year include Smitten Kitchen as Best Cooking Blog http://smittenkitchen.com/

and Home-sick Texan http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/
as Best Regional Cuisine Blog

Let the competition begin!