Pumpkin Honey Pie

Along with the cranberry salad I made for my family's Thanksgiving, I made this pie.  I've actually never had pumpkin pie before, so I wasn't sure what I was getting into.  But Nina Planck, whom I mentioned here (have you read her book yet???), posted the recipe to her facebook page so I thought I'd give it a try, especially because I knew it would be all real ingredients.  I hated the idea of letting everything I believe about real food go just because it's a holiday.  Some exceptions here and there are fine (all things in moderation) but I didn't want to blow it out.

When I served the pie, my brother-in-law was the only one who was really excited about it.  He asked for a big piece.  He said pumpkin pie was one of his favorite desserts so he was thrilled with the dessert choice.  Everyone else was pretty apathetic about it, except my uncle who specifically asked for a very small piece.  I cut the pie into ten pieces, so the pieces were relatively small.  Not tiny but not huge.  When I gave my uncle his piece he said "this isn't small."  I responded that I was glad to cut it in half for him and he said "no, I don't mind eating just a few bites, I just didn't want to be rude and leave uneaten pie."  When he cleaned his plate I was a bit surprised but didn't really think anything of it.

The rest of the table said that it was good.  I agreed.  My brother-in-law loved it, which was a good sign me since he knows his pumpkin pie.  A few minutes after we left the table my uncle confessed:  "I don't like pumpkin pie.  At all.  That's why I asked for a very small piece.  But it was so delicious, I surprised myself by eating the entire piece!"

So the recipe experiment was a success!  And on top of the satisfaction of knowing everyone at the table loved it -- it's easy peasy to make.  I didn't meant to sign up for two easy recipes (but I'm secretly glad I did!).  Easy + delicious = win win. 

As an aside: I made my own pie crust (also v. easy -- see recipe below) but Whole Foods has a whole wheat crust that you might get if you'd prefer to leave a step out.



1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter, preferably unsalted
2 tablespoons milk


3 eggs
1 can (16 ounces) organic pumpkin
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk (preferably raw)
1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400. 

Mix together crust ingredients thoroughly including flour, salt, butter, and milk. Squeeze the dough into a ball to make sure there is enough moisture.

If it crumbles into pieces too easily then add another splash of milk.  Shape the crust by thinning it out with your fingers/hands until the pie dish is evenly covered (pictured above). Feel free to make the edges look “fancy."  Or maybe not so fancy (see my attempt at fancy below).

Beat eggs slightly in large bowl, using hand beater. Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into crust-lined pie plate. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning (remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.)

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.  Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg if desired. Refrigerate any remaining pie.

(Crust recipe from www.100daysofrealfood.com, Filling recipe from www.tablespoon.com)

Cranberry Salad

I've mentioned my grandmother, before, right?  Meemaw?  Meemaw was way ahead of her time.  She was "organic" before organic was cool.  As in the 1950's.  She ordered a book and taught herself yoga in the 60's because she had read about it but couldn't find classes anywhere.  She was amazing.  She made up this recipe.  As long as I can remember our family had this cranberry salad at every Thanksgiving (and Christmas) meal.  When I was really little we ate it at Meemaw's house.  When my sisters and I got old enough that our family stayed at home for holidays, we had it at our house.  The tradition continues, so when we got the menu from Muth this year, I signed up to make this dish.  It is so easy and so good.  My uncle was at our Thanksgiving dinner today and when he tasted it he smiled and told me I had done it perfectly.  I was so pleased that I conjured up memories of his holidays growing up with his mother (my Meemaw).  In reality, though, it would've been impossible not to do it perfectly.  It's that easy.  So next time you have to volunteer to take a dish to a meal in the fall (holiday or otherwise) try this one.  It will be a hit.  I promise.

From my family to yours . . . happy Thanksgiving!


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange
1 apple
Fresh pineapple chunks (approximately 1 cup)
Honey to taste
Handful of pecans or walnuts


Place pineapple chunks in a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients, except nuts.

I usually chop my apple and orange like this (although it certainly isn't absolutely necessary):

Blend ingredients together until it reaches the consistency you desire.  Add the pecans or walnuts and blend briefly.  The final product will look like this.

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

I love this recipe for several reasons.  1) It looks v. fancy.  2) It's v. easy to make.  3) It's a new way to enjoy eggplant.  I have to confess that I let several eggplants from my CSA go bad over this summer because I didn't have any new ways to make it and I was kinda burned out on just plain eggplant because it's not that interesting (or that good!) to me.  Awful, I know.  Then the hubs bought me a new vegetarian cookbook and this recipe was on the cover.  I figured, being on the cover and all, it would be difficult to make because it was just so pretty.  Turns out I was wrong.

For those of you who are scared of eggplant, I promise this recipe is worth trying.  I, too, was an eggplant skeptic.  I remember one time when I was little someone brought us a dish for dinner and my sisters and I all loved it.  Muth told us later it was eggplant and we immediately decided we didn't like it after all.  I mean who likes eggplant?  The name itself just sounds gross.  It conjures up images of:


How can that produce this:

Furthermore, how can an oval purple vegetable be good?  All to say, I, too, was a skeptic.  So were my sisters.  The night I made this recipe, one of my sisters came over to eat with us the night I served this and she gobbled it.  So did the hubs.  And so did I.  This recipe exorcised or eggplant demons.  I think it will yours, too.


2 eggplants
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 /2 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves*
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pomegranate
1 tsp za'atar**

Sauce ingredients:
9 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup greek yogurt or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 small garlic clove crushed
pinch of salt

* I couldn't find lemon thyme so I used regular thyme and fresh lemon juice, which I just eyeballed.

** I couldn't find za'atar so I sprinkled oregano, basil, thyme, and sesame seeds on top.


Preheat the oven to 400.  Cut the eggplants in half length ways, cutting straight through the green stalk.  (Note: the stalk is for look, not for eating!).  Use a small knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, but don't cut all the way through the skin.  Repeat at a 45 degree angle to get a diamond shaped pattern.

Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, onto a baking sheet lined with foil (or silpat).  Brush them with grapeseed oil, continuing to brush until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh  Sprinkle with thyme, lemon juice (if you couldn't find lemon thyme), salt and pepper. 

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate in half horizontally.  Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or rolling pin to gently knock the pomegranate skin.  Continue beating, with increasing force if necessary, until the seeds start coming out naturally and falling through your fingers into the bowl.  Once all the seeds are out of the skin and in the bowl, sift through the seeds to remove any bits of white skin that came off in the process.  Set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients.  Taste for seasoning, adjusting to your preference.  Keep cold until needed.

To serve, spoon buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves (without covering the stalks).  Sprinkle za'ater (or oregano, basil, thyme, and sesame seeds) and pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with thyme.  Drizzle with olive oil.

(Recipe slightly adapted from "Plenty" and can be found here)