Pumpkin Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Today I went to Cincinnati to see my sister, her hubby and my adorable nephew, Ethan.

It is beyond unbelievable that my little bundle of cuteness is already two months old.  It feels like it was yesterday that I found out he was a boy and burst into the hospital room crying over his perfection.

I left Cinci in a legitimate sugar coma.  I definitely experienced the crash they talk about after eating multiple cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, white chocolate peanut butter popcorn and dark chocolate covered oreos.

We must not neglect the humongous bowl of fruit. It was obviously a healthy kind of day.

I love this little pumpkin with all my heart.

That little guy isn’t the only pumpkin I love.

Fall is finally here and I’ve finally restocked my pumpkin stash.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to pack for lunch this week and I couldn’t get chili and pumpkin pie out of my head.  I already made a pie with the girls after school so pumpkin was out.

…Or not. My pumpkin craving was far from satisfied.  I wanted it in my coffee, my oatmeal, my muffins, my book-bag, under my covers….

Oh and in my chili, too.

Pumpkin, meet chili.  Chili, meet pumpkin.  You two really are a smokin’ hot couple.

Pumpkin Chili

-serves 4 (can easily be doubled)

Ingredients:

  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ large zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can great northern/kidney beans (rinsed/drained)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes in juice (not drained)
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½  tsp chili powder
  • 1  tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, sautee onion, pepper and zucchini in a bit of oil for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add in garlic and sautee for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add in drained beans, tomatoes in juice and pumpkin.  Stir to combine.
  4. Add in spices and maple syrup.
  5. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer, covered for about a half hour.

This hearty chili is deliciously sweet, spicy and comforting.  The pumpkin  is by no means overwhelming– it compliments the spices perfectly! It pairs especially well with a warm, buttered pumpkin cornbread muffin.

Speaking of pumpkin cornbread muffins…

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

-makes 6 muffins (can easily be doubled), inspired by these

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons whole grain cornmeal
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water (or 1 egg)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare “flax egg” by combining 1 tbsp ground flaxseed plus 3 tbsp warm water in a small bowl.  Set aside to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, vanilla and “flax egg.”  Stir to combine.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  6. Pour batter (it will be thick) into muffin tins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a bit of sugar for extra crunch.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes.

You most definitely must eat these warm with a dab of butter.

I’m so blessed to have so much pumpkin in my life.

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