Tag Archives: organic

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

2013_11_Pumpkin CupcakesThis time of year, I can’t consume enough pumpkin! Pumpkin has indeed become more popular over the years. While apple used to be the flavor of fall, pumpkin has taken over with a vengeance.  In fact, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, a report that tracts new menu introductions in major restaurants across the country, there were 105 pumpkin-themed, limited-time food offerings introduced in 2012 and only 45 apple-themed.* So, if you’re on the pumpkin bandwagon like I am, these cupcakes may be just the trick for your weekly fix. The cream cheese frosting looks extra decadent after it’s piped onto the cupcakes with a large piping tip specifically meant for cupcake decorating. Despite there being a lot of ingredients, the recipe is really easy to make. A simple addition to any Thanksgiving Day celebration.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcake IngredientsCupcake Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
 
Frosting Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and walnuts, if using.) Set aside.

Step 3: Cream butter and sugar.

Step 4: Slowly eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture.

Step 5: Add pumpkin puree to the butter mixture.

Step 6: Add the flour mixture and whole milk, a little bit of each at a time, alternating between the two, as you gently mix the batter.

Step 7: Line a mini cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Step 8: Fill each cupcake mold about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.

Step 9: Bake for 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.

Step 10: To make the frosting, simply blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Then, add the confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Frost and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from About.com.

*Source: Wong, Vanessa. “Pumpkin Officially Trumps Apple as Fall’s Signature Flavor.” Bloomberg Businessweek. September 17, 2013. Web. November 7, 2013. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-17/pumpkin-officially-trumps-apple-as-falls-signature-flavor
 

2013_4_12 AngieCincoMonterreyAngela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics, puts her 11 years of food and agriculture marketing and public relations experience to work leading HQO’s marketing efforts. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and obtaining at degree in animal science and international agribusiness from Cornell University, Angela is thrilled to be able to put her passions and expertise to work in her career.  When she’s not working, you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails, running, biking, cooking or traveling with her three-year-old son and husband.

Super Simple (and Healthy) Butternut Squash Soup

By: Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing

Butternut Squash Soup

As soon as the weather starts getting cold, my mind goes to food.  I immediately start to mentally tally all the fall comfort classics I want to start making (and freezing) for the upcoming winter months.  Inevitably, one of the first items on my list is this Butternut Squash Soup.  I originally came across the recipe in a Prevention Magazine several years ago. However, for the life of me, I can’t find the original recipe online. (Good thing I wrote it out on a recipe card!)  Oh, and this recipe can easily be vegan by swapping out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Enjoy!

Healthy Butternut Squash Soup*

Seven simple ingredients make this a recipe you can make quickly. Tip: Looking for frozen butternut squash in your freezer section to save even more time!

Seven simple ingredients make this a recipe you can make quickly. Tip: Looking for frozen butternut squash in your freezer section to save even more time!

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Leeks, Trimmed of Greens and White Parts Chopped and Cleaned
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Pounds Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded and Cubed
4 Large Carrots, Grated
6 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
 
Step 1: Coat large stock pot with olive oil over medium heat.  Add cleaned and chopped leeks, sautéing until soft and translucent, about 6-7 minutes.
 
Step 2: Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
 
Step 3: Add cubed squash, grated carrot and broth and bring to a boil.
 
Step 4: Bring to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender. 
 
Step 5: Puree the soup in small batches in your food processor or use an immersion blender.
 
*Recipe adapted from Prevention Magazine.
 

2013_4_12 AngieCincoMonterreyAngela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics, puts her 11 years of food and agriculture marketing and public relations experience to work leading HQO’s marketing efforts. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and obtaining at degree in animal science and international agribusiness from Cornell University, Angela is thrilled to be able to put her passions and expertise to work in her career.  When she’s not working, you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails, running, biking, cooking or traveling with her three-year-old son and husband.

Trick With a Treat: Chili Chocolate Pretzel Sticks

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

Chili Chocolate Pretzel SticksHalloween is here! Let the parading of the costumes begin, right? If you’re anything like me, you kinda wish you were still young enough to run around the neighborhood and get free candy once a year.  Well, surprise the adults that show up to your door with these fun homemade treats. They’re a fun spin on the traditional chocolate covered pretzels most people love.  But, there’s a little trick to these treats, the chocolate is infused with just a touch of chili! (Herb, spice and tea-infused chocolate is a trend we’re starting to see more of online and in specialty food lines. If you don’t like chilies, experiment with things like cardamom, lavender or chia tea.) Enjoy!

5 Simple Ingredients + 1 Optional Ingredient

5 Simple Ingredients + 1 Optional Ingredient

Ingredients

1 bag of salted pretzel sticks
12 oz of dark chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
Holiday Sprinkles (optional)
 
Step 1: Combine chocolate chips and spices in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% power for one to one-and-a-half minutes.  Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted.
 
Step 2: Pour melted chocolate into a cup and dip each pretzel in the chocolate.
 
A simple little tip: put the melted chocolate in a glass. It makes dipping the pretzels so much easier.

A simple little tip: put the melted chocolate in a glass. It makes dipping the pretzels so much easier.

Step 3: Lay the chocolate-covered pretzels on wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with holiday-appropriate sprinkles.

 
Step 4: Allow the chocolate to set for 30 minutes to one hour or place in the refrigerator for faster setting time.
 
Recipe Source: Adapted from Aztec Chocolate Bark recipe found here

Organic Cajun Pumpkin Seeds

Since we are all carving pumpkins, and most of us just throw away the pumpkin “guts”, we thought this recipe would be a great way to use those pumpkin seeds.

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You’ll need:1 tsp organic paprika, 1 tsp cajun seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp butter

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Step 1: Carve a hole in the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds a flesh. A spoon works well for this.

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Step 2: Using your hands, separate the flesh from the seeds. This doesn’t have to be perfect, a little pumpkin flesh will add flavor!

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Step 3: Melt you butter in the microwave and add your seasonings and worcestershire sauce .

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Step 4: Coat your seeds in your seasoning sauce.

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Step 5: Place your seeds on a foil-lined baking tray and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes. This healthy and flavorful snack is great to much on through out your day or even for Halloween parties! Enjoy.

Homemade Organic Apple Cider

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As the weather begins to cool and there is a nip in the crisp autumn air, this homemade spiced Apple Cider will make you reminiscent of pumpkin picking and hay rides when you were a child.

To Begin you’ll need:

6 organic Granny Smith apples, 6 organic Red Delicious Apples, 1 organic orange, 1 cup brown sugar

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1 whole nutmeg, 4 whole cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp cloves, stock pot, strainer, potato masher and cheesecloth.

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Step 1: Wash you fruit and cut it into quarters

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Step 2: Add all your fruit to the pot with the sugar.

Step 3: Prepare your spice bouquet: lay out the cheesecloth and add the cloves, cinnamon and diced nutmeg. Wrap up tightly and place in the pot.

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Step 4: Cover everything with water and bring to a boil, covered for 1 hour. After 1 hour, mash your fruit, reduce your heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.

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Step 5: Allow the cider to cool, remove your spice bouquet and using your strainer and cheesecloth, ladle your cider into a bowl.

You can serve your cider hot or cold, but I prefer mine hot with a cinnamon stick! I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe on how to make homemade Apple Cider and perhaps now you can start your own family tradition!

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon

By: Angela Keyser, Marketing Manager

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes FINAL

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? I love having an excuse to make them and, I must say, my son doesn’t mind either! Of course, he always thinks it’s someones birthday when there are cupcakes around so he sang “Happy Birthday” to me while we whipped these up. (Hey, I’ll turn 21 again any day!)

Chai Cupcakes Step 1

My baking assistant signing “Happy Birthday” as he lines the cupcake tins. This is a great way to have even the smallest hands help in the kitchen.

Chocolate and chai are one of those combinations made in heaven. So, when I found this recipe I had to give it a try. (I also like it because, unlike most chai cupcake recipes, this one uses real chai tea and not an instant blend that is oftentimes loaded with sugar….not that we’re counting calories with this recipe!) I tweaked a few things but must give credit to the original author Land O Lakes. (The midwestern dairy cooperative my family farm was a part of for over 25 years.)

For some of you, this recipe may be a little overkill on the dairy. If that’s the case, I’d omit the cream cheese filling.  The chocolate batter is sufficiently rich enough and your cupcakes will be adequate size. Make sure you give the frosting a try, though.  I found it highlighted the beautiful balance chocolate and chai have. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Filling
1/3 cup sugar
8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
 
Chocolate Batter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
10 teaspoons loose leaf Organic Masala Chai Tea
1 package chocolate or fudge cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
3 eggs
 
Frosting
3 tablespoons reserved chai tea
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Have your assistant fill 24 cupcake tins with paper liners

Step 3: Blend filling ingredients (sugar, cream cheese & egg) and set aside.

If you don't have loose leaf chai tea, you can use 5-8 tea bags. Or, you can make your own chai tea. It's simply a combination of black tea and spices.  Google "Chai Tea Recipes" for some ideas.

If you don’t have loose leaf chai tea, you can use 5-8 chai tea bags. Or, you can make your own chai tea. It’s simply a combination of black tea and spices. Google “Chai Tea Recipes” for some ideas.

Step 4: Steep 10 teaspoons of loose leaf Organic Masala Chai Tea in 1 1/2 cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Then strain to remove tea and add enough water to the tea to equal 1 1/2 cups.  Set aside 3 tablespoons of tea for the frosting.

Step 5: Combine tea, chocolate cake mix, melted butter and eggs in a large bowl and mix until well blended, a minute or two.

Step 6: Fill all cupcake liners with approximately 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate batter.

Step 7:  Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling to each cupcake.

Step 8: Top cupcakes with remaining chocolate batter making sure to not fill more than 2/3-3/4 of the cupcake liner.  If you fill them too full, the cupcakes will overflow and they won’t look like the cute ones on Cupcake Wars. ;0)

Step 9: Bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool.

Step 10: Combine tea, milk, flour and cocoa in a saucepan and whisk until well incorporated.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become thick.  Let cool for 15 minutes.

NOTE: Be careful to pay close attention to keeping the heat under control (not boiling) and stirring often.  Leaving the pot unattended will result in a curdled mess!

Step 11: Mix sugar, butter and cinnamon together. Slowly add cocoa mixture and mix until sugar is dissolved.

Step 12: Frost your cupcakes. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on if you’d like and devour!

Step 5:

 
 
 
 

Edamame Hummus with Garlic, Cumin & Parsley

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Manager

Hummus is a delicious, gluten-free snack that is easy to make and can be paired with a number of foods from pita chips to carrot sticks.  It’s also a flavorful spread to add to sandwiches.

Hummus is usually made with chickpeas and a variety of herbs and spices from Mediterranean to spicy Mexican flavors.  You can even make it with other bases like sweet potatoes, beets or edamame.  Here’s an absolutely spectacular-tasting recipe I learned from my days at The Soyfoods Council.  It’s so flavorful and beautiful, a great snack or appetizer to serve anytime of year.

Edamame Hummus with Garlic, Curry and Parsley

Edamame Hummus Ingredients copy

1-1/2 cups shelled edamame
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves peeled
1/2 cup parsley leaves
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons water                     3 tablespoons lemon juice

Step 1: Place edamame in microwave safe bowl w/ a tablespoon or two of water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes.

Step 2: Place olive oil, garlic, salt & cumin in food processor and pulse until blended well.

Step 3: Add edamame, tahini, lemon juice & parsley to food processor and purée. Slowly add water until desired consistency is met.