Tag Archives: pumpkin

An East Coast Halloween: 3 tricks and treats

Soon after becoming friends with Kasandra in college I discovered we had one big difference: she celebrated holidays.

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Kasandra is from Connecticut where they have four seasons, a long history, darkness in the summer and tolerable cold in the winter. These reasons are why East Coasters celebrate holidays differently from Alaskans.

“I love that the East Coast celebrates every holiday to the fullest,” Kasandra said. “It makes me look forward to the seasons.”

I visited Kasandra and her husband, Gary, in their hometown seven years ago in May. As she was giving us a driving tour of a road used to deliver mail during the Revolution, I was seeing house after house ridiculously adorned with flags and patriotic banners. I asked, “What the hell is going on here?” and she said “It’s Memorial Day weekend.”

Feel free to contradict me, but Alaskans just don’t celebrate this way. Sure, I’ll carve a pumpkin in October and string up some lights at Christmas, but there isn’t a single house on my block right now with Halloween decorations outside.

So today I wanted to show off a little of what Kasandra has going on in her neck of the woods to hopefully inspire Alaskans this Halloween.

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Kasandra maintains that frugal collegiate spirit but includes East Coast charm and sophistication. All of her crafts are easy, quick and affordable. Here are three that she shared with me.

1. Bedazzled Pumpkin

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Paint a pumpkin. Stick craft store jewels all over it. No glue necessary if the paint is still wet.

2. Mummy cookies

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Melt some white chocolate. Dip Milano cookies halfway into chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over the cookie to make it look like a mummy. Stick on sugar eyes.

3. Monster mouth snacks

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Peel some apples and slice them into wedges. Spread peanut butter on one wedge. Add some yogurt-covered raisins to look like teeth. Top with another apple.

So, get out there, Alaskans, and show some last-minute Halloween spirit!


Pasta with Chard & Sausage in Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Time to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. I’ve had a medium baking pumpkin sitting around the house for a couple of weeks and I’ve been putting off cooking with it because I have so little pumpkin-cooking experience.

I was inspired by a recipe from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, but I also had items in the fridge I needed to use up, so I winged it a little. What I came up with was a flavorful casserole that was creamy, cheesy and somewhat healthy too.

You can use canned pumpkin, but I recommend baking your own using this method, as it was super easy and fresh.

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Pasta with Chard & Sausage in Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8


4-5 hot Italian sausages, casings removed

14.5 oz.-box farfalle noodles

10 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cups chopped Swiss chard

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1.5 cups pumpkin puree

3 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil noodles till just al dente, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large saute pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Set sausage aside and in the same pan, add the mushrooms, onions, chard, salt and pepper and toss till coated with the sausage grease. Add a small amount of olive oil if needed. Cover and let steam for five minutes. Uncover, stir in the garlic and saute another minute.

Stir in the pumpkin, chicken stock and oregano. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Add the evaporated milk, sausage and parsley and bring back to a simmer. If it’s too thick, add more chicken stock.

Place pasta in a large casserole dish and pour sauce over noodles. Sprinkle in half the cheese and mix thoroughly. Top with remaining cheese (and more cheese if you’d like) and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

This is a wholesome dish the whole family will love!

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

When I told my best friend I was making bagels today, she first asked if they were hard to make and then asked if they were fried. The answer to both is no, and I’ll clear up this bagel mystery by saying they aren’t too difficult to make, it’s a fun process and if you’ve made bread and boiled water, you can make bagels.

Today was pumpkin cooking day with my friend Kelly, so naturally I needed to make a pumpkin bagel. I’m not one for sweet flavored bagels so I thought adding rosemary to the dough and sprinkling them with kosher salt would please me. And it did.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels
I based my recipe off this fine one at SweetSpatulas.com.

I did not have any wheat flour so I used only white and I really like the texture.

4 cups white flour
4 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm (not hot!) water
1.5 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary, extra for sprinkling on top if you like
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg

Combine the yeast, rosemary and two cups of flour in a large mixing bowl or the bowl to your KitchenAid mixer. In another mixing bowl combine the water, salt, sugar, pumpkin and spices. Add the wet to the dry and thoroughly combine. Slowly start incorporating the remaining flour. I switched to the KitchenAid hook and let the machine go for about 3 minutes.

Remove the dough and knead on a floured surface till you have an elastic, smooth ball. Place in a bowl and cover for 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

Divide the dough into eight equal balls. Make them as round and smooth as you can and punch a hole in the center of each ball. Dust each hole with a little flour. Use your thumbs and fingers to shape the hole evenly so it’s two inches in diameter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let sit for 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

Meanwhile, turn on your broiler and set two big pots of water on the stove to boil.

Why boil bagels, you ask?

Well…according to thekitchn.com, boiling them is what gives them that signature crust and also helps with the classic chewiness.

Now you know! Let’s continue with the bageling.

Place your bagels under the broiler for 1.5 minutes. You could turn them and broil the other side, but I didn’t do that and they turned out fine. Next, place two or three bagels at a time into the boiling water. Let them boil on each side for one minute. While this is going on, whisk your egg in a bowl and set aside.


Using tongs, gently place your boiled bagels back on the cookie sheet. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and kosher salt.

When all the bagels are boiled, egged and sprinkled, bake them for 25 minutes or until the tops are nicely brown.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

Let cool on a rack. Serve with cream cheese and revel in the fact that you just made bagels.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

In an attempt to make less messy breakfasts for my 13-month-old son, I came up with a tasty pancake recipe that’s healthy and delicious. I’ll never understand why my mom always had pancake mix in the cupboard because homemade pancakes still only take minutes to make. And if you have leftover pancakes, bag them and freeze them for another day when you don’t have as much time. Just pop them in the microwave to reheat.


2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. sugar or agave nectar
1 egg
1 Tbs. cooking oil or melted butter
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup canned pumpin purée

Mix together the dry ingredients. Measure the milk in a large liquid measuring cup and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk gently to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir till just combined. It’s ok if there are lumps.

Heat a large skillet over medium flame. Coat with cooking spray. Ladle batter into pan, forming three flapjacks at a time. Turn when edges are cooked and bubbles form in middle. Cook on other other side till brown. Repeat with rest of batter. Serve with butter and syrup or honey.