A FAB Weekend of CooKUEHN: Pumpkin Spice Pecan Bites
Toot toot. Beep beep. All aboard! This weekend I hopped on the Amtrak and headed home to visit my family in Milwaukee.
Big things were on the agenda: a chili cook off, a bro bday brunch...
And, time with my lil gal pal, Zi!
Every time I come home I'm always excited to see Zi's new tricks! She has quite the "silly face" AND her dance moves are on point. Apparently she likes n'sync and that makes me one proud [& crazy] Auntie B.
Zi's mom and dad - J & Z - hosted their annual chili cook off on Saturday. Every fall for the past 5 years they rally the troops to drum up their best chili creations. In years past the competition has been fierce. Hot fire flames, the contenders are NOT playin’ games! I was expecting nothing less this year. Everyone is tasked with cooKUEHN [get it?! creativity kudos to Zulay!] their own recipe and bringing it to the party. The chili filled crockpots are assembled on the table, anonymously [no one knows who’s is who’s], and the taste test begins!
All votes are cast and then tallied. The chili cook off winner is then crowned and bestowed with the coveted chili cook off trophy. Ka-POW. They get to keep it for an entire year, until they have to defend their title at the next cook-off.
I didn't make a chili this year [emoji shoulder shrug].
You see, I recently purchased a new food processor and I was ALL excited to flex some pumpkin spice muscle ['tis the season!] and whip-up some energy bites. But, not just any run of the mill bites…oh no, PUMPKIN SPICE pecan bites.
I had a recipe in mind, but things didn't go quite as planned. I made the bites, but something was missing. They were pumpkin spiced - that's for sure - but they needed a lil sweetness! HONEY. They needed honey. I didn't have time before the cook off to fix the recipe and whip up a new batch. So I went to the party, sans pumpkin spice bites, but armed with Garrets Popcorn. You win some, you lose some.
And, in the end, things actually worked out for the best. I brought back honey from my brother's girlfriend's family - Borkart Bees! It's delicious and added just the lil bit of sweetness I was missing from the initial recipe.
Once I was back in Chicago I got to work on the [new and honey-improved] bites.
- 10 medjool dates, pitted & chopped
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon PB2 powdered peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips [lol, or more...I just eye-balled it]
- 1 scoop collagen peptides [I like Sports Research]
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of food processor [omit chocolate chips for this step] and pulse until everything is combined. Use a rubber spatula to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add chocolate chips and mix in with a spoon.
- Roll mixture into bite-sized balls [about 1 tablespoon].
- Store in a container and refrigerate [I think they taste better chilled]
I pulsed until the ingredients were combined, but still wanted to have some chunks of nuts and dates throughout the bites - you do you!
And, last - but definiltey not least! - I got too excited about the bites and skipped over Sunday's bro brunch! Let me give ya the quick deets.
My oldest brother, Matt, turned 33 on Friday. What an old man ;) To celebrate, we all went to brunch at Story Hill BKC. It was DEEE-lish. The menu is filled with locally sourced ingredients making up dishes that range from sweet pastries, egg - any which way - [I had a frittata, yum], sweet and savory breakfast crepes, various takes on Eggs Benedict, and much, much more.
We lucked out with our own little private room in the back of the restaurant. Zi was especially happy because she could stretch her legs, walk around, and show off her jazzy dance grooves. Matt said she walks like a cowboy. Strange... but slightly accurate. hmmm. I'm still loling.
yeeeeHAW, #cheese. HBD, Matt!