Now that I’m an adult and live in a place where spring is usually rainy and grey, I’ve grown to really love October (except for when, you know, it’s also rainy and grey). I’ve always loved Halloween and cuddling up with a warm treat and a scary movie (oh and my mom’s birthday… happy bday ma!), but didn’t always fully appreciate the changing colors on the trees, the crisp and cool but still sunny fall days, the pumpkin everything (sidenote, Evan and I saw a sign on a bank for a Pumpkin Spice Membership Level… sorry pumpkin spice, that’s just too far). Now I love all those things, and appreciate the opportunity to slow down and rest and stay indoors guilt-free, something that Seattleites don’t do during the summer months. Oh, and did I mention my wedding anniversary is in October (we celebrated our 2nd wedding anni earlier this month... with a trip to Italy... which I'll eventually hopefully tell you about)? #allthegiftsandcakesplease
In honor of all things pumpkin and October, I’ve once again teamed up with the best of the best to give you all the pumpkin recipes you’ll ever need—sweet, savory, pumpkin spicy, pumpkin squashy, and everything in between. It’s Sara at Cake Over Steak’s #virtualpumpkinparty (plus co-host Aimee of Twigg Studios!). And I’m bringing a savory, cheesy pumpkin bread pudding that should also have a place on your Thanksgiving table next month, because it’s basically stuffing/dressing on steroids. To see the full list of amazing pumpkin party recipes (there are TONS) head over to Sara's site and Aimee's site!
Unrelated: if you want to talk Westworld theories...LET ME KNOW! I’ve been aggressively debating certain storyline and character theories with friends all weekend, and am basically scaring them all away… so you know, I need new friends to scare away.
Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions
Note: there are a few different steps, so be sure to read through the whole recipe before getting started.
1 small sugar pie pumpkin (or other pumpkin or winter squash)
6 thick slices of bacon, diced
1 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 loaf of stale/ crusty french or rustic bread, cubed (about 8-9 loose cups)
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1.5 cups heavy cream
¾ cup chicken broth
Heavy pinch of salt + fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut pumpkin in half, and scoop out the innards. Save for roasted seeds (or whatever). Cut into roughly 3 inch pieces, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes--pumpkin should be just tender but not super soft. Let cool enough to handle it, and then remove peel (either peel off or cut). Cut pumpkin into bite-sized cubes, should have about 4-5 cups worth, and put in a large bowl. Set aside.
While pumpkin is in oven, prepare the other filling ingredients.
Once you remove pumpkin from oven, turn temp down to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8x8 pans (or one larger, or many smaller) with cooking spray.
Note: if your bread is fresh, just put the cubed bread on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes, until it’s a little crustier.
Cook bacon in a skillet, until crispy, set aside to drain, but leave grease in skillet.
With heat on medium, add onion, and caramelize until golden (turn down heat if they’re getting too dark). About 15-20 minutes. Add mushrooms and butter, and cook another 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms are sautéed through. Add thyme, garlic, and salt, and cook until garlic is fragrant, a couple of minutes.
Add bacon and onion mixture to the pumpkin cubes. Toss lightly until combined, and then add cheese and bread, tossing gently until everything is evenly mixed.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, broth, salt, and pepper. Pour over bread mixture, and using your hands, toss to make sure everything is coated. Add to baking dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of dishes you use). It’s done when the cheese is all melty, it’s golden on top, and springy to the touch.
Don't forget to visit Sara's site and Aimee's site for a giant list of #virtualpumpkinparty recipes... from cakes to drinks to savory to sweet and everything in-between!