pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Valentine's Day, pink lemonade, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

Halloween is coming up in just a couple of days and it’s during this time of year that pumpkins, butternut, red kuri, and kabocha squash reign in my kitchen. It was thus with great anticipation that I awaited our celebration of national Food Day last Friday – a pumpkin-filled potluck!

During my time in college, I worked at a bakery where cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin were highly sought out ingredients for the sweet treats of October. Add some dark chocolate in the mix and, well, you’ve completely won me over. Pumpkin chocolate chip cakes, bars, cookies, sweet breads, muffins…. the options are limitless!

I chose to share the joy of this tasty food combination at our Food Day Pumpkin Potluck in the form of a Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookie.

This recipe is gluten-free, allergy-friendly, vegan, seasonal, and (I think) pretty tasty! You just can’t go wrong with pumpkin and chocolate.

I hope you enjoy this recipe with your family and friends as we celebrate the abundance of fall harvest time!

– Kelly

(check out Flora’s recipe for scrumptious pumpkin pasta that would make a fabulous dinner before enjoying these cookies!)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes Total time: 35-40 minutes


  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree**
  • 2 chia “eggs” (2 T chia seed meal + 6 T water)
  • 1/2 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour (can grind from Oats)
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips


**Prep: I like making my own pumpkin puree when time allows. I used to be intimidated by this process but it’s pretty straightforward and tasty! Here’s what to do: Preheat oven to 375. Cut pumpkin in quarters. Scoop out seeds. Drizzle with olive oil. Place face down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pumpkin can be easily pierced with fork. Remove from oven, allow to cool, peel skin and blend in food processor until you reach a smooth consistency. Voila! Homemade pumpkin puree.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Make your chia “egg.” Whisk chia seed meal and water together and let stand for 5-7 minutes (“egg” will firm up).

3. Mix coconut oil and maple syrup until well combined. Add pumpkin and chia “eggs.”

4. In a separate bowl, mix oats, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well combined.

6. Stir in chocolate chips.

7. Scoop cookies by spoonful onto baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on bottom.

8. Enjoy a delightfully seasonal sweet treat!

Read More

roasted pumpkin & cauliflower pasta

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in fall recipes, healthy food, nutrition, Recipes | 0 comments

photo (6)We just hosted a pumpkin potluck to celebrate Food Day and it was a blast!

The selection of pumpkin themed dishes brought everyone together to bask in the glory of seasonal foods and community.

Of course, having organized the event with our wonderful food partners Harlem Grown and Just Food, my first thought was what should I bring?

Potlucks are fun because the outcome is somewhat unknown. When you cater an event, the menu is set and expectations are met. When you organize a potluck, anything can happen!

I decided on a hearty dish that anyone can enjoy (it’s gluten free, and vegan), and it’s packed with nutritious vegetables showcasing beautiful autumnal tones. Everyone who tried it, couldn’t get enough of it!

Try this recipe out, and you will be surprised at how 5 ingredients can make such an impact on your taste buds.

Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

Serves 10-20 (smaller portions)


  • 1 small/medium sized baking pumpkin
  • 1 medium sized cauliflower head
  • 1 box of gluten free pasta of your choice
  • 8 T olive oil (adjust to taste)
  • kosher salt (adjust to taste)
  • sage (optional)


1. Prep: Preheat oven to 400F. Rinse pumpkin and cauliflower. Cut pumpkin in half, remove stem piece and inside seeds (set aside for future roasting). Cut into 1 inch piece squares. Prep cauliflower, creating small florets. Chop stems into small pieces.

2. Cook: Place pumpkin onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix well with your hands, and let cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes. While the pumpkin is roasting, cook your pasta. Add the box of pasta into salted boiling water, and cook as per package instructions, tasting until al-dente. Rinse the pasta under cold running water. Set aside.

3. Cook: Turn oven to 375F. Place cauliflower florets onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix well with your hands, and let cook in the oven for 20-25, until softened and golden.

4. Assemble: In your sheet pan of cauliflower, add your roasted pumpkin and cooked pasta. Mix well, and finish with another drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkles of salt. Tear up some sage leaves for garnish if you’d like. Transfer to a large portable bowl for your potluck, cover it with saran wrap, put on a scarf and sweater, then head out the door!

This is the perfect pumpkin potluck dish, since it tastes even better at room temperature, and will complement the mulled hot apple cider abound in this very special season.

Read More

campfire stories: celebrating autumn at Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in agriculture, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, Food & Farm program, gardens, healthy food, local food, lunch time, nutrition, seasonal, seasonal food of the month, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

Walking past the open doorway of a cozy classroom in Queens last week, one could smell delightful blends of cinnamon and nutmeg, curry and cumin, fresh basil, thyme, and sage. A brief peek inside the classroom door would reveal eight budding chefs expertly transforming raw vegetables into creative culinary delicacies – pumpkin curry, carrot-top pesto, rainbow fried rice, apple pie parfaits… dishes that capture the vibrant flavors of autumn.

This group of 6-10 year olds made up the talented crew of the inaugural Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp at the United Nations International School (UNIS) of Queens. With culinary prowess, the Fall Harvest campers spent one week (October 6th-10th) caring for the school’s abundant garden and harvesting veggies for their home-cooked lunches.

Each day the group explored new ways of growing, cooking, and eating food in a way that nourishes our bodies, our communities, and the planet. We thought you might want a brief snapshot of what the week brought for our campers, so here are some of the highlights not soon to be forgotten by the campers or counselors of Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp:


Monday October 6th : Campers sowed seeds in recycled cartons and discovered how to “eat the rainbow” at mealtime, learning the nutritional merits of different colorful foods.


Tuesday, October 7th: On a visit to the historic Queens County Farm Museum, campers took a hayride tour of the farm and picked pumpkins which they later used to make pumpkin butter – from scratch!


Wednesday, October 8th: Campers collected seeds from the UNIS Queens garden to store for next year’s garden and spent an active, rejuvenating morning exercising with yoga instructor Ginger Merritt.


Thursday, October 9th: Campers transplanted herbs from the garden beds to pots in the UNIS Queens greenhouse. With the help of guests from Home Depot’s Community Impact Program, campers also built their own planter boxes to take home!


Friday, October 10th: To celebrate the last day of camp, campers took a trip to the Queens Botanical Garden where they explored “Plants We Eat” through QBG’s bee yard, herb garden, and edible garden beds.

In the kitchen and garden, Fall Harvest Campers discovered the fun of cooking with colorful foods, eating in season, using all the parts of the plant, growing food with sustainability in mind, and supporting our local food communities. We can’t wait to see what these brilliant food and garden experts cook up in the future!

Wishing all the members of the Butter Beans camp family a festive and flavor fall!

Read More