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Third Time’s the Charm: Pumpkin Edition


I love my mother to death, but she did not raise my brother, Graham, and I to be healthy eaters. It was all McDonalds and Spaghetti-O’s and fish sticks. This is by no means an accurate reflection of how great of mom she was. She just has never been into the whole organic, stuff-your-face-with-veggies deal.

Therefore, it wasn’t until after college started that I really had major influences encouraging me to eat healthy. This past summer, I took that a step further and actually began cooking up my own healthy concoctions.

At school, I work through dining services, which gives me the lovely benefit of getting plenty of free meals. However, this means my cooking skills are out of whack due to lack of repetition.

This was showcased this month as I attempted to make three different recipes and only was successful with my final attempt. Something to keep in mind: substitutes don’t always work.

Take my first attempt, for example.

I bought Grape Nuts cereal by Post and hated it because of the “puffed barley” ingredient. It just didn’t set well with my taste buds.

Instead of pitching the cereal, I decided to hunt for an alternative use of it. I came across crunchy peanut butter bars on the website for the cereal. Easy as that!

Side note: I pounce on anything peanut butter related. It’s unhealthy.


Now, the recipe called for corn syrup, which we no not currently have in my household. I decided to use Google to my advantage and search for ingredients that could take the place of corn syrup and came up with a combination of sugar and water.

It might seem obvious, but sugar and water are not the same consistency as corn syrup. As a result my simple experiment to make homemade peanut butter bars turned into a zip lock baggy full of crumbs.

Not my best work.

But it doesn’t stop there.


Recipe #2 seemed even simpler: pumpkin cupcakes and homemade frosting. I intended on surprising my friend for her birthday with a tasty fall treat.

My mistake this time was using Olivio instead of butter for the frosting. Here I was thinking it would be a healthier choice, but I did not think through that it has a different texture than a good, old fashioned stick of butter.

As a result, what should have been a thick sugary frosting became what I like to call a pumpkin glaze. It was so liquidy and, as you can see from the picture, had a strange appearance.

I made an executive decision to spare my birthday friend the task of having to fake she was impressed with my baking skills. Well more for me! I’ll just keep telling myself they don’t taste that horrifying.


Luckily, I’m an optimistic person and decided to give this whole baking thing another go. With the help of my bread maker (because every college student needs a bread maker), I made a perfectly acceptable and tasty loaf of pumpkin bread.

Maybe two wrongs can lead to a right.

Okay so how to tie this back to TTW.

Obviously, using healthier recipes benefits your body.

But digging a little deeper: learning a new skill takes time and practice and trial an error. Sometimes trying something different is more about enjoying yourself than reaching perfection.

If you are able to accept that failure is a part of life, you will eliminate a lot of stress and frustration. This kind of patience improves the wellness of the mind.

Therefore, this week’s words of wisdom are to embrace some mistake that you made recently and put a positive spin on it.

Share some baking tips or tell me how you overcame failure!


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