Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: October 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

Hearty and comforting this is the new chili in town!
Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili is creamy and delicious.

pumpkin and black bean chili

I just realized never in the history of my blog have I ever shared a savory pumpkin recipe.  What's wrong with me?

I've shared plenty sweet pumpkin recipes.  My Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake, this Caramel Cashew Pumpkin Cheesecake {perfect for Thanksgiving} and these Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Bars.  Heck, I even created a Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee Creamer {which is insanely delicious}.

But nothing savory.

Today that changes!

pumpkin and black bean chili

Fall has offically arrived {yeah, the date said it awhile ago, but only until last week did it get cool here in the Midwest}.  So far I've made two soups {this chili} and my trusty Lasagna Soup that everyone gobbled down so fast the last time I made it we all declared a double batch is most definitely needed next time.

Other than loving this weather we've been busy watching flag football games with our oldest, wrapped up our Fall softball season with our middle girl and are now watching her play volleyball and well just running from one activity to another.

It's a busy life, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

pumpkin and black bean chili

You know my Mom used to make chili on Friday nights in the Fall and my friends and I would eat it before heading to the local high school football game.  We'd also throw a handful of Sweet Tarts in our bowls because we were weird teenagers and would claim it was good.

All this really means is that I have good chili memories.

Now, I almost 90% of the time make my classic version.  The family expects it and they love it and trust me when I say no Mother wants complaining at the dinner table, so I most of the time keep it the same as always.

But, this pumpkin version was a really good change up!

pumpkin and black bean chili

My middle daughter {who is the chili LOVER of the house} had two bowls, took a small bowl of it to school the next day and then was heartbroken when she got home from practice the next night to find it all gone.

Life is hard.

I like to top my chili with a simple oyster cracker combo {same with my kids}, but the husband prefers shredded cheddar and chopped red onion.  Frankly you can top it with whatever you want!  Sour cream, cilantro and saltines are good too.

The pumpkin in this chili gives it a velvety and smooth texture - one I was not expecting, but really, really liked.  Plus, I love black beans so those got added too.  Basically a good 'ol bowl of fiber.

pumpkin and black bean chili

Put this recipe on your meal rotation!

Speaking of meal rotations, I am loving your feedback with my meal planning and recipe book.  You've been sending me photos of you using it in action and that just makes my heart leap.  Each and every one of them gets shared on my Instagram page - so be sure to follow me for those insider photos.

I have limited quantities left if you are interested - a good handful before the holiday rush!  And on that note, stay tuned as I have another product launch coming soon.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

Yield: 8-12
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 30 M
Hearty and filling - this easy chili recipe combines all flavors of Fall! Pumpkin, two kinds of beans, tomatoes - giving it a creamy, delicious taste for those chilly days.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5 oz can chili beans
  • 2 15.5 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water


How to cook Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat to medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the onion and saute until slightly translucent.
  3. Add in the ground beef and crumble and cook until no longer pink.  Add in the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Drain off any excess grease.
  4. Add in all your seasonings - chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.
  5. Open up the cans and dump in the pumpkin, beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir and let simmer, keeping warm until ready to serve.
  6. Refrigerator leftovers and reheat to serve.


You can also (after sauteing the onion, garlic, meat combo), put all ingredients in a slow cooker and keep on LOW until serving.
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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Hot Milk Sponge Cake + Little Women Cookbook Giveaway

Were you a fan of the Little Women book or movie?
If so, today I have a special treat for you!
This timeless Hot Milk Sponge Cake + two lucky winners will receive 

hot milk sponge cake

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

One of the very best parts of food blogging {minus my kitchen always having tasty goodies} are the people I've met along the way.

I have friends all over the country that I've met at various blogging conferences and events, plus a really big handful of friends that are right here in the great state of Iowa.  We are a bit like this big, untraditional family.  We support each other, cheer each other on and celebrate each other's successes.

If I am ever in a pinch, need help with an idea or need a little extra boost of promotion with the click of a mouse these ladies to help me out.  So when my friend Wini called on me and said SHE WROTE A COOKBOOK, you just know I was game to get my hands on it and help promote.

hot milk sponge cake

What got me even more excited about her new cookbook was it's title and overall theme.  You guys, this cookbook is every girl's dream.

Hands up if you ever read Little Women {or watched the movie} as a child, teen or young adult.  All hands raised up, right?  P.S. there is a new movie coming out on Christmas Day this year!  This cookbook is full of recipes centered around the lives of these girls; Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time, especially surrounded by food? THE IS THE COOKBOOK FOR YOU.  This is the first cookbook to celebrate the scrumptious and comforting foods that play a promiment role in Louisa May Alcott's classic novel.  It keeps the magic and wonder of this beloved tale alive for years to come.

hot milk sponge cake

Do you wonder what the characters made and ate?  Everything from Apple Turnovers to Plum Pudding and Gingerbread Cake.  It's all in there.  This cookbook is filled with 50 easy-to-make recipes, plus the stories behind them, yet all updated for today's modern kitchen.

Wini has done an incredible job of telling a story with this book {the best kind of cookbook in my opinion}.  When I was flipping though the recipes I instantly wanted to dive under the covers with a hot mug of tea and watch the movie again.

An event I may re-create this coming weekend.

No judging.

hot milk sponge cake

Wini allowed me to re-create ANY recipe within the pages of this beautiful cookbook and almost instantly and for many reasons I settled on this Hot Milk Sponge Cake.

1) it sounded very intriguing. It is not a recipe I'd see circulating around Pinterest here in 2019. 2) it looked super easy.  If you've been around here long, you know I do not enjoy complicated recipes and I'm here to tell you this one isn't! and 3) I like pretty things.  And when imagining this cake, it definitely seemed pretty.

I'm happy to say that after baking this cake, all of those things turned out to be true.  Diving into this cake was like eating a fluffy cloud.  It is spongy and light and is absolutely delicious topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit {think shortcake or angel food cake, BUT BETTER}.

hot milk sponge cake

And guess what?

Wini and company are letting me giveaway TWO copies of The Little Women Cookbook.  It is also on sale right now, you can go take a look for yourself HERE.  It would make a beautiful Christmas gift this holiday season.

Also, to see more great photos from this cookbook, take a look at Wini's page for yourself.

Now....on to the GIVEAWAY.

We are giving away two copies, so double the fun!  To enter simply enter via the Rafflecopter entry form below.  For extra entries, visit my Facebook and Instagram page.  I will be choosing one winner here on the blog and one winner on my combined Facebook and Instragram pages.

Good luck!

I'll randomly be chosing the two winners on Wednesday, October 9th.

My copy of the The Little Women cookbook was provided to me by Harvard Common Press.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Yield: 12
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 40 M
Take yourself back in time and whip up this deliciously easy & simple sponge cake. Light, fluffy with just a hint of sweetness it pairs beautifully with a dollup of whipped cream and fresh fruit.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 T unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • whipped cream & fresh berries for topping


How to cook Hot Milk Sponge Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8x8 baking dish (for a thicker cake) or a 9x13 baking dish (for a thinner cake).
  2. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until pale, light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.
  5. Beat in the vanilla and use a spatula to gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter.  Heat and stir over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the batter, stirring until combined.  Pour the batter into the greased pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack.  When cool run a knife along the edges to loosen.
  8. Slice and serve with fresh whipped cream and berries.


This cake freezes well! Freeze leftover slices for up to 3 months.
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