Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Harvest Bundt Cake

Harvest.  Ahh, what an abundant word.  Whenever I hear this word I imagine myself dancing in a golden field on a cool autumn day, eating cake, wearing sweatpants, and listening to Coldplay or Mumford and Sons.

I also think of wheat, and baking, and delicious tasting things that all make my jeans fit wayyy too tight...which is why I am wearing sweat pants in this perfect Fall dream scenario...come on, you know you would too!

This cake is quasi bad for your "pants too snug on my belly" body...but please note, it is also quasi good for your "my belly is so happy right now" body.

What goes into this cake you may ask...well, to be Frank - everything!  Which is why it is so darn delectable!  As you well know by now I really like texture and flavor layers in my baked goods - this is one of those recipes that really does nail this on both accounts.  Boom.

Did I tell you we are hosting another mystery dinner party this year?  It is super fun.  You should host one too!  Last year we did a fairy tale character theme, this year we are doing a pirate theme.  Arg.  Working on my costume is always fun - it starts out a big mess, but then somehow it comes together.  I got sick of all the store bought costumes just being "sexy" thank you.  I decided to make my pirate costume look sort of like this one:

Please note - it is not sexy, and yes, I plan on looking like a 5 year old girl for Halloween.  Haha - no.

 Look lovely Fall leaves my friend from Minnesota sent me!  I am so happy to see these!

Fall wreath I made...and yes, I am just sharing all my pictures having to do with Fall in this post.

Okay, would you like to make this cake now?  Is is so moist...can you see that?  I need to make this one again - and soon!  Is it okay to leave work early to go home and make a cake?  I think most bosses would approve of this as long as they get a piece of cake out of it.  Can you imagine how nice all the bosses in the world would be if they were given good cakes like this one?  
You should make it for your boss and thank me later.

Pumpkin Harvest Cake
a recipe contrived by me and my imagination

Whisk together the below ingredients in a bowl until combined:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oat flour - just grind up oats in a blender or food processor until fine to get this
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Then add the following and mix to combine:

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut - toast it first if you want more flavor!
1/2 cup raisins
1 large apples peeled and cut into chunks - I used 2 small ones
2 cups grated carrots - I grated mine using the food processor
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts - toasted for more flavor

In separate bowl whisk together these ingredients then add to the above bowl:

1 cup pumpkin - not the pumpkin pie mix stuff but straight up pumpkin
3 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk - I used almond milk and a tsp of lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir just until combined.  Pour into a large bundt pan, a 13x9 cake pan, or muffin tin!  Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Bundt pan: bake 45-50 minutes
13x9 pan: bake 30-35 minutes
Muffins:  bake 12-15 minutes

Go outside and enjoy the glorious Fall weather, then bake this cake and give it to your boss.

Eat your heart out,


Monday, October 14, 2013

Gluten free.Dairy Free.Refined sugar free Pumpkin Bars

Pretty sure when you read the title you said to yourself "nasty".

Usually I would agree with you, but somehow these bars work and I like them!  Be warned - they may not have dairy, sugar, or flour - but they are filling and high in good still eat in moderation even though they are semi "healthy".

Is October all about Halloween for you?  How do you celebrate Halloween?  Growing up we were never allowed to participate in the "creepy ghoulish" side of Halloween.  Instead we dressed up like the Holy Family, angels, clowns, princesses, and more often then not just a soccer player since we all had our team jerseys already on and forgot to plan out a costume.  Halloween was about dressing up, eating candy, and baking for us.  I know some of my siblings didn't like that my Mom wouldn't let us dress up like witches and ghosts, but it never bothered me.  Creepy things scare the heart out of me!!!  I still remember not being able to sleep for weeks after watching that horrific movie "7".  I still have occasional nightmares about it, and I watched that 13 years ago!

Every family is so different in the way they celebrate Halloween - it is crazy! I really like the fun and creative aspect of Halloween.  It is always entertaining when people dress up and pretend to be something other than themselves.

I also think that there is definitely evil in the world.  I think it surrounds us every single day.  Every day is a battle of good vs. evil, and personally I want the good to win always...which in the end it does.  I know that Halloween is just one day every year, but I don't want to intentionally seek out scary images or experiences.  I never have understood how any good can come from watching movies with extreme gore and violence in them.  Life is crazy enough on its own and I have enough thoughts in my head that I don't need dark ones like that making their way into my brain...yuck.  So, I will continue being a big baby and instead of being surrounded by blood and guts on Halloween I will most likely be surrounded by friends, pumpkin pie, and a feel good movie.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it".
John 1:5

Make these bars, feel good about a healthy treat, spread the light this Halloween, 

Eat your heart out,


Grain-Free Pumpkin Bars
BY:, adapted slightly

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ x 8″ pan generously with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Transfer the batter to the greased pan, and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm.
  4. Allow to cool a few minutes then spread the glaze on top. 

I only made 1/2 the recipe below of the glaze and poured it onto the bars while they were still warm.

Maple Nut Glaze

3/4 cup pecans, almonds, or walnuts
1/4 cup Maple syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.

See the recipe here at Detoxinista.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Gingerbread Pancakes...aka discs of Fall Glory!

Please note - that is actually Maple Cream and not butter - thanks to KO for sending some for us!!

Shazam!  Boom!  Seriously yo - overnight it finally became Fall in Texas!!!!  I am joyous beyond belief!!!  The Fall weather makes me happy - happy - happy!  Yes, happy to the third power - that is how awesome Fall is!

Like everyone else in the world I am obsessed with Pumpkin everything right now!  I started off with Pumpkin blondies - fail.  Moved on to Pumpkin granola - fail.  Then there was Pumpkin cornbread - fail.  Arg - I was getting pretty frustrated with all of these failed attempts at making yummy Pumpkin things.  Then all of a sudden things clicked and I finally found 2 pumpkin recipes that met my lofty arrogant standards, and tasted great too!  Score!  Today I will share with you this lovely Pumpkin Gingerbread pancake recipe and next I will share with you a delightfully moist Pumpkin Harvest bread recipe.

I don't know about you, but Fall motivates me to get more accomplished each day.  I seem to have all this hidden energy that lays dormant all summer long - then as soon as a breeze appears I wake up and start crossing things off my to do list.  Dang it - I kind of sound like a bear - don't I?  I am sure my family would not argue against this.

I do miss my East Coast Falls - Texas Falls just don't really compare at all.  It does stay warmer longer though - so we have more weekends we can camp, and be outside all day - opposed to the freezing Fall weather up North.

My niece and I worked on her Halloween costume this weekend - it is our thing.  She is growing up so fast - not too sure how many more years we will have to make a costume!  For the last few years we have come up with her costume ideas and made them together.  Last year she was the Mad Hatter and wanted to stick with the Alice in Wonderland theme and be the Queen of Hearts this year.  We also debated some of the below options...

Minions from Despicable me : )

Cute Owl!

This is what we are aiming for...lets see how close we get to this actual look!

And now for the Pancakes...I made some extra and hid  them in the fridge for work on Monday - but my sneaky little brother somehow found them and ate them all up on Sunday...darn him.  One of these days I am going to buy a box and lock up the things I don't want people in the house to eat - or, I guess I could just grow up, get my own house and fridge : )  

Pumpkin Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/4 cups ground oats (the old fashioned kind ground up in a food processor or blender)
1 cup flour (I used all purpose but you can you wheat, or a gluten free substitue)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups pumpkin
2 TBS molasses (or extra maple if you don't have molasses)
1 TBS maple syrup
2 cups milk (I used almond, but you can use rice, coconut, cow's, or goat's milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients together in medium bowl.  Then add the wet and mix to combine.  Spoon onto well oiled griddle or skillet and cook on one side until bubbles form - then flip and cook until golden.
Serve with warm maple syrup, butter, and chopped pecans.

Why I like this recipe?  It has texture - from the oats.  It has layers of flavor - from the molasses and spices.  It tastes like FALL!

Wake up early on a Saturday morning - go on a Fall hike - come home and make these pancakes!

Eat your heart out,


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Simple Sauteed Okra

Okra is weird.

When I was a kid I would eat around it in the many bowls of gumbo I consumed.  Those little pearly balls from the inside of it drove me bananas as they seemed to multiply and be everywhere!

Now I think okra is divine.

Guess all those years of education worked and all those light bulbs finally went on in my head.

I bought a big bag of them at the local farmers market this week with the intention of cooking them all at once and eating them with lunch the rest of the week.  Like most well thought out plans of mine this did not happen.  Apparently my whole family loves okra!  When did that happen?  I cooked the okra.  The family saw the okra.  The family demolished the okra.  darn it all.

Fun facts about Okra:

1.  In some countries they refer to okra as "ladies fingers" ...kind of creepy sounding to me...
2.  It is said to have originated in these regions:  South Asia, Ethiopia, and West Africa.
3.  Okra is healthy!  It is high in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants.
4.  Okra is used to thicken soups - that slimy matter that comes from the seeds is the thickening agent.
5.  In the 1800's slaves would use Ground okra seeds as a coffee substitute

What you are getting for Christmas from me : )

Sauteed Okra

2 cartons of fresh okra (about 5 cups chopped up)
4 slices of bacon
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Rinse the okra.  Cut off the tops.  Then slices into disc chunks.  Chop bacon slices into pieces.  Place the bacon in a large frying pan and cook until cooked.  Then add the okra and olive oil to the pan.  Saute over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes stirring every once in a while.  Add the water and cover pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until water is gone.  Once okra is tender season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Did you hear the awesome news?  
        FALL IS HERE!!!!