give thanks for: cranberries

This past weekend was fall back, and I also slept more than I have since I have started working full time. ¬†I managed to get to bed early (grandma, I know ūüėČ ), and I let myself sleep in until I woke up naturally. ¬†It was so nice and relaxing. ¬†It’s weekends like these that make me love fall because there’s no early sunrise to make you feel bad for staying in bed much later than planned. ¬†During the week? ¬†Not so lovely to be dark in the morning, but at least it’s a bit better now with the sun rising an hour earlier.

Fall weather and lazy weekends are also a great precursor to Thanksgiving, the laziest and most delicious fall weekend of them all. ¬†And it’s never too early to start the menu! ¬†Especially with being gone the next two weekends (knowing Hawaii is only 3 days away makes going to work SO HARD!), Thanksgiving is having to be on my brain much earlier since by the time we return, there are only T-4¬†days¬†(T for Turkey haha)¬†til the big day.

One menu item that’s perfected for our Thanksgiving menu? ¬†Cranberry sauce. ¬†No canned variety in this household (although I must admit I still love the stuff), but this is so much better and there are only 3 ingredients, and that’s including water. ¬†It’s also nice and versatile if you wished to spice it up any which way. ¬†I hope you enjoy this and it can make an appearance on your Thanksgiving table! ¬†Or really with any meal between ¬†now and then that needs a little cranberry accent!

Simple Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 12 oz bag cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 – 1cup honey*
1. Put all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Lower to a simmer and let it go for about 3o minutes, or until all of the cranberries have popped.
3. Let cool a little bit and place into a jar/container and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to eat! ¬†Although it’s also quite good warm.

*This is a very large range, but it is all depending on what flavors you and your family enjoy.  Our family prefers it more on the tart side, only putting in 1/3 of a cup, but if you want it sweeter then you can definitely up it to the whole cup!

You can easily make this the day before so that’s one less thing to worry about with everything else going on. ¬†It’s the perfect topping for your turkey, with stuffing, on mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, by the spoonful… Mmmm T-3 days til Hawaii. ¬†T-18 days til Thanksgiving.

pumpkin french toast

I cannot get over the fact that it is November already! ¬†And I know November is going to go just as fast, if not faster than the previous few months because I have a vacation to look forward to! ¬†I officially have only 13 total days of work this month and am not so sure how that’s going to go – might have some late nights in the office when I return, but only time will tell! ¬†Anyways, back to breakfast.

Obviously, pumpkin is a very popular item in this house and I only have a handful of recipes so far on the blog. ¬†That needed to change. ¬†And this may be the best pumpkin recipe to date. ¬†Although I think I say that every time a new pumpkin recipe is made… but when French Toast and pumpkin are combined? ¬†It’s a very, very good day.

Pumpkin French Toast

1. Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat and spread with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the egg, almond milk, pumpkin and spice in a rimmed plate/bowl.
3. Dip each piece of bread on both sides in the egg/milk/pumpkin mixture and place on the skillet.
4. Shake extra cinnamon on the first side up and flip once golden brown.
5. Top with powdered sugar, pumpkin butter, syrup, etc.

Other pumpkin recipes:

turtle cookies

I confess, I have absolutely no idea what to call these cookies besides delicious. ¬†At first I was going for caramel-chocolate chip, but that’s a bit wordy and does not do justice to how incredible these are. ¬†Then I thought monster cookies, since that’s somewhat where the inspiration came from but they did not have any other ingredients in them to make them actual monster cookies (m&ms, whole oats, raisins, etc.). ¬†And then I thought, well I think it came from either my mom or sister when they were eating them that they were almost¬†turtle flavored. ¬†caramel, chocolate + nuts. ¬†Although no nuts. ¬†But close enough for me and maybe next time they will have nuts.

So if you can think of a better name for these delightful cookies, please share.

 

Turtle Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 1/4 c grapeseed oil (or any other light oil)
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2t vanilla
  • 1t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4c oat flour (oats ground into flour is what I used)
  • 1/2c sorghum flour
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel bits
1. In a small bowl, combine the oats, sorghum flour and baking soda.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat up the butter or margarine until it is nice and fluffy.
3. Mix in the oil to the butter or margarine until it is somewhat mixed well, and then add in the sugar and continue mixing.
4. Once the sugar and butter/oil mixture are combined, add in the salt and eggs.
5. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until fully mixed together.  If this ends up being too sticky, you can add some more oat or sorghum flour.
6. Once the batter is a good consistency, add the chocolate chips and caramel bits.
7. Try not to eat the entire batter as-is… and then take small scoopfuls of what is left and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
8. Bake in a 350′ oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through if necessary.
I used the smallest scoop I had and these cookies were still a very good size, and it made 4 dozen cookies.  If you add in extra cookies for the amount of dough that was consumed.
Holy yum.
The caramel bits were such a random splurge at the store…
But definitely, 100% worth it.
They could also be called “I took way too many photos of these cookies” cookies, but that’s an even greater mouthful than caramel-chocolate chip…
Mouthful being the key word.

beer + cornbread

I have never been a huge fan of beer. ¬†There has never been a real reason for it except I thought it tasted bitter and they all tasted the same – including the pumpkin varieties. ¬†Oh, my parents are shuddering from the thought… ;). ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I used to drink it pre-GF days, but I would ALWAYS feel hungover the next morning, no matter if I had one bottle or multiple. ¬†Looking back, I think it was something to do with the gluten.

Beer was my last thought when I gave up gluten, but for some reason (of course), I started craving beer when I was never even a fan.  Living in Milwaukee, there is never a dry day here, even for the gluten-less folks.  Lakefront Brewery had a gluten free beer named New Grist, and it is officially my favorite beer of all time.  I had my first one at a burger place and then proceeded to buy a six pack the next weekend, and was gifted even more for my birthday :).  Since it was the first time in quite awhile that there was an excess of beer in the household, making a recipe utilizing it was a no-brainer.

I knew exactly what the beer should be used for, and it was quite a sad day when I went to search for Edible Perspective’s beer-bread cornbread and her site was down for the weekend. ¬†This recipe may not be as good as hers (and I will try it sometime soon to compare!), but it is delicious nonetheless.

Beer-Cornbread

  • 1 cup medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2c sorghum flour
  • 1/2c masa harina
  • 1/2t salt
  • 4t baking powder
  • 1/2c milk (unsweetened not-vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2c beer (I used New Grist, naturally!)
  • 2 egg whites or 1 large egg
  • 2T honey
  • 1/2c frozen corn
1. In a small bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, beer and honey.
3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well.
4. Stir in the frozen corn.
5. Spray a 9×13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the cornbread in, spreading to smooth out.
6. Bake in a 350′ oven for 22-24 minutes.

*The next time this is made, I will probably use a 9″ square pan to try and make a thicker loaf, increase the cooking time if you do!

Beer and cornbread cannot be a bad thing.  This made for a delicious side dish and will be made many more times.  Might even make it into a cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving?

pumpkin flapjacks

I cannot get enough pumpkin. ¬†Period. ¬†With the amount of squash and pumpkin I have consumed over the past couple of weeks I am quite surprised I have not turned orange yet. ¬†Although that might give me a nice glow for my upcoming vacation to Hawaii? ¬†Or not so much… but even with the possibility of having an orange hue, I am not giving up pumpkin – ever.

Many recipes of pumpkin pancakes are floating around the web.  Even some gluten free friendly recipes, but most of the gluten free ones call for rice flour, potato starch, etc.  Not exactly the healthiest gluten free flours in existence, but I am sure they yield a perfectly delicious pancake.  So, instead of relying on white flours to create pumpkin pancakes, we used the overly healthy buckwheat flour to add in much-needed protein and fiber.  Thus, pumpkin flapjacks were born!

Pumpkin Flapjacks

makes 8-10 pancakes

  • 3/4c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2c canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/2T honey
  • 1/2c buckwheat flour
  • 1/2c sorghum flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t allspice
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4t ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, pumpkin, egg white, lemon juice and honey.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until everything is incorporated.
4. Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat.
5. Either spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray or spread some butter on the top (our preferred method since the brown butter gives the pancakes such good flavor!).
6. Spoon out an equal amount of pancake mix onto the hot griddle, repeating with the remaining mix until done.
7. To keep the cooked pancakes warm, place on a sheet pan and put in a preheated 250′ oven until ready to eat.

Have a gorgeous Fall Sunday, everyone!

peanut butter pretzels

Saturday was a very good day. ¬†My best friend, Ashley, came down for the afternoon and we went to the pumpkin patch! ¬†Some may say that the pumpkin patch is for kids, but Ashley, Kinley and I had more fun than any of the other kids there that day. ¬†It was almost a perfect fall day – although it was a bit windy with some gusts up to 20mph ;). ¬†We took a hayride out to the pumpkin field and picked our pumpkins. ¬†It took me awhile to pick one that I liked, they seemed to be pretty picked over already for there still being a couple weeks ’til Halloween!

After we picked our pumpkins and put them in the car, we went right back in to the corn maze.  I love going in corn mazes and have gone to one each year for the past 4-5 years.  I think part of why I like them so much is that for some reason I am extremely good at reading directions to get from one point to the next.  Occasionally I get turned around, but for the most part I am right on ;).

After we had our fun learning Wisconsin trivia in the Wisconsin-shaped corn maze (did you know Milwaukee was once known as Milloki? ¬†Who knew!), we headed to a coffee shop to hang out some more. ¬†There was a grocery store across the way and for some reason we still were up for some walking and decided to wander down the aisles – oh, what we do for fun… ¬†Well, I passed by their various candies and treats and spotted peanut butter pretzels. ¬†I had never had pretzels like these before, but I instantly wanted them and knew I (obviously) couldn’t have them.

Luckily, we were in a grocery store.  A grocery store that had gluten free pretzels and peanut butter chips not made on equipment shared with wheat!  Obviously we just had to pick these two items up and headed on our way.  And what we made was the most delicious confection I have had in quite some time.  I absolutely love pretzels, even more so when they are coated in chocolate.  And peanut butter is good on anything.  I had never had gluten free pretzels before these, and I was more than pleasantly surprised that they tasted just like I remembered!  These are my new favorite treat and absolutely perfect for fall!

Peanut Butter Pretzels multiply recipe as many times as you wish

1 serving gluten free pretzels (I used Snyder’s)
1 serving peanut butter chips
1-2t grapeseed oil
sprinkles (optional)

1.  In a double boiler, heat up the peanut butter chips with the grapeseed oil until melty and smooth.
2. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and a handful of pretzels to coat.
3. Dip each pretzel individually in the peanut butter coating, twisting to make sure the peanut butter isn’t too thick (unless you want really thick coating).
4. Lay the coated pretzel on the wax paper and top with your desired sprinkles or decoration.
5. Let set up before trying to move them anywhere, although you don’t have to wait to eat them if you can’t stand it anymore!
6. Enjoy!

These would even be a fabulous activity for kids – although I think I have proven you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy Fall activities ;).

 

pumpkin pie steamer

I’ve been wanting a pumpkin spice latte a lot lately. ¬†However I just cannot bring myself to get one from Starbucks, not even wanting to think about what ingredients they put in that flavored syrup to make it such a bright and colorful shade of orange. ¬†I thought that Sunday afternoon would be the perfect chance to try my own pumpkin spice creation, albeit without the caffeine. ¬†I feel like I could benefit from some additional caffeine today because of a crazy intense power yoga session this morning plus a 5ish mile walk around town in the gorgeous weather, but I know I don’t really need it and this more than satisfies the pumpkin craving. ¬†Plus the frothed milk craving ;).

The original thinking of this recipe was to make it a pumpkin chai latte. ¬†The picture is actually of a pumpkin chai latte. ¬†I am currently drinking a pumpkin chai latte. ¬†However, because of my sister’s not-so-happy-with-tea tummy, I made her this concoction instead and it totally beats the flavor of the one with the chai. ¬†So, I offer to you the better of the two recipes, and the one we will be making many more times in the future.

Pumpkin Pie Steamer
  • 1 1/2 c unsweeteened vanilla almond milk
  • 1T pumpkin
  • 1t honey
  • .5t pumpkin pie spice
1. ¬†In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk, pumpkin, honey and pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s has it now!!) to a simmer, whisking often.
2. ¬†You could just stop once it’s warm and drink as-is. ¬†However, if you would like to froth the beverage, you can do the following. ¬†Pour almond milk mixture into a magic bullet or blender, and blend away until nice and frothy. ¬†I actually turned our magic bullet on its side to incorporate more air into the mixture and it was perfect.
3. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with a little more pumpkin pie spice.

Perfect pumpkin perfection.

banana millet muffins

I absolutely love having snack staples in the house.  I have gone only a handful of days in my life without having a snack РI just cannot seem to make it from one meal to the next without a little something.  Needless to say, after going gluten free, snack options became a nightmare (at first).  I am a self-diagnosed snack carb-o-holic and gluten free snacks (mostly pre-packaged) just did not do it for me, so I was stuck.  Well, at least until we came up with our go-to muffin recipe that gets made pretty much every-other week now.  We made a batch (over a dozen muffins) and store them in the freezer.  Then the night before we want to bring them as a snack, just take them out and put them in a container to thaw out Рand they taste just as good as when you make them.

We are currently all out of these muffins.  And you can bet that there will be a batch made tomorrow because we have plenty of ripe bananas to use up!

Gluten Free Banana Millet Muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats ground into flour in a blender
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 2T chia seeds
  • 1/4 c millet, toasted (on stovetop for 3-5 minutes until they start to pop
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 4-5 bananas
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 2 eggs

1. Grind the oats in a blender to use as a flour.  Add in millet, chia, toasted millet, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
2. Mash up the bananas with the lemon juice and then whisk in the eggs.
3.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
4. ¬†Bake in a preheated 375′ oven for 20ish minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. ¬†Let cool completely and then you can freeze in a tupperware until you’re ready to eat.
If you make about 16 muffins like we normally do, these come to less than 100 calories a piece and make a perfect mid-morning snack or side-dish to a meal. ¬†They’re gluten free, but filled with all sorts of nutritious gluten free ingredients. ¬†Enjoy!

apple cider donuts

Two weeks ago we made our first venture to the apple orchard. ¬†Kinley, Ashley and I drove to a local orchard the first week it was open to get the just-ready apples. ¬†Gingergolds and Paula Reds were ready to be picked and we ended up with an entire bag filled to the top with red and gold apples. ¬†I definitely seem to up my apple intake when there are fresh apples around – there is nothing quite like the taste of an apple in the fall, especially when you know they’re local, organic, and fresh off the tree. ¬†Writing this post makes me want to go and get more even though we still have a bunch left in the fridge! ¬†I know there are more varieties now just waiting for us to go pick some more. ¬†I better get eating :). ¬†And you’ve got to make sure to pick up some apple cider on your next trip to the orchard so you can try out these donuts!
Apple Cider Donuts
  • 3/4c oat flour [ground from rolled oats/steel cut/oat groats]
  • 3/4c sweet rice flour
  • 1/4c coconut flour
  • 1T organic sugar
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 1/2t baking powder
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/8 t allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1 c apple cider
  • ~1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

1. Preheat oven to 375′.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oat flour, sweet rice flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (you could use apple pie spice instead of the different spices if you have it on hand).

3. In a larger bowl, mix together the egg, applesauce and apple cider.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until combined.  If the batter is too thick, add ~1/4c unsweetened almond milk to thin it out.

5. Spray a donut pan (or muffin tin) with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with additional sugar to coat.

6. Spoon the batter into the donut pan (or fill a plastic bag with the batter, cut off the corner and pipe in).

7. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

We didn’t add any additional sugar to the top – just what was in the pan, but you can definitely melt some butter and top with additional cinnamon + sugar, or make a glaze with powdered sugar + apple cider. ¬†Whatever way you choose, you will enjoy these and be baking them up all Autumn long :).

butternut squash pizza

Last winter I was eating so much butternut squash and pumpkin I swear I was a tad orange Рit was brilliant.  I am so glad that the grocery stores have squash piling up in the bins now Рno more scrounging at the bottom to pick a good one ;).  This particular squash, however, did not come from the grocery store.  We grew it in our very own garden!  It was actually picked a few weeks ago but today was finally the day to roast it and make something delicious.

Butternut squash on pizza might sound strange at first, but let’s be honest, butternut squash is delicious on almost anything. ¬†The first time I had it on pizza was at Fire & Stone in Covent Garden in London before seeing The Lion King. ¬†I had ‘The Melbourne‘ with mozzarella, tomato sauce, brie, sweet roasted butternut squash and balsamic red onions, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. ¬†Such unique pizza toppings but it could not have been more delicious. ¬†Of course when we have a new box of Nature’s Hilights brown rice pizza crusts in the freezer and a butternut squash on the counter, I was reminded of that pizza I had over a year and a half ago – only with far less gourmet toppings, and both gluten free and vegan.

Butternut Squash Pizza

  • 1 butternut squash
  • nature’s hilights brown rice pizza crust
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • daiya mozzarella style shreds
  • basil
1. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cube into pieces.
2. Roast in a 400′ oven for 40 minutes, or until squash is cooked through.
3. Prep the pizza crust according to directions.  Pre-bake if necessary.
4. Top the crust with oil, roasted butternut squash, daiya and basil.
5. Bake for 10 minutes until the daiya is melted.

Serve with the leftover roasted butternut squash ;).