I’m going to say what maybe some of you have also thought: Christmas has been making me a little nervous since last January. Christmas is a season of joy and light and life! And cookies. And parties. And desserts. And indulgence with family and friends.
A few weeks ago, I told Sarah of Well Dined that all I wanted to do this Fall is bake, bake, bake, and I wondered whether she would mind eating nothing but cookies for lunch when we got together. She thoughtfully responded that we should make empanadas.
And after we made these, we congratulated ourselves over and over again because the filling is so delicious. I mean seriously, we were both sneaking spoonfuls of filling as we assembled the empanadas, and licking our fingers when we were done. It’s amazing.
You should make yourself a batch of empanadas right away, so you will know what I’m talking about!
About a year ago, a good friend of ours left a bottle of spiced rum at our house, as a gift.
To be honest, neither of us are big cocktail drinkers. And so, the bottle of rum has gathered dust in the cabinet.
But then, as part of the Secret Recipe Club challenge for October, I stumbled across a pumpkin recipe I knew I had to try: drunken pumpkin cake. (At last, the spiced rum will have its day!)
You know I love baking with liquor. And you know I love anything to do with pumpkin.
This month for SRC, I was assigned Little Bit of Everything, written by Julie. Julie has been blogging since 2009, and she started her blog as a way to document her journey through her cookbook collection! I love how she keeps a list of the daring recipes she wants to try, because I do the same thing!
I’ve become kind of obsessed with cauliflower.
Lately, I’ve been eating it almost every day, with beet hummus, for breakfast scrambled with eggs, instead of rice with Indian food.
And then Sarah and I decided to combine our powers for good and make a colorful, healthy lunch totally based on cauliflower.
I am NOT on the low-carb bandwagon. Wheat would have to go extinct for me to give it up for the rest of my life. Despite these truths, I really love replacing grains with cauliflower.
Here’s the thing. I am the type of person who wants to spend time eating. It’s hard for me to feel “done” eating if my plate is clean in five minutes or less, even if I’ve actually had enough calories to fill me up. This is why vegetables, and cauliflower specifically, are amazing. More volume for less calories, longer meals with less overeating just because I still have the munchies.
This rainbow bowl is delicious and surprising. There are a lot of components, but all together they make an incredibly satisfying meal!
Oh my word.
I have no words. Words have left the building and they have been replaced by drooling.
Cookie butter. Truffle. Brownies.
You see, my friends, this is exactly what is so great about the Secret Recipe Club! When I fall into a dessert rut, I love exploring the creativity of other bakers, like Tracy of Pale Yellow.
I started out this month planning to make a healthy dinner. I had even geared myself up to make a vegetarian version of Tracy’s taco salad. But my mind just kept drifting back to her desserts, amazing treats like Chocolate Hazelnut Cake and Fancy Pants Brownies and Tiramisu Cheesecakes. And, oh glory, cookie butter truffle brownies. A match made in heaven.
Are you into cookie butter?
It’s basically like peanut butter…except made from pulverized cookies. You know. Because your sweet tooth wasn’t getting enough attention.
I have meant to make a homemade cookie butter recipe for you at Christmas for about three years now (it makes a great foodie gift in a cute jar!)…but every Christmas slides by without me doing it. So if you are asking yourself why I am sharing a warmly spiced spread with you in the middle of a boiling summer….well, it’s Christmas in July this year!
I adore Indian food. I love the spices and the warmth. I love that Indian food is packed with things that are good for my body, and that it doesn’t taste like “health food.” Indian food is fantastic.
But I’ve got to admit that I don’t cook Indian food at home very often. True, I love going home and recreating every delicious food in my very own kitchen; but I just find that Indian food is always better when I order it out. (Or, ahem, when friends make it for me. Yeah, you know who you are.)
In the months since learning about Caitlin’s dairy intolerance, I’ve had to avoid eating a lot of my favorite things. Dairy is in almost everything! And since a lot of Indian food is cooked with ghee (clarified butter), I’ve been wary of ordering Indian food at a restaurant.
Enter glorious chana masala, a simple dish featuring chickpeas cooked in a rich, spicy tomato sauce full of grated ginger and pressed garlic. This version comes together very quickly, ready from start to finish in under an hour, thanks to the help of canned chickpeas. And it is delicious!
I have never liked pumpkin pie.
I know I’m not alone in that.
Because of pumpkin pie, I believed until well into my adulthood that I hated all pumpkin things.
Thank God I got over that!
But seriously, pumpkin pie is not the only way to enjoy your pumpkin this Thanksgiving. And why do pie when you can go cheesecake?
Pumpkin cheesecake is amazing and gorgeous, it’s creamy and tangy and sweet and warm with Fall spices. It’s basically Fall dessert perfection.
There is so much to be thankful for!
Day 7: Thankful for new friends and birthday parties. Thankful for family visiting from out of town, for cuddles with Caitlin and s’mores around the fire pit.
Day 8: Thankful that my brother is home from his adventures in Africa!
Day 9: Thankful for the cool weather of Fall and the opportunity to eat fresh food seasonally, a blessing I know not everyone has. Thankful for Fall squashes.
Like the lovely delicata!
This month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I had the pleasure to peruse Culinary Adventures with Camilla, written by the fearless leader of the group B exchange. Camilla cooks recipes from all over the world, which I love! But this month I really wanted to focus on Thanksgiving fare, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try delicata squash, which Camilla says she cooks almost weekly when it’s in season.
This recipe combines two of my favorite things: a hint of warm, spicy cardamom, and sweet, starchy Fall squash. The end result is simple and basic, a perfect complement to the rich and saucy dishes that will litter the Thanksgiving table.
When I was a kid and someone brought out a carrot cake at a birthday party or celebration, I would seriously mope. No offense if carrot cake is your favorite…but who wants vegetable-flavored cake? Not even cream cheese frosting can redeem that.
Cake should be rich and sweet with a light but even crumb. There should be no carrots.
But I read recently that carrots are the only vegetable in season where I live during the month of October. So I made you some morning glory muffins—which, of course, is what we call carrot cake when we eat it for breakfast, which we should all agree is a much better time to eat “cake” made of carrots!
I love the idea of a healthy muffin, and these muffins really are pretty glorious: they have no refined sugar, they use whole grain flour, and they are full of shredded fresh carrots and apples, as well as coconut and pecans!
My son begs for these muffins, and I love to indulge him! Hiding a vegetable in plain sight while my son scarfs it down? Yes please.