gluten-free pumpkin gingerbread

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, Lovely People!

It's a toss up as to what the scariest thing is around here:

1. The snoring sounds coming from Lena today
2. The mold that is growing inside of our jack-o-lanterns (creeps!) or
3. How fast we ate this pumpkin gingerbread loaf

We had a pumpkin carving contest last weekend and guess who won? Our friend Christopher who pandered to the crowd and tugged at our heartstrings with his "I <3 LENA" offering. Go Team Lena! I don't think she gives two cents about her namesake pumpkin though--she and her bat ears barely sat still for me to take this photo. The letters are getting a bit saggy from the decomp, but I had to share:)

Go make this bread! It is scary delicious! Spicy and pumpkin-y and molasses-y and ginger-y...

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread
adapted from Simply Recipes
makes 1 loaf

You can make this with gluten if you like! Just sub out regular all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
3/8 t xanthan gum
2 t ground ginger
1-1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 T finely minced fresh ginger
2 eggs, beaten
3 T water

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk well until evenly mixed. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, ginger, eggs and water until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until incorporated. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester (toothpick, bamboo skewer) inserted into the center comes out clean.


super easy super tasty broccoli soup

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We just got home from a jam-packed week back east, where I got the delicious hit of autumn I'd been craving. I also got a delicious hit of serious food indulgence. Can one eat better than in New York City? Tangy fresh sheep's milk ricotta with flowery honey on toast, soft buttery scrambled eggs, spinach ravioli with fennel sausage ragu, wine wine wine, salads with gently poached chicken and earthy beets and warm goat cheese, toasty bagels with thick cream cheese and hot strong european coffee, falling-apart short ribs with woody mushrooms and crispy brussels sprouts. And that was all within 48 hours. After which, we took the train up to Connecticut to see DP's family and eat his favorite childhood pepperoni pizza 3 times in 3 days.

For our grand finale, we stopped at the airport Dunkin Donuts on the way to board our plane home and bought a bagful of pumpkin Munchkins*. The only thing that might be more disturbing is the instrumental Muzak version of "Blurred Lines" that American Airlines is using as their taxi-to-the-gate music.

Broccoli soup, anyone?


Super Easy Super Tasty Broccoli Soup
yields 2 quarts (serves 4-6)

When pureed to a super smooth consistency, you will swear this soup has cream in it. It's super luxe!

3 T olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
(or you can swap one large yellow onion for the leeks/small onion)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large handful chopped parsley (about 1/3 cup)
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups chopped broccoli (heads and peeled stalks)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and when hot, add the leeks, onion, garlic, celery carrots, parsley and bay leaf. Add a big pinch of salt and some black pepper and sweat over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli and sauté another 5-7 minutes, adding a little more olive oil if it seems dry. Add the broth, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until broccoli is very tender. Transfer to a blender to puree in batches. Return to the pot, add the lemon juice and taste for salt.

*I just learned from that link that each Munchkin has 1g protein!


P.P.S. East coast pix to come......................

pumpkin spiced popcorn

Monday, October 14, 2013

You Guys!!
Happy Autumn! (Or, for all you LA peeps out there, Happy Autumn? It might be 90 degrees tomorrow so let's not get too excited.) What is going ON, my darlings?!?! I'm so sorry I've been so MIA. I feel like we are long lost friends in need of a serious catch-up:

How did the:
family reunion/birthday party/doctor's appointment/visit with your father turn out?

Was it:
fun/scary/awful/better that you expected?

And I heard that you:
conquered breast-feeding/got back into your skinny jeans/spoke your truth/booked that job!
You are a freaking rock star. I knew you could do it.

Hey! I saw that facebook picture of your:
happy puppy/cute baby/recent vacation/new glasses.
I approve.

And, whoa: did you hear about You-Know-Who?! They finally you-know-what! Can you believe it? It's nuts.

Ok. I feel a little better:)

My spare time lately has been sucked dry by Poshmark. Do you know about this? It's a clothing buying/selling app that is completely addicting. You can browse other women's "closets" and list your own items for people to check out. You know those clothes/bags/jewelry items that were expensive that you hardly ever wear? That might even still have their tags attached? That you can't bear to give to Goodwill? Poshmark is perfect for them. It's way faster than Ebay when it comes to listing items (you do it right from your phone), it's easy to search for things (you can filter by your sizes), and Poshmark emails you the shipping labels so you don't have to deal with weighing items and estimate shipping. Here is my closet! And here is a great post that gives the full Poshmark low-down if you're interested.

This week I also became completely obsessed with making popcorn the old-fashioned way via stovetop. (How did we get hoodwinked into thinking chemical-laden microwave popcorn was so much better? It's not even that much more convenient.) I got this brilliant idea to formulate a pumpkin-pie flavored version and began tinkering around with recipes, then on a whim I did a google search only to find out I was not in fact the inventor of this idea. Oh, well. You know what softened my disappointment? Eating it. And then shopping on Poshmark.

Pumpkin Spiced Popcorn
makes about 15 cups (WAY too much for one person although it's not impossible)

2 T coconut oil
3/4 cups organic popcorn kernels
1/2 stick (4T) butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t fine sea salt

Melt the butter and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with high sides and a well-fitting lit, heat the coconut oil and 3 popcorn kernels over medium heat. Cover. When the oil becomes hot enough to pop the three kernels, add the rest of the popcorn, cover again and continue to cook, shaking the pot from side to side (holding the lid on) every 10 seconds. This insures even kernel heating. When the popping slows down, take the pot off the heat and continue shaking until popping stops. Toss with the melted butter first, stirring to coat the kernels as evenly as possible, then add the sugar/spice/salt mixture, shaking or tossing to distribute. Try not to eat the entire bowlful.


P.S. I feel like we should remake this Portlandia sketch but with pumpkin spice instead of birds. Put pumpkin spice on it!

P.P.S. Welcome new email subscribers! I like you! I'm so glad you're here!

turkey mutt loaf casserole (with special guest Lena)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As the canine star of Joeycake, it's really an honor to have you here today in more than just cute pictures, Lena. Thank you so much for joining me!

Um....Have you met me? I'm pretty much joining you every day under the desk here. 

Yes, but I'm so glad you've allowed me to interview you for this home-cooked dog food post.

HELLO, did somebody say FOOD?

Yep. I did. How are you liking the food I've been cooking for you lately?

Wowee! That stuff's good! I like digging my snout in there A LOT. And my tail's been super tired lately. 

From all the wagging?

You got it.

I notice that right after eating, before your epic all-day nap, you do a victory lap around the house. What's that about?

I gotta see what I missed while I was eatin'.

I see. So, which dishes have you enjoyed the most?

The one with the meat. Oh, and that other one with the meat.

Confession: I sometimes slip fresh parsley in there to give you fresh breath.

Say what?

And I also sneak lots of veggies in there and whole grains and even apple cider vinegar so you can live a long time and be healthy.

 Huh. Ok......but there's meat in there too, right?

Yes, there's meat. Don't worry about it. I've got you covered.

Hey, do you mind if I lie down while we have this conversation? And maybe close my eyes?

No, go for it. So, I notice that anytime I'm in the kitchen now you think I'm cooking for you. 

Aren't you?

Not so much. We need to work on that. Your begging has become supreme.

Thanks! Hey, next time you're in there can you make me my favorite Blueberry dessert?

Don't push it.

Turkey Mutt Loaf Casserole
adapted from Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodard
makes about 12 cups

Ok. Listen. This is happening: I've become a person that cooks for her dog. If you know me this shouldn't surprise you since a) I'm kinda weird, b) I like to feed everybody, and c) Lena has always appreciated my cooking. Oh, and d) I need more things to do (not).

Our sweet Lena girl is about 12 now and has begun to have some health issues that come with aging. All this time we've been feeding her a good, organic dry food but lately I felt compelled to research feeding her some home-cooked grub. After learning what a dog needs nutritionally and how to use food to treat/tame certain conditions, I decided to experiment feeding her a variety of high-quality foods (and adding liquid vitamins, minerals and fish oil) to see if we can extend her quality of life and also avoid illness and all the costs that come along with it--monetary and emotional. It's definitely a little more time consuming but if you're already in the kitchen cooking for yourself, no biggie. This is mega-easy with only two steps: mixing and cooking. And confession: It's really good. I'm not ashamed to say on more than one occasion I've scooped myself out a large corner portion with toasty edges, added some salt and pepper (and a fork) and eaten alongside her. Yes, I eat dog food (see a).

Cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 t dried oregano
2 1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1 T soy sauce or tamari
1 T worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or any cheese, really)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 lbs ground turkey
3 cups rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a large glass or metal lasagna pan (mine is 15x10x2) with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the oregano, thyme, garlic powder, soy sauce, worcestershire and parsley. Mix well. Add the cheese and tomatoes and mix again. Add the turkey and oats and get your hands in there to combine thoroughly. Pour/spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish evenly and bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the middle comes to 170F. Turn the broiler on high and blast the top for about 5-6 minutes (watch it carefully!) until it gets browned and toasty. Cool before serving and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Each 1 cup serving of this contains just over 300 calories*.

*Rick has caloric guidelines in his book to help you figure out how much to feed your pooch. For example, Lena is about 60 pounds and should have 1000-1200 cals/day, depending on her activity level. So I've been experimenting with giving her part high-quality dry food and part home-cooked grub, making sure she gets her caloric needs met.

P.S. Don't ever feed your dog onions! And they need very little salt. (Here's a full list of dangerous foods for dogs.) And BTW I'm no expert, just a dog lover. Talk to your vet about your pooch's diet.

Jolie and Lena
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