Hey! Before we talk butternut squash things I wanted to share our Paleo experiment with you. Scroll down to the recipe if you came for the food. 🙂Remember back in September, I mentioned giving the Paleo diet a try? We did. Not die-hard though, more Paleo-ish, since I still used non-dairy cheese and cane sugar a few times a month to satisfy cravings and to keep pissed-off feelings to a minimum. Kidding aside, special needs inspires a very, very special love. I’m blessed to have two older sons’ who fully support our journey towards better health AND who are truly the best siblings and sons’ a Mom could ask for. This journey isn’t easy and their support for Mom’s trials and errors means the world to me.
Oh have I got a cake for you!
Carrot cake is an all-time favorite in my house and it’s about time I made it as a layer cake. If you have missed carrot cake you need this in your life – it’s a carrot cake lovers dream!
I usually make it as a quick and easy sheet cake but thought with my teenage son turning 16 (he LOVES carrot cake) last week why not make it fancy, shmancy for his birthday with layers and completely studded with pecans. My birthday boy was over-the-moon happy. He’s still a boy to me even though he’s nearly a head taller. I’ll admit this cake needs a good chunk of time but no need to reserve it at once – I never do. I made the frosting a couple of days prior, baked and chilled the cake the day before his birthday and assembled the cake the morning of his birthday while he was sleeping (until noon!) then hid it away in our garage fridge and managed to get a few photos before we dug in. And what better for Easter OR Passover? Actually, any day is a good day for carrot cake. No?
Gosh, it’s been a while, eh? But I’m back and delighted to finally hit the ‘publish post’ button. I’ll be honest, as passionate as I am about what I do here, I needed a break. I’ve currently been craving cozy comfort food with all the cold rainy weather we’ve been having (not sure if cozy comfort food is even a thing but all I want to do is get all cozy and comfortable with my food. OK!). Think we can all use a little cozy comfort food to warm up the body and soul. If you love Indian food as much as I do, this butternut squash, kabocha, chickpea green curry is a lighter low-carb one (over cauliflower rice) that I think you will love. Maybe not an authentic curry, since there wasn’t much grinding, any yogurt, or toasting of spices, but rest assured it’s one heck of a delicious meal that reminds me of the one from my favorite vegan restaurant.
Many weeks ago, at dinner, I asked the kids’ what kind of pie they would like for Thanksgiving dessert. My teenager began with I don’t know… then was quickly interrupted by his younger brother, Michael who chuckled, then blurted out, I want pumpkin pie (for those of you new here, Michael, 12, has a twin, Ely, they both have the neurological disorder autism with moderate expressive language.). We all looked at each other, shocked. Then Ely chimed in, with perfect eye contact, to say I want apple pie cake. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I know it doesn’t sound like anything much, but for us, these moments are a big deal. You see, Michael and Ely don’t usually take part in group conversation, so to help with this we prompt speech or sound out the first letter of the word in conversation. It was another glimmer of hope that we are getting through, we are breaking through, more so every day (we, as in my husband and me. I could never manage it all without him.).
When I think about how changes like subbing flours, use of fat, or even as small as reducing a baking soda amount can make a baking recipe quicker, easier, and better, then I am up for the challenge. Especially so with my ginger cookies. We can’t live without these things and since we are giving grains a break until the end of the month, I gave them a makeover. These are a chunkier, thicker paleo version of the original that has me over-the-moon-excited over how freakin good it is.
Dropping in briefly today to share a quick hot dish that makes a lovely dinner or side during this holiday week. It’s one of those throw-together meals that’s versatile (try mushrooms, swiss chard, parsnips, what have you), reheats like a dream, easily doubles or triples the recipe, and comes to the rescue when you need to feed your more-than-usual crowd pre-Thanksgiving. It’s a hot-dish hero I tell ya!
I guess you could say this is a short-cut version of a sweet potato mash. Kinda sorta. As much as I love making a big family-style casserole dish, I don’t enjoy the extra prep work of chopping, boiling, mashing – you get the idea. And if we took a minute to discuss the boiling part, I would say we then need to add sugar, fat and ‘cream’ to bring back the flavor we lost in the orange-tinged water left behind.
“By November 24, giving thanks can start to feel like a command performance rather than a genuine act. Your social-media feed is all gratitude, all the time (#30daysofthanks!), and you’re up to your googly eyeballs in turkey-themed craft projects. It’s OK to feel jaded. “You can’t turn on gratitude” just because it’s Thanksgiving, says Robin Berman, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the author of Permission to Parent. In fact, peak holiday season may not even be the best time to make it a priority. “Gratitude happens in quiet pauses and moments, not when you have a giant to-do list and you’re racing around,” she says. So how do you embrace the season sincerely? Ten experts are here to help. Let’s do this, November.” …
Thanksgiving is almost here, are you as excited as I am? I bet you are! I’m going to keep it short and sweet since I have many recipes to share with you. Say hello to balsamic brussels sprouts. Oh how I love thee.
I love, love the taste of balsamic, especially on brussels sprouts. Have you ever had brussels sprouts this way? Goodness gracious does it make this classic Thanksgiving veggie come alive … the tangy, the sweet, the sour pucker … then drizzled over perfectly roasted sprouts with just a touch of snap for texture. Just goodness. Please ignore my overuse of the word goodness – some habits are hard to break and this really is goodness I tell ya.
Before I dive into Thanksgiving recipes here, I had to share this pumpkin pecan muffin recipe with you. In prior years this recipe may have been with fresh roasted pumpkins that I would have happily scooped out and used during the season, then froze plenty more for the rest of the year; not so this year with life going full speed ahead with IEP’s, health insurance appeals, new treatments on our journey, and me trying to get my adrenals back in shape (they fell way low right under my stressed-out nose) but all THAT wasn’t going to sway me from making these delectable muffins or Thanksgiving (got so much in store for you this year!).