Red Chile Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

As the children (and adults) in the neighborhood dress up in frightful costumes and head outside into the cold, I tend to retreat into the kitchen where it is warm. Carving a pumpkin can be fun, however what's inside the pumpkin can be just as exciting. Homemade pumpkin seeds far out way the store bought kind, especially when spiced with your favorite flavors. I used two of my favorite seasonings to pack a bold kick. One cannot go wrong with red chile and sea salt toasted pumpkin seeds. 

Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. This is easiest after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin and before the pulp has dried.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. Season with your preferred spices/seasonings. I used roughly 1/4 tsp of red chile powder and 1/2 tsp sea salt for 1 cup seeds. 
Bake at 350 degrees F until toasted, about 15 to 20 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes. 
Happy Halloween!


Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Apples, Celery & Sage

I love squash in almost all forms, baked, sauteed, roasted, pureed etc... and since it is apple and squash season, a perfect vegetarian dinner (for my pseudo veggie husband) should include both! I picked up some beautifully sweet and crunchy honeycrisp apples from the Boulder Farmers Market over the weekend. Too bad honeycrisp apples are not always in season....

1 acorn squash, cut in half with seeds removed
2 cups wild rice, cooked in vegetable stock
1.5 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
7-10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
15-20 walnut or pecan halves
olive oil or grape seed oil to drizzle on squash
1 tbs butter
1 tsp dark brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp real maple syrup


Cook wild-rice as you normally would but using stock instead of water. Heat oven to 400F.  Brush oil on cut squash and then put squash cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté apples, celery, nuts, and sage. After a few minutes, add brown sugar and toss to coat. Continue to sauté until the celery begins to soften. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper. Mix the skillet ingredients with the cooked rice. 

Pull the squash out of the oven and stuff with rice mixture. Drizzle with maple syrup and put back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is soft.  Season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

(you can make the rice mixture and pre-bake the squash in advance. This leaves only the final 10 to 15 minutes of baking, just before serving)

Simply Soup

It was one of those days where I did not feel like cooking, yet wanted something warm and satisfying. I headed out to Whole Foods and picked up a bowl of soup from the deli. It was so good, that I am going to have to figure out how to recreate it! It was simply divine made with apples, butternut squash, cream, thyme, and chicken stock. I rushed home, made a grilled cheese sandwich on Udi's GF Whole Grain Bread and thoroughly enjoyed my entire meal. If anyone has a butternut squash soup recipe, please share!


Soft GF Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts


Two of my long-time buddies will be coming to visit this weekend. I am very excited to have some quality girl time!  I foresee the weekend being busy and fun, with not much time spent in my own kitchen. I'm a believer that pumpkin is the essential autumn ingredient, so it seems only natural to greet two of my favorite people with finger licking good, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! These cookies are pillowy and perfect. 

Soft GF Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts
2  1/4 cups  all-purpose gluten free flour (I use Pamela's GF Baking and Pancake mix with great success)   
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 cup  white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 can of canned pumpkin puree (15oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts 


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with butter or oil or use parchment paper.
Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a mixing bowl and set aside. 
In a large bowl using an electric mixer or using a standing mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add in the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Mix the flour mixture to incorporate it into the wet mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand. 
Scoop spoonfuls of the dough onto baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart. About 2 tbs cup per scoop. 
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. 

If you want some added decadence, make the brown-sugar glaze (recipe below) or drizzle with melted chocolate. Your choice! 
Glaze (optional)

Boil 1.5 tbs butter, 2 tbs milk, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cool slightly then add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and whisk together. Drizzle on pumpkin cookies. 

Easy Vegetarian Pizza

Today, I needed a fast picnic lunch. I didn't want to have the traditional sandwich and chips picnic, so I quickly made this vegetarian pizza using a crust from The Gluten Free Bistro

What I love about this gourmet product is that it's actually healthy! Yes, a healthy pizza! The crust is made with brown rice, buckwheat and even applesauce! It feels really good to eat a pizza that is high in fiber, protein and B vitamins. 

Easy Vegetarian Pizza

1/2 to 3/4 cup pizza sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce b/c it what was in the pantry) 
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 medium tomato, sliced
3/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
2 mini yellow sweet peppers, sliced. 

Spread toppings on 12 inch pizza crust, bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chocolate Ganache

Although I am the only one in my family with Celiac Disease, our family dinners and celebrations are always gluten-free. For my nephews recent 3rd birthday we made a tasty yellow-vanilla cake with creamy chocolate ganache. It was a big hit! I used a cake mix from a local favorite company, Lillabee, Allergy Friendly Baking. They sell delightful brownie, muffin, and cake mixes at the Boulder Farmers Market, but I imagine you could also order online.

Chocolate Ganache

1.5 cups whipping cream
12 ounces of dark chocolate (best-quality)
Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Let the cream melt the chocolate slightly. Stir until the cream and chocolate are well incorporated and smooth and glossy. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 10 minutes. When cold, beat with an electric mixture, or a stand mixer until the ganache is light and airy. Spread ganache over the cake. Devour!  


Roasted Green Chile Stew

With the changing of the leaves and the crisp air what better way to spend an afternoon cooking than making an autumn soup?! I have always loved the beauty and bounty of autumn, but there is a sadness about it too. It means winter is fast-approaching and the farmers markets will be closing down and nightfall will come early. Soup is a warm, comforting food and roasted green chile reminds me of Santa Fe, both of which make me smile!  

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chile powder
1 cup corn (fresh, or if frozen thawed)
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound red or white potatoes, cut in 1/2 cubes
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 cups roasted, peeled, chopped green chile or to taste
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese to garnish
Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over high heat and brown the meat in
batches. Set aside. In the same oil, saute the onions until golden.

Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan along with any juices that may have accumulated. Add the broth, potatoes, salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, until the potatoes are tender. 

While the potatoes are boiling, add the green chile, red bell-pepper, and corn to a lightly oiled skillet and saute for 2-3 min. Sprinkle in red chile powder and stir. Add the green chile mixture to the potatoes and cook about 15 minutes more. Top with cilantro and shredded cheese to serve.