Archives for October 2011

A Healthier Autumn Cookie (Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Snaps)

When developing this particular recipe I had two goals in mind: to create a healthy cookie as equally desirable to my children as their beloved (yet overly sugar-filled) gingersnap, and to make a prettier pumpkin cookie than the standard lumpy brown drop cookie versions.

These pumpkin spice snaps are a success on both accounts.

I’ve eliminated the white sugar, reduced the butter, added whole-wheat flour and incorporated pumpkin for extra flavor and beta carotene. Raw ginger and freshly ground cinnamon kick in to make these spice snaps live up to their name.

These cookies are soft on the inside, thanks to the pumpkin purée, but are not cakey; they still have that chewy factor that is always desirable in a cookie. Still, don’t expect the same texture as a traditional gingersnap, as the caramelizing of all that white sugar is what give the gingersnap its ‘chew’.

Still, these cookies snap with flavor, and most importantly, my kids are crazy about them. As a bonus? They’re kind of pretty in an old-fashioned way. [Read more…]

Signs of Fall


I know that one of these mornings, very soon, I’m going to wake up and look out the window to see my raised garden beds dusted with snow, the tire swing hanging stiffly in the cold, and a quiet in the forest that only winter can bring.

It seems like just yesterday we were licking popsicles and tossing a Frisbee while barefoot in the grass, yet Fall has been sending her signals that summer has gone.

Here are a few of the signs from the past few weeks that clearly show Autumn is indeed here to stay.


This was the first sign. A new uniform, a new grade (1), and my heart broken all over again at loosing him every day.


An entire shelf in the refrigerator became devoted to homemade pickles. Pickles with garlic, with lemon, and a particularly successful batch of Bread & Butter.


Thanksgiving came and went, with its seasonal pies, turkey dinner and family-centered focus.


Fall produce and foliage made it’s way to the sideboard in the dining room, replacing the summer flowers and bowl of tomatoes.


Apple picking – in shorts, no less. That may have been the last really warm day we had.


And after apple picking, then apple pie, this one made of entirely all-natural ingredients, conforming to our October Unprocessed eating exercise.


Pumpkins, all of them.


And finally, the beautiful changing color of the leaves in our back yard, and the crunchy carpet on the forest floor.

I’m ready to welcome winter, and hopefully usher in a quieter season for our household. It’s been a busy summer.

Perhaps I’m looking forward to winter because I know it will bring me closer to meeting our little girl, due in March. Seems like the perfect motivation to help get through the colder days of the year.

23 Ways to Use Up Leftover Pumpkin Purée

Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.

Last year Lynn gave a wonderful tutorial on how to make your own pumpkin purée. Whether you make your own or use a can, it seems you’re almost guaranteed to always have just a little bit left over. And, nobody likes to waste any precious pumpkin purée.

Today’s post is all about ways to use up that little bit of extra pumpkin so you can squeeze every last drop out of pumpkin season.

If you’re anything like me you like to find as many recipes as possible to help use up that last half a cup (or less) of pumpkin purée. I wanted to compile a list of recipes and ideas for doing just that and I thought I would share it with you. Make sure to tuck these ideas away for reference later. If you save them for that little extra, you’ll have something to look forward to and no reason to get bored of eating pumpkin the same way over and over.

Sometimes it makes sense to simply freeze the leftovers (especially when using canned purée) but if you already thawed your own pumpkin purée, you probably don’t want to stick it back in the freezer.

Here are a couple of ideas (and some recipes too) that use half a cup or less of pumpkin purée.

[Read more…]

A Vegetarian Dinner (Recipe: Leek & Mushroom Bake with Polenta Crust)

We tend to eat at least seventy-five percent vegetarian during the week, yet for some reason when I entertain on the weekends, I often feel obligated to serve up a big slab of meat. It might be a roast chicken, filet of salmon, or lamb curry, but seldom is it vegetarian fare.

As I was assembling this mushroom and polenta gratin, I wondered to myself why I always chose a protein as my main dish and why didn’t I indulge my friends in some of the healthier and more adventurous dishes that we eat day to day?

Whatever the reason – expectations, tastes or tradition – it became apparent as I dished up this gratin around our dinner table that I had created something well-worth sharing. Meat-lovers, or no meat-lovers.

[Read more…]

Third Time’s a Charm


Yesterday brought about the sweet, sweet discovery that I’m carrying a baby girl. She’ll be joining big brothers, Noah and Mateo, in our growing brood and will probably rule the roost someday if she’s half as charming as most little girls I know. I hope she likes cars and Legos, otherwise, we’ve got some catching up to do around the home as far as little girls are concerned.

When the technician gently shared the news with all of us – yes, my 20 week ultrasound was a family outing – an incredulous “Really?” exploded out of me in a sob that seemed to stem from my long past days as a six-year-old doll-loving girl. Although a healthy baby was our main desire, apparently, deep down, I ardently wanted a little girl. I was weeping on and off for at least an hour afterward.

We never expected a girl. A family of strapping boys was predicted and presumed as there hadn’t been a girl fathered by a Bourque in over 4o years. Danny has seven brothers. They just don’t do girls. Until now.

So Danny is walking very tall; I’m emotional, yet at peace; the boys are delighted. Noah reached for his sketchbook the minute we got home and documented the family news in the artwork photographed above.

We’re feeling incredibly blessed, and are tremendously excited to meet this little flower.