Oatmeal Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Maple Caramel Sauce

Fall in Virginia is in full swing, as evidenced by the leaves changing colors and falling to the ground. I’ve been spending my afternoons outside with Clara, watching her toddler feet crunch the leaves as she squeals excitedly.

After burning so much energy playing outside, she’s almost always ready for a snack when we come in. We try to keep our snacks healthy, usually opting for fruit, cheese and crackers, or vegetables and hummus, but after walking in to the fragrant smell of this Bundt cake cooling, I couldn’t resist sharing some of it with her (and having a slice myself).

Oatmeal Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Maple Caramel SaucePhoto by Courtney Champion

This was a snack that, while not her typical variety, I still felt good giving Clara. I reduced the amount of sugar in the cake and swapped out raw cane sugar for the granulated sugar called for in the original recipe. This Bundt cake is full of pumpkin flavor that isn’t drowned out by sweetness.

The combination of oats and pumpkin is a new favorite of mine, and, in this recipe, the oats add a delicate texture that differentiates it from other cakes I’ve made.

While powdered sugar is the standard topping for many a Bundt cake, I decided to make a maple caramel sauce to top this one, turning it into a decadent treat. Toasted, salted pumpkin seeds add crunch and just the right amount of saltiness to balance the caramel. [Read more…]

Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Butter

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

This time of year, it is only natural that a home cook’s fancy turns to pumpkin. Between the jack-o-lanterns standing sentinel near your front door and the knobby whole pumpkins you picked up at the farmers’ market over the weekend, your world is probably filled with all things orange and squashy right now.

Thing is, pumpkins are good for so much more than decoration. They can be steamed and pureed into pie filling. For a seasonal meatless main dish, there’s nothing better than roasted pumpkin cubes stirred into sage-spiced risotto, or pumpkin mac & cheese for the little ones.

And then there’s pumpkin butter. It’s delicious on toast, tasty stirred into oatmeal and even good simply eaten by the spoonful out of the jar. [Read more…]

The Best Maple Pumpkin Spice Pie Recipe

For as long as I have been making them, the feeling of satisfaction when pulling a pie from the oven never goes away.

Whether their all-butter crust is perfectly crimped or not or whether they are filled with seasonal fruit (my preference) or topped up with custard – any pie is reason to celebrate.

How long have I been making pie? It wouldn’t be a stretch to reply, “as long as I can remember”. I had been making them well before my dear parents bought me a pie cookbook for my twelfth birthday.

Perhaps they were trying to improve their chances of eventually getting a flaky crust (I tended to let my enthusiasm for baking get in the way of delicate pastry execution) or maybe they were gently encouraging me to expand my repertoire of apple pie, peach pie, and wild Saskatoon berry pie. Not that there’s anything wrong with those options.

Regardless, branch out in my pie-making I did, as my stained and tattered cookbook bears witness. Let’s see, there was the lattice-topped orange cranberry pie, which inspired one of our favorite Christmas-time desserts, Cranberry-Orange Pie with Cornmeal Streusel Topping.

And I remember plenty of orchard apple pies with cheddar crusts, a favorite still, only now I live in Quebec and sweeten my apple pies with maple syrup.

[Read more…]

Planning for the October Unprocessed challenge (Pumpkin Spice Granola)

If I could sum this post up in five words, I would say, in true Joy the Baker fashion,

October Unprocessed. Get into it.”

However I feel I owe you at least a little background, followed by a look at how I’m gearing up for the annual whole foods challenge. The motivation? That has to come from you, but if you are already a regular reader of this blog, I’m guessing that you would be totally down with this challenge. (There I go again with the Joy-isms.)

What is the Unprocessed Challenge?

Andrew of Eating Rules is a terrific guy with a fantastic message about healthy food. His goal behind the October Unprocessed challenge is to try to get as many people as possible off of processed foods and eating whole, healthier foods during the month of October. The thought behind this goal is to show people that they will ultimately feel better after the challenge – and hopefully be inspired to improve their long term eating habits.

What are the ‘rules‘?

“Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.” – Andrew Wilder.

Sounds do-able, right? After all, we’re already on the whole food track here at Simple Bites.

You may remember that we cut our teeth on October Unprocessed for a week last year. There was the menu plan, and the follow-up recap of the week, highlighting a few of our favorite recipes. I also wrote a guest posted for Andrew and shared Seven Ways to Survive October Unprocessed with Kids, which I’ll be putting to practice again this year.

This time around I’m feeling better equipped for taking on the whole month. We’re feeding a baby real food, after all; that is even more incentive to keep our diet unprocessed. Sure, Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up in October, but both this naturally sweetened apple pie and this rustic maple pecan pie are unprocessed, and as long as we have pie, we’re all set.

[Read more…]

How to Make Pumpkin Challah

Written by Megan of Stetted.

I am nowhere near a bread expert. I have trouble achieving the proper rise and crumb, especially when it comes to sandwich bread. Yet that doesn’t stop me from practicing my kneading or remove the thrill that comes from seeing a bowl full of puffy dough.

Of all the breads I’ve tried making, the one I always come back to is challah. I not only love the flavor, but the methodical technique of braiding the loaves. I know many people hate the work that is involved with making bread, but the process relaxes me and is a great way to center my concentration. And let’s face it – we all need a little bit of relaxation when the holidays are fast approaching.

[Read more…]