Gluten free, nut-free Pumpkin pie bar

I am newly gluten free, as of the last 3 months or so. I’m still learning how to navigate a world without wheat, but I’m happy to be doing so.gluten free pumpkin bar

My older son has nut allergies, the kind we don’t want to mess with. A lot of the gluten free/primal recipes I find have nuts of some kind – especially pies and pumpkin related goodies. I see pecan or walnut crusts, almond flour creations – so many ingredients we just can’t have at my house.

I wanted to make a pumpkin pie-ish dessert for Thanksgiving but didn’t feel up to learning to make a gluten free pie crust. I just haven’t tackled pastry yet. I started searching for a good candidate but so many have the ingredients that are forbidden to us.

I finally found a recipe that sounded amazing but is not specifically gluten free. I realized I could adapt it, though and make something for me that is also safe for my son. Here is the original recipe and how I adapted it:

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 stick butter
15 gluten free graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup sugar

1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 can canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
2.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
Start melting the butter while you prepare the graham cracker crumbs.
Crush the graham crackers – you can put them in a gallon ziploc and use a rolling pin, or use your food processor. Next time I’ll use the food processor, they are not quite as crumbly as traditional graham crackers so they required some muscle to crush by hand.

Prepare the crust: Blend the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar, and press into the bottom of the pan. Do not forget the non-stick spray like I did. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool before adding the filling.

Prepare the filling: Blend the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth (use a stand or hand mixer). Add the eggs, mix until blended, then add the pumpkin, spices, and vanilla and mix again. You’ll need to scrape down the sides a couple times to make sure everything mixes well.

Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan before cutting into bars.

You can make this ahead of time – the crust keeps well and does not get soggy or anything. The kids loved it!


Homemade Chunky Applesauce

My CSA for this year is still going and I’ve been getting tons of apples every week. We haven’t been able to keep up with them and I started looking for applesauce recipes to use them up yesterday. My original thought was to make something in the crockpot but realized that it was too late in the day to get that project started.

I did find a stovetop recipe that seemed suitable, on my favorite food blog, of course:

Pioneer Woman Homemade Applesauce

I adapted her recipe as follows:

I had about 9 or 10 apples of different sizes and varieties. I peeled them (but not completely because my goal was not perfectly smooth applesauce)(plus I hate peeling apples). I cored and cut them into large pieces, and threw them into a large pot.

I didn’t have the lemon juice or apple juice her recipe called for so I used about a cup of water. Next time I’d probably stick to about 3/4 cup. I sprinkled enough cinnamon to cover the surface of the apples, and added 1/4 cup of Florida Crystals Demerara Cane Sugar.

I let everything simmer on medium for about 30-40 minutes, until the apples were soft.  I started checking them around the 20 minute mark.  Once they were soft, I removed from heat and used a potato masher on them until I was happy with the texture.

Loved it!  This made enough for about 4 bowls and was not overly sweet.


Before {and after} – Skillet bratwurst and rice

Right now I’ll post the before – the after is yet to come!

Saturday night I made what I thought was a yummy dinner, but my kids were underwhelmed.

Package of bratwurst or summer sausage
2 cups rice (cooked)
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced

First I steamed the rice in my beloved rice cooker.  I’m on the fence about which type of rice to use. Brown rice has anti-nutrients, white rice is bland and starchy and pointless…  I need to read up on the options but at any rate, Saturday night I chose white rice.  It is what it is.

I grabbed some bratwurst at Whole Foods (I forget the brand), cut it up into 1″ pieces and browned it in the iron skillet.  I removed the bratwurst to drain on paper towels but left some grease in the pan for flavor.  I added the onions and broth to the pan and let it all simmer together for a few minutes.  Then I put the rice and cooked bratwurst back in to cook with the broth mixture.

I think it turned out wonderfully for a first-time recipe try – I just had the leftovers for dinner this evening.

For take 2 – different rice, maybe.  I think I should add more flavor, some garlic or coconut aminos.  And something green needs to be mixed in, I believe.

Stay tuned for the after version of this recipe…

Coconut Flour Brownies

It’s my birthday, and even though we’re having a quiet day at home I still need a treat, right?


I have made brownies with coconut flour several times before and they are amazing. I use a recipe from this book:  Cooking with Coconut Flour  I grabbed this cookbook when I first started exploring gluten free, lower carb cooking baking and it has turned into a great resource. It has some good information in general about the benefits of coconut, and then some great recipes.  There is a bit of a learning curve to baking with coconut flour but it’s well worth the effort.

This particular recipe has a decent amount of sugar so I would not classify it as paleo/primal, but it’s fine for a birthday treat in my world.

I’ve adapted the recipe slightly from the version in the book – mainly because I didn’t feel like melting butter or coconut oil. I used light tasting olive oil – I use this often when baking. Just make sure that  you choose light tasting – the regular EVOO would be way too strong for a sweet baked good.

Preheat to 350 and grease an 8×8 pan, preferably with coconut oil.

1/3 cup light tasting olive oil (or melted butter/coconut oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Blend these together until completely combined and set to the side.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
splash of vanilla (I never measure vanilla, do you?)

Combine these ingredients and fold in the chocolate mixture from above.

Finally, sift in 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/2 tsp of salt.  You definitely want to sift the coconut flour as it tends to clump. I like to sift a little in, mix, sift a little, mix… the batter tends to stay smoother that way.

Smooth into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool for awhile before serving.