Wednesday, September 25

Crazy About Pumpkin

To tell you the truth, I'm NOT crazy about pumpkin.  In fact, I don't really like it at all, especially in desserts.  (That loathsome, jiggly, sickly-sweet disk of pumpkin pie, sweating on the Thanksgiving table, really takes the cake, so to speak!)  But my husband, on the other hand, is a pumpkin fanatic through and through!  Add pumpkin to anything and he's a happy man.  So, when he had a rough day last week I thought I'd make him something a little out of the ordinary to cheer him up.  It was a rich pumpkin spice cake.  I decided to slather on a salted caramel glaze that was to die for, just because.  Nothing but the best!

It turns out that I'm just a little crazy about this cake!  It's moist and tender with silky ribbons of pumpkin woven through the batter.  But, that's not all!  As if it wasn't delectable enough, the thick, velvety, salty homemade caramel sauce that's drizzled on top will fly you to the moon!  Really, who wouldn't like something that's drenched in rich, salted caramel?  Now, I know I'm going loco, because I even had this cake for breakfast the next morning!  Still moist, still heavenly, still utterly  mouth-wateringly delicious.  Perhaps I'm turning into a pumpkin dessert fan after all.  Just don't expect a pumpkin pie around here any time soon.

Saturday, September 21

In the {Chex} Mix

They always seem to show up in Autumn.  At harvest celebrations, Halloween parties, and school events.  Filled with nuts, pretzels and M&Ms, they're a big, scary NO-NO for peanut-allergic kids.  I'm talking about Chex party mixes.  It seems like there's a bowl where ever we go this time of year.

As a kid, one of my favourites was called "puppy chow."  Nowadays it bears a slightly more appealing name - Muddy Buddies.  That ubiquitous mix of chocolate and peanut butter, dusted with a shower of powdered sugar, was a staple at every sleepover and camp out.  It was ever SO good!  And, like arsenic, it's oh SO dangerous for my peanut allergic Eve!  A cloying but deadly POISON!

Friday, September 13

September, I'll Remember + Stuffed Summer Squash

April, come she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June, she'll change her tune,
In restless walks she'll prowl the night;
July, she will fly,
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must,
The Autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September, I'll remember,
A love once new has now grown old.

-April Come She Will by Simon & Garfunkel

The hot, dry winds of summer that fueled the wildfires across Colorado are just a memory.  Fall brings torrential rains that wash through the burn-scared hills, a vicious flash flood that decimates everything in its path.  The quiet stream down the road has become a raging river, it rumbles through the quiet trees and reminds me to never underestimate the fury of Mother Nature.  The rain also brings with it the essence of fall.  I can smell it in the smoky, damp leaves, in the fog that shrouds the mountains in mystery, in the dense overgrowth of the forest, in the sticky, ripe fruit and vegetables of the garden.

Tuesday, September 10

Helicopter Mom

Hello.  My name is Rebecca, and I'm a helicopter mom . . .

The media has a way of painting "helicopter moms" in a negative light.  As if our hovering and steadfast presence is somehow shameful.  It's true.  To quote my mother, "There is a fine line between protecting and smothering."  But, I often ask myself:  As a mother, what is my job?  Is it not to protect my child against any possible harm?  Is it not to guide her into healthy, independent, and responsible adulthood?

Now that the school year has started, I (like so many others) am struggling with the extent of my involvement when it comes to my peanut-allergic daughter's activities.  Should I stay at that birthday party?  Should I accompany the field trip?  Should I write a note to the other parents explaining her allergy and requesting that all nut products be kept at home?  Should I schedule a meeting with her teacher, the principle, the nurse?  Am I going too far?

Monday, September 2

The Prolific Patty Pan

My husband likes to joke about the tower of patty pans on the kitchen table. "They're going to displace us from our home!" he exclaimed.  It's true!  Despite my best efforts to pass them on to friends and family, the tower keeps growing!  When you have this many patty pans you have to get creative.