The Power of a Bake Sale: Mama’s Kitchen Pie in the Sky

Mama’s Kitchen is a San Diego charity that provides free meals to adults and children affected by HIV/AIDS and cancer. As I do, they believe FOOD is LOVE. One of their biggest annual fundraisers also happens to be the biggest bake sale on the West Coast and features one of my favorite obsessions: pies! Each professionally baked pie you purchase provides over 8 healthy meals delivered to neighbors in need. This year Mama’s Kitchen delivered their 7 millionth meal. Seven million, can you believe it?

baking pies for mama's pie in the sky bake sale

About Mama’s Kitchen

Mama’s Kitchen started with one woman, cooking for her neighbors. The organization was founded in 1990 when volunteers from the AIDS Assistance Fund discovered that many of their clients were becoming too ill to take care of themselves. They realized that a reliable home meal delivery service was needed to ensure that these individuals would continue to receive nutritious, life-sustaining food. In 2004, Mama’s Pantry was opened to provide HIV/AIDS-positive individuals who are able to prepare meals the opportunity to supplement their nutritional needs. Today, the community-driven organization has expanded its service to San Diegans affected by AIDS or cancer that are vulnerable to hunger. Mama’s Kitchen provides three meals a day, for every day of the year, free of charge, to approximately 350 men, women, and children in San Diego County. Learn more and make a donation at www.mamaskitchen.org.

Pie in the Sky - Mama's kitchen

Pie in the Sky

Mama’s Kitchen’s annual Pie in the Sky bake sale is one of their largest annual fundraisers. All proceeds directly fund thousands of free, hot and nutritious Mama’s Kitchen meals, which help ensure that no one living with AIDS or cancer will go hungry in the San Diego community. Hundreds of volunteers will take to the streets to sell the pies to friends, family and co-workers. Many of San Diego’s top pastry chefs, caterers, and bakeries such as Urban Solace, Sea and Smoke, Sycuan, Sea World, Behind the Scenes Catering and more will donate traditional Thanksgiving pies for this annual Mama’s Pie in the Sky Bake Sale. Pies will be available for pick-up the day before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at more than 20 convenient Wells Fargo Bank branch locations throughout San Diego County and at Mama’s Kitchen in City Heights. You can purchase a pie through my personal page, or set one up yourself.

Mama's Kitchen Pumpkin Pie from Twiggs Bakery

Photo credit for above photos: Mama’s Kitchen

If you are interested in picking up a chef-made pie and helping a good cause, the Pie in a Sky bakesale is a win-win. Interested in baking your own pie or live outside of San Diego? You can purchase a pie for a Mama’s client and then try one of these recipes:

Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie

Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie Recipe

real pumpkin pie with maple whipped cream

Real Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

pumpkin pie with spicy pepita brittle

pumpkin pie with spicy pepita brittle thanksgiving dessert recipes

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

As promised, here is the recipe for cinnamon cream cheese frosting, the perfect topping to the gluten-free Pumpkin Smash Cake and gluten-free pumpkin cup cakes shared yesterday. Both the cake and the frosting have greatly reduced sugar. I think our tastes must be changing, because I used a quarter of the sugar others use in this frosting and it still tasted sweet to us. I do not like to use sugar substitutes, but prefer to just add less sugar.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting on a Pumpkin Cake

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of organic, full fat, cream cheese
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of grass-fed butter
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • (optional) 1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree
Instructions
  1. Let the cream cheese and butter come to almost room temperature.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. With a wire whip attachment, mix on the highest speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Use on Baby Bird's Pumpkin Smash Cake.

Use on Baby Bird’s Pumpkin Smash Cake.


 

Baby Birds’ Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Frosting – Gluten Free and Low Sugar

I’m very excited to share the recipe I developed for a healthy and delicious pumpkin smash cake! Baby Bird’s Banana Smash Cake is one of my most popular posts on Pinterest and in search engines. It is a healthy cake with no refined sugar or artificial coloring. This year we went pumpkin picking to celebrate both our youngest Baby Bird turning 1 and Little Bird turning 3. So of course we had to have a PUMPKIN smash cake and pumpkin cup cakes. I kept the sugar low by using just half a cup of maple sugar. Although we are not gluten-free, so many of our friends are. To be perfectly honest: these came out BETTER than the traditional cup cakes I made for the guests.

Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting - gluten free and low in sugar

The cinnamon frosting is mostly cream cheese with a little grass-fed butter. I wanted to use maple syrup to sweeten it, but we were out. I ended up using a little organic powdered sugar, but less than a quarter of what most recipes call for. Our pumpkin picking party fell on an unseasonably hot 100° day… the candy pumpkins on top of the smash cakes started melting. But the cake was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again! Maybe as a full-sized layer cake.

Healthy Pumpkin Smash Cake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Smash Cake Recipe

Prep: Let all ingredients for the pumpkin smash cake sit out at room temperature. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of 1 or 2 ramekins. Grease well with butter. Line a muffin tin with a dozen cupcake liners for the rest of the batter. Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of a good mixer, add:

  • 12 tablespoons of softened butter
  • ½ cup of maple sugar (brown sugar would also be nice)

Beat on high until light and fluffy. Add

  • 3 eggs, ideally at room temperature

Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each until well combined. Add

  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of yogurt

Mix well. Add

Mix on slowest speed until just incorporated, then add

  • 2 cups of pureed, cooked pumpkin OR 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin (follow the instructions here if you want to cook the pumpkin from scratch – but I won’t tell anyone if you use the can…)

Mix until incorporated, then add

Scoop into the ramekins and any remaining batter into the muffin tin. Bake the muffin/cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes and the ramekins for about 40 minutes. Cool completely or even overnight before frosting with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Notes:

If you follow this blog, you will know that I am all about making things from scratch. They only time I have mentioned using a mix for anything was when I made my own pancake mix to take camping! But I have to say, I loved using this gluten-free mix! I have had so many not so great gluten free baked goods, and tend to avoid them.  This mix is a household staple as Papa Bird uses it at least weekly for his special pancakes. It was nearly a year before I realized it was gluten-free! I am not affiliated with Pamela’s, although maybe I should be! I am an Amazon Affiliate, though, and do receive advertising fees for qualifying purchases made through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

Baby Birds' Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Frosting - Gluten Free and Low Sugar
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A low-sugar, gluten-free pumpkin cake or cup cake recipe, perfect for a healthy 1st birthday party "smash cake."
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Ingredients
  • 12 tablespoons of softened butter
  • ½ cup of maple sugar (brown sugar would also be nice)
  • 3 eggs, ideally at room temperature
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • 2 cups of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 2 cups of pureed, cooked pumpkin OR 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
Instructions
  1. Let all ingredients for the pumpkin smash cake sit out at room temperature. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of 1 or 2 ramekins. Grease well with butter. Line a muffin tin with a dozen cupcake liners for the rest of the batter. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of a good mixer, add butter and maple sugar. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each until well combined. Add milk and yogurt and mix well.
  3. Add 1 cup of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix and the pumpkin pie spice blend. Mix on slowest speed until just incorporated, then add the pureed, cooked pumpkin. Mix until incorporated, then add 1 more cup of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix.
  4. Scoop into the ramekins and any remaining batter into the muffin tin. Bake the muffin/cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes and the ramekins for about 40 minutes. Cool completely or even overnight before frosting with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Eggplant Recipes: In Season NOW

Eggplants are peaking right now, in our garden and in the markets, so I wanted to share a round up of quality eggplant recipes to inspire you! Here’s a tip for picking a great eggplant at the farmer’s market or store: find one that is relatively heavy for its size. It will have less seeds and more delicious flesh. Papa Bird (our family’s resident farmer) says homegrown eggplants are ready to pick when you push in with your thumb and it leaves an imprint. He recently put up a shade barrier to protect our growing eggplant from the strong San Diego sun. For more tips on cooking eggplant, check out this post.

Eggplant Recipes: In Season NOW

EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM BABY BIRDS FARM

Some of my family’s favorite, “regular rotation” recipes highlight eggplant.

  1. Baba Ganoush: a garlicky dip, similar to hummus, and delicious with veggies to dip. Makes great baby food, too!

lamb, eggplant and pomegranate moussaka

  1. Pomegranate, Eggplant and Lamb Moussaka (above): a layered dish that is sweet and savory and spiced with cardamom and cinnamon.

EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Maria Nasir of foodaholic is a Pakistani home cook and caterer turned international food blogging star. She has lot’s of delicious eggplant recipes from around the world. But this kid-friendly appetizer caught my eye:

  1. Eggplant Roll Ups: kid-friendly but with a delicious vinaigrette to please picky foodie parents.

 nam prik noom thai green curry

Another international blogger I follow, Azlin Bloor of Lin’s food, recently shared the above treat featuring aubergine (eggplant with a British accent):

  1. Nam Prik Noom (Thai Green Chilli Sauce)

EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM FAMILY SPICE

Laura of Family Spice features eggplant in both Italian and Persian-inspired dishes.

roasted eggplant parm sandwich

  1. Roasted Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich from Laura of Family Spice (above): a nice, non-fried version of an eggplant parm.
  1. Pickled Eggplant and Vegetables with Pomegranate (torshi-yeh bademjan va anar): I have never even thought of using this combination of flavors and I am dying to try it.

Persian Eggplant Stew

  1. Persian Eggplant Stew (Khoreshteh Qiemeh Bademjoon) (pictured above).

EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM SIMMWORKS FAMILY BLOG

Danielle of Simmworks Family Blog makes a lot of delicious family meals that are often quick and easy for busy families – without sacrificing taste.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

  1. Baked Eggplant Parmesan: an easy family dinner that will please adults and kids.
  1. Eggplant French Bread Pizza: simple, with just a few ingredients and perfect for lunch.

For even more eggplant ideas:

10 Fantastic Eggplant Recipes from Simmworks Family Blog.

Win Tickets to the Natural Family Fair!

How do you find local resources for parenting, babies and fertility? Does your family like live music and food? Do you miss going out to events, but feel it would be overwhelming with a new baby? All of your needs can be met at this year’s Natural Family Fair. I have two pairs of tickets to give away — and I’ll be there with a table myself (representing my psychotherapy private practice.)

Boy with guitar

Natural Baby Pros, Hullabaloo, and Reproductive Wellness present the 5th annual Natural Family Fair, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Natural Baby Fair, Fertility Expo and Hullabaloo Family Music Festival combine for a fun-filled day of learning and entertainment, when all three events come together under one tent!

Your Natural Baby Fair

The fair answers all your pregnancy, birth, and health questions, while showcasing a variety of vendors, demonstrations and products to fit all lifestyle choices.

  • Keynote: Peggy O’Mara, former editor of Mothering Magazine – “How It Really Is: The Truth About the Early Years of Parenting”
  • Karen Brody, founder of Bold Tranquility, a fatigue management system – “Be Good to Yourself: Embrace the Healing Powers of Rest to Tame the Overwhelm”

Fertility Expo

Brought to you by Reproductive Wellness, this semi-private area is a great resource for couples seeking support in conception and natural alternatives. Attendees will have a chance to speak privately, at no charge, with the physicians and experts at the expo.  Speakers include:

  • Keynote: Christa Orecchio, a clinical and holistic nutritionist and founder of thewholejourney.com – “Creating a Healthy Pregnancy in Your 30s and Early 40s
  • Dr. Brooke Friedman, Reproductive Endocrinologist at Reproductive Partners  – “Frozen Embryo Transfers: Making IVF Safer and More Natural”
  • Aimee Raupp, author, acupuncturist, herbalist, and women’s health and fertility expert – “Three Things You Can Do Now to Improve Your Fertility”

Hullabaloo Family Music Festival

Head into the Paddock to boogie on the grass and enjoy several music acts throughout the day.  Hullabaloo will play for two sets, and we’ll also enjoy the performances of Randy Kaplan, The Hollow Trees, Kathryn Cloward and Melissa Green.  Several family-friendly vendors and activities will be in this area as well to allow your kids to channel their inner-monkey and inner-artist.

The Breastfeeding Lounge returns with The Dad’s Lounge, and Free Community Clinic is making their debut.

The fair will be broadcasted live via New Mommy Media. Live interviews and demonstrations of speakers, sponsors and talented pros who will be at the fair. No matter where in the world you live, enjoy an inside view of the expertise and cutting edge support that the fair offers – live on the day of the event.

Due to huge support from several key sponsors, this family event is made very affordable to the families of San Diego. Key sponsors include: Nature’s Whisper Yoga, home of hot mama yoga, BabyHawk, San Diego Breastfeeding Center, New Mommy Media.com, Gymboree Play & Music, Kid Ventures, Basic Training for New Dads and Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic.

The fair is 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14. Tickets are $10 for adults and children are $7. Tickets may be purchased in advance (purchase tickets here) or at the door. Goodie bags will be given to the first 250 families. Family Packs and VIP packages available for pre-sale, including a Babyhawk carrier and other full-sized products.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pssst: If you would like additional chances to win tickets I am giving four away on my therapy website, www.AbigailBurdLCSW.com.