Tag Archives: gluten free

All Your Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes in One Place

Happy Thanksgiving week! Here is a round up of all of my favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipes: pies, pie crust and toppings, holiday cakes and cheesecake, all in one place.

pumpkin pie with spicy pepita brittle

Tip: pie crust can be made ahead and refrigerated for three days, or frozen a month, before using. You could make a double recipe now and be set for pies and quiches through Christmas.

First the Pumpkin Pie Recipes:

“Real pumpkin” made with a roasted sugar pie pumpkin, eggs, cream, milk, fresh ginger and spices.

All Butter Crust.

Spicy Pepita (pumpkin seed) Brittle.

Maple Whipped Cream.

Crust “cookies” (kid-cook friendly.)

Gluten-Free pumpkin pie options.

Gluten Free Chestnut Bundt Cake on BabyBirdsFarm

Chestnut Dessert Recipes:

Chestnut Bundt Cake (Also gluten-free.)

Caramel Torte Recipe with Chocolate and Pecans

Pecan Recipes:

Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie.

Caramel Torte with Chocolate and Pecans.

Apple Pie:

Alton Brown’s Apple Pie.

Oh wait, there’s more pumpkin?

Pumpkin New York Cheesecake with Cranberry Gelee Topping.

What is YOUR favorite Thanksgiving dessert?? Feel free to include a link in the comments. Happy feasting!

Part Two: Making Cheese with Young Kids

Thought I’d share some quick pictures I took on the second day of making chèvre with my daughter. Check out my original post on making goat cheese for step by step instructions and the recipe. I recently shared how she liked to sprinkle in the chèvre starter and stir the pot. Today she spontaneously played cheesemaking with her toy pot and spoon, saying, “Stir milky.” She also enjoyed putting salt on a plate for rolling the logs. (Check out this post for more ideas on cooking with babies and toddlers.)

homemade chèvre hand formed logs

Here are some of the logs we made out of the goat cheese. Shown are one plain, two with black truffle salt and Little Bird’s cranberry. This batch came out a little dry, so I mixed in a few splashes of fresh milk along with some salt before shaping the logs. Can you guess which one Little Bird helped shape? She loved getting the cranberries ready, but once we formed the log she had a minor temper tantrum when I wouldn’t let her stuff the entire log into her mouth, squeezing it in both hands like a burrito.

Homemade goat cheese with cranberries.

She finally got to enjoy the fruits of her labor during her after-dinner cheese course. She’s Euro like that.

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips

These cilantro lime kale chips are addicting! A little spicy, sweet, salty, tart and bitter… they hit a nice balance. The cilantro is just enough not to overpower and the lime and creamy nuts keep the heat, which creeps up later, from being too hot. I asked Papa Bird what he thought of the “sauce” after blending it. “Does it need anything?” He said, “A cool ginger beer with tequila to wash it down.” I’ll take that as high praise.

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips

Check out yesterday’s post on easy kale chips, or “kale crunchies” as Little Bird calls them, for more on the basic technique. They are yummy and satisfying, but cook them a little too long and the kale can get bitter. Once I felt I had a good balance of time and oven temperature, I was longing to experiment with a creamy sauce, and came up with this cashew based recipe for cilantro lime kale chips.

I actually started the recipe without realizing that I was almost out of cashews so I used a combination of cashews and raw hazelnuts. Our cilantro plant is taking off which is what pushed me in the cilantro direction. I also used a mild green chili Papa Bird had just pulled out of the garden. I thought the raw kale dressed in the sauce would make a delicious salad without cooking. I was afraid it would be too spicy for Little Bird, but after baking, the spiciness mellowed out a little.

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips Recipe

  • 1 head of kale
  • 3/4 cups of raw cashews (or cashews and hazelnuts), soaked in water for at least one hour, then drained
  • handful of cilantro, washed
  • 1-2 tablespoons of agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 mild green chili or jalapeño pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and/or chili powder, or to taste
  • a little water, if needed, to process in the blender

 1. Wash the kale in cold water. Holding the end of the stem in one hand, firmly and quickly slide your other hand down the center rib. The leaves should tear off of the rib in one move. (This is the Brazilian way–a tip my friend Michelle taught me.) Dry the kale very well and rip any large pieces into smaller bits. (Little Bird likes to help dry, rip and sort the kale.)

Or – Purchase kale pre-washed, such as the cut organic kale from Trader Joe’s. Just make sure to remove the thick center ribs as they do not dehydrate well.

2. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or a good blender (like a Vitamix.) If the blender struggles, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until it blends well. Blend at highest speed until smooth, scraping down the sides at least once.

3. Preheat oven to 200° F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, massage the “sauce” into the kale. Then spread it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking and gently stirring the kale occasionally, until it is dried but not overly toasted.

Click on any photo in the gallery below to enlarge, or scroll through them all for step by step instructions.


Sprouted Hummus, Raw and (Pregnancy-Friendly) Nearly Raw Versions, Step by Step with Pictures

Who doesn’t like hummus? If you have made it at home, then you know how much more delicious and economical it is compared to store-bought hummus. Try this recipe, starting from dried chick peas or garbanzo beans to take it to the next level. Sprouting them gives an extra nutritional boost, as well as an extra sweet, nutty creaminess. And starting from dry saves a lot of money and improves the taste and texture. I have really been preferring dry beans over canned in general, and they just shine in this sprouted hummus recipe.

Sprouting Chick Peas (Garbanzos)

Sprouted Hummus: Step by Step with Pictures

  • 1 cup dried chick peas or garbanzo beans
  • fresh, filtered water (reserve cooking water if cooking)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup tahini
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1/2-1 1/2 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin, cayenne, paprika
  • (optional) zatar for serving

Special equipment: blender or food processor; coarse cheesecloth; colander

1. Sprouting: Rinse and then soak the chick peas in a bowl in fresh water, covering them up at least twice their height. We have a water filter for drinking water, and I prefer to use that. Soak for about 8 hours, they should grow and plump up. Rinse the beans in a colander, rinse out the bowl and then return them to the bowl. Add a very small amount of water, they should not be covered, just a little wet at the bottom. Cover loosely with a coarse cheesecloth and place in a cool (room temperature) place, out of direct sunlight. Every 8 hours, rinse the beans and the bowl and repeat. Continue until you see 1/4″ sprouts on most of the beans, about two days. Discard any mushy ones.

Sprouting Chick Peas on Baby Birds Farm

2. Cooking: (optional) Any kind of raw sprout is unfortunately on the “avoid” list for pregnant women, as —cats out of the bag— I know now. To eliminate any risk of bacteria AND retain much of the nutritional value, simply cook the beans for one minute only. Rinse the sprouted beans and cook in fresh water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.

Nearly Raw Sprouted Hummus on Baby Birds Farm

3. Blending: In a good blender or food processor, add the beans, 1/2 – 1 cup of the cooking liquid (use fresh water if you did not cook your beans) and the rest of the ingredients. Start with the smaller suggested amounts. When using dried beans instead of canned, you will need to use more liquid then you are used to. If you find your blender struggling, add a little more of the cooking liquid or water. For reference, on a variable speed Vitamix, I blend for 30 seconds on “4”. Taste (and have your kitchen helper taste.) I often decide to add more of one or more ingredients, so try adding up to the larger suggested amounts.

Hummus and Toddlers: a good blend

4. Yums: Serve topped with zatar, paprika and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

Sprouted Hummus on Baby Birds Farm

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup on BabyBirdsFarm

My family and I spent a sunny Sunday morning last week at the farmer’s market. Among other yums, both my husband and I were drawn to an unusual looking cauliflower at the Suzie’s Farm stand.  It was a cheddar-orange colored variety called, well “cheddar.” I thought it was an heirloom, but upon research at home, it is actually a hybrid, but non-gmo seeds are available here. The color turned even darker when I cooked it and cheddar cauliflower naturally has 25 times the beta carotene of regular cauliflower, making it 2nd only to carrots. It made a lovely, simple soup!

Cheddar Cauliflower

Cauliflower Soup Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of milk (optional)

In a medium-large soup pot, heat oil on medium heat. Sauté the onions, seasoned with salt and pepper, until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, add the cauliflower and broth. Bring up to a low boil and cook for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. Let cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender. Add the milk, if using, and return to heat until warm.

Very baby friendly. Also great served cool or room temperature! I kept the seasoning simple and garnished with a little truffle salt.

Cauliflower Soup on BabyBirdsFarm