New Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Freshly frosted gluten-free pumpkin bars with a secret ingredient.

Tuning in to the particular (and fleeting) pleasures of each changing season as we ride the wheel of the year may be my favorite spiritual practice. A practice that requires one simple thing. Attention. Which turns out to be not so simple, inevitably. Because life is anything but simple, with its whitewater rush of mind numbing distractions that demand less and less of our soul and more and more of our mental focus on exterior minutia. Micro decisions. Cleaning out our email in-box. Catching up with Facebook feeds and Twitter streams and Google+. Texting about grocery lists. Scanning streaming video options for one decent romantic comedy (I have- on too many occasions to count- spent a full hour gaping, borderline comatose, at an LCD screen, scrolling title after title, only to arrive at the sane conclusion that you know what? I'd rather read a book). Thousands (millions?) of choices may glitter and ooze their high definition glow but I find I am not feeling the abundance. I am less and less enamored with more.

I know. It's showing. My age.

My childhood brain was wired for mud and bird calls, blackberry thickets and butterscotch pine. Hours spent reading in a grove of birch trees dug their neural groove. The wild luxuries of inner connection, rather than social networking. And TIME. That plastic, misunderstood, precious commodity that shape-shifts experience from an endless afternoon of liquid daylight into a heart clutching warp speed tumble of confusion. Decades become tiny sandwiches of memory you can barely taste anymore.

Weeks blink by with alarming velocity.

And here we are again.

In pumpkin season.

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Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin aren’t your average newlywed couple. The day after they were married, they took off for Tuscany and stayed for a year, coming home a changed couple. They left as dancers and returned home and opened a small restaurant that seats 20 people and a bar that seats 4. Caleb and Deirdre also own a design studio.

The couple’s Vermont cottage is in the town of Woodstock and is surrounded by a vineyard, a winery, an organic garden, and a restaurant and wine bar. Caleb makes some of the furnishing for the home and the restaurant. The style of the home is laid back and a bit formal. ENJOY!


Interior designer Terri Cannon-Nelson was no stranger to decorating when she designed the 1941 Cape that she shares with husband Delon and their two children. Nelson has worked for the talented Thomas O’Brien, one of my favorite designers, for 14 years. O’Brien introduced Terri to husband and fitness trainer Delon.

Nelson used an eclectic mix in their home, with two of the major pieces coming from O’Brien’s line of furnishing for Hickory Chair. She added antique and contemporary pieces into the mix. The neutral palette of muted colors gives the home a relaxed feel and an elegant look. ENJOY!

One-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater (cookies)

Please tell me you know the song....Purple People Eater?  Here's a link if you don't (or even if you do).
I don't know if a bunch of songs like these were all on the same KTel album in the 70's, but Purple People Eater, Monster Mash and Witch Doctor were the songs that played at every Halloween party when I was a kid.  Good stuff.

Now, my Purple People Eaters kind of look like they are wearing party hats...I assure you that is a horn.  It just *doubles* as a party hat.  Where do you think he finds all of those people to eat? ;)
To make you One-eyed, One-horned Flying Purple People Eater cookies, you will need:

  • cookies: I used a circle and attached wings on the sides and a triangle on top
  • royal icing, tinted with AmeriColor Regal Purple, Egg Yellow, Electric Green, Bright White and Super Black
  • disposable piping bags
  • tips: #2, #12, #5, #1
  • squeeze bottles (2)
First, here's a peek at how to put the cookie together.  I used a template for the wings and just "winged it" (ha!) for the horn. 

Use a #2 tip to outline the monster in purple.

Use another #2 tip to outline the wings in egg yellow.

Use a #2 tip to outline the horn.  Use a back and forth motion to fill in the horn outline.

Thin the purple and yellow icings (reserve a bit for later) with water, a little at a time, until it is the consistency of thick syrup.  Cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes.

Stir gently with a rubber spatula to pop any large air bubbles that have formed. Transfer to squeeze bottles.

Fill (flood) the monster head/body with purple.  Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop and large air bubbles that have formed.

Flood the wings.

Switch the tip on the purple icing bag to a #1 and add a little striped detail to the horn.

Let the cookies sit for at least one hour.

(So, here's where it got dark and I lost my natural light for pictures.  Boo.)
Use a #12 tip to pipe an eye in white.  Immediately, pipe the pupil in black on top of the white using a #5 tip.

Switch the tips to #1's and add a mouth and teeth. (Ya gotta have teeth to eat people.)

Use a #2 tip to pipe a little detail on the wings in yellow.

There you have it...
One-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater cookies!  

{The song is stuck in your head now, isn't it?  Welcome to my world.}


In this professional soccer player’s home on Hermosa Beach in California, the client wanted a house to entertain in, one that flowed. That is exactly what he got from interior design team Parrish Chilcoat and Joe Lucus.

The homes exterior and interior boast a beautiful gray that brings the entire home together for entertaining inside and out. From the “man cave” to the kitchen, there is a color that binds them together. ENJOY!


When Susan and Tom Jones started their look for a home, it had to be on a certain street in Mission Hills, Kansas. What they found was a Colonial on the block they desired, but they got more than they bargained for. The wiring in the house was condemned, so the Jones had to tear down the walls to the studs and start over.

After going into town to eat and shower for a year, the home was finally where Susan wanted it, and the decorating began. On a whim she chose paint colors and fabrics and turned their house into a beautiful home. So beautiful that friends started asking for advice, so Susan is now trying her hand at furniture design. ENJOY!


When interior designer Michael Smith is running things, you know that it will be stunning. He is all about mood and light and comfort. When you see a home that he has designed, it has that extra subtle wow factor to it, a job well done.

When the clients asked Smith to design their Upper East Side home, he moved in for a year while he was renovating his own apartment. The client wanted traditional, so Smith used some pieces from his collection for Baker. The lighting, the de Gournay wallpaper, the dark paneling, and the rugs set the tone for the perfect interior. ENJOY!