Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bars

Gluten-free Pumpkin Bars Recipe
Gluten-free pumpkin spice bars- yummalicious.

Pumpkin bars aren't as sexy as say, a fresh raspberry tart or a chocolate mousse. In fact, they're rather bake-sale pragmatic. They don't exactly inspire passionate prose. But at the end of October, as daylight dwindles and afternoon shadows creep like spiders across the burnished rustle of windswept streets (yes, Darling Babycakes, this is my ode to Hallow's Eve), nothing warms the cockles of a pilgrim soul like the autumnal flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and pumpkin.

And so, I offer you a new recipe for this deliciously spooky time of year. Bake a batch of these spicy fallish treats, pour yourself a mug of hot apple cider, and watch Tim Burton's classic Halloween movie, Sleepy Hollow, snuggled beneath a cozy throw with someone you love.

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Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts, Raisins & Pecans

Gluten free pasta with Autumn flavors
Sexy gluten-free pasta for two.

When I learned I had celiac disease, the first thought I lurched into was: Pasta! No more pasta? That was December 2001 and it was a cold, dark day, indeed. I was devastated. I *heart* pasta. I lurve pasta. Just the very thought of pasta perks up my appetite and sparks my desire for saucy food and spicy romance. You know, sultry jazz and candlelight. Spaghetti dripping with garlicky olive oil. Pesto coated penne. Putanesca sauced linguine. Roasted vegetable stuffed lasagna. Creamy shells. The soft reliable comfort of macaroni and cheese.

My pasta love runs deep and true.

No wonder. My husband and I honeymooned in Tuscany, Italy. Talk about love food! Honey Baby, we have been in love- and in love with Italian food- ever since. Why? If it isn't obvious, let me count the ways.

Start with sensuous and fruity extra virgin olive oil. Or the intoxicating mingle of garlic and fresh lemon. Balsamic vinegar drizzled on a roasted peach. The brilliant combo of basil leaves and pine nuts. Soft, creamy globes of mozzarella sliced thin and snuggled in between disks of juicy ripe tomatoes. Crisp white wine and nibbles of salty sweet Parmesan. Oh my.

What's not to love, Dear Reader?

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Garlicky Shrimp and Spinach Bake

Baked rice, spinach and shrimp.

This is one of those way too easy recipes I'll share with you anyway- just because. Just because you might find yourself (as a certain individual did, last night) cranky and hungry- with nothing planned for dinner- poking around the numbing depths of a freezer rooting for sustenance. And there you find it. Inspiration. Shrimp. And spinach.

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Pasta Smothered with Roasted Vegetables

A pan of glorious vegetables and garlic ready for roasting

It's the time of year for roasting. And this sweater-clad goddess couldn't be happier. Roasted vegetables are my favorite comfort food. I love my roasted veggies with unabashed passion. Balsamic vinegar, fruity olive oil and sea salt make for simple, fabulous roasting, complementing the caramelized sweetness of the vegetables with a perfect touch of salty-tart [and darling, who doesn't appreciate a little salty tart?].

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Sweet Potato Cornbread- A Gluten-Free Favorite

Fabulous gluten-free cornbread with a secret ingredient...sweet potato
Scrumptious sweet potato cornbread- and it's gluten-free.

It's all about taste. Good taste and bad taste. You want the good first? This recipe for sweet potato cornbread. It rocks. Seriously. The bad? Yesterday we decided to go to the movies with Joey and Will (those two totally fab rockin' guacamole styling hunks). We chose The Departed, Scorsese's new flick (it's been garnering rave reviews); and met at the theater.

Well, Babycakes, in all gut wrenching honesty (I won’t speak for the three men who apparently liked it more than I did) I could barely sit through it. I felt as if I was being beat up. Run over by a Zamboni. I mean how much misogyny and homophobia and execution-style murders can a tenderhearted sensory sensitive girl like me take? 

Not this much it turns out.

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A Menu, A Meme

Which menu would you serve blogging friends for a welcome dinner upon their first visit to your home? I’ve been tagged for a meme by Garrett of Vanilla Garlic fame. This one could be fun. The premise? To come up with a fantasy menu, of “signature” dishes that you might toss together for an evening entertaining food bloggers. Now there’s a nightmare, er, I mean, dream come true. [Kiss, kiss, Garrett.] Can you tell, already, that I am faint with anxiety? Sweating profusely? Weak kneed? I’m no chef. And there are those among us who can rustle up a flaky tart or crackle a Crème Brule in their sleep. There are those among us who make their own ricotta [Seriously!]. And there are those who entertain with aplomb and have the wit and composure to capture it as a slide show. I’m not one of them.

I’m a home-cooking rustic kinda gal. You know, more peasant food than haute cuisine. More make a dish from dreamy ideas in your head and how about a little of this than ever following a recipe. Or, I’ve got that in the fridge and it’s wilting so I better use it. And then there’s the sometimes harrowing, sometimes happy accident recipe stemming from, I wonder would happen if…

That said, Dear Reader, I’ve decided to embrace what I flat out love. If I have to go down in flames, I’ll go down with my taste buds happy. My menu will be New Mexican. So if you visit, prepare to get hot and bothered.

Karina’s Family Style Menu
for Blogging Conviviality

Frosty Pitchers of Margaritas

Homemade Tortilla-Cheese Crisps and Blue Corn Chips
Fire Roasted Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa
Guacamole with Lime & Garlic
Baked Goat Cheese with Salsa Verde

Mexican Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle

Chicken Mole
Brown Rice Baked with Mild Green Chiles and Pine Nuts

New Mexican Green Chile Smothered Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas [vegetarian]

Los Otros::
Fresh Fruit Salad in Season Drizzled with Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Coffee Flan
Coconut-Almond Cookie Bars with Mexican Chocolate Sauce

And [if you haven't been tagged yet], I'm tagging::

Brendon of Something in Season
Cookiecrumb of I'm Mad and I Eat
Stephen of Stephen Cooks
Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
Susan of Fatfree Vegan

The meme is open to all, so, Dear Hungry Reader, so if you haven't been tagged yet, and would like to participate, drop on over to The Flying Apple.

Comida buena, Chicas & Chicos!