Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Gluten-Free Goddess Pumpkin Bars

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- thousands 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.

And so. I stop.

And notice the way the late day sun drops low and shimmers golden in the treeline. The crows are gathering earlier. Glossy black and strutting with authority. The smell of burnished leaves scuttling across a wet Portland sidewalk is the same smell I inhaled on a road trip in Vermont fifteen years ago, standing on a wooden bridge above a clear shallow creek while our sons balanced on the slick rocks below us, fishing for smooth round stones.

Do they remember this? Do they remember the same hours I do, in the sand on Skaket Beach? Do they ever have a sudden itch to feed their senses with the scents and sounds of a freshwater riverbed, a sun warmed tide pool? Do they crave a winding path through apple trees? Were their brains hardwired for this connection, too?

I ponder this as I stir a new pumpkin batter.

And breathe in the scents of ginger and cinnamon, listening to the leafy rustle of an almond flour bag as I fold up the cellophane and pinch it closed with a clothespin.


Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Karina's awesome new gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe.

A rather perfect loaf.

Autumn in Portland, Oregon, is soft and rainy. Foggy. And slow to frost. The scents of Ponderosa pine and red cedar infuse our morning walk with a woodsy familiarity my New England soul craves, as yellow willow leaves flutter earthward, dreamlike, cinematic.

Time to pull on sweaters. Dig out a favorite scarf. Stack kindling and firewood. Choose a new book to love (I am reading Mink River by Brian Doyle- a lovely, lyrical, michievous book infused with Irish-American sensibility and Salish stories).

And best of all, it is finally time- for pumpkin lovers everywhere- to fill the pantry shelves with tins of our favorite curcurbit. Because, Dear Reader... it's time to bake. And I have a fabulous, flavorful, autumn-worthy gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe for you.

A huge, gorgeous pumpkin loaf.

Enjoy warm from the oven, with butter or cream cheese. Or make it ahead: Bake it. Wrap it. Freeze it.

And Babycakes, it will feed a crowd.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fabulous pumpkin cookies, gluten-free + delicious.

My restless spirit has been wandering far and wide and away from dreams of butternut chili and sensible casseroles toward the tempting, sweeter things in life.

As in cookies.

Like the character Ana Pascal confesses in one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction, I decided that if I was going to help make the world a better place this week, I'd do it with cookies.

So today's post, Dear Reader, is brief and sweet. Just like the treat I baked this weekend when I began with the idea of a pumpkin cookie. I craved something different than my nutmeg icing drizzled Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies. I craved dark chocolate. And peanut butter. So I threw them in the bowl with pumpkin and coconut flour and, well.

There was a happy ending to the story.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts, darling

Pumpkin Crazy. I am. Because, donuts!

You might think I'm on a pumpkin bender, glancing through recipes here on Gluten-Free Goddess®. And you'd be right. I do this. Every October. I go on one long, crazy, pumpkin love affair. I am head-over-heels nuts about it. Because pumpkin is magic. In fact, if pumpkin was in a fairy tale, it would be the Fairy Godmother- not the humble buggy. It makes gluten-free baking transform, you see, as if touched by a star-tipped sparkling wand.

That's why I knew I had to tackle pumpkin donuts. Because donuts can be tough to replicate gluten-free. But I knew pumpkin would bring me luck, and sprinkle good fortune on my baking endeavors today. So, yes. I am pumpkin crazy. Crazy in love.

And you know what?

If pumpkin be the food of love, play on.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Icing

Gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing.

A Pumpkin Cupcake that doesn't taste gluten-free. Seriously.

But before I get to the recipe, I need to wander off a bit. Because it's who I am. A person who wanders. Ponders. Finds solace in books. I've been like this since girlhood. Curious. Serious. No good at catching balls. Or dressing dolls. I am beyond inept with hair. And eyeliner. Nail polish. I get anxious and non-verbal if I have to wear anything that isn't a pair of jeans.

I hold the opinion that there is more to life than collapsing in front of the television and microwaving hot dogs. I think that beauty- as Steve Jobs believed- is important, has value. That we are deeply interconnected. That life on Earth is precious- from the house sparrow to the living sea. That we are part of a vast and mysterious collective- not merely of our absurd egos (who natter inside our heads and squander our attention on drama, conflict, acquisition and the need to control)- but of a newly unfolding awareness of astonishing inner space and outer space. Infinity in every direction.

Which begs the question.

Who am I? Really. I know I am not the car I drive or the laundry detergent I use. I know I am not what I identify with. I am not what I embrace- or reject. Though for years I thought so. I believed my opinions created a self. Made me Me. Now that I am old enough to have lived through countless opinion reversals, I realize opinions are temporary. And not defining.

Just as I am not my baby teeth. Or my once lactating voluptuousness. Or my sprouting silver hair. Or what music I listen to. Or what jeans I outgrow. I am not even the woman baking pumpkin cupcakes for her readers. Or am I? Well, maybe I am. Just a little. But wait. Doesn't that make me the sum of what I do? I bake therefore I am?

I am trying lately not to be so much of a human doing. And more of a human being.

It's not as easy as one might think.

And therein lies the trouble. The whole thinking thing. Our brain. Our wired hardware. It disconnects us. It addicts us. It overrides the heart and soul of what is really going on. The being we really are. Beneath the seductive and glossy surface of things. The spark that burns from the greater whole.

I see that spark in you.

It's why I made you cupcakes.

Make today delicious.

Be kind to yourself.