I love fall. Up North where I was born, the air gets cool and crisp, the leaves change color the smell of burning firewood starts to permeate the air. In Southern California where I lived for so long, the days are sunny, the temperatures range from the mid 60’s to the low 80’s. You can start wearing layers, the sunsets seem to have an even more golden hue, the pacific drops in temperature and Trader Joe’s shelves are lined with pumpkin flavored products of every kind.
Here in South Florida……well……the license plates start changing color as the snowbirds start migrating down here on 95. I would like to say it starts getting cooler, the humidity drops and it becomes more pleasurable outside, but that, technically, would be a lie. (That’s what it’s like in the winter.)
Strangely, even though the thermometer and barometer say one thing, it’s as if my body is hard wired to some internal clock of the seasons. I like to call this my food clock. Yes it may still be in the 90’s here but my body wants all things Pumpkin. (And apple spice, and root veggie and much more but I will get to that another time). Maybe it’s triggered by the arrival of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, in which case I am hardwired to marketing campaigns, which would be sad…..but I am going to go with internal food clock instead!
Regardless, I have been craving all things pumpkin. In the past few weeks I must admit I have also been craving all things simple. Life has gotten increasingly more stressful these days. I have a badly injured wrist which makes cooking and baking difficult and downright painful at times. There has been unplanned travel and unprepared for loss, grief and sadness….it’s been quiet in Zia’s Kitchen of late I will say. Even Littledude and Ladybug have been gone a few days visiting their dad.
A few days ago in the midst of loneliness and a serious case of the blues the craving for pumpkin hit, compounded with the need for comfort food, particularly sweet and not necessarily good for you comfort food. Several weeks ago after getting caught up “in the season” and thanks to the overly helpful team at Williams-Sonoma I walked out with more then a few Gluten Free mixes and flours I had planned to start testing, so I thought it best to start there. It was also best to start with something super easy as this moment hit me at 5AM after a long and sleepless night (for various reasons). I looked on the GF baking section of our pantry (yes I am that OCD) and found the perfect solution!
The instructions couldn’t have been simpler, I had a loaf pan, there was no need for a stand-up mixer, it was pumpkin, Gluten Free and comfort food all in one. It also used Cup 4 Cup brand flour, which I had also splurged on but didn’t think I had the wherewithal to bake from scratch yet, so this would do. It’s not cheap I will tell you that, I cringed a little at the $14.95 price tag, but to have a Gluten Free Pumpkin Mix, well I had to go for it.
So I followed the instructions, it only called for egg, water and butter, put it in the oven and in less then an hour, during which the house smelled like heaven and fall all at the same time. (Who knows for some people heaven may very well be an endless beautiful fall day), and voila.
Seriously, I had to force myself to split it in half and send down to Nonna’s for her and a few guests (who loved it and couldn’t believe it was Gluten Free at ALL). I seriously would have eaten the entire loaf, and have since eaten an entire half a loaf. All by myself! Moist and delicious, it tasted exactly like “non-gluten-free” pumpkin spice bread would. I swear, Nonna’s friends wouldn’t have known if they didn’t already know I cook and bake gluten free.
I made a bit of homemade Honey Butter to eat it with. That just took it over the top and I really really had to force myself to not just keep eating. Sadness eating is the worst and I had already put away an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Frozen Yogurt the previous few nights, but if calories were not the enemy I would have eaten this all day.
This gets aby