CJ’s Pumpkin Ranch & Pumpkin Pie.


I’m breaking all kinds of MoFo promises! I didn’t get a chance to post over the weekend because I’ve been too busy pickin’ pears and celebrating birthdays and getting ready to go to Maui this week! Yes. Maui and I are getting together on Friday and hopefully having a nice, slow love affair together with lots of yummy tropical food, beer, beach, surfing, spa day, farm visits and more. I’m SO EXCITED. This is the first vacation I’ve taken in the past 100 years and it could not come soon enough. This entire year has been difficult and stressful in a rainbow of different fashions (thanks for mixing it up, universe) and I just want to turn it around before the end.

Thank goodness for farm trips because they have been helping me keep my sanity this year. I feel so at peace when out on a farm, surrounded by dirt, fruits, veggies, flowers and beauty in general. I could just stay there all day transfixed in admiration, awe and respect. I went pear pickin’ this past weekend, but before that, I went pumpkin pickin’. I found a sweet little farm in Corona that grows all kinds of amazing varieties of heirloom pumpkins for eating and carving. There was a variety that they told me was great for making pies called “Yellow of Paris”. I knew that was one of the pumpkins I needed to have and I spent the better part of our time there searching for the perfect “Yellow of Paris”.

Farm Buddies.

My favorite activity. Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty blog.

I wanted every pumpkin I laid eyes on, but I settled on these:

My Yellow of Paris. 🙂
Mammoth Gold.

The farm had also grown strawberry poppin’ corn, so of course I took home a bunch of that as well. It’s so cool–you can place the whole cob in a brown paper bag and pop in in the microwave or remove the kernels and make it on the stovetop or in a popcorn maker. Love.


One of the first things I did when I got home (after making Oktoberfest) was to bust open my “Yellow of Paris” and roast it in the oven. I scooped out the innards and blended it up. It was a bit watery so I had to drain it in a colander for a while. I then proceeded to enjoy the finest pumpkin smoothies. I saved just enough puree to make a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin is the best!

Riding in Cars with Pie. I brought my pie to share with a friend in Orange County.



This MoFo = crazy. I will hopefully find time today to write a couple of more posts and to catch up on some of my favorite blogs!


Pumpkin Goodies.

Just a quick post to share some pumpkin treats I’ve made in the last week.

Pumpkin Challah

I rarely make my own bread. I don’t know why, because typically it’s pretty easy and always super delicious. I have to admit I had a grand time braiding this loaf. Next time I’ll have to go really crazy and do the 6-strand braid. Also, pumpkin is an amazing substitute for eggs if you’re looking to make vegan challah.

Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Biscotti

I made these biscotti to bring on a visit to see my great aunt in San Diego. They had a strong pumpkin flavor and were pretty good, but dense. It’s difficult to store fresh homemade biscotti because it has to stay out of a bag or container to keep its crunchiness and crispiness. Perhaps a metal tin would be the answer. Metal tins generally always keep crackers and such crunchier than any other container I’ve found. I guess this means I will have to make more biscotti to test this theory. Also, these needed more chocolate. Should have dipped half way or done a drizzle!

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Apologies for the photo. I didn’t get a decent picture of this monkey bread. I saw the recipe during Vegan Mofo over at Oh, Ladycakes and decided I needed to give it a try. I had only ever eaten monkey bread once. Someone gave one to our family when I was little. I just remember it sitting on the counter and slowly loosing balls. I would go up to it and take a couple of balls from it and I’m guessing the rest of my family did the same. I remember liking it, but just never made one or came across another one until now. This was a great recipe. Easy and fun to make. Ashlae made hers super cute by using a jumbo muffin tin to make individual little breads. I went the traditional route and used a bundt pan as I don’t have a jumbo muffin tin and didn’t want to use my standard sized tins. You may notice that one side of the bread looks a little deformed. Well, when I went to invert the pan to release the bread, only half of it came out. Grrr. I loosened it with a knife and everything! Apparently not loosened enough. So, a friend helped me get the rest out and then we just sort of pushed the halves together. It worked okay, as the monkey bread is so sticky it was happy to grab its missing half. Anyhow, I highly recommend this recipe. And all of Ashlae’s recipes. She’s legit!

Fall Food So Good.

I’m still under the weather. It sucks because I’m missing out on some fun, but I’d really just like to get better. My energy level is in the toilet, but I’ve still been attempting some cookery. I have about enough energy to prep something, then rest. Then once I build more energy, I have about enough to make something, rest again and then eat. It’s obnoxious, but I know an important part of getting well is eating nutritious food. If only cooking delicious, nutritious food didn’t take so long and so much energy. Hmm, thinking I ought to consult Quick-Fix Vegetarian if I can find it—which ps, does anyone know why this book isn’t called Quick-Fix Vegan? 100% of the recipes are vegan, so I’m not really sure why the title chooses the word vegetarian. I actually bought the book when I was still vegetarian expecting it to have dairy recipes, but was pleasantly surprised. Not long after the purchase I became vegan anyway, so I started using that book a lot. There is a recipe in there for a stuffed, slow cooked kabocha which is great. Yeels…I do need to find that book.

Anyhow, I thought I’d share some of my latest eats, aka, what has been going in my belly. Recipes are from various books, blogs or my own. I love sharing recipes, but some aren’t ready to be shared yet and some I just keep to myself. 😉

Butternut Squash Lasagna w/ Creamy Bechamel Sauce

Recipe from Spork-Fed

Epic Stack of Apple Pancakes w/ Spiced Apple Topping


Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns


With Icing.


Vanilla Tangerine-Cumin Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Tangerine Buttercream


Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Recipe from Oh, Ladycakes

Cookies w/ Icing

That’s it for now. I have a Thanksgiving recipe for “Rosemary Turkey w/ Bacon” as well as some Roasted Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes w/ Chive-Bacon Creme Fraiche (lalalalaaa, hohohoohooo, fraiche!)





Apple Cheddar Hand Pies + Other Treats.

Keeping up with this mofo-ing has been kooky. I haven’t really made much of anything exciting this week…but I did manage this Pumpkin French Toast.

Pumpkin French Toast.

Omg. I want more. I made this for a friend and I after our brains had been melting all day in the filthy 100° heat that we had the past couple of days. Way to make October gross California, I hope you’re proud of yourself. Anyhow, I opened the maple syrup and poured waaayyy too much on mine, but I still wanted to just eat this for the rest of my life. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I guess what I mean to say is that everyone should have Pumpkin French Toast in their life. So, you know, get on it.

I also made this Spiced Banana-Pear Crumble. I don’t have a recipe for this, but if you want to make it, spice up 5-7 pears with 3 or so bananas with cinnamon and goodness. Make a crumble topping out of sugar and hazelnuts and Earthy B and then bake that sucker up.

Pear-Banana Crumble
Pear Banana Crumble: Innards

I’m thinking now that it wasn’t the best idea to begin blogging about treats when I am hungry with nothing but Luna bars and have to work, like right now. Well, after I talk about these hand pies. Hand Pies!!!

A few months back, I did a version of my larger, very delicious apple cheddar pie into a tiny hand held version. And this tiny version, I bring to chu! Who doesn’t love a pie that you can hold, oozing with hot delicious apple filling? Did I mention get in my mouth, I’m starving?

Apple Cheddar Hand Pies (I, far too often, hit the the T instead of the R and write “cheddat”)


2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup golden brown mascobado sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch ground nutmeg

pinch salt

2 tbsp Earth Balance

2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour

1  recipe flaky pie crust OR  1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed–if using Puff Pastry, I like Aussie brand

1 c shredded vegan cheddar, Daiya preferred


Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with Silpat.

In a bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and toss to combine.

In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance. Cook apple mixture for about  7 to 10 minutes until the apples release some of their juices and are slightly softened. Sprinkle flour over the apple mixture and remove it from the heat.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust or puff pastry sheet. I made my hand pies into apple shaped mini-pies, but feel free to cut the pastry into squares, circles or whatever shape you want. Add the Daiya to the cooled apple mixture. Divide the apple mixture in the center of each circle square or shape you have. Make sure to leave a border, around an inch or so. Carefully fold into desired shape and crimp the edges to make sure each little pie is sealed. Place them on the prepped baking sheet. Make sure to cut a vent in each pie using a paring knife or fork. Bake about 20-25 minutes and eat ’til your heart’s content. 🙂

Apple-Cheddar Hand Pies