5 pumpkin recipes you must make. Immediately.

HAPPY FALL!

Let’s just pretend it hasn’t been months since I’ve touched this blog, OK? Life got busy. You know how it is.

But something has brought me back.

I know, I know — ALL bloggers love pumpkin. This is part of the reason I haven’t posted in months. I haven’t been creating my own recipes because I’ve been so busy re-creating everyone else’s! And trust me, there are some amazing pumpkin recipes out there.

But I decided that just because I didn’t make them up doesn’t mean these recipes aren’t worth sharing. In fact, they are probably more worth sharing because they’re double-approved. So get your can opener and crank up that oven, because you’ll want to make all of these. Immediately. Here are my top five favorite pumpkin recipes this season:

1. Elle’s New England Kitchen’s Espresso Pumpkin Spiced Walnuts

I modified this one a little by using regular ground coffee instead of espresso and adding some canned pumpkin. Good luck resisting these nuts while they cool. I was half waiting for my neighbors to come knocking on my door asking what smelled like heaven coming from my apartment. Seriously, I couldn’t keep my hands out of these. I made a half batch on Friday night and just finished them off. So. good.

2. Chelsey’s Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

I single-handedly used up a jumbo-sized can of pumpkin making these every other day for the past two weeks. Healthy, quick and delicious.

3. fANNEtastic food’s Fresh Cranberry Walnut Bread

Need I say more? You don’t even have to feel guilty about this one. There’s very little added sugar and no oil. And it’s still so moist and flavorful.

4. Organic Authority’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

Move over, Starbucks. This recipe uses real pumpkin, not some mysterious sugary syrup. I used vanilla soymilk and didn’t even need to add any sugar. Perfect!

5. Two Peas and Their Pod’s Pumpkin Granola

See a theme here? Pumpkin, cranberries and walnuts are quite the trifecta. I love the use of applesauce in this recipe instead of oil, and the cranberries add a nice hint of sweet. And it clumps!

Honorable mention: Ashley’s Pumpkin Buckwheat Cake Bake

The beloved breakfast buckwheat bake goes orange. If I wasn’t such an oatmeal freak I’d probably make these on all the days I don’t make pancakes.

There you have them. The best of the best.

Have any good pumpkin recipes to share?

Slackin’ (and jackin’ recipes)

I feel like I’ve been slacking a lot on the blog lately. It’s not that I’ve been slacking with cooking, though.

It’s been busy as ever in the Grad Nut kitchen.

See?

I’ve just been having a hard time finding the motivation to make up my own recipes lately, because there are so many other amazing recipes floating around out there that I’ve been dying to try.

Like this gnocchi (which is apparently pronounced ny-UCKI, not ga-nochee, the way I have been foolishly saying it for some time now). Yeah, it looked a little sketchy right out of the pot, but once it cooled and was smothered in sauce, it was golden.

And these ridiculous oatmeal chocolate chip muffins from Amanda’s blog. (oats + almond butter + chocolate, need I say more?)

Or how about this warm millet and broccoli dish with cashew pesto sauce?

See what I’m sayin’?

I’ll be back with a good post this weekend though. Pinky swear!

Perfect-for-Summer Zucchini Bread

On Saturday I participated in the Winking Lizard “A Shot in the Dark” 4-miler. But not before I did this.


It was HOT! Like 83 degrees and sunny — perfect day to spend at the beach!

The race didn’t start until 5:05, so I had all day to be a sunbunny. Luckily for me, I live only 15 minutes from Lake Erie. I laid out, went swimming, read To Kill A Mockingbird (for some reason I never read this in middle or high school) and listened to the audiobook of Tina Fey’s Bossypants (so funny!). Did I mention I love weekends?

And then there was the race. I’ve never run a 4-miler before, so I had a goal in mind, but with the heat and the sun, I wasn’t sure I would accomplish it. Well let me tell you — I blew it out of the water! I finished in 36:06, which is about a 9:02 mile — so good for me! Plus, the race itself was just awesome, with some great views of the city.

After a great finish, nothing could shake my confidence for my five-mile run this morning. And I’m really glad I had such a great run, because that’s about the only good thing that happened today. It was a rough Monday.

Know what else I did this weekend? Don’t guess — I’ll just tell you. I did some gluten-free baking and made THE BEST zucchini bread ever.

Moist, flavorful, a little sweet but not too much. Just amazing. Don’t be alarmed by the long ingredients list — it’s totally worth it!

Perfect-for-Summer Zucchini Bread

Makes one loaf

  • 1 c. gluten-free flour (I used Hodgson Mill)
  • 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. milled flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 large zucchini

Preheat oven for 325 degrees. Peel and grate or shred zucchini; set aside in a bowl to let drain. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients except sugar. In a separate bowl, beat sugar, eggs, vanilla, applesauce and oil. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir gently. Add zucchini (drained) and walnuts and stir until combined. Pour into greased bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is brown.

The best part is that this bread keeps so well, in the fridge or in the freezer. Please, make this!

A gluten-free identity crisis

Well, hello bloggie. It’s been awhile.

Let me explain. During my last week of grad school, which was the first week of June, I moved to a new city and started a new job, while finishing up my school work. Then I got settled into my new apartment and my new life. And the reason I’ve been neglecting the GF Grad Nut is because I’m having, well, a bit of an identity crisis. You see, the GF Grad Nut is no longer a grad student.

I am, however, still gluten-free and definitely still nutty. I guess two out of three isn’t so bad.

Actually, the real reason I haven’t posted recently is because I just got back from the most amazing family vacation.

We went to Vegas. I lost $8.

We saw the Hoover Dam.

We went to the Grand Canyon. It’s big.

Then we went to San Francisco.

And drove GoCars through it. (Not kidding. These things were guided by a GPS in the radio and took us on a three-hour tour of the city.)

We saw some big Redwoods.

And capped off the week by going to AT&T Field to see the Giants take on our team, the Indians.

But back to this identity crisis. A few strange things have happened lately:

  1. I haven’t been craving oatmeal. At all. I haven’t eaten it in weeks.
  2. I’ve been getting up early — sometimes before 6 a.m. — to go running before work.
  3. I went on vacation and lost weight.

We didn’t have kitchens in any of the hotels we stayed at, so we literally ate out for every meal. (We’ll come back to those first two in later posts). Finding gluten and dairy free options was definitely challenging. I relied a lot on bars and snacks I’d packed, like these free cookie samples I received from Jovial Foods.

I was actually really excited to come home and get back to preparing my own meals.

(Scrambled eggs and kale with salsa; gluten free toast with hummus)

Things have been mighty green around here lately.

(Basmati rice and black beans with cumin, broccoli and homemade avocado salsa)

(Creamy avocado pasta from Oh She Glows)

(Sweet potato fries and Greek chickpea salad – recipe soon)

I haven’t completely lost myself though; there’s definitely still been plenty of sweet in my life.

(Blueberry pancake buckwheat bake with maple syrup)

Some things will never change.

Tea + coffee = Teeccino!

Several weeks ago, I was a winner in one of Chelsey‘s giveaways and received a bag of Teeccino herbal coffee to try.

As someone with tummy troubles and anxiety, coffee isn’t a great choice for me, but the problem is, I LOVE it.

So you can imagine how excited I was to receive this tea, which is caffeine free, gluten free and non-acidic. You brew it just like normal tea, but let me tell you, it smells just like coffee and looks just like it too.

I added some vanilla soymilk and enjoyed half a mug in the morning, then stuck the rest in the fridge and drank it iced-style in the afternoon.

Does it taste exactly like a strong cup of coffee? No. Does it taste enough like it to make me less miserable without my tummy-ache-causing, jitter-inducing friend? See for yourself.

(It’s sold at Whole Foods)

It will now be a staple in my cupboard. Thanks for the sample and the coups, Chelsey!

Westside Market, Parade the Circle & Tommy’s

What’s a girl to do on her first weekend living in a big city? My first item of business this weekend was making my way to the Parade the Circle, an annual festival presented by the Cleveland Museum of Art. I didn’t stay long — just long enough to get a feel for the event and enjoy the sunshine. It was cool though — check out some of the costumes!

Then I made my way to the Westside Market, which is pure craziness. I didn’t take any pictures so you’ll have to take my word for it. One part of the market has about 30 produce vendors (none of which are local, which kind of confused me) shouting at you to taste this, buy that. The other part of the market is all local stuff — meat, fish, cheese, candy, ethnic cuisine, etc. I purchased some blueberries and three giant sweet potatoes for $2. Look at the size of these things!

I also saw some kale for $1 a bunch, and since kale chips are all the rage in the blogosphere, I decided to try some. Now, I don’t know if I cooked them on too high of a temperature (325) or for too long (20 minutes), but mine came out toally burnt and not very tasty.

It’s a good thing I ate them with my leftover half a sandwich from Tommy’s last night.

Tommy’s is a specialty vegan/gluten-free restaurant literally right down the street from  my apartment. I’ve already been there three times! My favorite thing to order is the CeeCee, which is falafel with tahini sauce, sunflower seeds, sprouts, peppers, tomato and hummus on gluten-free rice bread. They are also known for their milkshakes, including a fabulous “tofutti” shake, which I stopped in for on Sunday when I arrived in Cleveland.

(Chocolate + strawberry tofutti milkshake)

Although delicious, this puppy cost me $7, so I’m not too worried about it becoming a habit.

Especally this week, seeing as I am doing a detox. No worries, there will be no crazy teas or fasting or anything, I’m just going to avoid processed food and anything with added sugars. I’ve been consuming way too much sugar lately, plus vacation is only a week away (!!), so I want to feel my best, both physically and mentally, while traveling.

Instead of a milkshake, I cured my afternoon sweet-tooth with this.

This was an impulse purchase at TJ’s the other day, but it’s one I’ll be making again and again. The best canned applesauce I’ve ever had, hands down. I also turned one of those giant sweet potatoes into these.

A little burnt, but I’m still adjusting to the gas oven in my new apartment.

I had many good eats this weekend, but I think my absolute favorite was dinner tonight.

(Baby greens with tomato, raisins, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, two grilled chicken strips, boiled egg and oil, lemon juice and vinegar on top)

Polished off with one of my favorite snacks.

It’s time to cap off the weekend by turning of the computer and snuggling up with a blanket and a movie. Here’s to another Monday!

Scenes from a New City: Part 1

Boxes have been unpacked…

miles have been run…

groceries have been bought…

and meals have been made.

(steel cut oats with sunflower seed butter and TJ’s apple butter)

(LFE salad with baby greens, alfalfa sprouts, celery, olives, sunflower seeds, egg, hummus and TJ’s raspberry vinaigrette)

(zucchini “spaghetti” with mushrooms, carrots, cannelini beans, tomato sauce, basil and oregano)

So I guess it’s official: I live in CLEVELAND!