Thursday, October 30, 2014


Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Maple Glaze | Club Narwhal

Pumpkin bread was one of the first things I learned how to make well. I used my sister's recipe, which called for one bowl and a lot of chocolate chips. That pumpkin bread won me friends in all the various stages of my life and is still one of my favorite things to make each fall. 

Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Maple Glaze | Club Narwhal

For this pumpkin bread, I used a recent favorite recipe for the base (Gina from Skinny Taste can do no wrong) and then topped it with all sorts of decadence--because we wouldn't want this to be too healthy, right?

I believe that most things in life are better with streusel topping. Blueberry muffins, coffee cake, cinnamon bread, challah--you name it, I probably want to put streusel on it. And then some glaze. Because what is streusel without glaze?

Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Maple Glaze | Club Narwhal

This lovely fall treat is up on The Collaboreat. Pop on over the check it out! (I dare you to eat just one slice!).

What's your go-to fall baking treat? I hope it involves pumpkin. Or apples. Or both!

Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Maple Glaze | Club Narwhal

Are we Pin Pals yet? Follow the fun with my Sweater Weather Pinterest board!

Some of our favorite fall treats this year:

Pumpkin Challah Swirled with Chocolate | Club Narwhal

Pumpkin Belgian Waffles | Club Narwhal

Apple Fritter Monkey Bread | Club Narwhal

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

Okay, so these lovely little pavlovas aren't exactly petit fours in the classical sense, but I love how adorably bite-sized they are! They make the perfect addition to any dessert table, which is apropos since I made these cloud puffs in honor of Nora from A Clean Bake, who is getting hitched! 

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

I joined with some of Nora's blogger friends to throw her a surprise virtual bridal shower. The catch is we all tried to make food she can actually eat. So these pavlovas, on top of being all cute and mini, are also gluten AND dairy free! Huzzah!

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

While tinting these teensy pavlovas pastel shades and topping them with blangin' gold sprinkles is entirely optional, I couldn't resist dressing them up a little to fit in with our art deco/Gatsby theme. Oh, and mini gold cupcake liners? Can I please eat everything out of these forever and ever? Talk about fancy pants. 

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

I have an equal love and fear of pavlova, mostly because I have an equal love and fear of making meringue. Usually Warren is in charge of all meringue-ing in our kitchen (he's a bit of an egg white whisperer) since every time I've tried to make meringue my patience runs out right at key moments.  

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

However, I have learned that pavlova is a far cry from frightening--it is, in fact, quite simple--and most importantly, it is really, really delicious. Plus I have yet to meet a person who hasn't fallen head over heels in love with it. It is impossible to resist something so cloud-like. 

I love how little time goes into making pavlova and yet you get all sorts of oohs and ahhs when you serve it. My favorite pavlova is Ina Garten's perfect recipe, topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. 

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

But to make it even lighter, I topped these mini pavlovas with vegan coconut whipped cream (have you tried this? If not, put a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge right this instant and make it as soon as you can--it is heavenly!). 

Pavlova Petit Fours | Pretty gluten and dairy free treats!

We served these at our caramel apple party (because caramel apples go hand in hand with pavlova, duh) and they were roundly approved, particularly by children, because what child (or adult) can resist pretty clouds made of sugar? 

Nora, I wish you an infinite supply of gold sprinkles and even more sweet days ahead in your marriage! Congratulations! And many thanks to Meriem from Culinary Couture for organizing this fun party!

Pavlova Petit Fours | A gluten and dairy free treat!

Pop by and see what others brought to Nora's virtual bridal shower!

Pumpkin Maple Creme Brulee - Blahnik Baker
Vegan Oatmeal Cookie Milkshakes - Yeah...immaeatthat
Chocolate Coconut Macaroons - gotta get baked

Pavlova Petit Fours (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Adapted from Ina Garten

4 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a few drops of food coloring, optional
vegan coconut whipped cream (recipe follows)
sprinkles for topping (or fresh berries)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan. Use the base of a large frosting tip (or something that is about 1-inch in diameter) to trace small circles on the parchment paper. Flip the parchment paper so the pencil markings are on the bottom. Alternatively, you can skip the tracing step and just eyeball how large or small you want your mini pavlovas to be. 

To make the pavlova, place the egg whites and salt in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). Whisk on high for 1 minute then slowly add the sugar (with the mixer still running). Whisk for another 3-5 minutes, until stiff peaks form (the meringue will not slop back down into the bowl with you lift a beater out.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle cornstarch on the meringue. Add the vinegar (you won't taste this when it is baked, it just helps stabilize the mixture) and vanilla. Add a little food coloring, if you choose. Fold everything in with a rubber spatula.

Spoon mixture into a large ziplock bag (so you can more easily pipe out small circle) or use a large spoon to create small pavlova circles on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Snip the tip off the ziplock bag and pipe little one to two-inch circles (about one-inch tall) on the parchment paper. 

Bake for 45 minutes then turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely. It will be crisp on the outside an a little gooey on the inside (if you over bake them, you'll just get cute little meringues, which are just as tasty so don't worry!). 

Top with little dollops of vegan coconut whipped cream (recipe below) and a dusting of sprinkles. Serve in cute mini cupcake liners. 

For the Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 3 hours
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar (you can use powdered sugar for a finer cream)

This recipe only works with full fat coconut milk since you need the fat to separate from the water (you just use the coconut cream for this recipe and reserve the coconut water for smoothies or something). Alternatively, you can buy a can of unsweetened coconut cream.

After you open the coconut milk, carefully spoon out the cream into a medium bowl. Add vanilla and sugar and whisk with a hand mixer (or by hand) until light and fluffy, about a minute or two. That's it! 

Follow the delicious fun on my Pinterest Project Yum board!

Some of my favorite vegan and/or gluten free recipes!

Vegan Pina Colada Ice Cream

Vegan Pina Colada Ice Cream | Club Narwhal

Vegan Buckeye Peanut Butter Pie

Vegan Buckeye Peanut Butter Pie | Club Narwhal

Gluten Free Hash Brown Crust Quiche

Gluten Free Hash Brown Crust Quiche | Club Narwhal

Angel Food Cupcakes (not vegan or GF, but pretty darn cute)

Angel Food Cupcakes  | Club Narwhal

Monday, October 20, 2014


Oh, Canada indeed! A few weeks ago we went to Sault Ste. Marie, AKA "The Soo," (a town that straddles the border between Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Canada) for Warren's birthday. The colors were unbelievably vivid, especially when we got into Canada. The rolling hills looked looked like a sea of gorgeous fire.

We didn't spend much time in Sault Ste. Marie and instead chose to drive up the coast of Lake Superior  where I immediately made Warren pull over (you know how I'm always making Warren pull over) because I saw this:

I mean, if you don't stop for that, what will you stop for? And thank goodness we did because it ended up being the best kind of tourist trap, filled with all sorts of crazy wooden statues, totem poles (naturally), and a path of painted moose tracks. Creepy and amazing, right?

We also learned that maple leaves make great accessories.  

It's kind of impossible to describe just how gorgeous it is up in the Great White North. Because Lake Superior's coast is kind of a dreamboat. It basically looked like this:

For miles and miles and miles. It also abounds with waterfalls:

And little lonely side streets covered with blankets of fallen leaves:

Good job, Canada.

Every year in lieu of gifts we try to do something fun for our birthdays (this year we happened to be in Peru for my birthday--which was a pretty great follow up to the year before, when we happened to be in Hawaii). Last year for Warren's birthday we went to the lovely Bruce Peninsula, another Canadian gem.  Next year, Warren's heart is set on Canada's Polar Bear Park, which is, oh, 30 hours north of us. We'll figure it out. 

Anyway, I really wanted to take him to see the famous Ojibwe pictographs at Agawa rock (because, come on, how cool is that!?) but we found out too late that the park service had taken down the protective chains and closed the sight for the season. 

If it wasn't so stormy, we would have braved inching along the precipice to see the paintings (they're painted on the flat face of the cliff in the photo below). We'll just have to go back another year, I guess. 

PS: Those ropes you see in the above photo? Just a thoughtful gift from the park service, just in case you need to heave yourself back onto dry land after falling into Lake Superior. Those waves were not messing around. 

But no worries, we ended up hiking for a few hours around Orphan Lake, which was muddy but fun and had insanely picturesque vistas comme ca (which you may recall from Instagram).

I also took pretty much every opportunity to pose like a gargoyle on said vistas.

But really, that view!

Warren took every opportunity to skip rocks and look like a lumberjack. I feel like this is a great candidate for an L.L. Bean catalog. Like: no big deal, just super casually skipping rocks in my lumberjack shirt, folks. 

I'm sure one day L.L. Bean will thank me for documenting a perfect flannel-clad moment such as this. Oh, and I love this action shot because of that perfect little splash.

Of course, there were more waterfalls, because Canada believes in being amazing. 

While the Soo is a bit of a haul from us, it was totally worth it. Even if the weather forecast predicted snowflakes (yes, it was that cold in early October). Luckily, Warren had his lovely knitted cap he bought on a Peruvian island filled with knitting men. I forgot to post photos of it during the summer but, believe me, it was awesome. Just like Canada! 

Do you have any fun birthday traditions? Also, do you think we should attempt Polar Bear Park next year? There are no actual roads to the place but that shouldn't be a big deal...right?