It’s the end of the month and time to recap the noteworthy recipes and events from the month:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache – My favorite cake recipe on my blog. to date. One bowl, a whisk, and bake it. Easy, foolpoof, has the spongy qualities of a yellow cake-mix cake that’s laced with pumpkin and drenched in chocolate. I will probably make this cake rather than pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Pairings Party – Fun ideas, recipes, and chocolate pairings. Red wine and peanut butter top the list

Chocolate Pairings Party

Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip (GF, can be kept vegan) – Make in the microwave in 5 minutes. My new favorite cheese-based dip, almost like cheese fondue and so easy

Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – My all-around favorite no-bake granola bar recipe for producing bars like storebought chewy, texture-filled granola bars. Highly customizable from peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter; to raisins, dates, or coconut flakes; to M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces for a more candy-like bar. Add in just about anything that strikes your fancy and the no-bake batter takes minutes to toss together

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – These turned out to be a happy accident when I thought I was going to make chocolate-banana bread, but would up with brownies, infused with banana bread-like qualities. Dense, fudgy, moist and you don’t have to choose between your chocolate cravings or using up those ripe bananas on your counter – you can have both in one. My sixth post in the Banana Bread Fest series

Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – These grew on me so much that I made a second batch just days after the first and I almost never do that with desserts because I’m usually onto something new. The cookies are uber-soft, flexible actually, without being cakey or dry

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, GF) – Roasted vegetables, coconut milk, peanut butter, and peanuts come together for this easy, hearty and smokey-flavored easy soup with so many rich flavor layers going on

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup

Pina Colada Dip (vegan, GF) – Dip that tastes just like the drink and can be made with or without rum. Eating pina coladas is almost as much fun as drinking them

Pina Colada Dip

15 Orange Recipes for Fall – Some of my favorite recipes for the season and all of them are orange

Vegetable lasagna

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Skillet Cookie – When you can’t decide between a chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookie, this has all three so you don’t have to choose. One of the best cookies I’ve ever made

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Skillet Cookie

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Butter – My first attempt at yeast bread baking and this is a foolpoof, goofproof, and no-knead loaf. For anyone who’s scared of yeast, never worked with yeast, or is a bread-baking beginner, or if you like English muffins, this is for you. The cinnamon-sugar-raisin combo is also irresistible but you can make it as plain English muffin bread if preferred

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Butter

Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – Make these with the leftover mac ‘n cheese that’s in a container in your fridge and you’re about to toss because it’s gloppy and no one wants it. That’s exactly the kind  of macaroni you want for these. They remind me of fried cheese curds, but they’re baked

Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – This cake is falling-apart-soft and moist. I had wanted to make a pudding cake for awhile and had just the ripe bananas to do it with. The glaze is great on this cake and it was my seventh, and final, recipe in the Banana Bread Fest series

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast with Vanilla Maple Butter – Bread marinates overnight in a mixture of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, sugar, and spices and it’s baked off the next morning for a bread pudding-meets French toast-meets pull-apart Monkey bread. A vrtually effortless hot breakfast that’s perfect for day-old bread, lazy weekend mornings, brunches, or holiday gatherings and the syrup is scrumptious

Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast with Vanilla Maple Butter

Sunflower Seed Butter Bars with Chocolate Drizzle (no-bake, vegan, GF) – 10 minutes to make and no refined sugar is added to the dough mixture, just dates, oats, and sunflower seed butter, or use another favorite nut butter. The bars are perfect for kids who are in peanut-free schools who had to give up peanut butter-based granola bars, but not anymore with these

Sunflower Seed Butter Bars with Chocolate Drizzle

Pumpkin and Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole (vegan, GF) – Makes a great holiday side dish or make it for dinner and eat the planned leftovers throughout the week. Uses up the last of the pumpkin puree in the can you didn’t know what to do with

Pumpkin and Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole

Blueberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Vanilla Glaze – I had been thinking about the yogurt cakes I used to eat over a decade ago and made this one using blueberry Greek yogurt. Springy, moist, and easy with the tang of lemon to complement the blueberries

Blueberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Vanilla Glaze

Nanaimo Bars (no-bake) – An ode to Canada’s national dessert, these decadent three-layered bars start with an almond flour-coconut-cocoa powder-buttery crust, with a rich creamy custard-butttercream filling, topped with a slick of buttery chocolate. The bars were on my radar screen for ages but a series of events almost forced my hand to make them as I detailed in the post and I’m so glad I did. They look complicated but within a half hour or so, you can knock them out. Extremely rich and satisfying and would be perfect on a holiday dessert platter

Nanaimo Bars

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe, vegan} – I used to go to Outback for the bread, not the steak. Now I can make my own bread. If you’ve never made bread before, this is a good one to try. Lightly sweetened with tons of hearty texture, I have made this recipe at least 10 times this past month

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread

Other posts, events, and reflections:

The Huffington Post named as one of the 10 Best Food Bloggers: HuffPost’s Top 10 Picks (slide 7 of 11) October 5, 2012. To be recognized by the Huffington Post as one of ten best food bloggers is an extremely high honor and something I am very proud of, grateful for, and so appreciative of the recognition. It really made my month; and year!

I was nominated as one of the Top 25 Recipe Blogs by SkinnyScoop, Oct 12, 2012. Again, I am very grateful to make this list and be in the company of some truly great people.

I hosted eight giveaways this month on my blog, everything from a Keurig to a KitchenAid Stand Mixer to books to a LeCreuset Enamaled Cast Iron Skillet with other food, snacks, and books in between. Whew, that was a lot of giveaways! Although some bloggers never host giveaways, if a vendor contacts me and wants to share their products with my readers, I tend to say yes and host it. Sometimes it’s for something big and of great monetary value and other times it’s just a box of few boxes of cereal or something simple, but to the person who wins, it’s free and it’s a gift and I’m sure it makes that person happy. Giveaways take time to organize and to coordinate efforts with the vendor, but I host them to try to spread the love and share the wealth with my readers and to give back to those who read my blog.

At the end of August I discussed my desire to post more classic-style recipes. Less over the top, less sugar for the sake of just adding sugar because someone on Pinterest might think it’s ‘yummy’; less crazy conglomerations of ingredients. Sharing recipes that people will actually make is important to me I believe it was a successful month in that regard. I posted two banana-based recipes, recipes number six and seven in my Banana Bread Fest series (all seven recipes are here) and retired the series in favor of moving on to fall, winter, and pre-holiday recipes now. I can move back to bananas in the spring and summer but lately molasses and ginger is speaking louder.

I posted two no-bake vegan granola bars, one peanut butter based and one sunflower seed butter based, although both are highly adaptable. I posted four cakes: one Bundt, one brownie-meets-cake, one pudding cake, and one yogurt cake.

I only posted four pumpkin recipes, one per week. This could have been double. Or triple, but I refrained. Included in the pumpkin recipes, was a breakfast recipe. Breakfast recipes are something I lack for on my blog because I’m not into big pancake, French toast, and waffle kind of mornings. Now I have a French toast recipe, and I had vegan gluten-free pancakes, from 2010. I guess I should get cracking on those waffles. Maybe in 2014 I’ll get there.

I posted four savory recipes, which as discussed here, is much harder because most savory food needs to be photographed when it’s hot and immediately after making it to look it’s best, whereas desserts can be made any time, and I always make them ahead of time and at my leisure, and can also sit out without degrading. But I try one savory dish per week and this month had cheese dip, roasted vegetable soup, mac ‘n cheese balls, baked potatoes and pumpkin, and one the 15 Orange Recipes roundup had quite a few savory suggestions.

I made a skillet cookie, something I had wanted to do for years, and finally did. I loved the way it turned out because it combined three favorite cookies into one. To anyone on the fence about popping a hundred bucks for a Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron, do it. It’s 100 percent worth it. I have made more impromptu dinners in it the past month by tossing everything from frozen or fresh vegetables to noodles to pre-cooked rice to potatoes in it, crack a couple eggs on top or add a can of beans or a can of cream of mushroom soup over the top and and bake until bubbly, usually about 45 minutes at 400F.  We’ve had some pantry clean-out specials, which has been a nice bonus, but everything has turned out wonderfully. I love the skillet for the ease, but Scott and Skylar have also loved it as dinners became more creative and varied this month, thanks to one new pan.

I made Nanamio Bars, something that spoke to me and I just had to make them. I’m glad I tackled them and can crossed them off my bucket to-make list. Next up, homemade puff pastry.  Kidding.

Most importantly, I really got into bread making. I posted two recipes this month, English muffins and Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread, but have at least four or five more yeast-based recipes coming in the weeks ahead. Like pumpkin, I plan to dole out yeast bread recipe one per week, as not to overwhelm anyone in yeasty fermentation, but I’m so in love with the process, as well as the bread. If there’s anything you should know, it’s not hard, don’t be scared to try, and the worst that can happen is you waste four cups of flour and a packet of yeast. Unlike cookie dough which can have some expensive chocolate or even a cup or two of peanut butter in it, basic bread dough is pretty cheap and if you mess up, great; you learned something for next time. I’ve learned so much this month and it’s been invigorating and recharging. Bread is classic and I’ve always wanted to know how to make it and am self-teaching myself as I go and sharing what I can in my bread recipe posts.

Happy Halloween! Tonight Skylar will be dressing up as princess in head to toe pink, her choice. Yes, she’s been one for each of the five years she’s been alive. She’s so excited about trick-or-treating.

Previous Month Recaps:

January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012

Winner of the South Beach Bars Giveaway is Melissa @ Treats with a Twist

Winner of the Cuisinart for Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker Giveaway is Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

What did you make or do in October that was memorable?

Tell me about your month!

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