Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole



Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole

Grateful. That is what I am. It may seem obvious given what holiday is tomorrow, but honestly if I had to chose one word to describe life right now, that would be it. Grateful. I feel full of bittersweet blessings that, thank God above, have only made life richer and worth savoring and the occasion of this holiday all the more important.

I can always find things to be thankful for: a full belly, a roof over my head, and health, for example, but this year I find myself being the most​appreciative of three things that I most certainly do not want to take for granted.

Number one…

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole


My body.

Now, hopefully this doesn’t sound vain, but by the wonders of the world my body helped create a new, living thing that I now am lucky to call a daughter. Admittedly, I am not a stranger to a hearty dose of negative self-​criticism about how I look, how much I exercise, and how my clothes fit. It has been an easy trap for me to fall into. Today and this past year,​ I am very grateful for not what my human body has not done, but instead what an amazing gift it is. Not because of its physical a​ppearance, but instead of what it can physically do.

Number two…

 Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole


Yes, the kind that can make you double over in a fit of giggles. The past months have been tough for my family. We said goodbye to my grandmother, but in so many recountings ​of memories we find ourselves laughing. It feels so good. For that I am grateful.

And lastly…

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole


Finally, I am so blessed by the man who sits besides me in so many ways and endlessly supports all my crazy ideas. Ryan, my sweet, shy-away-from-the-spotlight, present husband. My hero. And for him I am featuring this Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole with marshmallows​.

I asked him a few weeks ago that very important and personality-​revealing question​,​”W​hat is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?” t​o which he replied​,​”Sweet potatoes. Hands down. With marshmallows.” For the record, this has never been my dish of choice, but hey he’s my hubby.

So, I set out to make the yummiest sweet potato casserole of ALL time (or at least for this ​Thanksgiving).

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole  

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole 

The key is roasting the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them. I followed and altered a recipe from Serious Eats that involves browning butter to add flavor. Rich and delicious.

Then I came up with a crunchy cranberry and pecan topping that’s ​sure to please. Of course, it includes the customary marshmallows all sticky and sweet. Put it all together and what do ya got? One heck of a casserole that leaves even more to be thankful for. Try it and see for yourself!

Thanks to YOU.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the readers of The Cooking Canvas. I am humbled and honored by your readership, comments, ​questions, and support. To all of you, I wish you ​a happy and healthy Thanksgiving filled with grateful blessings.


What are YOU thankful for?

And be sure to subscribe to The Cooking Canvas. It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on FacebookPinterestInstagramTwitter, and…now…BlogHer

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole
Yields 10
A delicious sweet potato casserole perfect for Thanksgiving or any occasion.
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  1. 4 pound sweet potatoes - about 8 medium sized potatoes or 4 very large potatoes
  2. 6 tablespoons butter
  3. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 8 oz. bag of pecans
  6. 8 oz. bag of dried cranberries
  7. 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 3 cups marshmallows
For Cranberry and Pecan Crunch
  1. In a large pan place sugar, pecans, and cranberries under medium high heat.
  2. Stir continuously until sugar melts and ingredients stick together about 7 minutes. Be careful not to burn the pecans.
  3. Transfer onto a greased sheet of tin foil to cool. Set aside.
To Roast and Mash the Potatoes
  1. Set oven to 300°F.
  2. Place two large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil on a work surface.
  3. Working one sheet at a time, place half of potatoes in center and fold up foil and crimp edges to seal tightly.
  4. Repeat with other half of potatoes.
  5. Transfer pouches baking sheet and place in the oven.
  6. Roast until a thin skewer inserted into the potatoes shows no resistance, about 2 hours.
  7. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  8. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling gently until particles are pale golden brown and smell nutty.
  9. Immediately transfer to a large bowl.
  10. Add maple syrup.
  11. Peel sweet potatoes and discard skins.
  12. Add flesh to bowl with butter and syrup.
  13. Using a hand mixer or with a hand masher, mash potatoes until fluffy.
  14. Season to taste with salt.
  15. Spread potatoes on the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish.
  16. Alternate toppings of marshmallows and pecan cranberry topping.
  17. Place casserole dish in a 350 degree oven for at least 25 minutes until potatoes are warmed through.
  18. Broil for 3-5 minutes to brown marshmallows.
  19. Serve warm.
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Pumpkin Puff Pastry Pie


Pumpkin Puff

Tic, toc, tic, toc. The countdown is ON and I have a declaration to make. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And it has been for as long as I can remember.

Normally, I am not one to declare a favorite whatever. You know…a favorite band, a favorite color, a favorite book. Seriously, my Facebook profile is witness to this. It’s nearly impossible for me to decide on such absolutes and there are just too many options out there.

Pumpkin Puff

Plus, I think having favorites tends to limit us. Once we have a favorite something or other, it feels like it ALWAYS has to be. Such commitment! I mean, one day I might love a chocolate chip cookie (or seven) and will go on and on about how delicious those little buggers are and the next day I might cozy up to some classic sugar cookies without regret.

My point is that the words “my favorite” are sacred and should be reserved for the most-special-of-special situations. And winds do change.

Pumpkin Puff

For the record (for those keeping track), my “favorite” cookie…or cookie of choice at the moment…would have to be oatmeal raisin (the oatmeal is supposed to help with breastfeeding…but who really knows…and any excuse I have to eat a cookie, I will take).

My present book of choice is, Bringing Up Bébé an insightful narrative about how an American mother (an appreciatively non-parenting expert) is raising her children in France and the observations she has made.

Finally, the color that has recently captured my fancy, besides my crimson red dish last week, is well…pink. Yup, that baby girl pink. My nails are even that color as I type!

I’m saying that “favorites” can be temporary. I’ll transition to other books I love, gingersnaps may be my next kick, and I do not expect my favorite color to always be pink. It just is right now as I hold my baby girl in my arms. And by the way, is Miss M really almost six weeks old already?

Wow. Apparently my current “favorites” have everything to do with little Miss M (Miss M is the name I have decided to deem her as I have a very real fear of her googling herself later in life and being mortified about what I wrote about her.) Probably unfounded. And wait, she can probably just type Miss M in the google search bar at the top of this page! Oh well.

Are you ready for the recipe yet? Hold on. Just a few more words.

Pumpkin Puff

But, back to Thanksgiving. I am very comfortable (as declared above) that Thanksgiving is my favorite, favorite holiday. That’s right. Favorite. Twice. The sacred and purposeful word.

Why Thanksgiving?

The first rationale might seem obvious. Food. Yes, as a food blogger and foodie it makes sense, but it’s not only because the focus is on food and away from the often-overwhelming and frankly over the top obsession with consumerism of the Christmas holiday, it’s because EVERYONE can celebrate Thanksgiving.

It’s not religiously exclusive or belief-system based.

It’s not political.

It’s not about one person.

It’s not about the material goods.

It’s about having a meal, talking, and being thankful. Something everyone can do.

Pumpkin Puff

Speaking of something everyone can do…in comes this Pumpkin Puff Pastry Pie. I know, it’s about time I get to the good stuff.

In my family, everyone is assigned a dish or two to bring to the table. This year, I am all things orange (besides the brilliant red No Cook Cranberry Sauce I posted last week): sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie. I’m even going above and beyond by making a pumpkin cheesecake as well!

Anyway, the idea of dealing with a bunch of flour to make a crust with a newborn home sounded like a mess waiting to happen, and time I quite frankly didn’t have (finding time to accomplish the slightest of household tasks is, as I’m experiencing, extremely hard to come by).

So, while in the frozen food aisle the other day, I saw these pre-prepared puff pastry sheets. I thought, why not try that as the crust? Let me tell you…GENIUS! It was easy, quick, looked amazing, and has the perfect crunch and the golden brown of a homemade crust!

The cinnamon streusel topping is the cherry on top. It gives the crunch and sweetness that many non-pumpkin pie fans can appreciate. In fact, my husband, Ryan, responded, and I quote, “Pumpkin pie doesn’t do that much for me, but the crumble on this brings flavors together…are you making this for Thanksgiving?” Turns out Thursday will be his lucky day.

Pumpkin Puff

A few confessions about this recipe. First, as already mentioned, the crust is not exactly from scratch, but personally and creatively assembled (I detail this in the instructions).

Second, the smooth and creamy pumpkin filling is from a very secret recipe that can be found on the back of any 15 oz. can of pumpkin.

Third, I got the idea to add a crunchy streusel-like topping from a muffin recipe that I recently made.

In a nutshell, or should I say pie shell, ha! if you are short on time but want your dessert to be special, make this new twist on the classic pumpkin pie that is made with love and intention. Nothing too complicated, definitely homemade, and most importantly something you can be thankful for.

Just in time for this very special and grateful holiday.

And if you’re trying out this recipe and/or last week’s No Cook Cranberry Sauce, be sure to let me know what you thought by writing your comments below.

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on FacebookPinterestInstagramTwitter, and…now…BlogHer!



Pumpkin Puff Pastry Pie
Yields 8
Make this new twist on the classic pumpkin pie that is made with love and intention. Just in time for this very special and grateful holiday.
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For pie
  1. 1 package of pre-made puff pastry (found in frozen foods) - usually contains 2 sheets of pastry
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  4. 1 - 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  5. 3/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
For crunchy-struesel topping
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 2/3 cup flour
  3. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. 1/2 cup butter cut into cubes
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Follow thawing instructions on the back of the puff pastry box.
  3. Once thawed unfold sheets and lay in a pie plate.
  4. Fold down excess edges into the center. Crust will have a rustic look.
  5. For filling, beat eggs in a large bowl.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  7. Pour filling into the pie crust.
  8. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  9. While pie is baking, combine ingredients of the crunchy topping together with a pastry cutter or hands until a coarse meal is formed. Set aside.
  10. After first 15 minutes of cooking, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes longer.
  11. If the center of the pie is somewhat solidified, crumble the streusel topping on top of the pumpkin filling and bake for another 15 minutes until a knife can be inserted and comes out clean.
  12. Cool 1 to 2 hours after baking, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  1. Aluminum foil might be necessary to tent over the pie while it is baking to prevent the crust from over-browning.
  2. Every oven is different so attention must be paid to the center of the filling as it is baking. The crunchy topping should not be applied unless the filling is somewhat solid.
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No Cook Cranberry Sauce


No Cook Cranberry Sauce

Bleh. Blah. Boring. Such words should never be associated with Thanksgiving – especially the food. Have you ever noticed, though, that many Thanksgiving staples – the stuffing, the turkey, mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole, for example, all have similar color palettes?

The same, albeit delicious, golds, browns, and beiges are in abundance. 

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

Load up your plate with such dishes and, well, the plate can look a little blase. As an artist, foodie, and now new mother, I simply cannot allow this to happen.  

What can be done, you ask, to avoid this drab dinner?

Da da da da!!! Craaaaaanberry sauce!

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

But not the stiff burgundy colored gel-like substance that comes in a can. You know what I’m talking about. Kids don’t touch it, teenages eye-ball it suspiciously at best. And as an adult you wonder if it’s actually made from horse hooves.

No, I mean a real cranberry sauce. And a healthy-for-ya-bod, fat-free cranberry sauce! Check out the **nutritional label** below the recipe. 

And in honor of my late grandmother, whose mantra was “always put color on the plate” I think this No Cook Cranberry Sauce does just that. The deep crimson and bright sunset colors of cranberry cure the color conundrum of Thanksgiving. Yes, I am pleased with that alliteration.

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite photos of B.B. Sassy and classy all at once.

I actually thought of my grandmother, who we affectionately called B.B., when making this. She loved tart, tangy, and sweet savory combinations. This will be our first Thanksgiving without her plate at the table and I know she would have loved this sauce and what it does to enhance both palettes of the plate and the tongue.

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

Just like my B.B., this cranberry sauce is sassy and anything but ordinary. She had many more mantras. One of my favorites being that “all the money in the world can’t buy good taste.” One could apply that to food too. You can buy the best ingredients in the world, but you have to know what to do with them.

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

Oh, yes, did I mention that this stuff doesn’t touch the stove top! That’s right, no flame or heat needed. So while the oven and stove are occupied with other dishes, you just need to whip out the food processor. Boom.

The texture of the citrus and berry fruits marinate together with a subtle hint of fresh ginger will add a boost to your turkey slice and mashed potatoes but be absolutely AMAZING as an addition to the leftover turkey sandwich you make the next day. Which personally I’m very much looking forward to!

No Cook Cranberry Sauce

Have any of you made a dish especially for its spectrum of color? For Thanksgiving or otherwise? Please share below! Yes, you just read an invitation for you to post. Like you don’t have anything better to do, right?

So, to perk up the dull (colored) dishes of the special day, try this splash of color. 

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!




No Cook Cranberry Sauce
Add a splash of color and flavor to your Thanksgiving plate. A tart and tangy sauce to compliment any dish.
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  1. 4 cups fresh cranberries
  2. 2 peeled oranges
  3. 2 peeled and cored green apples
  4. 1 sliced whole lemon
  5. 1 pinch of fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 cup red raspberry preserves - with or without seeds
  7. 2 cups sugar
  1. In a food processor, process cranberries, oranges, apples, lemon and ginger separately.
  2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients with red raspberry preserves and sugar.
  3. Refrigerate until serving.
  1. The sauce is a wonderful addition to turkey sandwiches for leftovers!
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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size : 1/4 cup or 1 heaping spoonful
Servings Per Container : 12

Amount Per Serving
Calories 73 Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat g 0%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber g 0%
Sugars 14g
Protein 1g 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sautéed Kale Salad


Sautéed Kale Salad
In the mood for a healthy, cleansing, and plain delicious dish?

It’s been a while since I posted a green recipe, one filled with nothing but the GOOD stuff for you, as the past few posts…the Yumprint Tutorial aside…have been filled with such yumminess as pumpkin, butter, apple, and sugar. And as I write that I’m now salivating! Not that I’m an unhealthy eater, but I feel like a salad. A good one.

So to prove that The Cooking Canvas is versatile in all things homemade and delicious, today I bring you a super simple recipe that I have been making lately: the Sautéed Kale Salad. Seriously folks, it is easy as pie…


Sautéed Kale Salad

You’ll need a kale/spinach salad mix. I found mine at a Sam’s Club, but I have seen them in non-membership stores as well (Wally World is one of them).

Why a mix? Well, kale tends to be on the bitter side and mixing it with the palette pleaser of spinach blends the flavors nicely. You can also make your own salad mix with fresh kale, spinach, and some shredded carrots.

Personally, the pre-mix is more up my alley. What can I say? A new baby at home ers me on the lazy side when it comes to food prep. Mothers reading this…you have my back here, right?

Sautéed Kale Salad

Speaking of lazy, this vegetable dish has been especially lovely these past few weeks as Ryan and I are adjusting to parenthood.

It is AMAZING how the day flies by and I realize I haven’t “accomplished” much. Feeding, diaper changing, sleep strategizing, and maybe showering are at the top of my list of to-dos. Normally, on a day when not at work I would have a litany of tasks deemed essential to be complete. Family, friends, blogs, books, and pamphlets from parenting class all had warned me – that my idea of a day would be altered.

But like this? SERIOUSLY?

Don’t get me wrong. I am over the moon with this new and special journey of motherhood and feeling beyond blessed. But I can’t imagine having a newborn at home without a supportive spouse and family.

That said, a new appreciation for sleep (and healthiness in general) and easy-to-prepare, time-saving food has certainly grown. Hence, the sharing of this sauteed kale salad.

Sautéed Kale Salad

Sautéed Kale Salad

Sautéed Kale Salad

Not only is this salad easy and a healthy side, but the bright green and red colors will bring life to any plate.

Bottom line- it’s pretty to look at. Can’t you just feeeeel yourself getting healthier? Seriously, stare at the picture.

Sautéed Kale Salad

**Another important note**: I mentioned that this dish is quick…and I mean like don’t leave it alone on the stove for more than 20 seconds quick. Any kale/spinach/lettuce type leaf will cook in a flash and without notice turn into a limp and soggy mess, which no one likes. I don’t say this to frighten you from attempting this recipe, but because I love you, my dears.

Not frightening, however, is the ingredients list…


 Olive oil.

 Cherry Tomatoes.


 Kale/spinach mix.

 Salt and Pepper.

Boom. That’s it. (Notice the lack of butter and sugar.)

Now that I have comforted you, let me describe the steps. Get ready to feel even better.

  1. Heat olive oil in pan.
  2. Add tomatoes and garlic.
  3. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Add handfuls of kale mix.
  5. Stir around. Literally for maximum of three minutes. For real.
  6. Serve.


* For those of you who like more detail, don’t worry. It’s described in more detail on the recipe below.


Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!



Sautéed Kale Salad


Sautéed Kale Salad
Yields 2
A great green side that is quick to make, pretty to look at, and delicious.
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes - halved
  3. 1 tablespoon garlic - chopped
  4. 2 handfuls of kale/spinach salad mix
  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once pan and oil is hot add garlic and cook until fragrant - approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir.
  4. Add handfuls of kale salad mix and cook just until the leaves lose a bit of their form. Leaves will cook very quickly.
  5. Serve!
  1. A great side dish to a fish or poultry dish.
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Yumprint Tutorial




Introducing the new tutorial for Yumprint, a place where the recipes you love are taken to the next level.

Howdy readers! Awhile back I realized that I needed to share one of the handiest and dandiest tools that I have found that helps me not only organize my recipes that I post, but also other ones I find online. Sure, I am a BIG fan of Pinterest and find all sorts of inspiration there for the future, but Yumprint helps me organize what I want to make in the present and what I have made in the past. **Plus!** There is a grocery list feature that I use on my iPhone. Yes, I am one of those people in the grocery store with my phone in hand. Don’t judge me, join me! 

So to help explain how awesome Yumprint really is….Drumroll please! Bummmmm dadadadadadada……

The Cooking Canvas excitingly offers you a full-on Yumprint tutorial on how you can easily and conveniently plan your weekly meals, save your favorite recipes, and add ingredients to your shopping list without touching a pen or paper. Sounds cool, right?

So what is Yumprint, you ask? How do you use it? 

Click the menu tab called “Yumprint” located at the top of the menu bar. Or, click here

A side note, The Cooking Canvas is not endorsed in any way by Yumprint. We are just your friendly food blog hoping to make homemade food easier for you! 


Happy Halloween


It’s Halloween and you know what’s scary? Time. Yes, that’s right. Time is scary. Time is like a silent ghost that passes in the night. You feel its presence and you know it was there, but can’t explain how it got there, or where it went. Sure, it’s a huge treat – treat as in gift – that I am…you are…well, we ALL are…blessed to have, or blessed to HAVE had. Thinking of time this way may seem a bit strange and amazing, but hey, that is what Halloween is about…strange and amazing. 

Happy Halloween

As I look back at what I posted last Halloween (yummy pigs in a blanket and zucchini, pesto, and garlic soup, (a.k.a. Mummy Fingers and Goblin Soup) on The Cooking Canvas, scary is a word that applies. Where did a whole year go? A lot has certainly happened not only with the blog – new recipes, added features, huge increase in readership – but in life. We now have our own little BOO (I apologize if baby pictures are not  your thing, but com’on…she’s all dressed up for Halloween!)!

Happy Halloween

Honestly, the countless hours since last All Hallow’s Eve spent on creating yummy homemade recipes as well as now marveling at how quickly the past two weeks of life in parenthood has FLOWN by is astonishing and frightening. You guessed it, like Halloween.

As you give out candy tonight, prepare a spooky meal, or maybe are having a quiet evening at home, I thank you for the time you have spent with me on The Cooking Canvas and I wish you a very scary, and happy, Halloween

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!



Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds


Pumpkin Seeds

Superfoods. What’s that mean? As a girl who really views most foods as super, this term is sort of misplaced. When I hear the word, I imagine cheese with a cape, or flying almonds that save kittens from trees.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

But we all are familiar with the term and what it really means. Superfoods are foods that are supposedly packed full of good things for you, from antioxidants to omega-3 fatty acids, things that you should just eat more of. On the list are foods like kale, spinach, blueberries, green tea.

Others resemble in their natural states actual human body parts! Yes you just read that. It’s true. Think about how walnuts look like brains, how a transected carrot parallels the human eye, how kidney beans resemble…you guessed it…kidneys! Don’t believe me? Google it.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

But a superfood you may not have heard of is, and is oh-so-season appropriate, the PUMPKIN SEED. Want proof? I’ll provide links for you on this one. Click here, here, and here. You’re welcome.

So, in effort to balance out the Halloween candy (a different kind of super) and sugar explosion, it makes sense to feature a superfood, a healthful snack that not only extinguishes a salty craving, but gives you a good excuse to carve those pumpkins and get your hands dirty in some orangy guts. Plus, now you know what to do with ‘em instead of to-the-garbage-they-go.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

A few days ago, Ryan and I (and Madeline, although she took a much less active role) cranked up the spooky tunes on Pandora and did just that. Check out our talents below!

Pumpkin Seeds

Can you guess who carved which one? Well, let’s just say Ryan’s was clever and sweet – see the M + M and R as the mouth? Mine is the one with the mustache. I am particularly pleased with the eyebrows, aren’t you? Little Miss Madeline had some help, but hers is the universal sign for female (we thought it was funny, keep in mind we are a bit sleep deprived).

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Some avoid roasting pumpkin seeds because sifting through the goopy glop of the pumpkin seems so unappetizing, but let me tell you folks, it really isn’t that bad. Seriously, just go for it. It’s…super.

Pumpkin Seeds

There are a lot of recipes out there to add sugar and cinnamon to just plain salt to pumpkin seeds – all good ideas – but I thought to add curry and paprika instead. Boom. What a flavor. Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, superpower-style. Pop them by themselves or toss with a salad, sprinkle on a soup like this Butternut Squash Soup or Red Lentil Soup, or add to a snack mix like Chex-Mix. Options are endless…

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

The curry really brings out the pumpkin flavor of the seeds. We had two large pumpkins and one smaller one and gleaned about 2 generous cups of seeds. So, going with that ratio, you might get ¾ cup per pumpkin as you carve.

You ready? Lay down some newspaper, bust out the carving knives, roll up your sleeves, and go harvest for some superfood while you celebrate the season.

More superfood and super recipes are here at The Cooking Canvas.


Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Yields 2
A post-carving pumpkin savory snack and topping for autumnal soups and salads.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
  1. 2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds (taken from three fresh pumpkins)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  4. 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon curry powder
  6. 1 teaspoon paprika
  1. While carving pumpkins separate seeds from the guts of the pumpkin and place on a separate jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.
  2. Once all seeds are collected, rinse seeds under water in a colander. Swish seeds around to remove remaining pumpkin.
  3. Place a cloth towel (a paper towel will stick to seeds) onto pan and then layer seeds to dry.
  4. Allow seeds to dry completely from rinsing on cloth.
  5. Once seeds are dry preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove cloth and lay seeds on the jelly roll pan.
  7. Drizzle olive oil onto seeds.
  8. Sprinkle all seasonings evenly onto seeds.
  9. Mix seeds around to throughly coat each seeds with seasoning.
  10. Once mixed, place pan in oven for 15 minutes or until the seeds become a rich, golden yellow.
  11. Allow seeds to cool before tasting and enjoying.
  1. All seasonings can be added more or less to taste.
  2. Enjoy the seeds by themselves or as a yummy topping to a soup, salad, or an addition to a mixed-nut bowl.
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Apple Almond Torte


Apple Almond Torte

First off, I need to clarify to you, my dear readers, that this torte recipe was planned for a post exactly one week ago…then I went from this: 

apple almond torte


To this: 


Apple Almond Torte


That’s right folks! We had a BABY! 

In case you missed it and want to see some more pictures of our little girl, Madeline Louise, check out the guest post by my husband, Ryan, the new Daddy, earlier this week. It’s packed full of good “sh*t” (word purposefully used; read his post and you’ll understand).  In short, Madeline came about 10 days early. She is healthy, happy, and doing all the things that newborns do. I, too, am feeling healthy, happy, and doing all things that first-time Moms do. That said, over the coming weeks, I hope to post at least once a week, but everyone and their brother says I should take it easy. So, cut The Cooking Canvas some slack if something might seem delayed and lagging. Kinda like how I feel, but it’s all good! 

So, let’s get back to this nutty, savory, smells like heaven, and satisfies the taste of the gods torte.

Apples and almonds. I just like the way those two words sound together. Actually, it sounds like a pretty good blog name come to think of it, or maybe a daycare center. Why did I think of that? Baby on the brain?


Anything apple has also been on my brain. Since the leaves outside have started changing, apples have been on my list…I track ‘em down and use them any way I can in the kitchen.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Turns out that apples and almonds not only sound like they are destined for each other, but they are meant to have a big ol’ party on your taste buds together, moving and grooving to the scrumptious symphony (alliteration, anyone?) of cinnamon and butter enter this heavenly Apple Almond Torte recipe. Too bold a claim? I don’t care, ’cause it’s true.

Want some more alliteration? This terrific tasting torte is not only palette pleasing, but it is particularly panoramically pretty, too. Okay, moving on…

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

I had the BEST time getting those slices of apples to all fit beautifully into the springform pan. I might have even exercised my French with a “Damn, that looks good!” before sliding it in the oven. Pardone-moi!

But what does it TASTE like?

Like you suddenly started speaking French.

Cette Almond Torte Apple a une croûte croustillante et de noisette que les transitions dans un doux , tarte , et le goût de pomme acidulée qui fera que vous voulez avoir quelques secondes, voire tiers. Since you haven’t tried it, though, you’ll need the translation.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte 

Apple Almond Torte

Do YOU ever find recipe inspiration in the darndest places? I do. Seriously, I have family recipes that have been taken from the back of cereal boxes and newspaper cuttings (which proves there is an alternative to Pinterest afterall).

To that point, the origins of this Apple Almond Torte recipe I stumbled upon in one of my favorite local magazines, Radish Magazine (pg. 12), and although it was called a “cake”, I believe that “torte” is the more appropriate term for this fabulous dessert. Why? Well, I found this nugget of information from trusty ol’ Google. And if Google says it, it’s gotta be true, right?

Torte vs. Cake

Ingredients Difference – A traditional cake is made with ingredients mainly consisting of sugar, eggs, butter and flour. A torte, however, calls for little to no flour and the use of ground nuts or breadcrumbs in its place. This change of ingredients causes the torte to be much heavier in both texture and taste.

Boom. There you have it. Verdict out.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

It doesn’t really matter what you call it, though. You should bust out some green granny smiths and give this a go. FYI: It also plates beautifully with some rich vanilla ice cream.

Okay, thanks as always to YOU, my dedicated readers. I am so joyful that I can bring to you what I genuinely LOVE doing: creating in the kitchen. I look forward to your comments!

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!


  Apple Almond Torte  

Apple Almond Torte
A fall dessert with an irresistible nutty sweetness.
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  1. 1/4 cup almonds
  2. 3/4 cup flour
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
  6. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 3 Granny Smith or other tart apples
  1. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1 egg
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan.
  3. In a food processor, combine and pulse almonds and 1/4 cup flour until a course meal is formed.
  4. Add rest of flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter and pulse until butter is granular.
  5. Add the almond extract and egg and blend well - mixture will be like wet sand.
  6. Using your fingertips press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  7. Place pan in refrigerator to chill.
  8. While torte is chilling peel and core apples and cut into very thin slices.
  9. Remove torte from fridge and stick apple slices into the torte batter, packing them tightly. Leave about a 1/4 inch rim around the outer edge.
  10. Place torte in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. While torte is baking melt the remaining butter, allow it to cool, then whisk it together with the remaining sugar, cinnamon and egg until a thick slurry is formed.
  12. After torte has baked for 45 minutes, pour the thick topping over the cake as evenly as possible - start in the center of the cake and circle outward.
  13. Place torte back in the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
  14. Once baked, allow torte to cool completely before removing the sides of the spring form pan. A knife can be scraped along the edges to prevent sticking.
  15. Serve and enjoy!
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream for an extra treat!
Adapted from Radish Magazine
Adapted from Radish Magazine
The Cooking Canvas


Madeline’s Dirty Diaper Ale


Dirty Diaper Ale 

Helloooooo, Cooking Canvas readers!

Are you ready for a humdinger (yes, I did just use that word) of a post? And be warned…this is a long one!

But first, I’d like to spare those of you who are not interested in beer (or maybe you prefer to buy yours or simply enjoy a bottle of wine) or babies whatsoever a few precious minutes. In other words, you can stop reading here.

BUT. If you:

(a) Are a new father or mother or know any new parent (s);

(b) Are curious about making beer or you already enjoy make beer;

(c) Are searching for a celebratory beer recipe or homemade brew recipe;

(d) Have been following or have contributed to my Kickstarter campaign; and/or

(e) Are curious about Baby D….

…then you’ve GOTTA keep reading.

In case it is not obvious, this is Ryan here. Megan has graciously allowed me the opportunity to momentarily take over her blog to reveal an unusual little beer project and to publish a recipe, along with the names of its contributors. So, let’s all take a minute and raise our glasses (yes, go pour yourself a cold one) to The Cooking Canvas CEO, Megan, for letting her annoying, he-must-have-nothing-else-to-do-with-his-free-time husband take over for this one. Meg: thanks, love.

Before beer, though, we have a HUGE announcement!

In case you haven’t heard, Baby D. (now, Madeline Louise) has officially arrived!

Let’s put our hands together again, this time for Mamma AND Baby! Hooray!! At a sizable 7 pounds, 9 ounces, little Madeline joined us last Friday morning. She is healthy and happy (um…as much as a newborn can be) and I’m learning all kinds of good stuff, from the adorable “moro” to new words like “meconium” to redefining what love really is.

I have particularly enjoyed watching her eyes open for the first time, feeling how delicate she is in my hands, and walking out from the hospital to the many sights and sounds of reality. I’m still getting used to her serenading us on the hour, every hour with her wails and the dance that ensues. Our little honeycomb. I…we…feel very blessed, indeed.

photo 1-5

photo 2-3

Anyway, back to recipes, this is probably the most unique, albeit ridiculous, one you’ve ever laid eyes on.

And if you know ANYTHING about beer, you’ll know that beer companies don’t exactly advertise it when they taste like “crap” (get it? dirty diaper? crap?).

Well, ladies and gentlemen (ARE there gentlemen reading this?), this homebrew recipe is. In fact, it’s downright deplorable. And I take pride in that. Why? Because handing out bottles of homebrew that not only I made, but co-made with a dozen other cool-^&$ people, in order to celebrate the arrival of Madeline is something that no else has EVER done, to my knowledge.


So, a little background.

Back in August, I created a Kickstarter campaign titled “Dirty Diaper Ale“. My goal was to fund a little project in which we (various contributors and I) would co-create a beer…a celebratory homemade brew…to distribute to friends and family instead of traditional cigars upon the arrival of lil’ Baby D. Ingredients for the brew would be requested by folks who contributed $5.00 or more, with opportunities to receive varying fun little gifts in return. No rules (except edible and safe) on the requested ingredients…the crazier, the better.

The beer, though, would have a theme, the dirty diaper, and would aim to represent the diaper change experience, something that I personally had NEVER done before and absolutely DREADED doing. The beer would ideally possess such qualities as a disgusting color and/or a strange smell. The idea, of course, is that like a changing a diaper, it’s really not that bad. Don’t get me wrong, that tar-filled first diaper change was absolutely, mind-blowingly disgusting.

But once wipees are warmed and the ol’ ankle-hold move mastered, it’s fine for everyone.























So, like I said before, a unique way to welcome Baby D., er…Madeline. Still getting used to how she now has a NAME.

We ended up SMASHING the funding goal of $60 and raised $215! The funds purchased all ingredients necessary, the wicked-cool labels (again, thanks Meg for the design), and the items needed to make and send the rewards to those who participated. e524dda3832db286ff702f2c4d51df29_large   5bcd4fcb9f79bc8691eae55fd1659f8d_large  





Here, I am posting the official recipe for the Dirty Diaper Ale, THE celebratory homemade brew, a.k.a., new dad beer, new parents beer, beer for new baby. Whatever you call it, it’s decent stuff. It’s also a real dirty diaper recipe.

What’s actually in it, you ask?

Well, if you blew by the pictures, above, here’s a summary: The ingredients parallel baby food a bit. The creamy, milky head is significant. It smells not unlike other brews, although I can’t say it smells that great. The color is a spot-on nasty brown. Read the ingredients and you’d expect it to be a LOT worse! Tangible flavors of vanilla, mixed with light sour notes of apple and pumpkin spice, on a backdrop of green chili and jalapeno…what!!??

Overall, it’s a good-tasting beer, in a depressed sense, and it leaves me hanging somewhere in between wanting another sip and not. But maybe that’s just because I know what’s in it.

And to the Kickstarter contributors, the moment you’ve been waiting for: blog stardom.

Your name and your ingredient is below…you’re now officially featured on The Cooking Canvas!

Apple – Mary Dehner, Cheyenne, WY

Pumpkin – Carrie, Cheyenne, WY

Chocolate – Shawn Stoeker, Anamosa, IA

Vanilla – Dustin Kurrle, Ames, IA

“Surprise me” – Liz Grace, Rockford, IL

Honey – Ken Nesbett, Iowa City, IA

Jalapeño – Carlos Ortega Amparan, Solon, IA

Green chili – Benjamin Abeyta, Albuquerque, NM

Hazelnut – Alecia and Evan Bern, Chicago, IL the club!-300x250 banner

A HUGE round of applause to you and a gargantuan THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

And a HUGE shout-out to the two contributors who wished to be unnamed: you know who you are…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. 

If you have comments or questions about the recipe or even about the gear needed to make your own homemade brew, feel free to post here or email Megan. She’ll pass your words on to me.  

In the meantime, if you are a beginner, check out this link…it’s a great place to startBeer kits galore. Okay. I’ll turn it back over to Meg.


Thanks, readers, for putting up with me!






Thanks, Ry! This is Megan and I’ll take it from here.

We’ve got some good posts on their way over the next few weeks, so be on the lookout. As always, a huge ‘thank you’ to my faithful followers. And if you haven’t yet, I invite you to subscribe to The Cooking Canvas on the right. It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe! Just enter your email and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.   And did I mention we’re now on Blogher?? Yey!! Updates

Mr. Beer - Makes a great gift!

Dirty Diaper Ale
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  1. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/4 pound chocolate
  2. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/2 pound caramel 120L
  3. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/2 pound special B
  4. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 2 pounds of 2-row grain
  5. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 2 pounds of Munich grain
  6. (Fermentable) - 2 pounds of plain wheat dry malt extract (DME)
  7. (Fermentable) - 1 bag of Dark Belgium Candi Sugar
  8. Lactose powder - 1 pound
  9. Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
  10. Pumpkin, canned - 2 heaping tablespoons
  11. Apple, extract - 2 teaspoons
  12. Honey - 1/2 cup
  13. Chocolate nibs (organic) - 1 bag
  14. Hazelnut, extract - 1 teaspoon
  15. Vanilla, extract - 1 tablespoon
  16. Jalapeño, fresh - 1, diced with seeds removed
  17. Chopped green chili, canned - 1/2 can
  18. German Hallertau hops - 1 oz.
  19. Tettnang hops - 1 oz.
  20. WPL300 liquid yeast - 1 bottle
  21. Priming sugar - 5 oz (for bottling)
Mash (60 minutes)
  1. Prepare boil pot with strainer bag, attaching well it to sides of pot.
  2. Bring 4 gallons of water to 165 F degree, then pour entire GRAIN BILL in, making sure all grains are inside bag. Stir well as you pour.
  3. Turn off heat and cover pot.
  4. Maintain water at 160 F degrees for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally without puncturing the bag.
  5. Using a broiler pan (or any "sheet" with slots allowing drainage), unclip and carefully lift grain-filled bag out of pot (now heavy), placing it onto broiling pan, which now sits atop your pot, allowing sugar-rich grain water to drain back into pot. Do not squeeze bag.
  6. Begin mash out (optional).
  7. After draining, bag and grains are no longer needed (save spent grains for dog treats?).
Boil (60 minutes)
  1. Bring wort (sugar-rich grain water) to a boil. Put in the following ingredients after the corresponding number of minutes have passed after boiling begins
  2. Dry malt extract - 1 minute
  3. Dark Begium Candi - 1 minute
  4. Brown sugar - 1 minute
  5. Hallertau hops - 15 minutes
  6. Jalapeño and green chili - 15 minutes (use ball strainer)
  7. Pumpkin and pumpkin - 25 minutes
  8. Remove ball strainer with jalapeños and green chili inside and dispose
  9. Honey, chocolate nibs, hazelnut, and vanilla - 45 minutes
  10. Tettnang hops - 45 minutes (1/2 oz)
  11. Lactose - 45 minutes
  12. Tettnang hops - 60 minutes (final 1/2 oz)
  13. Stir well after each addition. Take caution in that some ingredients will inspire a rapid boil-over within seconds. Stirring will prevent this. During the boil, be sure to sanitize all your equipment (wort chiller, fermenter, hydrometer, etc.). And enjoy a cold, frosty beer yourself!
  14. After the 60 minute boil, turn off heat. Cool wort as quickly as possible, covered, to 70-75 F degrees using wort chiller or ice.
  15. Pour wort into fermenter.
  16. Take and record original gravity (OG). Target OG is 1.061 at 65 F degrees.
  17. Pitch yeast and stir.
  18. Cover and fermentation begins.
  1. Allow to ferment at 65 F degrees for two weeks. Take and record final gravity. Target FG is 1.030.
  1. Pour 2 tbsp of vanilla into bottling bucket or keg. Bottle using priming sugar or keg beer as per proper procedures.
  1. This recipe uses a method also referred to as Brew In A Bag (BIAG).
The Cooking Canvas

Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup


Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup
Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup
Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup. Boasting a smooth, consistent texture with zesty red onion and the fresh cilantro. Want the full recipe? Read on.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6


Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup

Anyone tired of turning to the slow cooker for staple dishes like chili or beef stew? Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a mean chili, and am a sucker for a rich beef broth, but this weekend I was in the mood for something with a BIT more adventure…

I really wanted a simple, substantial, standalone soup (say that 5x fast!) that would be a meal staple. So, in what seems like a LONG time ago, I pinned this recipe for a Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup from one of my favorite sites, Serious Eats. So, I decided to give it a try, but not without a few alterations…


Red Lentil Soup

First off, I found out that RED lentils are not an everyday grocery item. Seriously? Yeah, the regular, green lentils are easy to find in the bean aisle and CHEAP to boot, but…after trotting all across town…these little red beauties were finally found in the organic bulk section of a local grocery (go HyVee!). I was bound and determined to use red lentils for a couple of reasons: (1) I was bound and determined – ha! and (2) I thought that the red would be a whole heck of a lot prettier in photos than the greenish lentils.

And the taste? Well, you’ll have see for yourself.

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Not only was it a pleasing, autumnal color, this soup turned out delicious and it was so easy to make (Yay for the Crock Pot!). Plus, it was a HUGE hit with some dinner guests.

Filling and satisfying, it boasts a smooth, consistent texture. The real beauty, though, of this soup was in the garnish and toppings. So don’t forgo the zesty red onion and the fresh cilantro. They really are a MUST.

Red Lentil Soup

To the changes I made to the original recipe, I had some leftover bacon on hand, so I used the rendering of that fat that to saute the veggies instead of olive oil and I believe it really deepened the flavors of the soup. Instead of cayenne, I used red pepper flakes and I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable.

Why the changes? Because I’m a creative person? NOPE! Because that is simply what I had stocked in my pantry. Can’t always go by the book – right?

Red Lentil Soup

Also, for fun, I added some popcorn to my soup on the second night and it turned out to be a delightfully crunchy surprise.

This scrumptious hearty red lentil slow cooker soup is one of our new family favs. I might even try it with the regular lentils next time! Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

More this week with an Apple Almond Torte!

As always, a huge ‘thank you’ to my faithful followers. And if you haven’t yet, I invite you to subscribe to The Cooking Canvas on the right. It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe! Just enter your email and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.

And did I mention we’re now on Blogher?? Yey!!


Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup
Serves 6
A hearty, rich soup with red lentils that won't disappoint.
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Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
  1. 2 slices of bacon - diced
  2. 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  3. 2 cups chopped carrots
  4. 2 cups chopped celery
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  7. 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  9. 4 cups dry red lentils
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 10 - 12 cups chicken broth
  12. Kosher salt - to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  14. 1 large red onion, minced (for garnish)
  15. 1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  16. 1 lemon, cut into wedges (for garnish)
  1. In a large saute pan, cook bacon until it becomes slightly browned and renders fat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrots to bacon and cook until veggies begin to soften.
  3. Add garlic and let cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add paprika, cumin, red pepper, and a hearty pinch of salt.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add veggies to a slow cooker that has been set on low.
  7. Add broth, uncooked lentils, and bay leaves to slow cooker and cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more broth depending on desired soup consistency.
  8. When the soup is done, discard bay leaves add vinegar and transfer to a blender, food processor, or use a hand-held blender to puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
  9. Ladle into bowls and top with red onion and cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges.
  1. Garnish is a must!
Adapted from From Serious Eats
Adapted from From Serious Eats
The Cooking Canvas