Hello, and Welcome to Pumpkins n' Pies!

A recipe blog devoted to gluten free baking, and making food from scratch. Here you will find sourdough recipes, meal ideas, and most importantly - lots of pie!

A little about the author

Hi! My name is Miriam Chaturvedi, and I love to bake, garden, and write code! This website is a meeting of my hobbies and actual profession.

My mother taught me to cook, starting with pancakes at age seven. But I'd be lying if I said that I actually had any great skills as a cook until well after I'd moved out of the house. Being forced to make my own food started me on the right path: I did not like meal planning, so I bought myself the basics of flour, milk, cheese, and eggs, and then just made myself whatever I felt like that day. Was it efficient? Maybe not, but I made big batches of food to eat over multiple days, and it worked for me.

Then I got married, and I had to cook for two! Suddenly meal planning was a little more important. Not only that, but my husband has to be gluten free for health reasons. I could not use my old recipes.

Out went the wheat flour, and I had to relearn to bake all over again. Recipe by recipe, I have been on a journey to find the best (and most accessible) substitutions for bread, cake, cookies, and pies.

A gluten free baking journey

Gluten free baking is very different from wheat-based baking. Gluten is what makes baking work, so gluten free baking is all about replacing the binding and stretchy qualities of gluten. There are lots of gluten free flour mixes that help make this easier, but some of them are mostly starch. The first time I used a largely starch based one, I was horrified. It didn't feel like flour at all! It felt fake.

My first mission was to find a good gluten free bread recipe. At first nothing I tried was working - they would come out overly crumbly, or dense. The breakthrough was when I discovered psyllium husk powder. This powder is made from the seeds of the plantago ovata plant, is a great source of fiber, and more importantly for baking, gives the dough structure. And by structure, I mean that it will actually stretch and hold together. You can form dough that has psyllium husk in it into fancy shapes. You can knead it, make braided loaves, and make other fancy pastry shapes. Its amazing.

Suddenly the door was open, and since that discovery, I have been able to supply my family with fresh baked bread, sandwich buns, flatbread, and pastries.

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Some gardening along the way

I have always admired a well landscaped yard. A yard with little winding pathways between plantings, hidden corners, and beautiful flowers. A yard that is actually a garden. When I was a child, I told myself that I would have such a yard when I grew up.

And then I grew up, and realized that a garden so large was a large undertaking. It would need to be more of a hobby. My business sense immediately rebelled - how could I spend so much time and energy on nothing but flowers? Yes, I wanted the end result, but... was it worth it?

Then I discovered permaculture, and the idea of edible landscaping. The plants are always going to take work. The garden will need to be tended. But the garden can always give back.

So I went down the rabbit hole of growing edibles, food forests, and native plants. There is so much produce which is difficult to find in a grocery store, but is delicious and grows well in east-central Illinois. There are many more plants, vegetables, and fruits which are extremely expensive at the store, but produce an abundance if you grow them yourself.

As I've embarked on this gardening journey, I've realized that it is a long process of experimenting and learning what will do best where, not to mention what my family actually likes and will eat! Every season presents its own projects and challenges.

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Peaches with Candied Ginger

The code: web development and graphics

As I mentioned before, I am a programmer by profession. I am my own web developer, and web admin. All graphics are either photos I took myself, or graphics designed by my husband. This website is my playground, to try out new ideas and experiment with SEO.

I have a whole section of Pumpkins n' Pies dedicated to different web design ideas and the CSS behind them. I also have an Etsy shop where you can find food and gardening related graphics, created by my husband and I.

Check it out!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie: think warm pumpkin custard, a dollop of cold whipped cream, and a buttery crust. Its the taste of fall.

Fig Tree Adventures: Fig Tree Care in Zone 5

The trials of growing figs in west-central Illinois. Are Chicago Hardy figs really viable?

Fun with Buttons

Some fun with CSS and buttons. A selection of buttons with a variety of styling.

Pumpkins n' Pies

A recipe blog devoted to gluten free baking, and making food from scratch. Here you will find sourdough recipes, beautiful flowers, organic fruits, and most importantly - lots of pie!
 © 2024 Abhishek & Miriam Chaturvedi