Jody Robbins | Travels with Baggage - A a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust

Pumpkin cake

With so many apples raining down in our courtyard, it was obvious I had do something with them. I fancied cake, but not just any old apple cake. This one had to be gluten-free and disguised as a pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin! When you’re creeping up on Halloween, I find it’s wise to have a few festive treats lurking in your kitchen. If you’re looking for a healthier dessert option or to use up the glut of apples available this season, try this fall favourite of mine.

slice of frosted apple cake

Gluten-free Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s GF All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups of diced apples (I used crabapples and left the skin on)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan
  3. In a large bowl stir together the oil, sugar, honey, eggs and vanilla
  4. In another bowl mix together the “flour”, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt
  5. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined
  6. Stir in apples
  7. Pour mixture into Bundt pan and pop into the oven
  8. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. *Note: everyone’s oven is different and when you’re using gluten-free flour, you have to test, test, test.

Icing

OK, I confess. I didn’t make up the icing recipe. I used this awesome brown butter icing from Stephanie Eddy, who has a baking column in The Globe and Mail. She writes really fun stuff, like how to decorate cupcakes with your hands.

Apple Cake

I was going to dye the icing orange to make the cake look more pumpkin-y, but it came out such a lovely caramel colour, I decided to leave it. The pumpkin stem is just an upside down ice cream cone covered in icing. I think the cake also looks quite elegant on it’s own without the frosting. Don’t you?

What are your favourite fall dessert recipes?

P.S. You might like to read: Why You Should Swap Sugars and Wheat-Free Carrot Cake

Fall sweater

For some reason this felt like a really short week to me. Not that I’m complaining! I’m super excited about this weekend. My sister who lives in Saskatchewan is coming for a visit. We’re keen to shop and do a hike, but don’t really have any set plans. I hope your weekend is filled with as much laughter as mine is sure to be. Here are a few links from around the web I thought you’d enjoy. 

I think I’m a morning person. How to figure out your most productive time of the day. 

Hello, brunch! Maple bacon cinnamon buns. 

Why archaeologists hate Indian Jones. 

Call me Breeze. Do you know what your hippie name is? 

I wish I had this book when Eve was younger: 5 minute bedtime stories.

Check out these blogs that capture chic cyclists. Here’s one for Vancouver and another for Copenhagen.

Like the look of wallpaper, but not the hassle? Viola!

Would you ever live in a five storey house that hangs off the edge of a cliff?

Hilarious! Relax on your white couch and enjoy these “realistic” depictions of motherhood. 

Drool! Ultimate breakfast sandwiches. 

How to keep an avocado from browning. 

Intrigued. Chocolate Avocado Torte.

Love in motion. Animated wedding photos. 

Working moms are super busy. I loved reading about their timesavers and tips to make life fulfilling

Museum gift shops have the best finds! A beautiful glass pot

Fall sweater image via

What are your plans for the weekend?

Yes, it’s true. I Love My Muff is a range of non-toxic fem-hy products. And yes, I do love it. And no, this isn’t a sponsored post. (You know I disclose that shit, right?)

I love my muff maintence kitI first came across I Love My Muff at Butter Beauty Parlour in Calgary. I like to get blown out there and it really intrigued me. Do you buy it in stealth mode like we do condoms and tampons? Was it like a party in your pants or a new age douche for those Millennial kids? And what exactly is a douche? One of the advantages of being a Gen Xer, is missing out on that little right of passage.

I thought the Muff thing would be a cute gift for the IBMer. Not that she’s into muffs or anything, but I like to tease her and she has a wicked sense of humour. Anyway, I didn’t end up getting the kit for her B-day, but I did pick one up on mine. I always orchestrate my own B-day

Let me tell you, ladies (guys, do you really want to keep reading this?), the product lives up to its super cute packing. I went with the maintenance kit, so I could sample a variety of fun muff stuff. I didn’t think I’d use their wash, but it’s super handy those days when you only have time for a quick sponge bath.

Kissing Fresh breath spray

Then there’s the spray, which totally reminded me of that strawberry scented Kissing Fresh breath freshener we gals stored in our lockers in junior high. Translation: I feel a bit too old to jump onto to the muff spray bandwagon.

What I did appreciate were their vag wipes. Because sometimes, you just need to freshen up down there. And not just women. Guys could totally use something in that department…

vag wipesIf only wipes are what you’re after, it’s cheaper to go with Target’s pack of 25 for sub $5 vs. $22 for the Muff ones. And don’t we all have a packet of baby wipes lurking somewhere in our bathroom? Kotex says it’s totally fine to use them.

But back to my muff, if you want to take care of down there, if you have a muff on the move or fancy giving yourself a vajacial, score yourself some wipes at the very least.

Do you love your muff? Ha ha, kidding. I’d love to know your cringe factor reading this post. Hit me. I can take it.

It’s not October, but it is time for Oktoberfest! I’ve never been to the Munich extravaganza, but I have been to one hell of a shindig at my Austrian friend’s house. I can’t make her annual party this year, but I hope to have a festive weekend, nevertheless. Here’s some fun links to make your Friday better…

Oktoberfest beer hall

So cute! Why Starbucks gets your name wrong.

12 Things about Costco that may surprise you

With cooler nights, this is right up my alley. How to make toast for dinner.

Love these nudes! Your guide to fall makeup. 

5 backstage beauty lessons from New York Fashion Week. 

Shaken or stirred? 7 cocktails to welcome fall. 

A back to school meal plan that includes a shopping list.

So worth the watch! How sugar affects the brain. 

In online dating, everybody’s a little bit racist. Who we are when we think nobody is looking

Thank you feminism! A look at marriage counselling in the 50s and 60s

Origami condom, anyone? New, innovative methods of birth control

Forget fancy condoms, why are breast pumps so ugly and noisy? 

Thank goodness MIT is hosting a breast pump hackathon this weekend! 

Ha! Obama vows to split ISIS into dozens of extremist splinter groups

Nordstrom Calgary Canada

When Nordstrom opens it’s first Canadian location in Calgary at Chinook Centre on Friday, it’s going to revolutionize our shopping scene. For real, ladies. I had a sneak peek earlier this week. Here’s what I’m stoked about:

There’s not one, not two, but three women’s shoe departments! And they’ve totally nailed their merchandizing. All women’s apparel is grouped according to lifestyle, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. A quick glance at the mannequins lets you know you’re heading into active wear, or ladies who lunch, or trendy teenager, or rock mom.

Purse selection Nordstrom

The kid’s section is located beside the second floor mall entrance and next to their bistro (fully licensed with kid’s menu – score!). There’s a cool a play area and lots of designer brands. I was drooling over their fancy dresses for girls and smart suits for boys. Plus there’s mini Uggs, toddler Hunter boots and Converse for babes.

children's rain boots

If this isn’t reason enough to have another kid, I don’t know what is…

But it’s their make up department that really wowed me. They have these trending areas showcasing the latest looks by a variety of brands and a Play Bar, where you can try on loads of product. There’s two Beauty Concierge staff that aren’t commission based, so you know they’ll point you in right direction. Or make an appointment with a beauty stylist for a (free) full makeover. All I can say is, look out Sephora!

Nordstrom doesn’t have a return policy and handles all returns on a case by case basis (with a goal of keeping customers hap hap happy). That rumour about the person in Alaska who returned tires (even though Nordstrom doesn’t carry car tires)? It’s true. Nordstrom took over this building in Alaska that used to sell tires, and the sales rep honored the claim. Wow.

If you’re as excited as I am, check out their Beauty Bash on Friday (tomorrow), Sept. 19 from 7:30-9:30 a.m., before the Grand Opening. There’ll be free consultations, a special gift for the first 2,000 customers, sips and snacks. 

Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom? Are you keen to see what all the fuss is about?

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