Friday, October 3, 2014

Karla Akins: Be Inspired By Autumn!

Everyone's Story welcomes author Karla Akins. Karla, a dynamic and talented woman, is an author of both fiction and non-fiction, master juggler as a pastor's wife and mom to two autistic twin sons, a grandmother, and an amazing singer! This week Karla offers something a bit different on this blog in appreciation of her favorite season (mine too!): autumn. Check out her lovely BookGiveaway as well. We're both looking forward to hearing from you!

Karla is offering 1 copy of any one of these books--either print or e-version--to one randomly chosen winner who leaves a comment for Karla. The winner will be announced here on Friday, October 10th, between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Fall is delicious! by Karla Akins

I have a huge smile on my face and a spring in my step. And it’s all because of one thing.


It’s time for pumpkins, crunchy leaves, sweaters and steaming cups of spiced cider.

My favorite part of fall is pumpkin everything. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin lattes. I even have pumpkin earrings. If there’s a recipe that calls for pumpkin, I’m on it. Pumpkin is my favorite flavor and scent. I buy pumpkin spice scented candles year-round. I think there’s nothing that says “home” as much as pumpkin unless it’s apple spice.

My fondest childhood memories are of time at Grandma’s. We spent most Thanksgivings at her house and she spent weeks cooking for the season. I have probably consumed more pumpkin pie than anyone this side of the Mississippi. Seriously, you have no idea how much I love pumpkin. No, trust me, you just don’t.

My favorite colors are fall colors, too: copper, cinnamon, purple and pumpkin gold. I love dressing in these colors as well as decorating with them.

This picture from a few years ago features one of my dogs, Jake, wondering if he can play with the turkey on the table. Uhm, no.

I also love this time of year because kids are cutest, I think, surrounded by pumpkins.

The best time of year to ride 
my motorcycle is in the fall. It can get a little cool, but I prefer being cool to being so hot I can hardly wait to rip off my helmet. Here, my motorcycle is next to an Indiana cornfield in the fall.

Fall is also the time of the 1812 Battle of Mississinewa re-enactment in our area. My twin sons have worked the Special Olympics booth selling roasted corn the past several years.

I love that festival and the weather is always just crisp enough to enjoy hot food cooked over open fires and spicy apple cider.

Other amazing things that happen in the fall: trees blazing in red and gold colors and wild turkeys going for walk-abouts in the ‘hood.

(I didn’t ask them why they crossed the road. Didn’t think it was any of my business…)

Besides enjoying a turkey parade, there’s, er, other types of turkey to enjoy.

I wish I could tell you I made this turkey-bacon beauty but I can’t. I wish I had, though because then I could taste it!

I do make homemade rolls, though. I learned the art from a Norwegian granny in Iowa. Oh. Nom.

If you haven’t figured out by now, fall, for me, means amazing food. All of my favorites are best eaten in autumn: pumpkin pie, turkey dumplings, pumpkin cappuccinos, turkey stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, turkey club sandwiches, ginger snaps, pumpkin pie, baked apples, warm donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice muffins, pecan pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie.

These days I’m eating low-carb and flour- and sugar- free (as much as possible but admittedly, it’s not easy this time of year!). Here’s my favorite pumpkin bar recipe for you foodies watching your carbs! (I usually double this recipe and cook in a 12X8 pan.)

Karla’s Pumpkin Bars
½ cup of pumpkin (or other squash you like)
½ cup agave nectar (or honey if you prefer honey)
2 eggs
1 cup blanched almond flour
½ t salt
½ t baking soda
Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (your preference)

Combine the pumpkin, agave and eggs. Add the dry ingredients. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan. Bake at 350° for about 30-35 minutes. You can top with whipped cream, but I think they’re delicious naked.

You can also add raisins and nuts if you wish. Make it your own!

For more low-carb ideas, check out my low-carb Pinterest board (link below).
What do you like best about fall? I’d love to know! Do you have any unique pumpkin recipes to share? Please let me know so I can try them! You can contact me through my website.

God has so many gifts to offer us in the fall: leaves that turn vibrant colors, bountiful harvests in shades of gold, crisp weather perfect for burrowing into layers of warm sweaters. I can't help but join King David in joyful song: "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches" Psalm 104:24.

Karla's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
For fun: See how author @KarlaAkins embraces autumn #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Meet author @KarlaAkins: author, pastor’s wife, mom, grandma, wearer of biker boots. (Tweet This)

Everyone has a story: See what encourages author @KarlaAkins #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Karla Akins is an award-winning, prolific writer of books, short stories, plays, poems, songs, and countless nonfiction articles. Her biography for middle grades, Jacques Cartier, went #1 in its category on Amazon. Her first fiction novel, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots, was released in 2013. Her short stories have been published in several magazines including Havok and Splickety. Her book on Autism is due out in the spring as well as a book about Marco Polo. When she's not reading she's writing. When she's not writing she is zooming along on her motorcycle looking for treasure.

Places to connect with Karla:


  1. Karla, your turkey joke made me smile. And while I do a bacon-draped turkey, it would never be that beautifully-crafted. Would the almond flour make these pumpkin bars more suitable for diabetics?

    Love the variety in your books! (janetdotsketchleyatgmaildotcom)

    1. Until Karla's photo of a turkey draped with bacon, I never heard or thought of cooking up a turkey that way. I love to pour wine and real maple syrup over mind and add seasoning like basil and rosemary. Wished we all lived closer to sample each others autumn treats.

      Thanks for visiting, Janet!

    2. Janet, yes, the pumpkin bars are great for diabetics! Besides using the no-carb almond flour, cooking with Agave instead of artificial sweetener or sugar is a better, too. Agave doesn't cause sugar spikes. You'll have to experiment with it a bit to figure out your personal preference as far as sweetness. :-) It's pricey but very healthy. I usually cook with it for special occasions. Otherwise I use Splenda. :-)

      I see you're a Canadian! I love Canada! I had a great time learning about your country while writing my Canada book. (I was asked to write it by a homeschool company.)

      I just subscribed to your newsletter and blog. So happy to meet you!

    3. Ooooh, Elaine! I bet your gravy is fabulous!

    4. Pam, I haven't heard too many complaints… come on over :)

      Thanks for visiting Everyone's Story. Hope to see you again.

    5. Karla, if you would like to learn more about Janet and her awesome novel, take a look at last week's segment on this blog that features Janet as the guest of the week.

  2. Love love love autumn! But not pumpkin anything. Ugh. One piece of pumpkin pie lasts me for a decade or so. But motorcycle riding? You bet! Best time of the year for it. My wife says she needs some chaps though, so if you know any British dudes in the area, let me know. :)

    1. Tom, so nice to see you here!

      My husband and I just nibbled some chocolate covered spice pumpkin cake bites that hopped into my grocery cart this afternoon and begged to be taken home. No complaints here.

    2. Okay, Tom, not liking pumpkin? Can't imagine. It's my favorite!!! Did you get that from my post? If not, let me tell you -- FAVORITE. A for chaps, are you serious? Check out LeatherUp. Good prices. I don't have chaps but it'd be nice to have him on rainy days for sure. As for the British ones, well, she is married, so...

      Thanks for stopping by and reading, Tom!

  3. Karla, it's always seemed strange to me that in the fall I feel so rejuvenated, when it's really the season for nature to prepare for dormancy. Maybe it's the eyeopening array of colors. I love autumn, too. And you're right, it's a delicious time. One day, you'll have to tell me how you get so much done! :-)

  4. I love autumn, too, Karla. The colors, sights, and smells. I stand in awe of God's creation. One day, you're going to have to tell me how you get so much done!

    1. Hi Susan. I moderate my comments before I permit them to be published on site, so sorry about both comments going up.

      With the fall season there is a brisk stirring in the air. Like the leaves whirling about from the breeze, it does invigorate us with a buzz of excitement. Though I have to confess that after last winter, I was more than ready for spring.

    2. By the grace of God is how I get it all done. And honestly, sometimes I simply don't. My family has learned how to eat my thrown-together offerings. LOL. And I think I finally caught up on four weeks of laundry today.

      Thanks for reading! It's so fun to learn you love autumn as much as I do. Yesterday I dressed way too warm I was so eager to wear my autumn wardrobe!

  5. hi Karla! I love autumn, too. Especially October. Thanks for the recipe for the pumpkin bars. I've gone gluten free and was wondering what the heck I was gonna do when it cam time to make pumpkin bread. I do your bars now!

    1. Hi, Pam! Guess what I'm wearing while I type this to you? My Realm Makers t-shirt! :-) It was so much fun meeting you at that conference. You will love the pumpkin bars. I have a low-carb Pinterest board that has some gluten free things on it. Feel free to check it out! Almond flour works great. Have you tried coconut flour? I haven't checked it out yet to find out how many carbs are in it, but I hear it's great to cook with. Let me know how you like the bars!

  6. Karla,
    I loved your post, and I'm a HUGE fan of fall as well. There's something incredibly magical about this season. And, like you I love things that are pumpkin. I love, love, love baking, I think that I have a new recipe for you, pumpkin waffles. I'll post it below. When I make it, I tend to play around with the spices until it suits my taste. If you freeze the waffles, when you eat them they taste like pumpkin ice cream! And, if you want a touch more decadence, (As if you need it with these pumpkin waffles right? *G*), I suggest topping them with real maple syrup, freshly made whipping cream, and pecans! Enjoy and God bless!

    ***I'm unsure of who shared this recipe with me, but each time I make them, I'm thankful.

    Pumpkin Waffles
    Makes 4 round “Belgian” style pumpkin waffles

    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. ginger
    • 1/4 tsp. cloves
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
    • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm
    *Grated and lightly packed into the spoon, use 1/2 tsp. Grated and loosely scooped, this is about 1 tsp. of nutmeg. If you have to use pre-grated, dried nutmeg, use 1/4 tsp.
    1. Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil, and set it to the desired temperature.
    2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together to break apart the cornstarch. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to blend.
    3. Separate eggs: yolks go in a medium sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.
    4. Add pumpkin and milk to the egg yolks. Whisk to blend and set aside.
    5. Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
    6. Pour melted butter into the yolk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.
    7. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A little lumpiness is fine. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added.
    8. Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious. Cook in waffle maker.

    1. Diana, I'm always thankful to see you! Thanks for this scrumptious sounding recipe! Stay warm and happy.

    2. Oh, Diana, my taste buds thank you!! I can't wait to try this recipe! NOM, NOM, NOM!!

    3. :) Elaine, it's always a pleasure to stop by. You have such nice and interesting bloggers!

      Karla, enjoy!

      God bless you both!


    4. Heartfelt thanks, Diana.

  7. Love the pics, Karla! I love the colors and flavors of autumn too!
    You've inspired me to use my Biggby coupon this weekend to get a pumpkin latte. :) Here's a very simple (not low carb) recipe. Add
    chocolate chips to any pumpkin bread mix/recipe to make muffins
    or bread with a yummy flavor combo. kerouser[at]gmail[dot]com

    1. Kathy--nice to see you again. I've often made chocolate chip muffin bread--it's so delicious. Taste good also in banana bread.Then again, we're talking chocolate here--good in any thing!

    2. I'm going to try that, Kathy! Thanks for the tip and for being such a dear and faithful blog friend!

    3. Ha ha--meant to say pumpkin chip muffin bread!

  8. Hi Karla -

    I printed out the pumpkin bar recipe, but I have a question. Where do you get blanched almond flour? Never heard of it.

    Congrats on your books!

    God bless,
    Susan :)

    1. Susan, thanks for visiting today. Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    2. Susan, I get mine from Amazon. But most health food stores or bulk food stores like Whole Foods should carry it. If not they can order it. It's very, very nommy and filling! Let me know if you try it!

  9. Too funny. I just posted last week on NOT being a pumpkin person. About the only thing I like about it is the scent of a pumpkin candle : ) Not a pumpkin flavored fan AT ALL. But can peacefully live with those who are as long as I can have my apple cider and cider donuts. Yes, autumn is a beautiful time of year!

    1. Autumn is as beautiful as you are, Cynthia! Thanks for visiting today.

    2. Cynthia, I hope my post didn't make you sick! LOL. I can't imagine not loving pumpkin, but then, there are foods other people love that I can't stomach. Duck is one of them. When it comes to meats and poultry I'm pretty much a beef/chicken/turkey girl! I do like fish and seafood, though. My husband won't let me cook it! So I can completely identify with not liking pumpkin! Thanks for stopping by. Love your candor!

  10. I love autumn and all it's colors and smells too. I have read Karla's book, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots and really enjoyed it, and I have enjoyed getting to know her on FB. I always enjoy stopping by your blog Elaine. This was a fun interview.

    1. Once again, Ann, you've brightened my day… and here in the NE it's a lovely rainy day. Perfect for writing blogging,and sipping hot chocolate.

    2. Ann, you're such a dear online friend. And your loyalty to me means so much! What a dear sister you are to me!

  11. Now that's one turkey I might eat. lol. And thank you for the pumpkin bar recipe. I'll have to try it. I loved the Pastor's Wife wears Biker Boots and have a copy, but that book on Sacajawea would be great to win! Actually any of them, but I'm writing a book on Merriweather Lewis one day...

    1. What a diversified reader you are, Pat.

      I love our tight-knit community of readers and writers… makes this big world so much closer and more meaningful.

    2. Patricia, I got to climb Pompey's Pillar this past summer! It was so awesome to be where Sacagawea had been. Can't wait to read your book on Lewis. What a mysterious fellow he was. I love history!

  12. Loving all of these recipes and cooking ideas! Thanks, Karla, for starting the conversation! Your Pumpkin Bar recipe is now on my list of things to try soon!

    1. Kathy, I love when you visit late at night (at least for me!) and I awaken to find your sweet hello.

    2. Kathy, let me know how you like it! I adore pumpkin bars! I am waiting for my order of almond flour to get here so I can start my fall baking spree! I bought some coconut flour to try, too. Check back on my website to see how I like it! :-)

  13. Hello to Elaine and Karla. Elaine, I'm so glad you had Karla today. Sounds like a fun lady.Karla, first off you are welcome to all of the Motorcycle rides. I never could ride a bicycle with my kids or friends. No matter how I tried, I could never manage to keep it going in a straight line. And, this is true! My paster and wife are crazy about Motorcycle riding too. They are always riding, even when it is cold. I did ride with a boyfriend once when a teenager and burned my leg on that thingamajig on the side with a rippled metal cover to something. First time, I burned my right leg on that metal cover and had a big scar for many, many years! No more for me. I also love seeing the changing of the leaves in Autumn. So many to see when I lived in Wyo. especially the Aspens. And, some in Colorado and some in KS. I see a few around where I live but very few and do miss the beautiful colors. Now for all of that food, it would make a person hungry. I like most of it. Now on that pie. I do love Pumpkin pie, but in a contest the Pecan pie would win I'm afraid. But my daughter does make a good pumpkin pie. I love all of the pictures. I had 4 children, later 2 step kids. have 12 grandchildren, and 19 greats. Love watching them grow. I would love to read that Sacagawea book in print. My husband's family were down in the ancestry in the lineage of Pocahontas. Bet that Oh Canada book is good too. GOD bless both of you. Hoping to win. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. So nice to see you again, Maxie. Wow--fascinating about Pocahontas. Not hearing her name for a while I just looked her up and saw that she lived from 1595-1617. What a mind-boggling amount of years before America became a country. The landscape must have been a stunning beauty.

      So glad you visited!

    2. Karla AkinsOctober 10, 2014

      Maxie, your comments made my day! What fun to meet you here. I agree with you about the motorcycle burns. I've burned my leg twice and have a nasty scar to show for it. The first time was when I was wearing capris and riding. Dumb mistake. The second time I didn't even know I'd done it until after I took a shower and a hunk of my leg came off!! It was about 3" in diameter. Took a looong time to heal. That's why I cringe when I see young women riding in shorts on motorcycles. Not a good thing to do.

      Do you have an ereader? Sacagawea, unfortunately, isn't in print. It's only available from the publisher as an ebook. However, the Canada book is in print and ebook both.

      As for favorite pies -- pecan pie ranks second on my list! I love pecan pie! NOM. You sound like my kind of gal, Maxie! Thanks for checking in!

  14. I've been meaning to stop by here for awhile. What a great time to do so! :) Karla, I so enjoyed reading about your love affair with autumn. I love taking pictures of changing leaves in our Colorado neighborhood. And the food? Oh yum. I have a recipe for pumpkin orange flavored muffins that is the best anywhere. I too eat low carb, so I'll have to figure out how to make it in such a way that I can still have it this fall. I love cinnamon scented candles and warm sweaters too. :) Thanks for sharing your pictures and snapshots of your life. It was so fun to read and see!

    1. Jeanne, thanks for visiting with us on Everyone's Story. I'm glad you enjoyed Karla's segment. I imagine autumn in Colorado must be a spectacular sight to see as well.

      Hope to see you here again.

    2. Karla AkinsOctober 10, 2014

      I'd love to see your pictures! Are they posted somewhere? One of my favorite activities on my motorcycle is taking pictures in the country. Once in awhile I get a pretty shot.

      Your muffins sound delicious! If you replace your flour with almond flour, you save a lot of carbs. However, the breads aren't as light. Much heavier but they're also more filling so you don't need to make as much :-) If you do an Internet search for almond flour recipes you should be able to find ways to adjust your recipes. Let me know if you like the pumpkin bars! And do let me know where your pictures are! Happy Fall!

    3. Karla, I have a few on Facebook, but I put some in a blog post I wrote last fall. Not plugging it, just sharing if you're interested: :)

      I'm going to look into almond flour. My only challenge is one of my boys is allergic to nuts. :) But, he doesn't like many sweets, so this flour may work for the rest of our family. :)

      My pumpkin orange muffin recipe (unmodified) is as follows:
      1 15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin
      1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/4 tsp ground cloves
      1 c dark brown sugar
      1/2 c vegetable oil
      2 large eggs, lightly beatn
      2 c all purpose flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      1/2 tsp salt
      2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
      Orange Drizzle (optional):
      1/2 c confectioners' sugar
      1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest
      4 tsp orange juice

      Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 36 mini-muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray.
      Bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan until purée thickens enough to start sticking to pan bottom, 6-8 minutes.
      Turn hot purée into a bowl. Whisk in brown sugar and oil, then slowly beat in eggs.
      Meanwhile, whack the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk into pumpkin mixture until just combined.
      Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let stand a few minutes, then transfer mini-muffins to a wire rack to cool. Mix the drizzle ingredients together and drizzle over warm muffins.

      **I usually make these as full size muffins and they work great. We rarely use the drizzle, and they are very moist!

    4. Jeanne, these muffins sounds scrumptious! I'll have to try them.

      I'm so touched that you visited again to see Karla's reply. That means a lot to me.

  15. What an amazing week this has been. Personally, it's been a mixture of a week: mournful at home and stressful at work, but my Super Guest Karla Akins has made it especially bright, cheerful, and fun. From the looks of viewer hits and replies, quite a few people have also felt this way! Thank you so much Karla.

    And thanks too for your Giveaway book. The winner is…

    Susan C. Yea, Susan. Both Karla and I will contact you shortly.

    Blessings to all.


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