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Fast Favorites for Fall

Say that 5x fast...

I’m so excited to share two of my all-time fall favorites with you and can’t wait to hear what you think and see all of your baking/cooking come to life. For Bake Me A Leader, fall is a special time of year, not just because we love all things fall food, but because we get to reflect on a summer full of camps and celebrate the amazing #futureleaders that joined us. We also get to take the time to decide what’s next and I’m really excited to be unveiling some of our new classes soon.

But before I unveil some of our favs, I want to share my top 3 takeaways from the launch of Bake Me A Leader and our adventures this summer.

1. Preparation matters, but so does flexibility.

While in grad school so much of my time was spent creating a shell for what I believed it would take to run classes. As some of you already know, when I moved to Cleveland after graduating a lot of that was thrown out the window as I adapted to a new market and took the time to understand what parents were really looking for out here. While it wasn’t much different than the needs of parents in AZ, I decided to scrap the initial launch of extracurricular classes and expand the curriculum to include summer camps – 5 days long, 30 hours total per camp. This was a big deviation from the initial plan to run 2 hour classes, 1x per week and required even more planning to ensure the timing was right and the recipes were sound so we could have a meaningful week.

2. Everyone truly IS unique (we thought it, but now we have the numbers to prove it)

And I have the cookies and pies and cakes to prove it (over the course of the summer, I saw 40+ different signature cookies!!!) and I was so dazzled by the skills of the campers and their enthusiasm towards trying new and challenging things. We do things a bit differently than traditional cooking classes...since our goal is to help people grow their leadership skills, a lot of our camp work is either self-directed and team driven. While the participants get to make their own baked goods…a lot of what they do requires the team to make decisions and work together.

3. Even teenagers worry about organization and making money.

But what does that mean? It means that with self-awareness being super high at the middle school age, it’s more important than ever to help our future generations of leaders develop organizational & time management skills that they can actually use, teach them how to creatively tackle problems, and practice all of the other leadership competencies we work to instill during every class

Ok…now onto the recipes. These bad boys have been staples in my kitchen for YEARS and I hope you love them as much as I do. Fall is for pumpkin everything + turkey chili and these recipes are fast and easy to follow. We’ll start with the Pumpkin Nutella Bread since I know that picture from earlier this week really caught everyone’s attention.

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tbsp cinnamon

½ tbsp nutmeg

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup canola oil

1/3 cup water

1 cup canned pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s…if you use another brand and it seems a bit liquid-y, shoot me a message and I’ll give you some recommendations)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 tbsp Nutella (2 tbsp per mini loaf)


Note: You can and should do this entire recipe by hand…no need for an electric mixer or any special equipment. I use a whisk and a spatula and that’s it.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease 4 mini loaf pans with butter or cooking spray

  2. In a small to medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg

  3. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract together until smooth

  4. Stir in the flour mixture until combined

  5. Evenly divide the mixture into the 4 mini loaf pans

  6. Swirl 2 Tbsp of Nutella into each mini loaf pan using a knife. (I like to make sure the Nutella runs across the length of the pan on the top of the batter evenly before I cut it in with the knife.)

  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean - my oven only takes 35 mins.

  8. Cool and enjoy!

Turkey Chili


1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lb lean ground turkey

1/4 cup chili powder

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 ½ - 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained


Chopped red onion

Chopped fresh cilantro

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (choose your own fat content here)

Sharp cheddar

Parmesan goldfish (my personal favorite – don’t knock it til you try it lol)


Spice Preparation:

Here are two tips that will help you get organized before you get cooking….I mean, now that I’ve made this recipe 5 billion times, I might as well share how I do it…and you’ll look like a real pro, like some cooking channel type stuff

  1. Measure oregano and cumin and put into the same tiny bowl

  2. Measure chili powder, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon plus bay leaves into the same bowl

  3. Last note…and this one isn’t spice related, but still a dealer’s choice type of thing…if you aren’t cool with trying to break up the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon in the pot – this yields bigger chunks and is my preferred method – it might be worth it for you to take them out and chop them up before you get started. In my mind, this is a time suck and not worth the extra step/dirty dishes, but if you want more control over your tomatoes, you can very coarsely chop them while reserving all of the delicious juices from the can for in the pot…I mean you buy whole tomatoes so you can have big chunks so don’t chop them down too finely * end rant *


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions & sauté until they start to brown (approximately 10 mins).

  2. Stir in oregano and cumin & cook for another minute

  3. Increase to medium high and add turkey. Break up with a spoon & cook until no longer pink.

  4. Stir in all remaining spices

  5. Add tomatoes with their juices & break the tomatoes up with the back of a spoon. Stir in tomato paste & add stock (I use 1.5 cups because I don’t typically like my chili to be super liquidy, but if you want to use more and/or have the time to reduce the chili to your desired consistency, feel free to add up to 3 cups of the stock)

  6. Bring the chili to a boil & reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or however long you need to get the chili to your desired consistency. Add in the beans. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes longer, until the beans are fully incorporated into the flavor of the chili.

  7. Discard bay leaves before serving, add toppings as desired and ENJOY!

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