Pumpkin Nut Raisin Bread

IMG_0590

Last time I went food shopping, I went a little pumpkin crazy and bought almost a dozen cans of pumpkin, so please do expect to find a few pumpkin recipes on here soon.  I’m thinking pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, and thanks to a picture Justin’s cousin Samantha posted the other day, pumpkin smoothies too!

IMG_0583

 

IMG_0598

There is something lovely and quaint about farmers’ markets and festivals where local, small businesses can display their crafts/skills and connect with the community. Whenever I travel, I always try to find at least one market where I can ogle over the displays and peruse the handmade soaps, custom jewelry, and of course, vegan delicacies. This past Wednesday, the Bungalow Bar (a local bar/restaurant/catering hall) held a fall festival where I had the opportunity to be a first-time vendor, and I LOVED it. I was totally in my element. I am not a good salesperson.  If I owned a clothing boutique, I would be the person to say, “Oh you’re totally right – that sweater makes you look huge.  There’s a store across the street that sells the most ADORABLE little sweaters, why don’t you go try one of them on?” But when I’m selling treats that I know taste unreal, coupled with the fact that they’re healthy and made of all natural ingredients, it’s hard for me not to gush over the products – because I truly believe in them, as was the case the other night. So, long story short, I had a great time and I will definitely be doing that again!

IMG_0562

I knew this pumpkin nut and raisin bread would turn out good, meaning it wouldn’t fall apart, because I adapted my banana nut bread recipe to create it. I included molasses since it adds a rich taste and a chewy texture. Because I don’t use brown sugar, (which is refined sugar and molasses), I thought this would be a nice substitute. Aaand, did I mention that it is totally oil free? Because of the pumpkin and apple sauce, this bread is incredibly moist (and sweet). There’s really no down side; it’s filling, delicious, and unbelievably healthy for you. Wrap this up in clear wrap and you have a beautiful gift to give somebody this holiday season! That’s a hint to all my family and friends – because this is what you’re getting – like it or not 😉

IMG_0597

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • optional: Coconut Oil for greasing pan

IMG_0594

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the walnuts and raisins.

3. Once blended, scoop mixture into a large bowl and mix in walnuts and raisins.

4. Grease the bread pan (9 x 5 x 3) with coconut oil (or omit this step to make it completely free of oil). Pour in the batter and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After 5-10 minutes, remove and place on a cooling rack.  Bon Appétit!

IMG_0595

Advertisements

Simply Pancakes

IMG_0452

I grew up on Bisquick pancakes.  Not to say I ate them a lot, but when I did, my mom would make the most delicious super thin ones, and my dad had the fluffy, pretty thing down pat.  His were shaped like Mickey Mouse with chocolate chips and all, and he always threw out the first pancake (my mom just considered that wasteful).  Very different pancake styles for two very different people.  However, I have to admit that my mom’s tasted better, but my dad’s were more aesthetically pleasing.

IMG_0450

As I got older, I started making my own Bisquick pancakes when I came home from school. A lot. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I even attempted my own batter. I must have been watching Alton Brown or something and began getting inspired. I couldn’t believe how simple it was, although some recipes were definitely better than others.

IMG_0434

The thing I like most about pancakes is the fact that they’re buttery and sweet. Since I became a vegan, I’ve been making my blueberry walnut pancakes, but I haven’t eaten simple, plain pancakes, and I’ve missed them! These aren’t as healthy as my other variation, but they aren’t completely unhealthy either. So when I woke up yesterday ready to create my usual banana-based stack, I thought, Let me just try something out, and they turned out great.

IMG_0433

I was going to add chocolate chips and coconut to them, but thought better of it.  You guys are pretty swift, so if you feel like adding something extra, I have all the faith in you ; ) Yesterday’s stack actually had a bit of orange zest, as well as a chocolate sauce poured over them. Yet, when I photographed them, they kinda looked a little sad and I wasn’t happy sharing them, so I made them again today (without the zest and chocolate sauce) and I liked them even better.

IMG_0441

Ingredients: (makes 7-8 pancakes)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder (add extra for fluffier pancakes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter of your choice, melted + extra for pan (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 chia egg (1/4 water + 1 Tbsp chia seeds – let sit for 10-15 minutes)
  • optional: 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • optional: a couple of dashes of cinnamon

Steps:

  1. Make the chia egg and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add in wet ingredients – butter, syrup, milk, vanilla, and chia egg.
  4. Place a pan/skillet on medium heat. Add a little butter.
  5. Scoop about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter for each pancake.  My pan fit four pancakes for each batch.
  6. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, making sure each pancake bubbles before flipping it.  Cook again for about 3 minutes on the other side and move to a plate.
  7. To get darker color pancakes, add the cacao powder and cinnamon to the rest of the batter and mix.
  8. Top with anything you please! I always like good ol’ fashioned maple syrup.

IMG_0438

Escarole and Bean Soup

IMG_0318

This has been my go-to soup for pretty much all of my adult life, or whenever it was that I began cooking for myself, so I can’t believe I haven’t shared the recipe sooner.  It’s pretty much a fool-proof soup, because unless you over-salt this, you can’t really mess it up.  You can also add in pretty much whatever you like. And since this soup is loaded with fiber, protein, and iron, what’s not to love?

IMG_0314

Over the summer, I wrote about the harmful chemicals found in most beauty products.  Click here to read the full blog post. Last night I hosted a party to share this information with my friends, and sprinkle some balanced bella deliciousness along the way.  There was cavatappi with garlic, oil, spinach and beans, toasted Israeli couscous, guacamole, hummus, and some double chocolate chip cookies. Suffice it to say, a clean, hearty soup is exactly what is needed today.

IMG_0396

IMG_0398

IMG_0397

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of escarole
  • about 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed well
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
  • 8 cups (64 oz) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups pasta, cooked *
  • salt to taste
  • optional: 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp red pepper flakes

*Do not add uncooked pasta to this, as all the liquid will be soaked up into the pasta.

IMG_0325

Steps:

  1. Wash the escarole and cut into one to two inch chunks.
  2. In a large pot with a lid, heat olive oil on medium/high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the beans and saute for another 30 seconds, mixing gently.
  5. Add the escarole, vegetable broth, pasta, red pepper, and salt.
  6. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Simple, healthy, and delicious!  Enjoy.

IMG_0320

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Chunky Potatoes and Peas

IMG_0367

You’re probably going to be seeing a few soup recipes popping up on here over the next few months because I’ve been very soup happy lately. During this fickle season, it’s kind of the best of both worlds for your body – it’s warm and comforting on those chilly fall nights, but because of its awesome health benefits, it keeps your body lean and svelte for those “Don’t-put-your-shorts-away-because-it’s-still-warm-out” days.

IMG_0364

I fractured my foot a few weeks ago on a camping trip, so in order to stay off my feet as much as possible, I’ve been trying to make quicker, yet still healthy, meals. This soup didn’t necessarily take less time than most things I usually cook, but there was so much of it that I’ve been eating it all week.

IMG_0385

The potatoes (with skin) and peas give this soup a “rustic chunkiness.” Yep, “rustic chunkiness.” Not too sure how legit that phrase is, but it’s the best I got. The nutritional yeast lends a bit of “cheesy” seasoning, and the addition of hemp seeds gives this soup the extra bit of nuttiness to make it a mouthwatering combustion of flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 6 white potatoes
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary*
  • 3 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 rounded Tbsp)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (64 oz)
  • 2 cups (16 oz) peas
  • 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: hemp seeds

*If eating the soup right after cooking, you may want to decrease the amount of rosemary to 1/2 Tbsp. My soup had a strong rosemary taste (which I like), but the next day the flavors blended well and it wasn’t as potent.

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and rinse the cauliflower.
  3. Chop cauliflower into about 2 inch pieces, place in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and place both vegetables in the oven.  Cook the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, and the potatoes for about 50 minutes.
  4. On medium/low heat, warm the rest of the olive oil in a large pot.
  5. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and let sweat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  7. Pour in the vegetable broth and let sit on the heat until the cauliflower is finished.
  8. When the cauliflower is cooked (30 minutes), remove from the oven and place in the pot. (Remember: Keep the potatoes in the oven for another 20 minutes.)
  9. Increase the heat to medium/high and bring to a boil.
  10. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  11. Heat peas however you’d like (stove, microwave…)
  12. Remove potatoes and set aside. In batches, pour the soup into the blender, add the nutritional yeast, and blend until creamy.
  13. Dice the potatoes into large chunks.
  14. Add potatoes and peas to soup.
  15. Add hemp seeds or other fun topping and voilà!

IMG_0378