Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Spice Bread

October is my favorite month for many reasons: crisp fall weather, apple picking, and delicious pumpkin-flavored recipes! It’s also the month I met my fiance and the month we got engaged three years later (in the same pumpkin patch as one of our first dates), so October holds a very special place in my heart 🙂

Every year I like to experiment in the kitchen with fall-flavored recipes. Call me basic, but I like using pumpkin/pumpkin spice in my fall recipes because it’s such a good flavor and pumpkin is actually a nutrient powerhouse! Pureed pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A (great for skin & eye health) and fiber (nature’s laxative–besides coffee). Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and copper–which are involved in hormonal health and can help with PMS symptoms.

This year I made one of my best fall recipes yet and I’m super excited to share it with you. It uses whole wheat flour, and maple syrup for sweetness. Due to the moisture content, there’s no need for oil, so it contains less calories and fat than other recipes. As always, it’s vegan, and can be made gluten free if you use gluten free flour instead of whole wheat.

To step up the decadent factor, I added dark chocolate chunks–but if you prefer to keep this pumpkin flavored recipe more traditional, you can omit the chocolate chunks. Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Spice Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Whole Foods Market 365 brand)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin spice mix (a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc.)–I found this at Whole Foods Market
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. warm water (to make a flax “egg”)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used Whole Foods market 365 brand, which according to the label, contains no animal products)

Directions:

  • Measure out all ingredients
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Lightly grease a 9×9 pan, or use parchment paper if you prefer
  • To make a flax “egg”, combine ground flax + warm water; mix and set aside
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices) in a large bowl
  • Combine wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple syrup) in another bowl, mix well, and then add the flax “egg” into the mixture. Mix.
  • Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until the mixture is uniform
  • Pour mixture into the pan and bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

Are you looking to improve your health and satisfy your hunger with delicious plant-based food and personalized nutrition counseling? Lets work together! (see my work with me page). Not ready for that yet? Lets keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram @theveganrd and let’s connect on Facebook at the Vitamin Valentine page for my latest recipes and nutrition tips.

-Jess

Pumpkin Spice Almond Treats

October is here and I am happy!  October is my favorite month because I love fall, halloween, and everything pumpkin spice flavored/scented. To celebrate the start of fall, yesterday I made raw vegan pumpkin spice almond treats. These almond treats have all the sweet flavors of fall and are full of healthy fats, fiber, and vitamin E.  I made this and ate 2 for breakfast along with pumpkin spice banana nicecream (frozen bananas, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice flavors) but you can eat them as is for a snack or dessert.

Pumpkin Spice Almond Treatsimg_0907

Ingredients:

  • 10 pitted, medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground vanilla bean or vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • optional- you can also add 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice “butter” spread from Trader Joe’s (its vegan!) and adds a bit more sweetness

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor, and process until the mixture is sticky and moldable
  • Mold into balls, bars, or squares and enjoy or refrigerate. These treats taste best at room temperature, so when you’re ready to enjoy them, take them out of the fridge 30 minutes-1 hour before.

P.S.- to make the pumpkin spice nicecream, see my earlier post on “the best vegan breakfast” and combine frozen bananas and canned pumpkin puree in a food processsor. Add the spice mixture above (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger) and enjoy.

-Jess

 

Fall in Love with Pumpkin Bread

Fall is my favorite season, partly because I love crisp, cool weather, but partly because there is just so much pumpkin-flavored food to enjoy! Last fall I made pumpkin spice muffins, which were good, but I needed to tweak the ratio of spices. This time I think I’ve mastered it, however, I made a pumpkin bread instead of muffins because I wanted to change up the recipe a bit more.

Pumpkin Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 1 15.2 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix–the two can look similar)
  • 2/3 cup dark agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional Icing Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tbsp. almond milk, or any non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. earth balance spread
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl, measure and mix together the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, and liquid sweeteners (agave & maple syrup)
  • Add vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, measure and mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and as you’re mixing, mix in the almond milk until the mixture is uniform
  • Grease a baking pan (I used a square pan, but you could use whatever shape you want)
  • Transfer the mixture to the pan and put in the oven
  • Allow to bake for 35-40 minutes
  • Cool sufficiently before icing
  • To make the icing: mix non-dairy milk, earthbalance , and vanilla on low heat, add powdered sugar and mix with a whisk. Remove from heat when uniform and allow to cool. Refrigerate if necessary.
  • Using a spoon, transfer a thin layer of icing to the pumpkin bread. You can either cut each piece individually and then put the icing on, or put it on the entire bread and then cut. It’s up to you.
  • Enjoy!

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-Jess

Falling for a Fall Recipe

I think fall is officially my favorite season in terms of seasonal produce. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that I love pumpkin. I also love kale, spaghetti squash, and tofu seems to be my go-to source of protein as of late. So what better way to enjoy my favorites than combine them in an incredibly nutritious, seasonal recipe. The following recipe is high in protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and doesn’t take too long to cook either. If you don’t have fresh pumpkin, feel free to use canned (just make sure you’re using pure pumpkin puree).

Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin-Crusted Tofu and Kale (serves 2-3)photo-47

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (if you’re unfamiliar with what it looks like, it’s yellow and kind of football-shaped)
  • 3 cups kale
  • 6 oz. firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 cup pumpkin (softened and then pureed using a food processor/blender. Alternatively, use canned pumpkin. Honestly, I used canned pumpkin and it worked well)
  • juice of one lemon
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or regular soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh or dried ginger (about 1-2 tsp.)

Directions:

  • Cut the spaghetti squash in half (the long way). Take a sharp fork or piercing device and poke holes to aerate the squash during cooking.
  • Place the squash halves (soft side facing up) in a microwave safe dish and add  1 cup of water, dividing half of the water beneath the squash and the remaining water poured into the exposed soft sides of the squash. Cover with either a piece of paper towel or press and seal wrap.
  • Heat in the microwave for 12 minutes
  • As the spaghetti squash is cooking, cut, drain, and dry tofu into smaller pieces (the size of the tofu depends on your preference)
  • Combine measured, soft pumpkin with tamari/soy sauce, olive oil, lemon and orange juices, vinegar, and ginger
  • Spread the pumpkin mixture over the tofu so that each piece if saturated in the mixture. You can also marinate the tofu in this mixture overnight for more flavor
  • As you let the tofu sit in the pumpkin mixture for a few minutes, cut the kale and onions into smaller pieces
  • In a large saucepan, spray the bottom with a little spray oil or lightly oil the pan and then add the tofu/pumpkin mixture, kale, and onions. Cook on a low-medium heat setting, just so the tofu is lightly browned and the kale and onions have softened
  • After the squash has finished cooking, remove from the microwave and allow to cool. *Important to keep in mind: the squash is going to be extra hot, especially as you remove the squash “innards” (my weird little name for the spaghetti-like insides). Take this time to taste the tofu-pumpkin/kale combo and feel free to adjust any spices, oils, or accompaniments that you feel would complement the dish.
  • After the squash has cooled a bit, take a fork and remove seeds. The rest of the spaghetti-like strands should be easy to remove. Place on a plate and top with the pumpkin-tofu, kale, and onions.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

-Jess

 

 

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m obsessed with pumpkin flavored things, so this weekend I created a healthy, flavor-packed vegan pumpkin spice muffin! This recipe is not very sweet (because I didn’t use that much sugar) so it can be eaten alongside something sweeter or with a savory stew or soup. These muffins pack a punch of vitamin A and a good helping of fiber, so enjoy and know that it’s possible to make a truly healthy muffin.

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Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, or another whole grain flour (such as spelt, brown rice flour, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (melt in microwave)
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin (nothing added, unsweetened)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2.5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cloves

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and either spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray or use paper muffin cups/wrappers
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine measured dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices)
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and add the canned pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla extract, almond milk, and melted coconut oil (melt the coconut oil in the microwave before mixing for about a minute)
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients until mixture is uniform in consistency
  • With an ice-cream scooper or large spoon, spoon portions of muffin batter into muffin cups/tin
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes (cooking time may vary, so use your judgment and keep an eye on the muffins during the last 5 minutes)
  • Remove from over, allow to cool down a bit and serve
  • Enjoy!

-Jess

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Coffee

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One of my favorite things about fall is pumpkin-flavored everything. I’ve always wanted to try Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte but the pumpkin spice mix that they use is not vegan, so I’ve decided to make my own pumpkin flavored coffee treat. Here is my first attempt at a soy pumpkin spice coffee (it’s not a latte because I don’t have an espresso machine, but feel free to use espresso if you have the equipment).

Ingredients & Directions (serves 1)photo 1.PNG

  • Make unflavored coffee using whatever method you normally use
  • In a mug, add 1/2 cup soy milk. (I use unsweetened, plain flavored but vanilla flavored soy milk could also work)
  • Add 1 tbsp. trader joe’s pumpkin butter OR add 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie mix + 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon
  • add just a drop of vanilla extract
  • Finally, pour coffee over the mixture and stir well

A final note- this coffee is significantly less creamy than what I imagine a pumpkin spice latte would taste like, so feel free to use a higher-fat soy milk than normally, or adjust any of the ingredients according to your tastes. You may also want to steam the soy milk but this is what I did. Enjoy!

-Jess

Farm to Table: Kale and Pumpkin Sauce

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When I’m not working on this blog, taking notes in class, or at work, I also volunteer for a cause that I’m passionate about: supporting local agriculture! Living on Long Island for most of my life has given me a huge appreciation for the local farmers that dedicate their lives to providing communities with real, fresh, sustainably-raised produce. Because of this, I spend time helping out at a Farmers’ Market where we sell all types of fresh fruits and veggies planted on Long Island. This past weekend, I picked up some kale (among other nutritious goodies) and was thinking about possible recipes I could come up with. I looked in my cupboard and saw that I had a can of pumpkin (it would be even better if I had fresh pumpkin, but it’s not late enough in the season for that). I decided to combine the two to make an awesome, delicious sauce that I’m sharing today. I made this sauce up as I went along, so feel free to adjust it based on your tastebuds.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of kale (raw), chopped
  • 1 twelve-ounce can of pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix in a can!)
  • 1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped, or 2-3 tsp. dry basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano (I didn’t have fresh oregano, but if you have it, use it)
  • a dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg (this is optional, nutmeg complements pumpkin really well, but if you don’t have any on hand, don’t worry about it!)

 

Directions

  • Finely chop garlic and use non-stick spray to grease a pan on low-medium heat
  • Allow garlic to sizzle a little
  • While garlic is cooking, use blender to combine kale and unsweetened non-dairy milk until uniform
  • Add 12 ounces of pumpkin and the kale/non-dairy milk mixture to the pan containing the garlic
  • Continuing to stir on low-medium heat, add olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, and nutmeg for 10 minutes or until warm and uniform in color and texture
  • Prepare your favorite pasta, rice, or protein and use this sauce to add an unexpectedly delightful feast your body and tastebuds will equally enjoy! I roasted some veggies and made some sprouted grain fettucine, but the possibilities are endless with a little imagination.

-Jess