It’s Still Pumpkin Season! Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!  Knowing that next year there will be a new little human in the mix had me really cherishing the time we spent with family and friends this time around.

I can’t be the only one who feels that pumpkin season shouldn’t end with Thanksgiving, but should continue through the entire fall and holiday season.  My taste for pumpkin is still going strong, in any event!

Remember those wisdom-giving pumpkin pancakes?  The leftovers got me through several breakfasts last week.  I had them rolled up with a bit of White Chocolate Wonderful and they were divine.
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Once those were gone, I put the leftover pumpkin puree to good use in delicious smoothie form.  There are a thousand and one pumpkin pie smoothie recipes on the Internet, and now I’m throwing mine into the mix as well!
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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Serves 1
Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free

3/4 – 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond-coconut)…add less milk for a thicker consistency, more for thinner
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 frozen banana
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Small pinch of ground cloves

Blend and enjoy!

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Are you still getting your pumpkin fix? Let me know how!

Halloweekend 2014

Hi there! I hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend!

Ours was very low-key, for obvious reasons. We didn’t have any plans except to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters and to stop by a small “open house” type gathering that some of our neighbors had organized. Suburban living at its finest 🙂

I stuck with a super-simple DIY costume (shirt, sharpie, and fabric paint) for Baby H and me:
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And worked up these little clementine Jack o’ lanterns to bring to the neighbors’ house:
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I did not come up with this idea! I just saw it floating around the Interwebs and thought it was cute. Plus, it matched my costume! The neighbors seemed to get a kick out of it too!
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Interestingly, I ended up being pretty judicious with the amount of candy and sweets I took in over this sugar-filled holiday (in stark contrast to last weekend!). The sweets craving was fun while it lasted but I am glad that it seems to have subsided. Lord knows I won’t need any extra help putting on the pounds in these final two months.

Later this week I will have a fun giveaway so come back and see me then!!

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread – Veganized to Perfection!

It’s no secret that I enjoy taking shortcuts with my cooking from time to time.  Usually I’ll only do it if the shortcut way is just as good as, if not better, than its more labor-intensive counterpart.

For me personally, pumpkin bread falls into the shortcut category.  I’ve made it from scratch a bunch of times and it’s really good, but I have to say, Trader Joe’s boxed mix yields an equally-delicious result.  It’s one of my favorite fall treats!
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The box instructions tell you to combine the boxed mix with two eggs, 1/2 cup of oil, and 1 cup of water.  Fortunately, quick breads like this are ideal candidates for veganizing with egg substitutes, because their dense texture and full flavor easily mask the fact that substitutions have been used.
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I used to do this bread with two flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water), but over the weekend I tried it with one flax egg and one mashed banana, and I have to say it was WAY better.  I’ll go as far as to say that it’s the best combo for veganizing this particular product (of course, if you have an even better way, I’d love to hear it in the comments!).

The banana flavor is undetectable but it gives a gooey, sweet consistency that is just sooooo appetizing and pleasing to the palate.
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Oh, and you’ll notice that I also added half a cup of chocolate chips, of course 🙂  I have my priorities straight.

Thick and Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Has fall weather hit you yet?  It has certainly come to us.
A few weeks ago I bought the most beautiful head of orange cauliflower at the farmer’s market and had one of those moments where I was so excited to eat it that I didn’t know where to start.

Of course, I was 25 weeks along at that point and the “experts” say that at 25 weeks a developing baby is roughly the size of cauliflower, so obviously the first thing to do was to take a belly comparison pic.
25W Cauli
Don’t mind the frumpy PJ’s…it’s getting harder and harder to find comfy clothing!

But after that there were actual choices to be made.  Finally, in the interest of simplicity and seasonally-appropriate fare, I settled on a hearty soup.
Cauli Soup
This soup is rich and filling with a deep, savory flavor that will warm you from the inside out!

Thick and Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4
Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 4-5 cups)
5 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 small (or 1 large) russet potato, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 turmeric
4 cups vegetable broth (or reconstituted bouillon)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommended!)
Couple dashes cayenne (optional)

1. The roasting: Preheat the oven to 425.  Place cauliflower and garlic cloves on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring or flipping at least once about halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and nicely browned.  Take out of the oven and let cool slightly, then remove the garlic cloves and set aside.  Also set aside about a cup of cauliflower.

2. Warm some oil (or a thin layer of water) in a stockpot over medium-high heat and saute onion until tender and beginning to turn translucent.

3. Add potatoes, cumin, and turmeric, stir to combine, and cook 1 minute.

4. Add broth and bay leaf, stir, and bring the mixture to a boil.

5. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.

6. Add cauliflower and garlic, stir to combine, and simmer another 5 minutes.

7. REMOVE THE BAY LEAF, then puree, either in the pot with an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor.

8.  Stir in the reserved cauliflower florets, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast and cayenne if using.  Taste and adjust spices as necessary.  Enjoy!

This soup doesn’t take long to pull together, but if you are really short on time, you could consider skipping the roasting step. The flavor will be a little less deep, but the soup will still come out delicious. For the unroasted version, peel and finely chop the garlic and saute it along with the onion in step 2.  In step 3, add the cauliflower along with the potato and simmer both in the vegetable broth (steps 4 and 5) until tender.  Once tender, use a strainer to remove some of the florets to set aside, if desired.  Then blend and season as indicated in steps 7 and 8.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Autumn Breakfast Bounty

Over the summer I dedicated an entire post to smoothies and salads, but now that it’s fall my appetite is running toward the warmer end of the breakfast spectrum.  This means that oatmeal is back in the rotation (how 2009, I know), as well as a number of baked goods (which I at least try to keep on the healthy side).

Over the weekend, I made the Lower Fat Banana Bread (with chocolate chips, OBVIOUSLY) from Veganomicon for a football tailgate.

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I was really motivated to make this because whenever I tailgate with a bunch of dudes I notice that there is a distinct lack of any food that is not either meat or a piece of bread on which to transfer the meat from hand to mouth.  I got up early that morning to bake it so that it would be warm and delicious for the tailgate.  It was a big hit and I had only 2-3 slices left over.  Here’s what I did with those:

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Portable workday breakfast: slice of chocolate chip banana bread with raw almond butter.  Perfection.

I also baked a batch of Chocolate Spice Muffins from Everyday Happy Herbivore so that H and I could have a quick, low-cal, grab-and-go breakfast every day this week.

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As with the banana bread, I like to cut these in half and spread a little raw almond butter on them.  Obviously this ups the calories considerably, but I am the kind of person who is ravenous by 10:30 a.m. if I don’t bulk up my breakfast a little.

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^Pretty hard to argue with.

As to that oatmeal, and sticking with another recurring theme of pumpkin everything, check this out:

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Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal
Serves 1

1 serving of cooked oatmeal (cooked according to package instructions)
1 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. vegan chocolate chips
1 tbsp. chopped pecans
A sprinkle of pink salt
[optional] 1 tsp. maple syrup

Simply cook the oatmeal, then stir in remaining ingredients and enjoy!

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Oatmeal never did photograph nicely.

Oh and just in case you didn’t already know, the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is coming up in less than two weeks!!!


I can’t wait!!

P.S. – Happy 2 Year Anniversary to my H!!! 🙂

Fall Baking Bonanza

Ahhh, you guys, I love October!! Not only is it the month of my anniversary 🙂 but in my opinion it’s also the quintessential autumn month.  It’s not too cold yet, but each day it becomes increasingly clear that summer is definitely over.

Like everyone else, this time of year I gravitate toward cozy food and drink.  And, of course, baked goods!  There is nothing better than warm, spicy-sweet aromas drifting through your house.  Nothing.

The craving for in-season produce like squash, pumpkin, etc. comes pretty naturally to me, but being a blogger adds serious fuel to the fire, as I spend a portion of each day ogling photos of all the delicious things that my virtual friends are concocting all over the world.  I read and bookmark away, and then later decide what I’m going to actually make by factoring in time, ingredients I already have, etc.

So even though I’ve been doing this for the past several weeks (and let’s face it, years), this week the baking bug finally bit me hard enough that I just dove right into it.  Check out some of the results!

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Pumpkin Pecan Glaze, by Morgan of Fo Reals Life (click for recipe)

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This was my first-ever attempt at making donuts and it definitely will not be my last.  I actually saw this recipe, died, then came back to life and immediately went to A.C. Moore to buy a donut pan.  SO worth it.  These were delicious, light, cakey, not too super-sweet, and the toasted pecans add wonderful texture and flavor.  If you don’t have a donut pan, get one (mine cost 6 bucks).   But if you can’t wait to make these until you get one, they also can be made into muffins/cupcakes, like so:

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Just add about 3 minutes to the baking time.  (Also, please forgive my dirty countertops.  I probably should have taken 30 seconds to clean up after baking and before taking pictures but I was just too excited about stuffing my face to bother.)

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And I don’t think I even need to tell you how good these smelled during and after baking.  Yum!!

Next I made Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Cashew Cream by Sarah of The Sweet Life blog (click for recipe).

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I have to admit this was also my first time making waffles (I KNOW).  H and I got a waffle maker as a wedding gift two years ago but I never took a stab at making anything on it until this week.  And, lest you think that every kitchen experiment I undertake turns out well, be advised that my first three waffles were an utter disaster.  See:

Waffle Mess

Now, I’m going to have to pin this one on the manufacturer for providing absolutely NO instruction whatsoever about the quantity of batter to be placed on the iron at any given time.  They just wouldn’t hold together when I opened up the maker. Rather than be deterred, however, I adjusted the amount of batter and employed varying amounts of cooking spray (on the supposedly non-stick iron, I might add) until I managed to produce a few of these:

Waffle Success

Once I had figured out how to actually make normal waffles, I really enjoyed them!  The waffles were soft, lightly sweet and not-too-pumpkiny, and surprisingly filling.  This was a really fun and delicious fall breakfast for H and me.

And worry not! I didn’t throw out the ugly waffles.  No, I made “waffle ball sundaes” out of them by warming them up and then topping them with leftover maple cashew cream AND leftover pumpkin glaze from the donuts, plus toasted pecans.  BOOM.  That’s how we come full circle.

I may have gained 10 lbs. this week.

But I’m not done yet.

The next thing I am dying to try, but just haven’t yet had the time to, is this Oatmeal Pumpkin Loaf by Kathy of Happy. Healthy. Life. (click for recipe).

I’m just posting about it in case anyone isn’t aware that this exists and wants to get a jump on making it.  That’s all.

Happy, happy Fall!

Vegan MoFo Orange Week – Lunch Break


It’s Friday again, and today for MoFo Orange week I’m having Dad’s famous Holiday Butternut Squash Soup

AshPhone 715This delicious pureed soup is a staple in our family at holiday times.  Dad makes it by combining a base of sauteed carrots, garlic, onions, and celery with diced butternut squash, vegetable broth, plenty of black pepper and a dash or two of cayenne, then simmering it until the squash is soft enough to puree with an immersion blender. It really is as simple as can be, but has such a delicious result! Sweet and also savory, lightly spicy, thick and filling.

Today I’m eating mine with leftover challah, trying to fill up before beginning my Yom Kippur fast this evening.

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Have a great weekend!

Vegan MoFo Orange Week – Sweet Potato Power


Good morning!  I am kicking off my day with a lovely orange breakfast of diced fresh mango:

sweet potato cakes 005Since I published a post fairly recently that was dedicated exclusively to my love for mangoes, I will not be working with them for Vegan MoFo.  Nonetheless, I am eating this one as I’m posting, so I thought it was okay to at least give a shout out!

Today I want to instead talk about sweet potatoes!  This is one of my favorite foods.  They are so versatile, and their gentle sweetness and soft, creamy texture  bring balance to savory meals.

Last night I used sweet potato to create Gingered Sweet Potato and Black Bean Cakes.

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Yield: 7 medium cakes, or 10-12 smaller cakes
Time: 25 minutes or less
(This recipe has been given the omnivore seal of approval by H.  In fact, he took all of the leftovers to work for lunch today.)

You need:
1 cup of black beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. whole wheat bread crumbs (or panko) (omit for gluten-free option)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/16 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Pink salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cooking spray

To Make:
First, use a fork to lightly mash the beans, then place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  You want to mash them just until no whole beans remain, but not so much that they come to resemble a paste.

Next, bake your sweet potato.  [For weeknight cooking, I recommend using the microwave (blasphemy, I know, but it’s SO much faster).  To do this, scrub the potato and poke it a few times with a fork, then place it on a plate and microwave for 3 minutes.  Test it by poking again with the fork.  If the fork enters easily, it’s done.  If not, continue to microwave it at 30 second intervals, testing each time, until it is cooked.]

While the sweet potato is “baking,” warm the olive oil in a medium or large skillet, then saute the onion in it until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the sauteed onion to the bowl with the mashed beans.

When the sweet potato is done, allow it to cool slightly, then use a spoon to scrape out the lovely orange flesh.  Mash it with a fork and then add it into the mixing bowl.  (My sweet potato yielded a little over a cup of mashed goodness.)

Add the breadcrumbs and all of the spices, including the grated ginger, to the bowl and mix well.  Taste the mixture for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Lightly spray a medium or large skillet (I used the same one I had cooked the onions in) with cooking spray.  Using a 1/4 cup measure, press the mixture into the palm of your hand and shape it into patties.  Place patties one-by-one on the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

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Serve with your favorite grain, or as a sandwich with condiments of choice.  Enjoy! I ate mine with quinoa and steamed broccoli, and H enjoyed his together with a scoop of quinoa on a hamburger bun .

And actually, after the photo, I made a sriracha-tahini sauce that was absolutely delicious spread on top of the cakes (it’s just 1 tbsp. tahini with 1/2-1 tsp. sriracha stirred in).  I also tried one with ketchup and it was even better; for some reason the ketchup really brought out the gingery flavor!

Don’t be afraid to get creative with these. 🙂

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Fall Festivities

Well, there is no question that fall has arrived in New England. The thermostat in H’s car this morning read 37 degrees. Yikes!

We also carved our jack-o-lantern on Sunday.

We celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary on Tuesday, which snuck up on us amazingly fast.
(No, I’m not pregnant. I had just eaten the biggest veggie burger of all time at the Cheesecake Factory.)

Finally, my parents, brother, and grandparents are coming to visit this weekend and I am so excited! I am also glad that the famous fall foliage has arrived just in time for them.

My family will be here through next Wednesday, and on Tuesday night we are all going out to a nice dinner, after which H and I will be hosting dessert and coffee at our house. What to bake, what to bake??

Two weekends ago I made the East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I made the banana and jam swirl version, using my mother-in-law’s homemade raspberry jam.

Here it is unbaked, without the crumbs:

Unbaked, with crumbs:

Finished product:

It was delicious. And beautiful (if I do say so myself)!

This week, though, an obvious choice would be something with pumpkin.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Or apples. I do have 20 lbs. of those from apple picking last weekend.

No matter what I go with, I am looking forward to serving everything on my wedding china!! Fall is definitely a time for celebration!