Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins

title, pumpkin muffins

I am so excited to finally share these Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins with you! Two years ago when I first tried The Best Pumpkin Muffins from the Post Punk Kitchen they became an instant favourite. I made them constantly all of that fall and winter. Last winter I was so busy trying new recipes, that I only revisited these a couple times, and never took any photos. Now its pumpkin season once again and I have fallen in love with these muffins all over again.

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Through the many times I’ve made them, The Best Pumpkin Muffins has slowly morphed into something healthier and a little different: my Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins. I use whole grain flours, a lot less sugar and oil (and healthier versions of both), more molasses and pumpkin, and the cranberries are never optional. While the PPK’s pumpkin muffins lived up to their name, I have to say that I enjoy them even more with the changes I’ve made. I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins (Yields 12 Muffins)
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ¼ cups pureed pumpkin
½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk or water
¼ cup molasses
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans (optional)

Notes:
– Please don’t be scared away by the somewhat lengthy ingredient list; one third of it is spices. The recipe is really simple and comes together quickly.
– If you don’t have chickpea or brown rice flour, you can use all whole wheat but your muffins will be a little denser and you may need a little bit of extra milk or water.
– For a special treat, I highly recommend trying these with a ½ cup of vegan dark chocolate chips instead of the nuts. You won’t be disappointed!
– For some an extra pop of ginger, toss in a couple tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
In a smaller bowl whisk together the pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses.
Stir the cranberries and nuts (if using) into the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.
Use a ¼ cup measuring scoop to scoop batter into a lined or lightly greased muffin tin.
Bake for 20-23 minutes.
Enjoy!

labels, pumpkin muffins

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In case you’re wondering, these muffins freeze amazingly well, though I usually have a hard  time having extras to put in the freezer.

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These little guys are so moist and flavourful they really don’t need anything else! (Though a little smear of Earth Balance probably wouldn’t hurt.) Yum!

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I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #70 and Wellness Weekends.

You May Also Enjoy:
title, pumpkin cornbread waffles
Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles

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Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles

I recently came up with these Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles, after a failed search for a pumpkin waffle recipe that suited my tastes, my pantry, and my love of whole grains. I stumbled upon a recipe for similar waffles, and was really disappointed to see that it used cornbread mix (which I’ve never bought and didn’t have). So, I adapted a tried and true waffle recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking into these gems. I couldn’t have been happier with how these turned out!

title, pumpkin cornbread waffles

Pumpkin and warm spices is always a perfect match. What really makes these is the amazing texture (or ‘mouthfeel’ if you don’t dislike that word as much as I do) that the cornmeal gives!

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Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles (Yields 6 small waffles, using ½ cup of batter each.)
3 tbsp ground flax seeds
½ cup warm water
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

In a medium bowl, whisk the ground flax and water together.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and spice.
Add the pumpkin, milk, and coconut oil to the flax/water mixture and whisk to combine.
Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined.
Cook in a waffle maker, according to its directions.
Top with maple syrup or your favourite toppings, and enjoy!

Collage, pumpkin cornbread waffles

collage, pumpkin cornbread waffles 2

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I hope you enjoy my new favourite waffles as much as I am!

I’ve shared this post with Allergy-Free Wednesday #93, Healthy Vegan Friday #69, and Wellness Weekends (Nov14-18/2013).

You May Also Enjoy:
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Blueberry Corn Pancakes, Apple Cinnamon Ginger Waffles, Chickpea Flour Omelette

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 7!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 4
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 6

My Day 7 Eats: 
For breakfast I made a smoothie very similar to the day before. One thing I’ve learned from this challenge is how to make a good green smoothie that tastes good and is the exact right texture. This one had ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup water, ½ cup almond milk, 4 drops orange stevia, ½ a banana, ½ cup frozen pineapple, ½ cup greens puree, and 1 tbsp hemp protein powder.

I had half of the smoothie followed by some ginger mint tea, then had the other half after my 30 minute walk to work.

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At 11:30 I had a salad of lettuce, cucumber, orange pepper, and balsamic vinegar. I also had some warm taco-spiced lentils and quinoa and some herbal tea with vanilla stevia.

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At 2:30 I had a jar full of steamed baby bok choy with Bragg’s and red pepper flakes.

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Later, I walked another 30 minutes home.

Jem’s Eats:
For breakfast she had the same smoothie as Day 6, except with greens puree instead of greens cubes.
For lunch she had Butternut Squash Lentil Soup.

Confession time. After a long day (I’d already been up over 12 hours) we decided to stop the challenge at 6:30pm, and celebrate by going out for some Japanese food!

Stay tuned for a recap of our experience with the Vedged Out Green Smoothie Challenge!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 6

Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 4
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 5

My Day 6 Eats:
For breakfast I made a mixed fruit green smoothie consisting of 5 Frozen Greens Cubes, ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks, ½ a banana, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp hemp protein powder, 1 cup almond milk, and ½ cup water. This was followed by some hot rooibos tea.

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About an hour later I had a snack of steamed baby bok choy with Bragg’s and red pepper flakes. I felt weird about having this so early in the morning, but it was really good. I love bok choy!

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Around 1:30 I had a salad of cabbage, romaine lettuce, cucumber, orange pepper, and Balsamic Vinaigrette, along with some warm Lentil Taco Filling. Afterwards I had some orange ginger herbal chai tea with vanilla stevia.

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A few hours later I had a bowl of Butternut Squash Lentil Soup.

Around 7pm I walked 30 minutes home and drank some vanilla rooibos tea and munched on a few almonds along the way. The Challenge doesn’t include any nuts, but I really needed a little something to tide me over until I got home and this was all that I had.

At 8:30pm I had a Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie.

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My water for the day: 14 cups!

Jem’s Eats:
For breakfast she had a smoothie consisting of 1 banana, 3 greens cubes, 4 frozen strawberries, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 tbsp ground flax, 4 drops of orange stevia, and 1 cup almond milk.
For lunch she had a green salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and mint tea.
For dinner she had cooked chickpeas and kale and a green salad with red peppers, pomegranate, and lemon juice.
Later on she had some ginger mint tea.

I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #67.

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3

Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2

Today is actually Day 5 of our Challenge, but my full school day (which means I’m gone for almost 12 hours) didn’t leave any time for posting.

Things are going pretty good. I’m feeling less hungry and have more energy than I thought I would. I am enjoying the food once I’m eating it, but am having to talk myself into making it.  Still daydreaming about all the other things I’d like to be eating. Like bread and avocado and Granny Smith Apples and coffee and dark chocolate and peanut butter… Only three more days to go!

All recipes below without a link can be found at the Vedged Out Green Smoothie Challenge page.

Day 3 Eats:

Breakfast was a Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie. As usual, I used ½ cup Greens Puree in place of the greens, only ½ a banana, and left out the ice. I also used ½ of a lemon (segmented and some peel). I’ve had this smoothie before, and I love how different it is. The sour berry lemon flavour sure wakes up the tastebuds!

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Once again, I forgot part of my smoothie in the freezer for a little bit and ended up with some lemonade slush. Yum!

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After my smoothie, I had some warm ginger mint herbal tea.

I put together a big salad plate for lunch. It tasted just as good as it looks! It had romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Balsamic Vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, cucumber, orange pepper, Italian White Beans, and some Lemon Pepper Coleslaw.

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The Lemon Pepper Coleslaw was something I had just come up with. Basically, I was thinking of making my Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw challenge-worthy, and this is what I ended up with. Without any sugar or oil for balance, it is quite sour, but has made a great addition to salads and other things.

Lemon Pepper Coleslaw
3-4 cups shredded cabbage
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp ground black pepper

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Mid-afternoon Jem and I met for a study date at a coffee shop. It was very difficult to talk ourselves into having herbal tea and nothing else! We both ended up with vanilla rooibos tea with steamed soy milk. The milk isn’t really challenge-approved (though it doesn’t actually say anything about it other than it is in some smoothies), but I’m pretty sure it was the only thing coming between us and a sweet caffeinated drink and/or a treat.

When we got home, we each had a plate of mini lettuce wraps (because we had already torn the lettuce). Our lettuce wraps were just red leaf and romaine lettuce with hummus and Lemon Pepper Coleslaw.

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A couple hours later, dinner was leftover Hot & Sour Soup. Still just as good as the day before!

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I made a Berry Vanilla Smoothie (based on the Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie) for an evening snack with ½ cup Greens Puree, 1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries), ½ cup blueberries, ½ a banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp ground flax, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 5 drops of vanilla stevia.

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My water today: 7 cups. 

Jem and I ate the same Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie for breakfast, except that she used a whole banana and hemp protein powder instead of flax. During the morning she had ginger mint tea and some hummus with orange pepper, carrot, and cucumber. She didn’t actually have a salad or a second smoothie on this day, but had the same vanilla rooibos tea, lettuce wraps, and Hot & Sour Soup with me.

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 4

I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #66 and Gluten Free Friday #62.

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1

Green Smoothie Challenge: Preparation
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5

Yesterday was the first full day of our Green Smoothie Challenge, and it went surprisingly well. I did have a slight headache throughout the day but other then that I felt good.

I also have two of my own recipes to share with you: Italian White Beans and Gomae. Enjoy!

I think the hardest part for both Jem and I is going to be staying warm. The weather’s pretty cold and damp around here, making the idea of a ice-cold smoothie less than desirable (especially when you have to have it before the sun comes up or the heat comes on) and we sure were looking forward to a big bowl of hot soup for dinner. We have been combatting the cold with lots of hot herbal tea, which does help some. Putting stevia in the tea also helps combat our sweet-tooths’ cravings.

The past couple days I’ve been having one smoothie for breakfast, a salad and soup for lunch and dinner, and then another smoothie in the evening. The evening is when Jem and I both crave snacks and sweets the most, so sipping on a semi-sweet smoothie at this point really helps.

Just a reminder that you can find more info and all the recipes mentioned below (unless I give a different link) here.

What I Ate (Monday October 21)
I started the day with 2 cups of lemon water, then made a Tropical Colada Smoothie. I used 1/2 cup of our Greens Puree in place of the spinach, used only 1/2 of a banana, and left out the coconut. I don’t have a cup big enough for these smoothies, so I put half of it in the freezer for about 45 minutes, while I drank the other half. This made the frozen half like a slushy by the time I  ate it so I used a spoon, and enjoyed it even more than the first.

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Mid-morning I snacked on a little bit of hummus with cucumber and carrots.

Around 1pm, I had a big salad for lunch that included romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, artichoke hearts, Italian White Beans, and Tahini Cream Dressing. I love this simple salad dressing; tahini and lemon is always a winning combination!

Italian White Beans
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through and most of the liquid is gone.

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I actually made this salad too big. I couldn’t even finish the whole thing!IMG_3014

During the afternoon I had 2 cups of rooibos tea with vanilla stevia and another 2 cups of water.

For dinner, Jem and I had about 2 cups of the Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Black Bean Soup, and a small serving of home-made Gomae. This gomae isn’t made from freshly roasted sesame seeds like is traditional, but it is much simpler, and every bit as tasty. No, the challenge doesn’t really allow for sauces like this on the unlimited steamed vegetables, but we decided since we didn’t use our allotted 1/4 cup of salad dressing on our lunch salad, that this would be okay.

I did end up pureeing the soup again to get a smoother texture and I enjoyed it much more than the other day.

Gomae (Serves 4 as a Side)
2 large bunches spinach, rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp coconut sugar or 5 drops liquid stevia
2-3 tbsp warm water

Note: If I hadn’t made this for the Challenge, I would have also added 1 tsp of sesame oil to the sauce, for a stronger sesame flavour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the spinach to the pot and let cook it cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander and rinse it with cold water. Over the sink or a bowl, press on the spinach to release excess water, then let it sit while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, just mix all the ingredients together in a blender or by hand. Press on the spinach once more to release any more liquid, place some spinach in a small bowl, and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of the sauce. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds if desired.

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After dinner I got on the elliptical for the second night in a row! I did a 30 minute program and then 10 minutes of stretching.

Later on, I added the second half of my Apple Pie Smoothie (from Day 0.5) into the blender and blended it up with 1 cup of frozen blueberries and 4 drops of vanilla stevia. Yum!

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Jenn and I ate pretty much the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but she had a different smoothie in the evening: the Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie. She used 1/2 cup Greens Puree in place of the greens, used vanilla stevia, and left out the water and ice to get a thicker texture (which we both feel makes the smoothie feel more like a milkshake/dessert).

P.S. – Between all the herbal tea and water I drank, I made it up to 11 cups of water again! (Not including anything in the smoothies or other food.)

See you tomorrow!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5

Have you read about our Green Smoothie Challenge: Preparation?

Rather than fully start the Green Smoothie Challenge yesterday, we used the day to ease into it a bit. When choosing a start day, we didn’t realize that we would both end up with (non-challenge-approved) leftovers from a pre-planned dinner out on Saturday night, and Jem didn’t know that she had an impromptu late Thanksgiving dinner to go to on Sunday night.

So, yesterday, Jem had the Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie for breakfast, and then ate regularly for the rest of the day. She did include 30 minutes of elliptical in her day. I ended up having one and a half smoothies, a serving of soup, and some hummus and raw vegetables, and rounding it out with some non-challenge-approved foods. The photos below show what I ate for the day.

I started the day at 6:30am with a Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie. I choose to start with this one because it is very similar to my favourite smoothie of frozen blueberries, Chocolate Vega One, greens, and almond milk. I used only half a banana (because I really don’t like them), choose 1 tbsp of hemp protein powder for the flax/hemp/chia option, used 1/2 cup of my Greens Puree in place of the spinach, and didn’t add the water. The smoothie turned out the perfect texture for me, and I really enjoyed it, even though I was freezing!

Jem had the same smoothie for breakfast, except she used a full banana as the recipe states.

To help warm me up, I had a hot cup of orange pekoe tea with vanilla creme stevia right after I finished my smoothie. Yes, this tea has caffeine in it, but a lot less than the coffee I usually have every morning. I figured it would be a good stepping stone to the next week without any caffeine. And I didn’t have any coffee for the whole day!

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After a 30 minute walk to work, I had a few almonds and one piece of the fig date bread pictured below.

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At noon I had 1 1/2 cups of the Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup and a piece of toast. I really love the taste of this soup, but just like last time I made it, I’m not really a fan of the texture. Right now it is about half pureed, but I may try fully pureeing it before I have any today.

We did make some changes to the soup, so I’m going to write our version below.

Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Black Bean Soup 
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely diced and seeds removed
2 carrots, diced
1/2 large zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp liquid smoke
4 cups water
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup nutritional yeast

In a large pot over medium heat, water sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add the carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, chipotle pepper, and spices and cooking stirring for a couple of minutes. Add black beans, liquid smoke, and water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast and tahini. Pulse a few times with a stick blender to desired consistency.

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Around 4pm, I had another small meal of hummus with raw cucumber, carrot, and yellow bell pepper. I also had the other piece of my fig date bread and some green tea.

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At 5pm, I had another 30 minute walk from work.

For dinner, around 6:30pm, I had a small bowl of leftover pasta from the night before.

Around 7:30pm I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes of yoga stretches.

After my workout, I made an Apple Pie Green Smoothie, and drank about half of it. Then I had some lemon ginger herbal tea with stevia to warm me up. I liked the taste of the Apple Pie Smoothie, but didn’t like the texture. My blender probably just isn’t powerful enough to blend the apples smoothly. It was drinkable, once I blended it with ice, but next time I think I’d use applesauce in place of the full apples.

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I was also drinking water throughout the day, and made it to a grand total of 11 cups! This includes herbal tea, but doesn’t include the water in the smoothies and other food I ate.

Looking forward to starting the challenge off for real today!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1