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.

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title, pumpkin cornbread waffles
Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles

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).

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Blueberry Corn Pancakes, Apple Cinnamon Ginger Waffles, Chickpea Flour Omelette

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.

Golden Lentil Barley Soup

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new recipe, but I’ve got one for you today. And it’s a keeper. And by keeper, I mean I had absolutely no problem eating this soup for five days straight. I loved it each and every time.

Anyone else loving fall as much as I am? I can’t get enough of cool crisp weather, gorgeous  colours, cozy layers, boots, and lots of hot tea and soup!

title lentilbarleysoup

This hearty lentil, barley, and root vegetable soup is pure cool-weather comfort food. It is also very simple to make. Once everything is in the pot and brought to a boil, you can turn it down and let it simmer while you do something else. I got it started one night after coming home from work, and just let it simmer while I relaxed with a book.

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Golden Lentil Barley Soup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 carrot, diced
1 small/medium turnip, diced
2 small or 1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed, sorted, and drained
1/2 cup barley, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne powder, depending on how spicy you’d like it
6 cups vegetable broth or 6 cups water + 1 vegetable boullion cube (I used Harvest Sun)

Note:
Really, any sort of lentil would work in this soup but I prefer the creamy texture that red lentils give. Split red lentils will almost disappear in the soup and help to make it very creamy. Whole red lentils will be very soft, but won’t break down completely. I used a mix, because I only had a little bit of each kind left.

Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent.
Add all of the other ingredients, stir well, and bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the barley and vegetables are cooked, about 45-60 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
Enjoy!

This soup will thicken up quite a bit as it sits and cools, so you may want to add a bit of water when reheating.

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I’ve shared this post with Health Vegan Friday #65Allergy-Free Wednesday #93, and Wellness Weekends (Nov14-18/2013).

What’s your favourite season?

Do you have any favourite soup recipes? Please share. 

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Gingersnap Oatmeal with Instant Cranberry Sauce
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Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites

These lemony little gems were dreamed up out of necessity. I had three lemons in the fridge that needed to be used before I left for Victoria for five days. I had been meaning to try a raw lemon bar recipe with them, but I never got around to it. As lemon bars aren’t really portable I knew I had to save that recipe for another time. So I decided to use most of the same ingredients that would have gone into the lemon bars (lemon juice, coconut, oats, and dates) to make some energy bites for my trip.

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I have to say that I am very happy with how these turned out! Bright lemon flavour, a hint of coconut and nuttiness, and a natural sweetness from the dates and coconut. These lemony little bites of chewy goodness are perfect for travel and on-the-go snacks. Or you may just want to stand by the fridge and scarf a few down! Don’t worry, that’s okay too.

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Collage, lemon bars 1

Collage, lemon bars 2

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites (Yields 32 small squares)
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced/slivered/chopped almonds (raw or blanched)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (20-25 dates)
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
Optional: 1/4 cup vanilla or berry flavoured protein powder (I like Vega One)

Notes:
If your dates aren’t soft then you should let them sit in a bowl of hot/warm water for at least 15 minutes before using.
I prefer to cut these into small squares because they pack easily into storage containers and I can choose the size of my snack better, however you could also make larger bars, or roll the dough into small balls. Totally up to you.
For gluten-free, just make sure your oats and protein powder are gluten-free.
For nut-free, use sunflower seeds or more oats, in place of the almonds.

Add the oats, coconut, almonds, lemon zest, and protein powder (if using) to a large bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is at your desired consistency: less if you like a chewier bar with larger pieces, or more if you’d like a finer texture.
Add the dates and process until they are in small pieces and mixed up with the other ingredients.
Add the lemon juice and process until everything is thoroughly mixed and clumping together. It may be crumbly, but should stick together when pressed.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a 11″x7″ pan, but the size doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 8″x8″. Dump the mixture into the lined pan and press down until the top is relatively flat and even. With a sharp knife, cut into small squares or bars. Place the pan in the fridge for at least an hour, then transfer the squares or bars into an airtight container. Store in the fridge or freezer.
The energy bites will soften a bit when at room temperature, but they shouldn’t fall apart. Enjoy!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/27/13), Allergy Free Wednesday (8/28/13)Gluten-Free Wednesdays (8/28/13)Raw Food Thursday (8/29/13), Healthy Vegan Friday, Wellness Weekends (8/29-9/2/13), Gluten Free Friday #55.

Easy Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles

Crunchy. Juicy. Sour. Sweet. Salty. Spicy. These Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles cover all the bases. I find these seriously addictive!

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I made these the first time when I bought a bunch of smallish local cucumbers from the market and was looking for a way to make sure none would go to waste. No problem, thanks to these delicious pickles! I took a whole 1/2 cup container full of these with me to work every day for a week and those cucumbers disappeared pretty darn fast!

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Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium-large cucumber (or a couple small ones), sliced 1/4 inch thick

Place all ingredients except for the cucumbers into a medium-size jar or container (it must hold at least 2 cups). Stir together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Alternatively, if your jar has a tight fitting lid, you can put the lid on and shake it to mix the ingredients.
Add cucumber slices to the jar. You can stuff as many as you can into the container, as long as they are all mostly submerged into the liquid.
Close the jar and place in the fridge. The pickles will taste great even after 1 hour, and will continue to develop flavour the longer you leave them. I’d tell you how long they will last in the fridge, but mine disappeared within a week.
Enjoy!

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As you enjoy your pickles, you can keep adding more cucumber slices to the jar! And feel free to experiment with different vegetables. I tried carrots and they were also very tasty!

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These pickles pack a punch of flavour, so they are awesome on their own, but they are also a great addition to sandwiches, wraps, salads, and anywhere else you’d like a juicy spicy crunch!

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I’ve shared this with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/13/13), Health Vegan Friday #56, Wellness Weekends (Aug15-19), and Raw Foods Thursday (8/15/13).