Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins

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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!

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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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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!

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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!

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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

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!

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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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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

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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).

Pineapple Mango Creamsicles and Mixed Berry Ice Pops

It is definitely summer around here and while I’m loving the sunshine, I’m not a huge fan of the heat. What better way to beat the heat than with an icy totally guilt-free treat?! (Really didn’t intend for all the rhyming there!)

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Store-bought popsicles may be fruit-flavoured, but they are usually just frozen sugar-water, without any actual fruit in sight. These home-made popsicles taste even better than store-bought, are almost completely all fruit, and therefore completely guilt-free! They are also super quick and easy to make. If you know how to turn on a blender, than you can make these in about five minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to freeze!

Pineapple Mango Creamsicles
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup mango chunks
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (or more coconut milk, for an even creamier creamsicle)
1/2 tsp orange extract
Optional – sweetener to taste

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Mixed Berry Ice Pops
1 cup blueberries
1 cup other berries (raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries…) – You can choose one kind, or a mixture.
2 cups water or non-dairy milk
Optional – sweetener to taste

For both kinds, just throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide into whatever ice pop molds you have and place them in a freezer to freeze. Wait impatiently. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– For both recipes, you can use either fresh or frozen fruit, or a combination of both. 

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I’ve shared this post with Raw Food Thursday (7/18/13), Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays (7/17/13), Healthy Vegan Friday #52, Gluten Free Friday #49, and Wellness Weekend (July 18-22).

Questions
Ice cream or popsicles?

What is your favourite popsicle flavour? Or the craziest flavour you’ve tried?
Feel free to share or link to the recipe!

Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers

Let me just start off by saying that these Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers are my new favourite veggie burgers! I’ve been trying a lot of different recipes lately for vegan burgers, as I really like having some in the freezer for quick meals, and I’m trying not to buy any processed ones full of junk (even though they taste really good). These are absolutely the best ones so far. My sister Jem and her fiancé (both omnivores) have also just finished a batch! We all love that these burgers aren’t trying to taste like meat, they just have a really awesome flavour of their own.

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On a whole wheat bun with roasted garlic hummus, romaine lettuce, and Sriracha.

They are also very simple to make. You basically just mix everything in a bowl, make patties, and bake them. No pre-cooking of individual ingredients or food processor required.

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On a whole wheat wrap with melted Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Wedge, red pepper hummus, green leaf lettuce, and cucumber.

I should also mention that this recipe is based on The Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for Double Batch Chickpea Cutlets, which are really great as is. A version of the Chickpea Cutlets also appears in Veganomicon.

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Cut up in a salad, with romaine lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, black pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette.

And now, if those photos made you hungry for some Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (they sure did for me), here’s the recipe. Go make some burgers!

Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (Yields 8 Large Patties)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
¼ cup hot water
1 16oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup ground flax seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup water or vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce

Notes:
– I buy sun-dried tomatoes in a dry package. Obviously if you have oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes you won’t need to rehydrate them
– Instead of mashing the chickpeas and olive oil in a bowl, you can choose to pulse them in a food processor. I prefer not to dirty the food processor just for this. Just don’t process them for too long, otherwise you’ll end up with hummus.

– For some extra flavour, you can include the water you soaked the tomatoes in, in the 1 cup of water or vegetable broth.
– If you’re not sure what the ‘strings of gluten’ should look like, this photo should help. 

Place the chopped up sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl with the hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes before using them.
Place the chickpeas and olive oil in a large bowl and mash with a fork or masher just until there are no whole chickpeas left.
Add all of the other ingredients into the bowl with the mashed chickpeas, including the now rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Knead everything together for about 3 minutes, or until strings of gluten appear.
Separate the dough into 4 equal(ish) pieces, then divide each piece into 2. You should now have 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a patty. This can easily be done by rolling it into a ball, then flattening and shaping it into a disc between your hands. They should be roughly half an inch thick.
Place the patties on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip, and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Enjoy these Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers right away, or let cool and freeze them for later. I usually make veggie burgers specifically for the freezer, because they are awesome for making quick filling meals. The patties can be reheated any way you choose: in a microwave, in a pan, or on the barbecue.

I’ve shared this post with Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 67, Healthy Vegan Friday #43, and Wellness Weekends.

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Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread, Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw, Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos