What’s a girl to do when an ice storms hits and you’re stranded at your house for days with no TV? Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the five-kagillionth time, do approximately 50 loads of laundry (or maybe it just felt like 50 loads), read a whole lot of magazines, play with makeup in the wee hours of the night after reading said magazines (I looked eerily similar to the Joker when I was done), and bake–A LOT.
I must say, I’ve been thanking my lucky stars that my hubby and I have even had electricity all weekend while so many others have been waiting out the weather in cold and dark homes. I’m even more thankful that my genius hubby made a run to the grocery store to stock up before the storm hit. With so much free time on my hands and a fully stocked fridge and pantry, I decided that the oven would become my best friend.
This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf was the first–and by far the best–thing I prepared all weekend. When I first went gluten-free and vegan years ago, baking anything bread-like was the greatest challenge I faced in the kitchen. There were times when I desperately missed eating bread and I struggled to find recipes that worked and tasted good (an important and sometimes difficult combo). After countless failed attempts, I’m so thankful to finally be able to come up with healthy and allergy-friendly treats that are as good–if not better–than what I would enjoy before changing my eating habits. In fact, I liked this so much that I ate it for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert every day! I don’t know what it was, but everything I made after this just couldn’t stack up to its deliciousness!!
*Not a fan of pumpkin, or just tired of pumpkin (if that’s even possible)? You could easily replace the pumpkin puree in the recipe with applesauce or even mashed banana!
Serves: approx. 10-18 slices (depending on how thick you slice)
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed + 3 Tbs. almond milk
1¼ cups brown rice flour (you could replace up to ½ cup of brown rice flour with sorghum flour)
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup tapoica flour
¼ cup potato starch flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground ginger (optional, but it goes well with the pumpkin flavor)
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup grapeseed or olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup vegan chocolate chips
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with oil.
Combine the ground flaxseed with almond milk and mix well. Set aside to allow the mixture to thicken and become gel-like. *You could also sub with 1 organic egg.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Combine all of the wet ingredients in a food processor or blender, or whisk together in a mixing bowl. Add the flaxseed mixture to the rest of the wet ingredients.
Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, folding the batter together with a spatula or wooden spoon as you go. When all of the ingredients have been evenly combined, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the thick batter into the pan and smooth the top out with a spatula or spoon.**
Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The bread is ready when a dry toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf to cool a bit before removing from the pan. Set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
**If using caned pumpkin puree (which is thicker and less moist than homemade), you may have to add a bit of extra liquid (either almond milk or water) to the batter.
This is my favorite time of year! The food, the decorations, the smells, the movies, the time spent with family, the holiday spirit, the food…did I already say that? Well, it deserves repeating.
For a full month and a half–from around Thanksgiving until right after New Year’s–I live in sheer bliss…even longer if you tie my early-November birthday into the mix.
Every night unfolds in basically the same way: I come home from work, change into comfy, warm clothes (complete with fuzzy socks and sweaters), eat a ridiculous amount of food, and finish it all off with dessert. My husband is convinced that I must be preparing for hibernation. He says it’s because I sleep and eat more, but I’m inclined to agree with his theory because my clothes always seem a bit tighter in the winter and I can’t help but notice some extra “padding.”
Because dessert is a must, I’m always trying to come up with holiday-themed treats that will soothe my sweet tooth without adding too much extra cushioning to my poor expanding derrière. That’s when desserts like these Raw Gingerbread Bites start to make a regular appearance in my fridge. They’re easy to make, store well in the fridge or freezer, are made from healthy, whole ingredients, and can be enjoyed practically guilt-free (as long as you eat them in moderation). Take that, tushie!
¾ cup chopped dates (approx. 6-8 depending on the size)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
sea salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. hot water (optional)
Grind the oats into flour in a food processor.
Add the pecans and blend just until they’re broken down.
Add the chopped dates a little bit at a time and blend until broken down and the mixture begins to clump together.
Add the vanilla extract and spices and blend until evenly distributed. At this point the mixture should clump together easily–you can test it by pinching some between your fingers. *If the mixture does not hold together well and seems too crumbly, add a little bit of hot water (1 tsp. at a time) and blend until you are able to reach the desired consistency.
Remove a little bit of the mixture–approx. 1 rounded Tbs. at a time– and roll it into a ball between your hands. Continue rolling until you have used up all of the mixture.
Enjoy immediately or allow the gingerbread bites to firm up in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Store in the fridge or freezer.
It didn’t occur to me until I looked over the past few posts that I’ve been eating a lot of orange foods recently–pumpkins, sweet potatoes, butternut squashes, grapefruits, and the list goes on and on. Now, I’ve added persimmons to that list. I’ve found the vibrant fruits with their sweet, delicate flavor absolutely impossible to resist. Not only are they delicious, they’re also in season (persimmon season usually begins in October and ends around December) and have been fully stocked and on sale for only $1 per pound at my local Whole Foods! Say what?! As you can probably imagine, I bought more persimmons than one human being could possibly need…. Fortunately, having an over-abundance of these beautiful orange orbs in my fruit basket has forced me to include them in absolutely everything.
Because today is my birthday, I wanted to share something extra-special. Yes, that’s right, it’s my birthday! Today I join the ‘Dirty Thirty’ club. I won’t lie, I was downright dreading my thirtieth birthday up until today. When I was younger, 30 just seemed so mature, so grown up, so responsible.
So I’m pretty sure it’s obvious by now that I’m obsessed with all things pumpkin……and all things dessert. Now that Halloween has passed and we’re officially into the holiday season, I’m convinced that my brain has become hardwired for fall-flavored desserts. I somehow can’t seem to get enough! I’ll make my typical salads and quinoa for lunch and dinner–nothing out of the ordinary or really “blog-worthy”–but then I have to finish the day off strong with something decadent and, preferably, full of fall spices. Continue reading →