Tag Archives: pumpkin

Round Orange Things

This post is kind of pathetic, but I haven’t been eating anything particularly interesting lately, and I figured something is better than nothing.

We’ve had a sugar pumpkin sitting in our suite’s hallway for a month, but instead of tossing it, I decided to try my hand at making my own pumpkin purée. So, I stuck that baby straight in the oven–no oil, no pan, I literally just put it, whole, onto the oven rack–and after an hour or so, I sliced it open (SO much easier than trying to cut it beforehand), scooped out the seeds and stringies, and puréed the flesh in my Magic Bullet. It was definitely lighter colored than canned pumpkin, and somewhat starchier, but otherwise pretty similar. Obviously, it would make better pie, so don’t be lazy for the big day next week: make your own pumpkin!

I also roasted the seeds. Just of spritz of canola oil, and some cinnamon and sea salt.

I had two remaining brown rice cakes, so for a random breakfast, I slathered on some pumpkin (with cinnamon and nutmeg added), sprinkled with seeds, and called it a morning.

I forgot to mention that, a few weeks ago, I won Lindsay’s hummus giveaway at Cooking for a Vegan Lover. She sent me a jar of Wild Garden Black Olive hummus, and two single serving squeezepacks: Traditional and Sun-Dried Tomato.

I think the black olive was my favorite (so good thing I had a full jar!), but they are all quite good. Impressive nutrition stats too! I think 2 Tbs of the black olive was only 35 calories, and most hummus is about 60. Also, these guys had nice, short ingredient lists: mostly just chickpeas, tahini, water, olive oil, and sea salt, plus whatever flavor. That’s always a big plus for me because even brands like Trader Joe’s hummus often have a decent amount of additives. Plus, it’s cool that they’re shelf-stable, like cartons of soy or almond milk, so you can always have them handy!

For a snack today, I just spread the sun-dried tomato one on some Nairns Oatcakes. Simple yet delicious.

I love these oatcakes though! They’re just wholegrain oats, palm fruit oil, sea salt, and baking soda (or, because they’re from the UK, I should say, sodium bicarbonate!) They’re produced in Edinburgh, and even though I may not have loved every minute of my study abroad experience there, I’ll always have a soft spot for British health foods, like oatcakes and flapjacks. :)

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Pumpkin for My Pumpkin

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for my little sister, that is!

I’m currently visiting my favorite person in the world. She’s a sophomore (and DI soccer player!) at Colgate University in the charming town of Hamilton in central NY. It’s my first time here, and I’m loving it.

Of course I couldn’t come empty-handed–I’m her big (wonderful vegan baker) sister, after all! I had to make something seasonal, and having my own fond memories of my mom sending me pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in October of my freshman year at Pomona, I decided that was the route to take. Good decision, I think.

I used this recipe from the PPK, subbing 1 cup of chocolate chips for the walnuts and raisins because, um, which would you prefer? I added the optional flax seed as well because, in my book, chewier cookies always take the cake. (Uh oh, mixed metaphor!)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try them (still doing elimination diet stuff, so no sugar or gluten for me at the present!), but my friends and Olivia all seemed to love them! From making and at least smelling them, however, I got the sense that they weren’t quite pumpkin-y enough. Liv said the molasses kind of overpowered the pumpkin (I think maple syrup would be a better option), and my mom thought they could use a bit more spice. Still, they’ve all been wolfing them down nonetheless, so I’m marking them as a win, even if I would probably try a different recipe next time!

So far, the weather’s been surprisingly mild (for NY in October…). We’ve been enjoying the brisk and sunny autumn days to the fullest, an enjoyment that necessarily includes playing in the leaves:

Please notice the heart formed by the leaves around Livers. She’s so talented.

The novelty of foliage to an AZ girl who goes to school in SoCal.

Can I switch schools, please? Freezing 98 percent of the time must be worth a month or so of this kind of magical.

Don’t quote me on that. ;)

Moussaka and Miraval

Sorry for the long absence, dear bloggies! It was a busy weekend, starting on Thursday, when I became a level 7 vegan. You know those famous recipes that stand out among the many within the vegan (blogging) community? I know you know what I’m talking about – Chickpea Cutlets, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, Tofu Ricotta, Smlove Pie. I could go on, but they’re those recipes that almost every vegan has either tried, been meaning to try for as long as their (algae-derived supplement provided) omega-3-powered mind can remember, or have given up on trying because they seem too complicated. Anyways, one of those recipes is the Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream from Veganomicon. I’ve had the page dog-eared ever since I bought the book, but was always too lazy or didn’t have the time to make this decadently rich Mediterranean feast of a meal. But I’m proud to announce that I finally overcame that lameness and kicked some serious moussaka a**!

I made the sauce and pine nut cream and roasted the vegetables the night before, so the day of I only had to assemble it, which was super easy. I thought this would be a fun recipe to do a step-by-step preparation series for:

Tomato sauce and (whole wheat) bread crumb layer over the initial layering of eggplant and potatoes:

And zucchini over that:

After the second and final layer of tomato sauce and bread crumbs, the celebrated pine nut cream:

Spreadage:

Topped with pine nuts!

All golden-browned and luscious right out of the oven:

Sorry I don’t have any gooey inside shots! It was for a dinner party, and I didn’t have the time or light to snap a picture!

Anyways, the moussaka totally lived up to the hype, and my dad even said it might be the best thing I’ve ever made! The subtly cinnamon-spiked tomato sauce was to die for, and the pine nut cream was thick, tangy, rich, and downright cheesy. Who needs noodles when you can make a lasagne-like dish as good as this with only layers of vegetables? This is definitely a “make again.” Hooray for vegan milestones!

Early the next morning, and still in slight food comas from the night before (okay, maybe that was just me?), my mom, sister, and I drove up to Miraval Resort in Tucson, my mom’s favorite spa getaway!

It was my sister and I’s first time there, and I was very excited after hearing my mom rave about it the last time she went. You basically get to live in the lap of luxury for the duration of your stay, and because it’s a pre-paid package deal, eat however much, and do whatever classes and activities you like! I did Morning Yoga, Body Conditioning, Yogilates, the Evening Photography Walk, Swing and a Prayer (a ropes course challenge!), and Dream Yoga, and attended a Cooking Demo, an Introduction to Ayurveda, Tea Here Now (a two-hour class on tea that included an authentic Chinese tea ceremony!), and a class called Changing Your Metabolism. It was such a great experience, and as you can guess, I was absolutely exhausted afterwards (wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a relaxation resort?)

The food was delicious and healthy of course, with calorie counts on everything – you might think that would make eating stressful, but it was more just an affirmation of the lifestyle that Miraval represented. Over the course of two days I enjoyed a huge variety of fresh produce and salads, delicious vegetable juice blends, plenty of baked sweet potato (which I smothered with cinnamon and Miraval’s reduced fat peanut butter that’s made by blending PB with carrots), delicious mango-mint soup, and this (the one thing I got a picture of…), tofu-vegetable stir-fry with sweet plum sauce over brown rice:

I can only hope I’m lucky enough to go again someday! In the meantime, here are some cool pictures I took during my photography walk there:

This was actually a sign for the Agave Center, where yoga was held, but being the food blogger/health nut nerd that I am, I had to get this shot:

I never got a chance to go swimming, but this guy and his happy feet make me wish I had…

Mesquite pods! We have a tree in my front yard actually, and I really want to try grinding my own mesquite flour soon! They smell heavenly, especially when it rains. All sweet ‘n smoky.

The night we got back from Miraval, I wanted a quick and easy yet delicious meal–and a warm, cooked one that would address the vata imbalance I found out I had in my ayurveda class (I’m a vata-pitta by the way, but, given that like increases like in ayurveda, my vata is totally out of control and needs some kapha to tone it down…). Just ignore me if you think I’m crazy! To get to the point, it seemed like something like pumpkin soup would fit the kapha bill, so I decided to try the Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Soup from The Vegan Table:

I could say I followed the recipe except for a couple of changes, but that’s not really true. I changed a lot. I added a Tbs of peanut butter because I’m me. I also added extra cinnamon and cumin, and even put in some curry powder because the strong cardamom flavor was tripping me out. I generally love unique and unexpected sweet/savory combos, but for some reason, the cardamom in this soup was too much for me. And, because I hate to let a meal go by without anything green in it, I added a few cups of baby spinach. I think it’s better with the spinach actually. Without it, the soup’s a little one dimensional. Still, though, this is a good recipe! And it does benefit from a day in the fridge – as most things do, right?

Finally, my breakfast after the longest run of my life on Sunday (9.5ish miles): a young coconut!

And not just any young coconut…a frozen young coconut! I had it in the freezer because I wasn’t sure if it could go bad since I’d never had one before. I took it out to thaw before my run and assumed it would have melted, but I cracked it open to find a coconut ice ball! It sucked because I had to wait awhile to eat it, but once it softened a little, I just broke it up and it turned into a delicious and refreshing coconut slushie. It’s like nature’s icee! The true vitamin water if you will. Full of electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients, I think I’ve finally found my perfect post-run recharge meal! Screw Vitamin Water. This is vitamin water.

Soup à la Pumpkin

A.k.a. Soup à la Lazy. :)

I was exhausted after work today, so I wasn’t up for any laborious dinner preparations. I had half a can of leftover pumpkin from the tofu scramble I made yesterday, so I decided to use that and make some soup. Luckily, I have a copy of Happy Herbivore’s e-Cookbook, Pudge-Free Holidays, in which there’s not only a pumpkin soup recipe, but a full list of variations of said recipe! I kind of made a cross between the Pumpkin Curry Soup and the Pumpkin Gingerbread Soup (I used curry, cinnamon, and cloves). I topped the bowl with some Trader Joe’s plantain chips–have you tried these things?!–and dried cranberries, for a truly festive meal that took less than 5 minutes to prepare.

I don’t have permission to publish the recipe, but it’s definitely something that anyone could make if they wanted to purge their fridge/pantry! All you have to do is heat some canned pumpkin, liquid (broth/non-dairy milk), maple syrup, salt, and spices of choice over medium heat until warmed through. Could gourmet be any easier?

P.S. I need to get a new backdrop, don’t I? ;)

Falafels, Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad and Pumpkin Tofu Scramble

We needed lunch for our hike yesterday, so I made “Lightened-Up” Falafels from The Everyday Vegan. I’ve made these before, and I love them! They’re fat-free besides the tiny amount of oil you “fry” them in, and they’re chock-full of fresh herbs–parsley and coriander to be exact. I made the Tahini-Tamari Sauce to go with them, as Dreena suggests, and we had them in Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita with spinach and tomatoes while we lounged creekside!

I also made the Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad from The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook, subbing eggplant for the fennel (EW FENNEL EW). It was such a simple recipe, but it really was delicious. Toasting your own cumin seeds makes all the difference.

My dad’s exact words were, “hiking lunches are a completely different experience with Nora…” :)

For dinner tonight, I was craving something exotic. I know this is random, but I wanted Celine’s Pumpkin Tofu Scramble!

Oh, I adore this dish so much. I added a pinch of cinnamon, some soy milk (for extra creaminess and to deglaze the pan), and a lot of vegetables–zucchini, bell pepper, and green bean–and served it over Trader Joe’s Sprouted Wheat Berry Toast with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. It totally hit the spot! Seriously, guys, make this scramble if you want a nice change from your typical noochy one (although there is some nooch in here!)