Pumpkin bread, my go-to winter quick bread favorite

Pumpkin bread, my go-to winter quick bread favorite

Pumpkin bread was not a known recipe in my family growing up. The only quick bread that ever made it to the oven was banana bread, with no additions, no variations. My introduction to pumpkin bread – and its simplicity to bake – came in junior high school home economics class (yep, I’m that old). We not only learned how to bake a quick pumpkin bread, but we also baked it inside the pumpkin puree can that we had brought to school for the lesson.

Pumpkin bread in a can

That was pretty cool, to bring home a pumpkin bread that looked like a can, made all by myself. We had been instructed to bring extra empty cans if possible, as one batch would fit in two or three cans. My mom was amazed, and I had a new love for experimental baking. And pumpkin bread.

There are plenty of places around the web that will show you how to bake in a can, even decorate the cans as gifts. If you want to turn quick breads into DIY Christmas gifts, here’s a good example of how to do it. (WARNING: not a vegan recipe in the link, just an example of DIY baking with cans!) 

Balancing healthy and tasty in your pumpkin bread

I’m about the taste, and I’m here to give you my favorite recipe that I’ve developed over time. It calls for oil, which, yes I know, is not the healthiest choice. Yet as one of my favorite chefs Derek Sarno of Wicked Healthy Food fame says, “If you don’t think it’s healthy, don’t eat it and go make something else. But if you want to taste something that reminds me of my childhood, then this is the way to do it.”

With that, I've gone back to adding oil to my quick breads, and most often it will be coconut oil. You can use applesauce as a replacement if you want to be strict. But I love the lighter texture that you can get with the oil. If you want to go oil-free, just make sure you mix the batter as little as possible.

Baking pumpkin bread is a sweet smelling treat

The aroma of pumpkin bread baking makes the whole house feel toasty. When I was younger I preferred no added options in my quick breads. As I've grown older, I know how nutrient-packed huts and raisins are, so I like to include them – and they are a nice combination with the pumpkin and spices. This time I broke away from my traditional chopped walnuts and added chopped pecans. The pecans have a rich flavor similar to brown sugar – without the added processed sugar.

Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is moist and packed with nutrients. Have a slice for breakfast or snack. Serve as is or with vegan butter. Great recipe for holiday parties or cold winter afternoons.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Keyword: pumpkin bread vegan, quick breads vegan
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin or winter squash puree fresh or canned
  • 1 cup (10-12) medjool dates soaked in one cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted (substitute applesauce for oil-free)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp. water set aside for 15 mins.
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice, nut milk or water add sparingly if wet ingredients are too thick
  • 1 cup baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour make with rolled oats in blender/processor
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or flour nuts in the blender works
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Notes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan, or line with parchment paper. 
Blend all the wet ingredients together until smooth, in a blender or food processor. The consistency should be thick, almost like pudding. If it’s too thick, add the orange juice slowly and sparingly to make it manageable, but not runny.
Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I run mine through a sifter so I won’t come across chunks of flour or baking soda in the final baked pumpkin bread. Alternatively, you can use a whisking tool to mix the dry ingredients and break up any small clumps.
Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry, a portion at a time until everything is moist. Do not over mix, as it will make the baked bread come out gummy.. Mix in the nuts and/or raisins. Bake for about 65 mins, or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean. Cool on a rack or heat-safe surface.
*A gluten-free flour blend  is a nice option here. Regular white or unbleached flour is fine - personally, I’d stay away from whole wheat flour, as it is hard for many to digest.
**Or make your own blend: 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp  ginger powder, ¼ tsp ground cloves, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp allspice. 
***Add pecan or walnut halves and pieces to the top before baking. Tent the pan with tin foil for the first 40 minutes so the evans do not burn.
For treats or holiday gifts, pumpkin bread that everyone will love

I can never wait, and always dig in about 5 minutes after it’s out of the oven. Of course, it crumbles all over the place. I suggest letting it cool for an hour or so, letting the pumpkin bread set before cutting. The best is to cut it the next day, when the bread has had a chance to settle.

One thing to note about offering vegan baked goods to non-vegans: they do not always appreciate the effort. Yet this pumpkin bread is so filled with flavor that no one is going to miss the eggs. In addition, you can use nut milk for the water and liquid, but somehow I feel the orange juice is the secret here. 

When my mom taught me how to make a big fruit salad for the first course at Thanksgiving, she pulled a carton of orange juice out of the refrigerator. With one finger tapping the side of the carton, she said, “Here, a few splashes of this is the key to a sweet fruit salad.” 

I remembered her words as I started to bake. As it turns out, a few splashes of orange juice works great in pumpkin bread, too.

Cool Cucumber hummus with chives

Cool Cucumber hummus with chives

The sun is shining, it's hot, I want a snack, I don't want to cook. In my freezer I have chickpeas, in my fridge I have lemons, a cucumber, and tahini. Hummus comes to mind, why not add cucumber to a hummus? it would make it lighter and healthier. Yes, I'll give that a try with crackers. Goes well with a glass of chill white wine. The best thing about this recipe is, you just toss everything in a mini chopper or a food processor.

Start – pulse – ready to serve.

I use avocado oil, you can of, course use your favorite or none at all.

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Photo credit Mattie Hagedorn I added the text, you have CC license to the photo.

Homemade Vegan Nutella, Easy Way to be Even More Popular!

Homemade Vegan Nutella, Easy Way to be Even More Popular!

Why would you want to make a homemade Nutella? Because Nutella is not vegan, yet there are some Nutella-alike products for you to buy. If you are anything like me, you will spend endless hours reading the labels – yes I know you do, you love Nutella too. So Nutella is not vegan? no, read this ingredient list for the original Nutella Hazelnut Spread:

  • Sugar (may or may not be vegan)
  • Palm oil (vegan but not for the environment-friendly)
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cocoa
  • Skim milk!
  • Reduced minerals whey (and that's milk)
  • Lecithin as emulsifier (soy, unless labeled “organic” it's GMO)
  • Vanillin: An artificial flavor (can contain anything)

Below the recipe is an infographic.

Home Made Vegan Nutella

 

This batch will be 2-1/2 cup.

1 cup = 2.3 dl.
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Home made Vegan Nutella Infographic

Try something Spanish: 5 Vegan Tapas Recipes

Try something Spanish: 5 Vegan Tapas Recipes

5 vegan tapa recipesLast week was “Tapa 2014″ week here in San Juan de la Ramba, where I've been staying during this 2014/2015 winter. It’s a lovely small village situated in the northern part of Tenerife, Spain. Ten Restaurants competed on serving the most creative tapa. All the restaurants served “their” tapa and a drink for the nice price of €2.50 ($3.10). The problem for me was, of course, that none of the tapas were vegan. So, I decided to find good tapas recipes and recreate vegan versions for myself.

The start of this project was to find the recipes. Here are those that I started out with:

1.  Vegan Jalapeno Poppers 

2. Cherry Tomatoe and watermelon

3. Tufo Triangles

4. Radicchio Cups

5. Dessert tapas – blueberries 😀

Let's take the dessert first – I've never heard of tapas dessert before and I've spent some time in Spain maybe this is a vegan thing… but the taste was delicious.

#1 Jalapeno, too hot for me but my “tasters” love them, so if you are into hot stuff this is for you.

#2  Cherry Tomatoes – just lovely – nice mild taste, to be eaten before anything else 😉 and great for a hot summers day

#3  Tofu Triangles, I used coconut oil (and no taste of coconuts) plus I added nutritional yeast and served them warm – a great “snack” taste, salty!

#4  Radicchio cups, start to make the “cider-pickled beets” 5-7 days before use because it needs to sit in the fridge before use. But well worth it …

All the tapas I tried were so delicious and well worth the effort – not that they are hard to make, but tapas often need a bit of prep time.

A good idea for Christmas dinner starters.

 

 

¡Hola Vegan Tapas?

¡Hola Vegan Tapas?

 

Tapas are appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They come in a wide variety, and may be cold or hot. It is fairly easy to make vegan versions. Here’s a fine recipe, which is even cheesy. Tapas don't get much better than that. Well, maybe they are even better when they are vegan and raw – and you can store them in your fridge for a few days.

Enjoy!

You can find the recipe at http://www.liveloveraw.com/raw-vegan-cheesy-tapas-recipe/ 

 

 

 

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