Apple Hill Muffins with Apple Cinnamon Caramel

Its officially Fall.

Its finally below 70 degrees, overcast and rainy. I love this weather:)

The leaves are turning and falling off the trees.

My wardrobe has changed from shorts and t-shirts to jeans, sweaters, scarves and boots.

And I finally went to Apple Hill 🙂

Its a yearly tradition, drive up to Apple Hill, buy fresh apple cider, the best kettle corn on earth, every apple flavored thing you can imagine…

Craft booths, caramel apples, apple wine (for the adults)…

Apple picking, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms…

And, oh! The apple pie! Apple Hill is famous for their pie.

We used to buy a few every year, keep them in our freezer. But they are not vegan. The crust is, but ironically the apples aren’t. They are coated in butter

😦

We left with what we could carry to the car…

(double the apples you see here, and another bottle of fresh apple cider – its the best)

And then quickly found we had more apples than we really needed. Like, 3 a day for 2 weeks.

With 5 apples left on our table, I decided it was finally time…

(insert delighted sigh)

These little delights are my proudest baking accomplishment

Denser than a cake, lighter than a muffin

The texture and flavor almost resembles a baked apple fritter or doughnut (another Apple Hill Specialty, except they are the old fashioned kind)

Fragrant and caramelly, lightly sweet and studded with apples.

They are incredibly fluffy and moist, and did I mention how pretty they are?

You know it’s true love when you run around your house with a hot muffin pan showing everyone how pretty your muffins are.

And no one notices how bad that sounded, because of the intoxicating scent coming from the kitchen.

And oh! This sauce!!! This apple cinnamon delicious glaze that is so glorious I put it in a mini martini glass to show how gladly I would drink it! Warm, its like caramel, cold its like candy. The more you reduce the sauce, the thicker, sweeter, more flavorful it gets! I reduced a cup down to about 3 or 4 tablespoons, and it is almost solid at room temperature. A little taste of heaven right there, expect more things to come with this sauce.

Now that I have taunted your senses, would you like the recipe? Alright, pull my arm 😉

Apple Hill Muffins with Apple Cider ‘Caramel’

A light, fluffy cake-like muffin studded with apples and topped with a thick, cinnamon apple glaze. Satisfying enough for dessert, healthy enough for breakfast – oh, and I may have had them for dinner, too 😉

makes 12

Muffins:

  • 2 C. spelt flour (274 g)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 C. almond milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 C. organic sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 C. (260 g) peeled and chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine almond milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to ‘curdle’. In a large bowl, mix together flour through ginger. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the almond milk and apple sauce through vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Add the wet to the dry, and mix until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the apple pieces (chopped small) until evenly distributed. Spray a muffin tin, and add batter (I used about 1/4 C. per muffin). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the muffin bounces back when you press it (aka no mushy middles). Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Apple Cider ‘Caramel’ Sauce

  • 2 C. fresh apple juice or cider (not the diluted kind, I’m talking fresh, unpasturized, unfiltered, delicious juice)
  • 2 T. honey (or agave or maple syrup, if you don’t do honey -I do)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

In a small pan, combine juice and honey. Bring to a boil, and boil for a few minutes before reducing to a simmer. Cook it down for a few minutes, then bring back up to a heat and add cinnamon and sea salt. Boil while stirring (you don’t have to stir the whole time, just so it doesn’t burn). Reduce heat again, and keep stirring until it is a good consistency. Remember that it is a lot thicker once it cools, but if you want it solid keep reducing to your hearts content!

Top the muffins with caramel. You may have a little extra, but who’s complaining?

Not me, thats for sure!

Advertisements

Pumpkin Nutella Crepe

It started when my mom mentioned that a cupcakery nearby had vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes…

These were divine! A wonderfully dense, rich, not too sweet, spicy and perfectly pumpkin cupcake with a perfect vegan cream cheese frosting. Hea-ven.

Of course, being the pumpkin addict that I am, this got me on a bit of a frenzy for all things pumpkin. To Trader Joe’s I went!

Oh hey fall! (and Sophie…haha)

Lets get a close up of my kryptonite please?

And then, to cap it all off, I had no school on Wednesday, so I could sleep in…

…and have a delicious, leisurely breakfast.

I haven’t had a crepe in almost two years, maybe more. When I decided I wanted an indulgent, amazing breakfast I decided to go full out and make a Nutella crepe. Well, a Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter crepe. Same Same 🙂

Well then pumpkin pie came to the party (duh). Hit. The. Spot.

A warm, subtly pumpkiny crepe filled with melty chocolate nutella and sweet bananas, topped with dark chocolate  and pumpkin pie sauce. I am drooling just looking at it again!

Pumpkin Pie Nutella Crepe

Crepe:

  • 1/3 C. chickpea flour
  • 1/2 C. brewed pumpkin spice tea or water*
  • 1 T. pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp stevia
  • 1 T. flax plus 3 T. water, combined in a ‘flax egg’

(*I pre-brewed pumpkin tea and used it for the liquid in my crepe, if you don’t have it on hand you could use chai, or just water and bump up the spices a bit)

Filling:

  • 2 T. ‘Nutella’ (or any chocolate nut butter, maple would also be good!)
  • 1/2 banana
  • drizzle of pumpkin sauce

Toppings:

  • Pumpkin sauce (1 T. pumpkin butter plus 1 T. water)
  • Chocolate sauce (1 T. cocoa powder plus milk, stevia to taste)
  • other 1/2 banana
  • handful of mini chocolate chips (optional)

For the crepe, mix the liquid, pumpkin, spices, and flour, and whisk well until smooth. Add the flax egg, and whisk again until well incorporated. Lightly spray a large pan (I used a 10 inch or so skillet) and over medium heat, pour the batter on, spreading it around quickly with a thin spatula (like for a vitamix). Allow this to cook for 4 or 5 minutes, then carefully flip and cook for 4 or 5 more. Put it on a plate, add your fillings to half of the crepe, and fold the crepe over. Drizzle with your toppings, and try not to eat it too fast:)

 

I highy recommend this with a steaming pumpkin spice latte (Trader Joe, I think I love you). And while wearing a fluffy robe outside in a morning fall breeze. Because breakfasts like these are meant to be thoroughly enjoyed.

WIAW #14: Vegan Chef Challenge!!!

This week I thought I would do something a little different. Here in Sacramento, October is our own Vegan Month of Food, as it is the month of the second annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge!!!

Organized by my dear mother, Bethany Davis, this year 22 local restaurants have created special vegan menus for the entire month of october, many of which had no vegan options before!!  I am absolutely loving this year’s menus, with many eats that I haven’t had since going vegan, and are just simply amazing! I have mentioned this event before, but have still yet to post about the restaurants Ive been to! Halfway through the month, I have been to about 10 and photographed most of them. I still have some more to visit so expect another few of these posts!!

The first restaurant I visited was Tower Bridge Bistro

For the appetizer, I ordered Mushroom Spring Rolls, which were delicious! I heard that the lentil soup was to die for too!

For the entree, I ordered a soba noodle stir fry with an amazing, creamy miso sauce. I also snuck a few bites of the sweet potato black bean cakes with roma tomato compote. I was expecting them to be mexican, but actually they tasted, well, like fall (because thats a flavor). Sweet and savory, sweet potato, hints of spice. And oh, that compote! Ah-Mazing if I do say so myself!!

Dessert, what better way to kick off my month of dining with a honey crisp apple cake with a salted caramel sauce that I swear tasted like butterscotch and I kind of want to bathe in. (Um, not awkward at all). But seriously, I want this recipe and I want this sauce on everything I eat. Ever again.  Basically I was in foodie heaven!

Next up were a few sandwich shops, Juno’s and Dad’s Sandwich shops were delicious, quick meals!

Junos offered an amazing marinated mushroom and veggie sandwich on yeastless, house made, fluffy amazing perfect bread! I’m not generally one for a lot of bread (I prefer the fillings!), but warm, toasty, crunchy on the outside and heavenly soft on the inside? I’ll take that! They put a lot of work into their bread too, its yeast less, so baking it is a three day process. So. worth it. They also offered an arugula salad with delicious heirloom tomatoes and beets (gotta love local, central valley fresh produce!) and macrona almonds!

Dad’s had two sandwiches, sub style. These we ordered to go and split them up at home so my whole family could try both! On the right was their ‘meatloaf’ sub, with pickles, onions, lettuce, etc. Classic and delicious. On the left was an amazing BBQ tofu sub, with caramelized onions, daiya, and tofu so thinly sliced, chewy, and perfectly flavored I could hardly believe it!

Capitol Garage was next on our itinerary.

Capitol Garage started off with a light cucumber salad, perfect to start the meal!

The main entree was an amazing tofu mole dish. I’ve never had mole before, but this was incredible! I am determined to recreate the sauce! And the tofu was marinated perfectly!

For dessert, oh man was this good, a pumpkin cake. But not just any pumpkin cake, no this was like triple layer lotsa flavor cake! A sweet orange buttercream, followed by a thick, moist spiced pumpkin cake (So dense it was like a moist pumpkin bread-awesome!), and for the third layer the ginger glaze soaked into the pumpkin cake, turning it into a rich, moist gingerbread! I could have probably eaten an entire cake. For breakfast. I would have felt horrible but thats okay because the taste would make up for it!

Then I had the week to get myself back on track with healthy eating, before diving right back in to another weekend of delicious eating out!!

Friday night was The Porch, the sister restaurant to Capitol Garage

(photo courtesy of Leslie at Flora Foodie, because I forgot my camera that night!)

Uhm, hello fried comfort food! How long has it been? Oh yeah, a long time. You are definitely a once in a while food, but an amazing one!!

The porch was basically southern, cute, and reminded me of the bayou at Disneyland (I am such a child). And the Princess and the Frog. I kinda want to dress up in big hats and have a tea party there!
Oh right, the food!
The appetizer was described as a rice and avocado fritter, but basically it was a rice ball, fried and coated in sweet and sour sauce. It was delicious! Eveything I loved about sweet and sour chicken, minus the chicken (the rice instead). I knew it would be a great meal right then!

For the entree, potato cakes onto of green beans with a really good salsa of sorts. These were like fried mashed potato cakes, and they definitely reminded me of the mashed potatoes my grandma used to make. Absolutely delicious!

And for dessert (seriously I have not been disappointed by a single dessert at any restaurant!), there were two options, of which I shared to taste both. A vegan oreo, which tasted like hot chocolate re-incarnated as a cookie covered in chocolate sauce (yum) and even better- a banana waffle with a cinnamony- bourbon syrup and coconut ice cream. It was sooooo good!!

We went a little fancier on Saturday night, and went to an Italian restaurant called Michaelangelos

To start, we had a composed farrow salad. Simple and beautiful.

Dinner was Spaghetti with an array of veggies and a tasty sauce. I snuck a bite of the other offering, a mushroom risotto, and it was delicious! Creamy and very umami!

Dessert was my favorite part of the meal! A pumpkin square topped with fresh pears and brown sugar. This was like pumpkin pie times ten, with an amazing, I-could-eat-it-straight crust that was sweet and spicy and delicious! Oh my goodness I wanted another slice of this!! Plus some creamy, chocolate coconut sorbet to (made in house!) that was probably the creamiest, most decadent sorbet ever. Seriously, it was more like gelato. Maybe even real, italian gelato that everyone always raves about when they go to Italy itself. Im serious! Also my mom’s glass of wine, because it was really pretty:)

Last but most certainly not least (okay not really last either because Im only halfway through the restaurant list:) ) My family visited Evan’s Kitchen after church for Sunday Brunch. This restaurant went above and beyond the “appetizer, main dish, dessert” requirements, and created an entire menu with multiple options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! And they had never before had anything even remotely close to vegan, so this was incredible! Going back for their dinner before the months out!

We ended up ordering four things and splitting all of them so we could try everything! Good idea!!! Another meal of comfort food, but his time all breakfast!

A tofu scramble with all kinds of veggies, very delicious!
A mexican breakfast burrito, oh my holy burrito this did not taste vegan it was amazing!

A veggie sandwich off of their lunch menu, served with a cup of butternut squash soup that was actually savory, not sweet, but oh so good!

And my favorite? The French Toast. This definitely reminded me of my best friends house, sine her mom always made the best french toast for breakfast after sleepovers. This was topped with roasted tahini and maple syrup, and it was delicious!!

So there you have it! The first round of Vegan Chef Challenge restaurants! Not my usual, healthy home made eats but whats a month of indulging? This month, its perfection:)

Weekend at last!

Woah. Its been a while huh? Where have I been?? One word: Midterms.

After my final midterm yesterday, I came home, had a snack, and crashed. An hour and a half later I woke up looking like, well Im not quite sure but it was hilarious. I’m talking mascara all rubbed off and covering my cheek, a line on my face from the pillow, chocolate all over my mouth (okay, that was because I’m really messy when it comes to chocolate after school snacks 🙂 ), and half of my hair flattened. It was a much appreciated rest, needless to say.

Despite my scant blogging appearances, I still have had time to get in the kitchen!! But not everything has been coming out as well as I had hoped….

Remember Zuch-zilla?

Well two weeks later I still had half of it left, so I tried to make a delicious, clash of the squash seasons bread…

(just another attempt for you to grasp the sheer size of this monster. I once held a baby kitten the size of my palm. This vegetable was wider than a kitten. holy explicative)

I thought I had gotten in over my head when half of the zucchini filled up my BIG food processor. Then I remembered that you have to press the zucchini to get the liquid out. This pressed down to about 1 3/4 cups of squash. My ginger-pumpkin-zucchini bread came out delicious flavor wise, but a little mushy. Like pudding bread. Reformulating the recipe before I post it!!

I made another batch of delicious chocolate chip kabocha cookies. I got a picture this time, but I forgot to measure my ingredients again!!

Then I made a successful pudding, but didn’t take any pictures!! GAH!

Guess I’ll just have to cook another squash.

I don’t mind!!

Actually, it was recently suggested to me that I give myself a 30-45 minute break of relaxation between school and homework, doing something I love that de-stresses me. Yes, I have literally been prescribed to bake.

That should give me a chance to make a dent in my bookmarked recipes folder (recently pumpkin recipes x 4329508349. did I mention Im really happy its fall?)

Guess what else?

Yes. This, my beautiful readers, is a garden fresh goji berry!! A family friend of ours has cultivated for himself a goji bush, and this was the first year a few popped up. It tasted like a persimmon!! Next year we are hoping for a whole lot of beautiful little gojis. Such a treat!!

Speaking of treats, Its October which means the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge!!! My wonderful mother came up with the idea last year to have 10 local chefs put together a completely vegan meal for their menus during the month of October. It was a hit, and spurred the creation of her organization  Sacramento Vegan Challenge, with things like 1000 Vegan Cupcakes for Charity, Family Fall Fest, and Team Veg (a team of plant based athletes runnig the California International Marathon this December). But more on those later. This year, the Chef challenge is bigger and better, with 22 restaurants! I have so far been to 6 of them, and am planning on a few more, so expect some raving reviews coming up! (Banana waffles and apple cake with buttery caramel sauce? Vegan gorgonzola? Uhm, Yes. Yes pleaseandthankyouveryverymuch).

Check out the:

 Facebook page here

Website

Other local bloggers also reviewing the restaurants, with stunning photos!!:

Leslie, of Flora Foodie

Maria, of Lime Tree Life

Palm, of Sacramento Vegan

WIAW #13: Attack of the Pumpkin

Happy WIAW!!! How fitting that I start October off with my 13th WIAW?? The theme is spooky snacks, but I haven’t exactly gotten pictures of my snacking. I still do have had some very Octoberish eats!  I promise it will be more halloweeny next week!

Thank You Jenn for this wonderful foodie holiday!!

I have eaten pumpkin or apple cinnamon, or both, themed breakfasts basically every single day in the past two weeks. I’m a little obsessed. It’s all I can even take pictures of! I love fall.

Of course, I have eaten my veggies too!!

Taco salad BEAST (I promise, it’s not just salsa!!)

A monster of a zucchini that was literally as big as my leg! We got it from my church’s food for food table (selling extra garden produce members donate to raise money for the homeless and hungry). Still trying to work through it haha!!

I named it Zuchzilla (spooky no?)

Last salute to summer with a green monster:

Tropical Green Smoothie (serves 2)

1 banana, frozen

3/4 c. frozen mango

3/4 c. coconut water

1/3-1/2 c. pineapple juice

1/4-1/3 c. fresh oj

1/2 a medium cucumber

1 large or 2 medium carrots

fresh or frozen greens, as desired ( I used about 1 c. frozen spinach and 4 or 5 kale leaves)

1/2 lemon, peeled

1 inch piece of ginger

1/4 tsp coconut extract

2 T shredded coconut

And then, Fall invaded and threw summer off it’s throne. It was a nasty brawl, summer didn’t want to let go.

But fall took over anyway. Despite the 100 degree weather!

I recently discovered that Safeway carries delicious, rich, organic Kabochas!! They are beautiful squashes!

You had better believe I have eaten my weight (times 4) in my beloved Kabocha squash! Usually, I just cut it into 8 pieces, stick it in a roasting pan with a little water to prevent sticking, at 425 degrees for 40-60 minutes, I love when it gets all caramelly and delicious! I just eat it straight. But we did finally use some in an actual recipe, we made cinnamon kabocha chocolate-chip cookies that were to. die. for. Especially after being heated in the toaster! Unfortuanately it was one of those “spoonful of this, add some of that” recipes so I have no recipe for you or me!! I’m gonna make them again soon and figure it out for you!

Apple cinnamon oats in a raw almond butter jar 🙂

I have also been chopping up an apple, tossing it with cinnamon, and mixing it with my cold cereal (yes i do eat cereal, its just not as ‘fancy’ as oats so I don’t take pictures of it haha…one day)

Pumpkin pie oats in a white chocolate wonderful jar (still not my favorite nut butter, But I’m never one to let OIAJ opportunities go to waste!)

My famous parfaits:) This one was cinnamon overnight oats, ‘maple’ soy yogurt, vanilla cereal, and pumpkin pudding (pumpkin, avocado, banana, and cinnamon)

Forgive me for I have sinned…and used flash…But it was the only picture that came out focused!!

Either way it was delicious! A warm parfait with maple flavored quinoa, a chopped apple mixed with cinnamon and heated up, maple cereal, and warm, melty maple almond butter. AKA maple cinnamon apple heaven!!!

This was actually a lovely lunch my mom made! Pumpkin pie spice pancakes topped with warm vanilla almond butter (I got a new Justins!!! Life complete) thinned with almond milk and ginger syrup, topped with a cinnamon pear. This was heavenly!

So you can see, I have dived headfirst into fall. I’ve got a few cans of pumpkin stocked in the cupboard, a vast multitude of fall recipes bookmarked, and next week is midterms, which means minimum days and a long weekend. Bring. It. On.

Happy October!!!!

September Foodie Pen pals Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean
This month I joined in my first ever Foodie Pen Pals!! I was super excited to join in on the fun!
Here’s what it’s all about:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
I received a package from Adriana, who is a reader and doesn’t have a blog, but sent an awesome package!
I checked the mail everyday and when it finally came, I was a little excited to say the least (shaking the box, jumping up and down, yada yada 🙂 )
I haven’t had the chance to try anything yet (It came morning of homecoming day, so I haven’t been home much) but I’m looking forward to it!
The goodies 🙂
Apple chips (yum!), peppermint sticks, brownie mix, cute halloween cookie cutters, and an air freshener that smells delicious!!!
There were a few items that were not quite vegan (jello and some cookies), plus some skittles that I can’t eat with my braces, but my stepdad totally doesn’t mind 😉 haha
I’m probably the most excited about this brownie mix, I know I said I’m a vanilla kind of girl (still am) but lately I’ve been a chocolate FIEND (like, literally mixing up my chocolate sauce and eating it straight with a spoon like soup haha, don’t judge:) ) must be my female chocolate instincts finally kicking in!
Thank You Adriana!!
I sent a box to another reader, Lorilee. She is a grandmother, mom, college student, and has a full time job on top of it (and I thought I was busy!)! She is also on weight watchers (which is how she found FPP) and is doing amazingly well! I sent her some of my favorite goodies (World Peas and Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter) and a few treats that I thought she would enjoy based on the email she sent me, plus a chocolate covered katie recipe Lorilee was kind enough to write up a sweet post for her box:
Fall is in the air and in my first foodie pen pal box.
A cheerful bird filled note greeted me as I opened my box.
There was a tempting 1 point cookie recipe and then digging into the box-
A delightful tower of tea! The ambrosia plum white tea my new favorite!
Yummy flavored pumpkin and pecan coffee – the pecan pie just the right amount of sweet.
Savory garlic peas and crispy apple chips…hmmm healthy munchies!
And then almond butter….never tried it but Lacey tells me it tastes like frosting!
So will give it a try…
Love the themed element of the box !
I’m so happy you liked your box Lorilee!!