Recipe ReDux: Frosted Pumpkin Pudding Bread

I can’t believe a whole ‘nother month went by already! I am so sorry I haven’t been very present, but I promise promise I will make it up to you! My work load has lightened up considerably, and I have so much to tell you all about! My job, recipes, MY RACE that I just did yesterday! aaahhhh!! So please accept this fall deliciousness as an apology for my unintentional blogging break, and give a big thank you to Recipe Redeux for giving me the kick I needed to get my butt back in the kitchen!!!


recipe redux

This month’s Recipe ReDux was all about slowing down for fall….

The No-Casserole Crock Pot: Some of us grew up on casseroles out of a slow cooker – but now home cooks are using that same slow cooker to roast a chicken, bake bread, make homemade yogurt and for other creative dishes. Show us how you are using the slow cooker to craft a new healthy recipe. And if you don’t have a slow cooker, borrow one from your neighbor or pick one up at a second hand store!

I can’t even tell you how long it took me to decide on a recipe to create. I thought about oatmeal, but its been done too many times by now (I also already have a recipe for desserty crock pot oats).. I also thought about apple sauce (or pear sauce), but thats too easy.

Then I thought about chili, soup, and other warm dishes. Too mainstream. I want to be different and put pumpkin into something like everyone else! 😉 (…also while I had my eye on main dishes, my mom insisted on a dessert and that sounded like more of a challenge!)

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So I decided to make pumpkin bread, in the slow cooker, because why not? Its not like I didn’t already have two batches of pumpkin bread/muffins in the fridge already. This would be different!

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And it would have icing. Like, ohmygollyguys this icing. Like, I thought I made too much (and I probably did) but all was well and fine and delicious and you can eat it with a spoon and I even ate carrots dipped in this icing. Yeah. Keep an eye out for more things topped with this frosting (like pancakes)…

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It was my first time ever ‘baking’ in a slow cooker and I have to say, I had a little anxiety over the fact that I was baking but the oven wasn’t on. (the same thing happens when I use the dehydrator). But after a little while, the aromas kicked in and all was well in kitchen world!

I wasn’t quite sure how it would come out, bread like, cake like, fluffy or rubbery. But huzzah! It came out like a super dense bread, almost bread pudding like in texture. You know when you bake a loaf of banana bread and the bottom part stays all gooey and delicious? Yeah, like that. mmmmm….

Its pumpkiny and spiced-y and has these little bursts of sweetness from the raisins (which I usually hate but I’m so glad my mom persuaded me to add them because they plumped up and actually got delicious). Almost like pumpkin spice cinnamon raisin bread. Sooo good.

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So anyway, I think I’m going to have to start ‘baking’ in the slow cooker more often, since all you have to do is mix up the batter and pour it in and forget about it. Its more forgiving than the oven, when it comes to cook time! And, despite being called a ‘slow cooker’, its actually pretty easy and quick to make, which is a good thing since there are only 3 people in my house and this didn’t even last two days.

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Pumpkin Pudding Bread with Cinnamon Caramel Icing

Bread:

  • 2 C. whole spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 7 dates, pitted and softened*
  • 1/3 C. unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 C. pumpkin puree
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
  • 3/4 C. baking stevia
  • 1 TB ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C. raisins
  • Optional: Try adding other dried fruit, nuts or even chocolate chips!
  • *to soften the dates, I like to stick them in a mug, cover them with water, and microwave them for a minute or so, then leave them to quick soak while i get everything else ready. Then just drain out the water and put the softened dates in your blender!

Line your slow cooker with foil (i.e. lay one large piece one way, and another crossed over, so that you can lift the cake out) and spray it with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix flour through cloves. In a blender or food processor, blend dates through   cider vinegar for a minute or so, until smooth. Mix the wet ingredients into the flour blend, mix well, and then stir in raisins. Pour into the foil lined slow cooker and cover. Cook, covered on high for 3 hours, its done when a tooth pick comes out clean and the edges are pulling away from the sides.

For Icing

  • 1 C. dates, pitted
  • 1 C. unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 T. almond butter
  • 1/2 TB Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt

In a mug, put the dates and almond milk together and microwave for 2 minutes. Put in blender along with almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and blend on high until smooth. Taste and adjust salt/cinnamon to your preference. Try to save some for the cake 😉

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See that gooey pumpkin bread deliciousness? I can’t decide if I like it better warm or cold out of the fridge, or with the icing warm or cold either. It really is delicious all four ways (CC, WW, WC, CW -I’m in AP Statistics.) And the bread itself isn’t too sweet (the frosting is, but in a good-no tummy ache kind of way, more in an addicting, eat it every which way sort of way). This can be a snack, dessert, breakfast, breakfast-dessert……

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I couldn’t even restrain myself during the photo shoot guys. You just can’t take me anywhere (or let me eat on nice (white) table cloths). Oops 😉

Go check out the other awesome slow cooker recipes this month, and fill your house with delicious smells!!

A Cake To Remember

Forgive me lovelies, for I have slacked.

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I haven’t posted, I haven’t replied to your comments, I haven’t read your blogs -shoot I haven’t even turned my computer on since Sunday!

I even made this a whole week ago, and didn’t even tell you about it (unless you follow me on instagram)

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But I had a legitimate reason. Senior year started in full throttle. Up at 5:40, school at 7:45, home at 3:00, and homework until 11.  I haven’t even had time for a run, movies, or even baking! And you know, baking is incredibly therapeutic for me.

So I decided to come back with a recipe, for a mind-blowingly delicious cake. I hope you’ll forgive me?

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Making this cake, last week, was absolute bliss. The measuring and mixing, the baking and blending.

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The scent of warm chocolate swirling through the air as the cake cooled.

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Then the assembly.

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When I can just lose myself in the repeated swirls of frosting, taking photos between each step

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looking for new, artistic angles to capture my edible medium.

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Of course, I felt incredibly hipster too, creating an incredible vegan cake while wearing my cute, thrifted high-waisted shorts, waiting to go shopping at the consignment store and planning my activist club.

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But the big plans were at the back of my mind, as I decorated this beautiful cake, my creation, in the soft summer sunlight. It was peaceful.

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And then came time to cut the cake. My best friend came over, and we sliced beautiful slices, laughing about how this cake was the ultimate ‘cravings cake’ (In case you missed it, last week all I wanted was cookie dough. And chocolate)

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We sat down with our cake, watched a girly movie, and laughed our last summer weekend away.

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This cake, THIS CAKE.

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Thin yet fluffy, light and moist, perfectly chocolate cake layers

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Filled with a sweet, buttery, incredible cookie dough filling.

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And finished off with a silky chocolate frosting.

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Double Chocolate Cookie Dough Cake (or, ultimate cravings cake. Or, therapist cake)

serves 10

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 C. Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 C. maple syrup
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 T. white or rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C. water
  • 3 T. almond milk (or use iced almond milk coffee 😉 )

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9-inch circular cake pans. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix together remaining (liquid) ingredients well. Add flour mixture to liquid mixture in 2-3 batches, mixing well each time, until your cake batter is smooth. Pour evenly into the two pans (they will be thin in 2 pans, this is on purpose) and bake 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make sure cake is completely cooled before frosting

For the Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 C. dates
  • 1/3 C. almond milk
  • 3-4 T. nut butter of choice
  • 1.5 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 T. coconut flour (Optional)
  • Stevia to taste (start with 1 tsp and increase as needed)
  • 3-4 T. ground flax
  • 1/3 C. oats
  • 1/4-1/3 C. chocolate chips (chopped smaller if you wish)

Soften your dates by pitting them and putting them in a mug, then cover them with the almond milk and microwave them for about 40 seconds. In a food processor, add beans through stevia and blend well until smooth. Add flax, process, and adjust your sweetness and saltiness until the flavors suit you (I put a lot of vanilla, baking soda/powder, and sweetness in because those are the main flavors of cookie dough and I like them to be prominent). Once you find your balance, pulse in the oats, then the chocolate chips. Keep in fridge until you are ready to ‘frost’. Don’t worry-this makes extra on purpose 😉

For the Frosting/Pudding

  • 3/4 of a large ripe avocado (or 1 whole small)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 C. pitted dates
  • 1 C. canned pumpkin (or cooked sweet potatoes/squash)
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 C. almond milk
  • 1/4 C. peanut flour or PB2
  • 2/3 C. dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp stevia (additional to taste)
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 T. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder/cornstarch

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth, adjust to taste, and keep in freezer or fridge to set. Make sure this is completely cool before frosting cake (sometimes the blender heats it up while blending).  I know this seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust me its delicious and really easy!

To assemble cake: Place one cake layer on a flat surface, spread a thick layer of cookie dough filling on top, and top with the second cake. Press it down flat and use a knife/spreader along the edge to make sure the sides and cookie dough are smooth and even. Spread the frosting on top. If you want to make the truffles on top, add a few more oats/ tbls of flour to leftover cookie dough filling and roll into small balls for decorating 🙂

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Decadent enough to be my next birthday cake, yet wholesome enough for breakfast.

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Or lunch, which I actually did.

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One of the biggest things I am going to miss about summer is the endless free time to do whatever I wish, just because. And for the last weekend of summer, I was able to spend a few hours of bliss.

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Pure, sweet bliss.

This cake recipe has been submitted to

the veggie nook

 

because its a cake, but its actually good for you 😉

Without Context

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Sometimes

A word, A phrase, An idea (a recipe)

will pitch a tent in my mind

and refuse to leave

A guest which outstays its welcome

perhaps.

I think to myself

this would make a good poem

this fragment of a line

and it will not leave me be

until it is permanent

on paper

in what context?

there is none.

just pieces

and bits

of my thoughts

floating on a page

until at last they find a home.

shoes pounding the pavement in sync with the heartbeat of the earth

as I float round the river in my blue froot loop

we wash the live, rich creations of the world off in a sterile, plastic tub

isn’t poetry grand!

when no rhymes are required?

or even if they are?

just thoughts

floating on a page

without context

until I build them a home

with nothing but a pen.

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Cinnamon Sugar Plantains

Because some recipes are so simple, they would rather live with no context.

  • 2 over ripe plantains
  • coconut sugar
  • cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Peel and slice your plantains into coin sized pieces 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon and roast for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, flip, and sprinkle the other side with a little more cinnamon and sugar. Roast 5 more minutes, broiling at the end if you wish. Let cool before serving

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 T. Peanut butter, flour or PB2
  • splash of almond milk
  • 3-4 drops chocolate stevia or 1 tsp cocoa powder plus sweetener of choice to taste

Mix it aaallll together, flavor to taste, and get dipping!!

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A Green Life and Enchilada Casserole


When I was in Southern California visiting colleges, my views on what I wanted to do with my future took kind of a radical turn.

See, for a while now I’ve been saying I wanted to major in psychology and minor in nutritional science (or double major). I said I wanted to work in a recovery facility for girls with eating disorders, because I remembered how much more relatable and helpful those therapists were who admitted they had struggled in the past as well -it was like I could trust them more.

But I started to question myself once I visited my first college (UC Santa Barbara). I realized I have a love for the Earth. I want to learn more about it, to love it, to save it. My favorite class junior year was by far AP Envrionmental Science. I loved learning everything I did in that class, and I felt so empowered learning how much my diet helps the earth, and how much more I can do to help it. Being on a campus that was so environmentally friendly, spending a week by the ocean, being surrounded by hippies,  I realized that I don’t want to be a psychologist, sitting in an office, listening to other people’s problems (not that I don’t think they are wonderful!). I realized what I really want is to help people. To make a difference.

I got to thinking whether it was really me who wanted to work in a recovery facility, or if that was another outlet of the disorder that has plagued me. Yes, I wanted to help people, but is that the best way? Or is that simply me trying to find another outlet to let the obsession with food continue? While I love learning about nutrition, and disorders of the mind are interesting to me, is that really the best option for me to move forward from this stage in my life, to move forward from the hyper focus on food and lifestyle? Or is that me deciding, subconsciously, that I am not quite ready to let go? I am not saying that dietitians and psychologists are disordered, or that they are holding themselves back and settling. I am in awe of each and every professional for their passion to help people! They have helped me! They are incredible, and I will always be interested in those subjects. What I am saying, though, is that I realized I don’t want to spend the rest of my life focused on the same thing as my past, or be surrounded by clients that could potentially be a trigger for me, should I encounter a tough time in the future. After the final college I visited, I realized that I don’t want to focus on nutrition and health for the rest of my life, I want to spend my life making a difference in a bigger way. (After I decided this, I went and got some vegan ice cream. A large, since I decided not to focus anymore 😉 )

I want to major in environmental studies, maybe minor in sociology. I want to learn how to save the earth, I want to teach other people how they can do the same. I want to move forward in my life, to do something, to be out there, making changes, making my voice –MY voice, not any lingering disorder -heard.

After I decided this, I discovered the most amazing opportunity. It’s called Youth Empowered Action Camp (YEA), and it is a week long summer camp for youth aged 12-17 who want to make a difference in the world, whether it be animal rights, the environment, social justice, what have you. They help you develop leadership skills, knowledge, confidence and community. They help you discover your passion, and then develop a plan to make it happen. You are set up with an adult mentor to help guide you after the camp in making a difference, and are set up with local and national organizations focused on the same issues you are passionate about so that you can become an integral part of the movement. This is a program that has turned out youth with unlimited futures, making changes at their schools, speaking at public events, starting their own businesses (Ever heard of Clara’s Cakes?), and getting involved with organizations like Stop Child Trafficking Now and Compassion Over Killing. Oh, and the camp is vegan and eco friendly too. This was seriously like a break-in-the-clouds, I-absolutley-have-to-do-this moment for me, and I found out about it the last possible summer I could have. I am 17, so it is my last chance, I found out about it 3 weeks before the camp, and I managed to squeeze in and secure the last spot in the camp. I am going -I am doing this. I am changing my life -I am about to make a difference. Go check out their website here: www.yeacamp.org

And….shameless plug, if you want to help me out a bit, I could use a little help getting there 🙂 >donation site (big thanks if you want to help me:) )

Now, what does all of this have to do with enchiladas???

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Well, like myself, these enchiladas have undergone quite a bit of change…and they are green -like the environment.

That was a painful transition.

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We have been making these enchiladas (well, cheater enchiladas) for many years now, and they have evolved right along with us. Originally, you see, they were fish enchiladas with cream cheese. Instead of black beans and mushrooms, the filling was made with potatoes, onions, asparagus and mahi mahi. Instead of spreading each tortilla with refried beans, it was with cream cheese. So why in the world would I be giving you a recipe for fishy, cheesy enchiladas?

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When we went dairy free, we switched the cream cheese for tofutti. Then we went vegan. so we just switched the fish for yummy beans and mushrooms! The more we moved toward whole foods, we changed over to refried beans instead of cheese, and other brands of enchilada sauce (some of them have chicken stock and corn syrup solids-how about no) -and discovered green salsa works in a pinch!

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These are really customizable! I love them with asparagus (thats our original recipe) diced into discs, but any green veggie you have on hand works! Broccoli, zucchini, nopales (cactus), anything! Also, if you aren’t a wimp like me like spicy foods, use a medium or spicy sauce!! My sister and I are just to scandinavian to appreciate spicy (thats also why these aren’t traditional rolled enchiladas, we just aren’t that authentic haha!), so my mom has always made these mild for us! All the flavor, none of the burn! And if you really, really want to, make them the way we used to with Mahi Mahi and cream cheese -just spread each tortilla on both sides with cream cheese before layering into casserole.

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So you see, sometimes things change -diets, life paths, majors, ideas…But all that means is a chance to make something good and turn it even better!

Green Enchilada Casserole

or Green Enchilasagna, as I like to call it. But my mom said that was silly.

vegan, serves 9-12. Feel free to change to fit your diet preferences, or try it like it is!!

Filling:

  • 5-6 small/medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 7-8 mushrooms (or 2-4 portabellas), diced
  • 1 4 oz can diced mild green chiles
  • 2 small/medium zucchinis or 1 bunch asparagus, diced
  • 1/2  16 oz package frozen spinach (about 8 oz)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1.5 C. green enchilada sauce or green salsa (till it tastes good to you!)

Enchilada layers:

  • filling
  • 5-6 large whole grain tortillas (brown rice, teff, Ezekial, corn, etc.)
  • 1-2 cans vegetarian refried beans
  • 2-3 C. green enchilada sauce or green salsa (depending on how thick/thin you spread it)
  • non dairy cheese (optional)

Gather your ingredients

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Preheat oven to 400.

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Wash and chop your potatoes into bite sized bits and steam them

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Dice your onion and garlic and sautee them with a little veggie broth, water, or oil until the onion is translucent. Add your mushroom and continue to cook until they are all brown and fragrant and delicious. 🙂

Add your zucchini (or asparagus), then your beans, spinach, and peppers. Once the zucchini is somewhat cooked, add the steamed potatoes and enchilada sauce. Mix it all together (and whaddya get?! haha sorry)

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Now comes the fun part! In a large casserole dish, spread a layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom and sides. Add a layer of tortillas.

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Spread a layer of refried beans on the tortillas

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Then a layer of filling (about 1/2), followed by another layer of sauce, tortillas, beans…

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Repeat:)

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After your second filling layer, top with tortillas and spread the top with more sauce. Add some nondairy cheese if you would like!

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My stepdad likes the cheese, I don’t care for it.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, broiling for a few minutes at the end if you would like. We were in a rush and didn’t have time

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Also, my mom added more cheese, as you can see. I dealt. These would also be delicious with a dollop of guacamole to serve, but I was all out of avocados (the horror!!!)

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These are, without a doubt, my favorite dinner recipe. Its something we’ve been making for ages, and I watched my mom make them so many times that I didn’t even ask her for the recipe before I made it myself. They are so easy and simple to make, and incredibly delicious.

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like a fine wine like soup ( 😉 ), these babies get better with age! I’ve always thought they taste even better the next day (Yay leftovers!!), and even cold! They are delicious any way you slice ’em!

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Enjoy!!

What did/do you want to do when you grow up?

What are some dinners that have evolved through the years?

The Cake that Wasn’t….

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And it comes to an end…

Remember how I said that I was going to end this week with a cake recipe to knock your sprinkles off? Well…..

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I really should start testing recipes in advance. Therefore, I, alas, do not have a cake recipe for you.

Fear Not!!! I shall not go cake less on mine own birthday!!

I have a birthday cake version of Michelle’s Pretty Lemon Cake in the oven…

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(Lovely Photo from Peachy Palate)

Which I added some sweetener to to make more of a dessert cake, then baked it in a bundt pan because its pretty…

And I’m going to top it with a fluffy meringue/whipped cream of this sort:

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(Wing it Vegan)

And more berries, likely:) I’ll show you pictures later!

Instead, lets do a roundup of the recipes I did make this week!!

To kick things off, I dusted off my ice cream machine and created a lovely

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Birthday Cake Ice Cream!!

Then I decided I wanted things a little less frozen, and created

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Cake Batter Milkshake

Things got a little heated once I turned on my oven for these

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Funfetti Cookies

Not that I minded, they were one of my favorite recipes I made this whole week!! I recommend eating them warm, topped with cashew butter, or made into an ice cream sandwich with the cake batter ice cream or a ‘whoopee pie’ of sorts with extra cookie dough 🙂

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Because these cookies rock unbaked too 🙂

It was back to breakfast with a personal birthday cake when I made my Funfetti Baked Oats

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Which were delicious and, now that I think about it, could totally have been adapted into a full size cake recipe 😉 or cupcakes!!!

mmmm…. cupcakes….mmmmm cake for breakfast….do it.

A cake stacked high was next on my list

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Birthday Cake Pancakes!! They may have almost failed, but their delicious butteriness (and loads of sweet ‘frosting) saved them from pancake destruction. Not that they lasted long anyway…..

And to finish off the week, I went the easy route

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A prep- ahead Birthday Cake Parfait was just what I needed on a hot hot day at the end of a long week in the kitchen:)

I hope your weekend is going well!!

Whats Your Favorite Birthday Treat?  Favorite flavor of Cake?? Although it may not seem as such (based on all of the vanilla and sprinkles recipes) My personal favorite is fresh and fruity!! I love lemon cakes, and I used to enjoy angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries (which I attempted to veganize but it fell from heaven alas).

Funfetti Baked Oats

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Did you ever have one of those mornings, the day after a celebration, when you open the fridge to see whats for breakfast and you see the leftover cake? And then you have cake for breakfast then you think about cake for breakfast but decide on Raisin Bran instead? 😉

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Well, what if I told you that you can have cake for breakfast? What if I told you its even better for you than Raisin Bran? Do you believe me yet?

But doesn’t a soft, warm, sweet, fresh from the oven cake, loaded with sprinkles and sweet creamy frosting all to yourself sound good? Especially for breakfast??

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I thought so 🙂

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This came out even better than I imagined:) Not like oatmeal at all, the oats practically disappeared and baked into the cake, leaving me with a soft, sweet fluffy birthday cake for breakfast, with a slight banana flavor, that could have easily passed for dessert. I could seriously bake a loaf of this. Or a batch of cupcakes. mmmm…..

Easily my favorite breakfast in a long time!

Funfetti Baked Oats

serves 1. This could easily be multiplied for a bigger cake that you actually slice, or bake into funfetti cupcakes muffins

  • 1/3 C. old fashioned oats
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 C. mashed banana
  • 1/4 C. almond milk
  • tiny splash apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 T. cashew butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • optional: Additional sweetener to taste (depends on how ripe your banana is)
  • Sprinkles!!!
  • ‘frosting’ of choice -cashew butter, other nut butter, soy yogurt, etc.

Pre heat oven to 375. In a small bowl, combine oats through salt. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, stirring until well combined. Add wet to dry and mix well. Add sprinkles and stir until evenly dispersed. Pour into a lightly greased ramekin (or muffin containers) and bake for 20-25 minutes:) Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating, or popping out of container if you wish.

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Naked cake:)

photo 3-59Frosted (with cashew butter) cake

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a delicious birthday cake:)