Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin cookies

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know how much I love pumpkin and any and all things related to pumpkin. So when Shreya of the Sassy Life contacted me and said she had a pumpkin cookie recipe she’d like to share in our cookie series I was all over it!

These delightful pumpkin cookies are easy to make and can be ready in less than an hour – maybe more if you have little helpers or like myself just get distracted easily. They are small, bite size and can be customized if you like your cookies crisper or more cakier, a little stronger pumpkin flavor or a little more spice.

Shreya’s original recipe calls for refined sugars, which have been adjusted here but they do not change the flavor or the result of this delicious cookie. Perfect for Fall, or a little pumpkin variation for Thanksgiving, no one will even notice that they’re vegan or sugar free unless you tell them.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredientspumpkin cookies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (I measured when solid if that makes a difference)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan/non-dairy chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the coconut oil with the brown and white sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin purée and continue to mix. The mixture will look pretty slick and oily at this point.
  4. Add the salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and flour and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake rounded balls of dough on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at 350ºF for about 15 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Move to a cooling rack to ensure cookies cool evenly.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 cookies

* For a stronger pumpkin spice flavor, add another teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. My cookies came out very puffy and small because I baked small balls of cookie dough. For flatter cookies, flatten the tops of the cookies before placing in the oven.

What’s your favorite fall cookie recipe?

Thanks to Shreya of the Sassy Life for sharing her recipe. All photos are from the Sassy Life.

Join us next week for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut – my most favorite – ever!

What Turkey, Christmas and Pizza have in common

turkey leftoversOne of the things I absolutely love about the big holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, is the big delicious feasts we have. All the decadent recipes we enjoy, from classic to traditional, to the new one you always wanted to try. So yummy! My mouth is watering just sitting here thinking about it (or maybe that’s the quiche I currently have in the oven?)

And of course there’s all the leftovers, usually enough at our house that we are eating turkey for a week before we tire of it and freeze the rest. Sometimes we’ll just enjoy the turkey on its own with the gravy, potatoes and leftover veg, or we’ll make something new out of the turkey, creating a whole new fantastic dish to enjoy!

From hot turkey sandwiches to omelettes and casseroles, there are endless delicious turkey leftover recipes to create. My absolute favorite though is hands down, turkey crepes. My mother found this recipe years ago, when I was probably 11 or 12. She made them one Boxing Day. I remember asking Mum what was for supper and looking at her like she was crazy when she responded. I thought ‘oh yeah those will be delicious…gross.’

Boy was I surprised. The rule in our house was that you always tried something once and if you didn’t like it fair enough, but you couldn’t say you didn’t like it if you had never tried it before. Plus that was what was for supper, if I didn’t eat it, there was nothing else. So I tentatively took a bite. OMG! These things were fantastic, they tasted just like pizza, but were lighter and fluffier. My sisters and I gobbled them up and eagerly asked for more. They quickly became the family favorite and the traditional dish on Boxing Day.

Now I make them for Christmas Day, as we have simplified the meal (and by simplify I mean reduce the amount of prep) on Christmas Day to allow more family time, and less time in the kitchen cooking. I have also adjusted the recipe to meet our dairy free requirements and they are just as delicious! In fact we have had a few guests over on Christmas Day and they are none the wiser (and also gobbling them up, in fact D’Wayne’s nephew requested the leftovers this year). D’Wayne too is also salivating as I am wrapping them up and putting them into the oven.

It is a fairly simple recipe, with some of the cooking being done easily in advance. I usually make the crepes a few days ahead (or if I am really organized earlier and freeze them), and the filling and final touches the day of the meal. Everybody loves them.

So if you are in need of a new yummy recipe for all the leftover turkey you have (or just want to try something new) definitely give this recipe a try!

Turkey Crepes

16-20 8″ crepes (recipe below)turkey

3c. cubed turkey

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

2 onions finely chopped

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

2 – 5 oz jars artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

3 c. shredded Daiya mozzarella

1 – 28 oz. can tomato sauce

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

salt and pepper

Crepes:

4 eggsturkey

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. almond milk

1 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

Crepes:

Beat eggs and stir in flour. Add water, almond milk and salt, mixing until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let flour absorb liquid (can be left in fridge overnight if desired). Just before making crepes, melt Earth Balance in pan; stir excess butter into crepe batter. Batter should be consistency of light cream. If batter seems a bit thick blend in more water to get it to the right consistency.

Pour 1/4 c. of batter into pan and swirl to form a circle. Cook crepe until lightly browned, turn and cook other side for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining crepes. Stack cooked crepes between layers of wax paper until ready to use. Crepes can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and kept wrapped in the fridge. Crepes may also be frozen for longer storage.

Makes 16- 20 crepes

Filling:

In a large skillet, melt Earth Balance over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender.  Add mushrooms and continue cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in turkey and half the artichokes. Heat through, then remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place crepes on work surface with light colored sides up. Divide turkey mixture equally among crepes and roll up. Place crepes seam side down in a single layer in a greased 9×13 ovenproof dish.

In a medium size bowl, combine tomato sauce and remaining artichokes. Stir in basil and oregano and spoon over prepared crepes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

turkey

Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serves 8

Yummy Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_4234There’s nothing better than a warm pumpkin muffin, fresh out of the oven, with a nice bit of butter on it, melting as the muffin melts in your mouth with that first delectable bite. I love pumpkin and that is one of the many reasons I love this time of year. In the Fall, pumpkins and pumpkin recipes and dishes abound.

Whether it be preparing for the Thanksgiving feast or the events at Halloween there are pumpkins everywhere. And I am quite happy to take advantage of this and enjoy as much pumpkin as I can. There is so much you can do with pumpkin from soups to pies, cheesecakes, even drinks like martinis and lattes! (Who else can’t wait for Fall so we can experience once again the delectable flavors of a pumpkin spice latte)?

IMG_4224Muffins are one of the quickest and easiest ways to use pumpkin. They are great for snacks, to put in lunches and easy to freeze, if they last that long. My kids love muffins of any kind and will gladly gobble up the pumpkin ones just as quick as the strawberry rhubarb, apple, blueberry, etc. Of course I tend to make my favorites (or honestly what is in abundance at our house, for instance earlier in the Fall we had all the apples from our apple tree).

Over the past couple of years I have adjusted my pumpkin muffin recipe, passed down from my Mom to make it sugar free and dairy free, meeting our new dietary choices. I have IMG_4237also been experimenting with gluten free recipes as well and therefore have found some good gluten free pumpkin muffins as well. (Usually I still need to do a little adjusting with the sugar, but it has become second nature now and is a quick and easy substitution).

So I make both at times, as my kids will eat either, though I am finding I am moving more towards gluten free only because I am noticing how my body is feeling after gluten sometimes (which is not so good). And today I am sharing both recipes with you. Both are equally easy and delicious, so it is simply your preference or dietary needs to decide which one to try (You could, like me, make both).

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 c. tapioca flour

1/2 c. garbanzo flourIMG_4225

1/2 c. brown rice flour

1 c. coconut sugar

3 tbsp. flaxseed

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamonIMG_4220

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 c. pumpkin puree

1/2 c. safflower oil

2 eggs

1/2 c. dates or raisins

In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly (flours, coconut sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices). In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together (pumpkin puree, safflower oil, eggs). Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until just combined, then mix in dates or raisins.

Line muffin tin with muffins cups or grease with coconut oil. Fill each cup. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4c. all purpose flourIMG_4223

1/2 c. coconut sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

pinch ginger

2/3 c. almond milkIMG_4233

1/2 c. pumpkin

1/3 c. olive oil

1 egg

1/2 c. dates or raisins

In a medium sized bowl, beat together egg, pumpkin and oil. Add almond milk. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Mix in dates or raisins.

Line muffin tin with muffin cup or grease with coconut oil. Fill muffin cup and bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

Do you have a favorite pumpkin muffin recipe?

Exploring the Alder Trail

IMG_4171One of the things I love about Thanksgiving weekend (and Fall in general) is that it is usually a beautiful sunny weekend, with crisp mornings, blue skies and warm afternoons, surrounded by the gorgeous colors of leaves turning. This is the time of year when I really enjoy getting out hiking, or for short walks in nature. With or without kids, I love to explore the forests, park, mountain or whatever location it is that we decided to go and check out during this beautiful season.

This weekend we went out to Bragg Creek, which is only a 30 minute drive from our house, to the provincial park. It is a beautiful spot with picnic tables and fire pits, just up from the river with lots of lovely walking trails, of various lengths.

The kids were excited to pack up and go for a picnic and have a fire. In fact, I have not seen Luke and Chloe get ready so fast and out to the car, chomping at the bit to go! I was still packing things up and they were already in the car!

IMG_4178Once we got out there and claimed our spot we went for a short walk before enjoying our picnic (which would be roasted hot dogs and banana boats). A few weeks earlier I had been out there and came across the alder trail, which is a 1.6 km loop. At the time I wasn’t sure how long the trail actually was so decided not to complete the loop that particular day due to time constraints. I was looking forward to discovering this trail and what it was all about.

It turned out to be a beautiful trail, through moss covered floors and old growth forest. The trees were tall and covered in old man’s beard, which I pointed out to Luke and Chloe. They looked on in amazement and giggled as I asked them if they would like a beard of lichen.

IMG_4182The trail is fairly flat and great for kids, with interpretive signs along the way describing the life of the forest. With information on everything from the animals that live there to why we experience chinooks and the effect they have on our environment. Both Luke and Chloe asked me to read every sign and listened attentively as I read. Matthew even stopped at each sign and read what it had to say before moseying on.

Luke was often stopping at trees and knocking on them or giving them hugs, Chloe and Matthew (my more adventurous ones) attempting to climb the trees. Our pace was not rushed but not too slow and everyone enjoyed exploring the trail. All in all our hike took us about an hour (which I thought was pretty good with two 4 year olds) and we returned to the picnic area ready to roast hot dogs and enjoy the fire.

We rounded out the afternoon with some soccer and frisbee, yes it felt like the perfect family scene, tacky but nice; and a short trip down to the river. Exploring along the river bed and tossing rocks into the stream.

IMG_4203Exhausted, satisfied and happy we hopped back into the car for the short drive home. I feel blessed living so close to such a beautiful area that we can enjoy and explore. To me getting out in nature with kids is so important, and not just going out for a picnic but going for a walk or hike of some kind. I had to pry my oldest away from his iPad, but will do so again (and again) as we all need to get outside more and enjoy our natural environment. Cause each time you go out there, it’s different. You find something new to share, learn about and appreciate that you may not have before.

The Pumpkin Martini

pumpkin martiniLast year when I was experimenting with different pumpkin recipes, I discovered, quite by accident a recipe for a pumpkin martini. Now I have never been a big martini fan but love pumpkin so thought that I would give this baby a try!

Of course the original recipe calls for sugar and cream, both of which I had to adjust, but was able to do so easily and without compromise on taste. In fact, my friend who was not a big martini fan either, and really just enjoyed a good beer or maybe a glass of wine, loves these things! And told me just the other day (while we were sipping our pumpkin martinis pre Thanksgiving dinner) that he had no idea there was milk of any kind even in them!

The first time I made them I followed the recipe, making all the necessary adjustments, doing the sugar rim, etc. But I found that the sugar rim was not to my liking and that I could easily do without it, which made things very easy in the sugar department, as the martini itself was sweetened with maple syrup. Being a natural sweetener I did not have to change it.

images-22For the milk I substituted coconut milk, though I have recently used almond milk in a pinch, and it works just fine. I do prefer and recommend the coconut milk though as it provides a creamier and a little sweeter taste. I use the coconut milk beverage (unsweetened) by SoDelicious, as it is a little bit lighter than the coconut milk you get in the can, though I am sure that would work as well.

Now having enjoyed these martinis so much, I have ventured into the martini world and am trying/ discovering all kinds of great mixtures. Last Fall while in Banff I tried a new martini the bartender had just created with lavender, so good, and one recently at Halo restaurant in Calgary, called the Purple Dragon.

pumpkinI do love the pumpkin ones though, well because there is pumpkin in it, and I can easily make them at home instead of paying $10 a glass while out. I have only one problem though, they are so good, it is hard to have just one!

So if you’ve got some extra pumpkin leftover from that pie you made on the weekend, or just want to treat yourself and try something new, give this fabulous recipe a try!

 

 

Pumpkin Martini

1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spicepumpkin martini

3 tbsp. vodka

2 tbsp. coconut milk

1 tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and the pumpkin pie spice. Shake vigorously, then strain into the prepared glass.

Serves 1

Like I said I enjoy it without the sugar rim, but if you choose to do so combine 1 tbsp. coconut sugar with 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice on a plate. Dip the rim of martini glass in water then dip in the sugar mixture to coat.

What are some of your favorite martinis?

 

Dairy Free Pumpkin Ice Cream

f27135f65da3b8e4ec8f43df3f65bea5With Thanksgiving approaching I always like to post a new recipe to add to your pumpkin feast – oh did I say pumpkin? I mean Thanksgiving feast. If you have been a reader of mine for the past couple years you will know how much I like, no love, pumpkin, and that I am always on the lookout for pumpkin recipes of all kinds. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin lattes are all ones that I have found, tried and enjoyed so far. But I also love pumpkin muffins and last fall found a fabulous recipe for a pumpkin martini! (oh yes I will post that one soon)

My other love is ice cream, and going dairy free was not easy in that respect (peppermint ice cream is my absolute favorite!). But in my transition I have found some great recipes for ice cream that I can make at home and are very yummy. From orange avocado sorbet to good old fashioned chocolate, I have been very satisfied with these discoveries and now no longer feel denied at having to eliminate dairy from my diet (because honestly if I fall off the wagon, I may enjoy my delectable delight in the moment, but I feel so sick after, seriously just not worth it).

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

So imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe for Pumpkin Ice Cream! Two of my absolute favorite things in one combination. And super super easy to make. It’s easy to do with the kids too as you literally put all the ingredients in the blender, mix it and freeze, that’s it. The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze so that you can enjoy it.

Of course, it was a huge success with the kids and D’Wayne, and D’Wayne’s Mom. Luke and Chloe were asking for some daily until it was gone, which was really only about 3 or 4 days tops. Chloe was even asking for it after breakfast for mid morning snack! which honestly with what’s in it would have been fine, but I delayed her to afternoon snack and felt a little better about that.

18470lrg

It’s also great if you’re in a pinch for a quick dessert you can whip this up and it’ll be ready in no time! Quick, easy and yummy, no one will complain about only having ice cream for dessert on Thanksgiving. Mind you, you could serve pumpkin pie with pumpkin ice cream on top….now we’re talking!!

However and whenever you decide to enjoy your pumpkin ice cream this fall, whether it be a part of your Thanksgiving dinner or simply a snack for another time, you’ll enjoy this quick and easy recipe, full of good nutritious foods and taste galore.

 

Pumpkin Ice Cream

4 bananas

1 c. pumpkin

1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Blend together. Freeze.

halloween-pumpkinWhat are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Cause you know…I am always on the lookout for more delicious ways to use pumpkin 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup

IMG_2432A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my sister in Vancouver, having a little me time and also there to attend my friend Stuart’s 40th Surprise Birthday; she made this fabulous Butternut Squash soup. Now I have not been a huge fan of squash in the past but this soup was really yummy!

I had found that the texture of squash was not always to my liking, it felt kind of grainy on my teeth so I avoided squash in general. But lately I have been finding many recipes with squash that I and the kids have quite enjoyed. Like Spaghetti Squash with chicken and pears from Clean Eating Magazine, Acorn Squash with harvest rice stuffing and now this soup!

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

It is a dairy free, sugar free and gluten free soup, of which I think I had 3 bowls for dinner that night and then another 2 for lunch the next day!

I found the flavors delicious with coconut milk and cinnamon. The original recipe calls for 2 butternut squash but that day my sister used acorn and butternut squash and it was very tasty.

I was so excited about this soup when I returned home I went straight to the store to buy what I needed. Unfortunately, as life would have it, I did not make it until the other day as I could not get all the ingredients I needed, and then of course there was time and real life to get back to – you know 3 kids, running a household…

I made it with the 2 different squashes which I think just adds lovely flavor and served it to the twins for lunch. Both of them gobbled it up, asking for a second bowl, while I scarfed, I mean enjoyed, my own soup.

It is super easy to make as well and easily frozen if you don’t wish to eat it constantly for a week.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium butternut squash, or 1 butternut and 1 acorn

1 pink lady or royal gala appleIMG_2458

1 medium onion

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

900 ml chicken broth

1 c. coconut milk

1/2 tsp. dried sage

generous pinches of cinnamon and salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)

Chop and peel squash; cut in half and seed, then chop into small pieces. Chop onion and apple.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt Earth Balance, add onion and apple and saute until onion is soft. Add broth, squash, and coconut milk. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

For the last 5 minutes add sage, cinnamon and salt. Squash should be very tender when done.

Use immersion hand blender in pot to blend until smooth or ladle soup into blender and whip on high until pureed. Pour back into pot and reheat if necessary. Serve.

You may add optional garnishes such as maple syrup drizzled on top, vegan sour cream, slivers of apple or dried sage.

Soup will keep well refrigerated for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

An Afternoon at the Pumpkin Festival

IMG_2222One of the things I really enjoy about the Thanksgiving weekend is all the Fall Festivals that there are to check out. Fall in general seems to be a celebration of the harvest and represents the abundance in our world. Set against the fall colors and the golden sunlight I just find it a wonderful experience.

Now many of these festivals do run on other weekends as well, but I always like to pick one and make that the ‘trip of the weekend’, so that the kids associate Thanksgiving not only with turkey dinner, but with something fun as well.

IMG_2180This Thanksgiving we went to the Pumpkin Festival at the Calgary Corn Maze. And it was an absolute blast. Full of additional ‘pumpkin’ activities, such as pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating and pumpkin bingo, it is easy to while away your afternoon there. And that’s on top of all the regular activities that they have such as mini golf, navigating the corn maze, jumping pillows, hill slide, petting zoo and more!

Matthew on the hill slide

Matthew on the hill slide

The favorites were definitely the jumping pillow and the hill slide. Both which at first Chloe was a little hesitant to go on. On the hill slide once she went up and down a few times with me she got brave and started venturing out on her own. You could hear her squeals of delight when she got to the bottom and yelled that she did it all by herself, grinning radiantly from ear to ear. The jumping pillow was similar once D’Wayne was on there jumping with her for a bit, she became more confident and did it to on her own. (Now it’s debatable whether D’Wayne went on there to ‘help’ Chloe or because he really wanted to get on there himself. I remember when I first told him that they had jumping pillows, he got quite excited)

IMG_2230Even the maze was fun to go through with the kids, though it being at the end of the season is quite tromped down, the original paths hard to find. (Next year I am going at the beginning of the season when it’s fresh and green). The kids just wandered through the maze with us, Matthew taking the lead on finding the way out. Nobody got upset or worried that we were going to be stuck or lost in there, though I think the twins would have no concept of that at this point. Overall it was just a lovely, leisurely, fun afternoon. Checking out different activities as we pleased, no one rushing anywhere or hurrying people along.

IMG_2208Though there were a few activities that we did not get to, we did close the place down. The kids wanted one more time on the jumping pillow, so we went over for the last 10 minutes until they announced that they were closed for the day. We then gently got them all off, but no one complained or fussed, everyone seemed completely satisfied.

It’s afternoons like those that I really enjoy being a mother and having a family. There’s just something about going out and playing together that bonds us, relaxes us and satisfies the soul; for all of us, kids and adults alike. I think we need more of that in our lives, but sometimes that’s the challenge isn’t it?

The tractor ride

The tractor ride

All Things Pumpkin

IMG_2217In the month of October there seems to be a lot of pumpkin about. From Thanksgiving feasts that include delicious pies and cheesecakes to Fall festivals and trips to the pumpkin patch, even right up until Halloween when we are carving pumpkins for the kids and all our trick or treaters.

I love pumpkins. I not only love the taste, but I love the bright orange color they are, the unique shapes and sizes and all the different things that you can do with pumpkin, from eating and recipes to decorating and crafts.

I do have to say that I tend to lean towards the pumpkin food items the most, as I really do enjoy those. And lately I have been finding all kinds of pumpkin delights that I have tried or am about to try such as pumpkin pancakes, muffins, latte, fudge, cheesecake, ice cream and of course pie. I even discovered a recipe for a Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, which though I have to make a few dietary adjustments I can’t wait to get it into my oven and more importantly in my tummy!IMG_2173

The pumpkin pancakes I discovered a few years ago when I bought Halloween pancake molds that came with the recipe (those are so fun!). The pumpkin spice latte is a slow cooker recipe I discovered last year and made for the first time last week for my open house. The fudge I have yet to try but believe me I am all over this and it won’t be long! And I have always loved pumpkin muffins, though I have been dappling in some new recipes. I always enjoy variation and who knows you might be missing out on something even better if you don’t at least try it!

I am not sure what it is I love about pumpkin dishes so much, but I am sure that it also has to do with the allure and smell of all those delicious spices that go in it; like ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Mmmm… just the thought of it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

pumpkin-spice-latte-white-chocolateMy greatest (and most fun) pumpkin discovery this Fall was actually not a food item. Which is ok, I was just super surprised at whoever came up with this as it is so simple, yet so ingenious. It is Pumpkin Play Doh! I thought this was fabulous! My kids loves playdoh and what a fun way to tie in a theme, those spices we love and play and create at the same time.

I found the recipe on another blog While He Was Napping. She makes her playdoh on the stove top which I am sure works well, but I have my own playdoh recipe I decided to use and adjust instead (as it is just a mix everything together, I like to avoid extra pots and pans). All I needed to do was add my pumpkin pie spice and color it orange. Presto! Pumpkin Playdoh.

IMG_2305The twins loved it! Thought it was the most fabulous thing ever, yeah it was playdoh but it was new and it was pumpkin! Even Matthew and his friend smelled it and said it smelled really good. Plus I played it up a little, got out the Halloween cookie cutters for them to use and sat down and played with them for a while. Chloe loved making pumpkin hair for the Fuzzy Cuts Barber Shop we have. Luke just rolled it and created as he usually does. Fun was had by all.

I’m wondering now what other ‘flavours’ of playdoh I can make, perhaps mint or chocolate. It could be done, I’ll have to experiment… In the meantime enjoy the pumpkin…

Pumpkin Playdoh

Mix together in a medium bowl:

2 c. flour

4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 c. salt

2-3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (amount depends on how strong you would like the scent) or 2-3 drops On Guard essential oil

Add in:

1 1/2 c. boiling water

2 tbsp. oil

Mix together. Knead well. Add in orange food coloring. Knead again until well mixed. Store in ziploc bags.

*For ordinary playdoh simply omit the pumpkin pie spice and add whatever color of food coloring you want. Batch is fairly large – so can easily be divided to make a few different colors or scents.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Absolutely to die for!

It’s coming… Thanksgiving and all things pumpkin! Big feasts, meals with friends and did I mention pumpkin? I love pumpkin and all things related to it, especially pumpkin pie. And Thanksgiving seems to be the only time of year that I make or get some.

Of course with any pie you can make any kind any time you want. But I seem to fall into the  times of the year when they are most prominent, as I imagine do many of us. So though I love pumpkin pie and it is my favorite, I do only get it once a year.

Every year at Thanksgiving I decide I am going to try a new pumpkin recipe, as my sister often makes things like pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin tarts and pumpkin cheesecake. And though I love to branch out and try new things I tend to fall back to my pie. What can I say? It seems just wrong to not have it.

This year I truly did branch out and I made a pumpkin cheesecake for the first time. Not specifically for Thanksgiving, because of course I will make pie, but around the right time 🙂 I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked really good and thought that I would try it.

Being dairy free I thought that I would just have to avoid cheesecake altogether. During the summer my friend decided to try a tofu chocolate cheesecake, which gave me hope. I thought that it would prove to be quite good. Not so much. Though not terrible we both agreed that we would not make it again. Then, I remembered that they make non dairy cream cheese and I had tried it before and liked it, so why not just substitute that into a regular cheesecake recipe? This got me very excited so I went to work.

After I got over just how much cream cheese this recipe called for; I went out got the ingredients and looked at what other substitutions I needed to make. The crust was a bit of a challenge as it called for graham wafers, but I came up with a solution using almond mash leftover from making almond milk, as I had done something similar making a pie before. I substituted coconut sugar for the sugar and then of course the non dairy cream cheese and sour cream (yes this recipe called for sour cream which was another reason why this particular cheesecake recipe intrigued me).

Now this recipe is not one that you can just whip up and have ready in an hour. In fact when I finally went to make it I looked at the recipe, and in reading it more closely almost aborted the whole idea. It was a lot of time, a number of steps and would not be fully ready until the next day (as when it was finished baking you had to let it sit in the fridge overnight).

Let me tell you it is totally worth it! This cheescake is absolutely fabulous, moist, creamy and flavourful. All the kids asked for a second piece and D’Wayne looked like he was in heaven. It was absolutely delicious! I think Matthew even licked his plate and then asked for a third piece of cheesecake (to which of course I said no).

So if you are a fan of cheesecake and even a remote fan of pumpkin this recipe is worth the time and effort put into it. And the nice thing is, dairy free, sugar free, gluten free all equals guilt free and will impress every one of your guests this Thanksgiving.

Or you could just go with plain old pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:

12 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan spread

2 1/2 c. almond mash (leftover from making almond milk)

1/4 c. coconut sugar

dash of salt

Cheesecake:

4 – 8 oz. vegan cream cheese

1/4 c. vegan sour cream

2 1/2 c. coconut sugar

15 oz. canned pumpkin

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tsp. sea salt

2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. cloves

Postion rack in center of oven. Preheat to 325 F.

Brush a 10 inch springform pan with 1 tbsp. of Earth Balance. In a bowl, stir the remaining Earth Balance in with almond mash, coconut sugar and a pinch of salt. Press mixture into bottom of pan and up the sides. Bake until golden brown about 15-20 minutes.

Cool on a rack, then wrap outside of pan in tin foil and place in a roasting pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add coconut sugar and beat until just light. Add sour cream, then pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 tsp. sea salt and spices and until just combined. Pour into cooled crust.

Gently place roasting pan into oven (do not pull the rack out). Pour boiling water into roaster until water is about half way up springform pan. Bake until the outside of cheesecake is set but the center is still loose, about 1 h 45 min. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat.

Close oven door and let cheesecake sit for 1 more hour. Carefully remove from roasting pan and let cool on rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.