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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Just in time for Halloween! I love autumn; I can wear the cutest, comfiest clothes and still get shit done. And I can eat lots of pumpkin-enriched foods! Like these flavorful, fluffy muffins with a tangy frosting. I always get stoked when my baked goods turn out well because I'm much more of a cook. I'll definitely be making these again!

Yields: 22-24 muffins or 12 muffins and 1 8x8" cake | Time: 40 mins

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups gently packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
  • 1 tsp Redmond real salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, liquid sweetener, and non-dairy milk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Yes, it's a thick batter - just keep mixing. Fold only until there are no pockets of flour that haven’t been incorporated into the batter! Fold in the walnuts.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Oil a silicone muffin tin. Use a tablespoon to fill each muffin cup a little more than halfway. Bake for 25 minutes with one muffin tin on each oven rack. Then switch the positions of the tins and bake for about 5 minutes more or until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Meanwhile, frosting!

Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8 oz Tofutti cream cheese
  • 3 tbs spiced pear jam*
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla bourbon paste
  • 1.5 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I like it less sweet and more tangy; very easy to add to taste)
*If you don't have jam, then use room temperature vegan butter plus a few dashes of pumpkin spice.

Combine the cream cheese, jam, and extracts in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat again until combined. I always get questions and compliments about the almond extract in the icing!

Cool muffins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from tin and cool completely. You could probably also frost and serve after 10 minutes!

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Mushroom Stroganoff

I love hearty, creamy dishes in fall but you can only eat so much soup. That's why I like this meal - it combines those great elements with the convenience of a pasta dish. It's also a revamp of a classic! It was met with approval by my vegetarian and animal eating friends alike. Give it a go!

Serves: 4 | Time: 25 minutes

3/4 lb organic spaghetti
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 tsp minced garlic
Parsley, optional

Sauce ingredients:
1/3 cup white wine, optional
1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce*
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 block firm tofu
1 cup very hot water
1/2 can tomato paste
1 cube no beef bouillon
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
Salt, to taste

* make sure there is no fish! some are certified vegan, like Annie's or Edward and Sons

Fill a large pot with water and a generous teaspoon of coarse salt. Cover over high heat.
Chop your veggies.
In a large sauce or saute pan, add your oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, stirring frequently. Add your garlic until fragrant. Add water as necessary, to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and cover.
In a blender or food processor, add all the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid to desired consistency. I prefer a thick sauce!
Pour into the pan and stir until combined. I added some freshly ground sage and rosemary, as my personal preference.
Add spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package directions (10 minutes for al dente, for mine).
Taste the sauce and make any final adjustments.
Drain the spaghetti. If it tastes salty, rinse with hot water. Return to the pot and add a little coconut oil if you won't be serving immediately or want to prevent sticking during storage.
I like serving this dish with bread to sop up extra sauce!

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