Pumpkin Pie

I know I said I was going on vacation, but I just couldn’t resist! I really felt obligated to share this pie with you. It’s how I’ll show my thanks for being here with me.

I already told you I like mini pies. They’re the perfect size. Who wants to make a whole 9″ pie for two (or three) people? Besides the fact that you eat twice as much, half of it goes bad (or soggy…) before you can really do any damage. And! When I make mini pies, it gives me an excuse to make them more often.

But, I do realize that some of you have large families. Or that you’re making it to share. Or that you just really really like pie! I recommend tripling both the pie crust and filling recipes if you decide to make the 9″ pie. You’ll likely have a bit left over, but that’s better than the alternative!

I also already told you that my boyfriend is a (keyword) self-proclaimed pie expert. Especially when it comes to pumpkin pie. So how did this one hold up?

Incredibly well.

He only had one complaint – The crust is too flaky. Now, I’m not sure that’s possible. Maybe he just likes it a little chewier, but I, for one, am a fan of this:

Give me all the flaky I can get!

Pumpkin Pie

Print this recipe!

For the mini 4″ crust:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp whole-wheat pastry flour (or 2 Tbsp AP flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, straight out of the fridge
2 Tbsp ice water

For the filling:

1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 can pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 450F and lightly oil a pie dish.

For the crust:

Combine flours, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until you have chunks about the size of your fingernail. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, tossing well. The dough should be a bit rough, not sticky at all, and should just hold together when you squeeze it. You can add a bit more water if you like, but too much water will make it difficult to roll out and less flaky.

Squeeze the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes while you make the pie filling.

When you’re ready to roll it out, place the ball of dough between two layers of plastic warp and roll into a circle. You’ll want to make the circle a couple of inches wider than the diameter of your pie pan, or it won’t go all the way up the sides.

For the filling:

Combine lemon juice and non-dairy milk in a small bowl. Set aside for a couple of minutes.

Combine flour, cornstarch, spices, and salt in another bowl.

Mix pumpkin, sugar, and oil in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and mix well. Add half of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the flour and mix very well. Be sure not to leave any chunks of flour!

Roll out your pie pastry. Gently place it in your pie dish and add the filling. Leave about a 1/4-1/2 inch room above the top of your crust – the filling will rise a bit while baking.

Bake the pie at 450F for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake an additional 30-35 minutes. To check for doneness, gently shake the pie dish in the oven. The center should jiggle slightly. Allow to cool for several hours, preferably overnight.

Now I’m off for my vacation. Have a great Thanksgiving, and eat lots of vegan pie!


Lemon Coffee Cake

I’m not sure why I am posting a lemon recipe at the end of fall. Normally this time of year calls for warmer flavors, like cinnamon and cloves. But lemon?

I guess I just had an urge. I wanted something decadently rich, but with a lightness of flavor. So lemon coffee cake it was.

And decadent is what I got.

This cake is dense, rich, and something you want to savor. Eaten alongside a steaming cup of tea, I can’t think of a better way to spend my morning.

Well, at least not today.

Lovely Lemon Coffee Cake

Print this recipe!

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp vegan butter**
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegan sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F and oil an 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan. Combine egg replacer and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a mixer (I tried it by hand… it is doable but difficult. I think my arm is actually sore!) for about two minutes. Add Ener-G mixture and vanilla and mix well.

Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Add the sour cream and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and make sure it is all incorporated very well.

Scoop into the oiled loaf pan and level the top with a spoon. The batter should be fairly thick. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

**I want to try making this with about 2 Tbsp less butter and replacing it with 3 Tbsp applesauce.. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

** They make the Earth Balance butter in stick form!!!! I found it at the local health foods store, and it was definitely my most exciting find of the week (Wow. I sound exciting don’t I?)

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

It was soggy in San Luis yesterday. Very soggy. I don’t think it stopped raining from 11am to… well, I went to bed around 10. I also don’t think soggy is a very nice word. It’s wonderfully descriptive and fun to say, but just kind of sounds gross.

Anyway, I’m not a fan of being cold. I like the cold and how festive and fresh it feels, but I like experiencing this while all bundled up in loads of jackets and fuzzy socks. Especially those ugly fuzzy socks that you would be mortified to be seen wearing in public. I’m of the opinion that the uglier the sock, the warmer they will be.

I definitely wear mine in public.

So yesterday morning, to prepare for the rainy day ahead, I decided to make some bread. I wanted something warm, and cinnamon seemed to fit the bill. I wanted something sweet, so enter lovely raisins. I wanted something chewy, and oats seemed just right. So I threw them all in a bowl and ended up with a loaf that I am truly pleased with.

So here it is – my spur-of-the-moment Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread, that just might warm you up on a soggy, rainy day (and there’s that word again…).

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Print this recipe!

5 oz whole wheat flour
9 oz all-purpose flour
2 oz rolled oats
6 oz soy milk (or regular milk, for the non-vegan version)
6 1/2 oz water
3/4 oz butter (I used Earth Balance, but regular butter works for non-vegans)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 oz raisins
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp melted butter, for brushing (optional)

Place oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the bowl or in a mixer until a shaggy dough forms.

Knead 6-8 minutes, until a smooth forms. You won’t get super awesome gluten development because of the raisins, but it should still be smooth and stretchy.

Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Let rise 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Shape into a log and place in a well-oiled 8.5×4.5 loaf pan. Let rise 60 minutes, or until crested 1 inch above the rim of the pan.

20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden. The crust should sound hollow when tapped.

Brush with melted butter, and let cool 1-2 hours. Enjoy!

Note: Brushing with butter is optional, but the lack of moisture in the oven will create a white-ish look to the top of the loaf. Brushing with butter returns the pretty golden hue, but isn’t necessary to the overall flavor.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite remedy for a cold, rainy day?

I make myself some coffee, find a warm blanket, and snuggle down with a book (usually of the textbook sort…). As long as I can stay warm, bring on the cold!

What’s for Dinner Tonight – Butternut and Corn Chowder

Sorry about the lack of posting yesterday. I had a physics exam and figured that should take priority.. Let’s hope it went well!

Now, let’s get on to what you will be making for dinner tonight. I hope you noticed that I said “what you will” be making. Because you really should. This soup is the perfect ending to a chilly autumn day. It’ll help you ease into winter, and be happy about it – because you just can’t wait for another cold day to make it again.

Butternut and Corn Chowder

Print this recipe!

1 medium butternut squash
1 cup water
1 lb corn kernels (I used a bag of the Trader Joe’s Roasted frozen corn), divided
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 of a medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup carrots, sliced
pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Place the butternut squash unwrapped on a cookie sheet in the oven. Turn the oven to 400F, and let bake for an hour.

Prepare the onions, garlic, and carrots. When the squash is done cooking, remove from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes. Cut in half vertically and remove seeds and strings. Cut into 1/2 inch squares; set aside.

Take about half of the corn kernels and puree them in a food processor with 1 cup water.

Heat oil in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste and thyme and cook one more minute.

Add the broth, corn puree and kernels, squash, carrots, and pepper to the saucepan. Simmer 30-60 minutes (the longer you simmer, the better it tastes!).

Add extra pepper and hot sauce before serving, if desired. I thought it gave it a nice kick!

Aren’t squash just so pretty? I love the orange, especially this time of year 🙂 Have a good Friday!

Cranberry Orange Bread

Before I get into this post, I wanted to apologize for the blurry photos… Every time I think I can shoot without the tripod, I am reminded that it is a bad idea!

I wasn’t happy about this bread. I didn’t like how it came together, I didn’t have the ingredients I wanted, and I forgot to add the walnuts. I put it in the oven and expected to be disappointed.

As you might guess (since I decided to post it), the bread actually turned out alright. I do thing adding walnuts would have improved the overall flavor and texture, but they definitely aren’t necessary, especially if you aren’t a nut person. I had to use canned cranberry sauce because there were no fresh cranberries to be found at my grocery store. So strange, considering that November is cranberry month! The canned cranberries turned out fine, but I would like to try it using fresh. I feel like the flavors would just pop!

Cranberry Orange Bread

Print this recipe.

1 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp water
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegan vanilla yogurt (I used Whole Soy & Co. yogurt)
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 can whole cranberry sauce OR 1 1/4 cups cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Combine flax seed and water in a small bowl, set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, combine juice, yogurt, and orange rind. Add the flax mixture and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix only enough to moisten all the flour. Gently fold in cranberries and walnuts (if using).

Pour batter into an oiled 8×4 loaf pan (or I used the KAF bake-and-give pans). Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Question of the day: Are you ever surprised about the outcome of your baked goods?

I often am! Many times I am surprised in a good way, but it’s such a bummer when something I think is going to be good turns out bad. All I can say is I’ve definitely failed at zucchini bread a couple of times…

Have a good Wednesday!

Trail Mix Bars

I love tasks!

Well, most of the time. Sometimes tasks really suck. Like my OChem homework. Nottt a great task.

On the other hand, it’s my favorite thing when someone asks me to make something for them. Especially when my boyfriend asks, but he never does! He’s perfectly content with just eating whatever I take out of the oven.

BUT! The other day we were driving home from the grocery store and he gives me a task – bagels and food bars. I readily agreed.

Feel free to alter this recipe to whatever you like to find in your trail mix bars. If you don’t have pepitas, replace them with something else. If you feel like chocolate chips, just throw some in there. If you don’t like almonds, well, you’re crazy. But It’s okay to omit 🙂

Trail Mix Bars

Print this recipe! Makes 10 bars.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rice krispies
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (feel free to add more – that’s all I had!)
1/4 cup pepitas
1 egg replacer
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare egg replacer and set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the egg replacer and stir. Add 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and stir until all ingredients are moistened. If it doesn’t seem wet or sticky enough, add another tablespoon of maple syrup. Continue until you have a uniform stickiness, but don’t have any maple syrup pooling at the bottom of the bowl.

Place a piece of parchment in an 8×8 baking dish. Dump contents into the dish and smooth with a spoon. Take another piece of parchment and press the mixture into the pan. Press really hard!! You’ll feel like you are squashing them way too much. You’ll feel like you might end up with a hockey puck instead of a food bar. Keep going.

When the bars are sufficiently squashed, pop them in the oven (without the top parchment – that’s just to keep you clean) for 15-20 minutes.

When the edges start to brown (look closely; it can be difficult to tell), take them out of the oven to cool. Letting them cool completely is key. If you try to cut them while they are warm they will just fall apart. I put mine in the fridge overnight.

When they’re ready to be cut, use a large, sharp knife and just press down. No sawing necessary. Yum!

Calories Per Serving: 160
Total fat: 5.6g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 20 mg
Potassium: 107 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 27 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Pritein: 3 g

Banana Bread

I know, I know. Who needs another banana bread recipe, right? That’s exactly what I was thinking when I was posting this. It seems that everyone has a recipe that is the perfect one and can’t be beat.

BUT! There was a point in time when I went searching the internet for a banana bread recipe. I made it, liked it, but searched again. I made another loaf, and searched again. After all the trial and error, I came up with something that I really liked and wanted to make time and again. So here it is. It has a lighter texture than some other recipes out there, making it something that I feel I could eat every day. I give it just a bit of spice to liven it up, and throw in some walnuts just for fun. For all those out there searching for the banana bread that makes you tick, give this one a go.

Banana Bread

Print this recipe.

1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 medium or 2 large bananas (about 1 pound, before peeling)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 egg replacers (I used Ener-G)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if using)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8×4″ loaf pan, or two mini loaf pans. Prepare egg replacers and set aside.

Place the bananas in a zip-top plastic bag. Leaving a small hole at the top, gently smash the bananas with your hands until creamy. A few chunks are okay, but try to get it fairly uniform.

Cream the butter, sugar, and smashed bananas in a large bowl. Add the baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the egg replacers and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour slowly, mixing only enough to moisten all the flour. Fold in chopped walnuts, if using.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly (usually around 45-50 minutes), tent with foil and continue baking. If you are using mini loaf pans, shorten the baking time about 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness using a toothpick, and let cool 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Question of the day: Where did you get your favorite banana bread recipe, and what is so special about it?