Thanksgiving Series: Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake

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Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes the end of pumpkin season. I don’t know about you but I definitely feel like I need one last amazing pumpkin hurrah, and pumpkin pie alone just won’t cut it (of course I’ll have some pie too!). Enter Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake. It’s gooey pumpkin caramel-like lava, crunchy sugar and pecan topping, cinnamon-y sweet and a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Best of all it is so easy and fast (1 hour) and I already had most ingredients in my kitchen. This cake puts up a fight for making pumpkin season last a little longer!

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Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 heaping cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups super hot water

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Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease/butter a loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices and set aside.

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In a small mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin, almond milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well until batter is thick. Lightly mix in ¼ cup chopped pecans.

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Pour mixture into the loaf pan and spread the batter evenly.

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In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients (that’s 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, sprinkle of cinnamon). Pour sugar mixture on top of the cake evenly.

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Next, warm 1 1/2 cups water. The water from my kitchen faucet gets hot enough it steams so I used that. You don’t want it to be boiling but it should be hot enough that you can’t touch it comfortably. Pour the water over the top of the cake evenly and do not stir!

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Yes, you read that right. If you’re anything like me you’re going to feel very uncomfortable right now. There was some serious kitchen pacing and fidgeting after I did this, thinking “OMG I screwed this whole thing up! It’s a water park in there! My cake is a tiny water park.” But don’t worry! The oven will turn this disaster into hot pumpkin lava. So pour the water over, put it in the oven for 40-50 minutes and forget about it. The cake is done when the middle is set. I also recommend baking this on top of a cookie sheet in case it boils over.

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Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream! I like Coconut Bliss Vanilla.

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Look at that lava!

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Thanksgiving Series: Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cookies

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The Thanksgiving countdown has begun! We are just 4 days away from the big day! For the past week, we have been sharing our Thanksgiving Series with you, showing you how to create the perfect meal from drinks to dessert. Today we are sharing our first dessert recipe with you, Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cookies. These are a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving spread and really switch things up from the same old pumpkin pie.

These cookies are moist and chewy with lots of pecan pieces and a hint of cinnamon. The pumpkin spice adds a rich pumpkin flavor that is irresistible! They can easily be made vegan by substituting a few things, which are listed in the ingredients below. Also, these cookies turn out best when the dough is chilled so it is best to make these the day (or at least a few hours) before you plan on serving them to allow time for the dough to cool. Enjoy!

Click the link below to follow along as I show you, step-by-step, how to make these delicious, cookies!

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Thanksgiving Series: Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange and Cinnamon

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Hi readers! Today we continue our Thanksgiving Series. As we work our way through the meal, having already shared our Pomegranate Mule and Twice Baked Potato Casserole, it is almost time for the star of the show- the turkey! While we won’t be sharing a turkey recipe with you this year (who has time for that?!?), we are sharing our favorite homemade cranberry sauce that is sure to be a most-loved accompaniment to your main dish- turkey or tofurkey! Personally, I love this sauce so much that I even use it as a spread for biscuits, why not? So ditch that sketchy can of cranberry “relish” and whip up this super easy sauce that uses fresh oranges and a touch of cinnamon. I cannot tell you enough how easy this is, and best of all, it can be made several days ahead of time- yay! That leaves more time for enjoying the company of your guests on Thanksgiving rather than slaving over the stove the whole day!

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CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH FRESH ORANGE AND CINNAMON

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (12 oz) of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 6-7 medium oranges)
  • zest of one orange

Directions:

First, juice the oranges until you have 1 cup of juice. Pour the orange juice and 1 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Then, reduce the heat  and let simmer for 5 minutes.

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Next, stir in the cranberries. How gorgeous are those!?!

Simmer the cranberries over medium-low heat until the cranberries start to pop. They will first look like this…

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Continue to stir the cranberries to avoid burning. They will keep popping and the sauce will thicken.

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Once the sauce looks like this (above), add the zest of one orange and the cinnamon.

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Once most of the cranberries are popped and it has a sauce-like consistency, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. I like to leave a few whole cranberries for texture so don’t worry if all of them have not popped and reduced. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

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Garnish with fresh orange zest (optional). Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Series: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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I’m so excited to share quite possibly my favorite dish ever! I grew up eating the omnivorous version of this every Thanksgiving and requesting it for any special event. When I first went vegan 4 years ago I was surprised and delighted at how easily this dish was made vegan. This is a great replacement and step up from the standard mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s creamy, cheesy, salty and just delicious.  All of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste; increase any ingredient you feel is lacking. You can also choose to serve this as stuffed potato skins instead of a casserole. I think the skins are great as an appetizer or snack before dinner. Depending on how many people you’re serving (and/or your love of leftovers!) you may want to double the recipe. This dish can easily be made the day before Thanksgiving and reheated right before dinner.

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In case you missed it, on Sunday we started Thanksgiving Series off with a Pomegranate Mule. We have 3 more delicious recipes to share over the next week, so stay tuned! Also check out last year’s Thanksgiving Series where we shared vegan Green Bean Casserole, Nikki’s Mac and Cheese, and a vegan Pecan Pie!

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 6 russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 2 slices of veggie bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkle of pepper

I know faux meat and cheese vegan products can be pretty polarizing. I’ve tested just about everything out there in this recipe, and these are my favorites. Sometimes I leave the bacon out, especially if I can’t find a brand I like.

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Preheat oven to 400. Wash potatoes well, and poke several deep holes in them with a fork. Bake at 400 for 1 hour.

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Remove potatoes and allow to cool or use an oven mitt to handle. Lower oven temp to 350. Slice the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out into a casserole dish or mixing bowl. If you’re making potato skins or restuffing the potatoes preserve the skins.

IMG_4484Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Mix in all ingredients well. If you’re serving right away evenly spread the mixture in a casserole dish and put back in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Optionally, you can add extra cheese and bacon to the top before baking.

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If you’re going the twice baked potato/potato skin route restuff the potato skins with the mixture and add extra chopped bacon and green onions to the top. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a side of vegan sour cream or ranch.

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Thanksgiving Series: Pomegranate Mule

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Hi everyone! We are so excited to announce the start of our Thanksgiving Series here on the blog. From now until Thanksgiving, we will be sharing our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, perfect for any gathering, big or small. Stressed about all your loved ones coming over for a feast? Don’t worry! We’ll walk you through dinner, dessert, and everything in between. Also, don’t forget to check out our Thanksgiving Series from last year, which includes melty mac and cheese, delectable pecan pie, and hearty green bean casserole. You also can search “Thanksgiving Series” on the search box to pull up all of our best Thanksgiving recipes in one place.

To kick off this year’s series, we’re showing you how to make an easy and festive cocktail, a Pomegranate Mule. Prepare these ahead of time and have them ready as your guests arrive for a fun and delicious Thanksgiving kickoff. This also gives your guests a chance to mix and mingle over drinks while you are busy in the kitchen!

I am a huge fan of traditional Moscow Mules, which usually include vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. They have a hint of spice from the ginger beer which is the perfect complement to the sweetness and tartness of the lime. These mules mix things up with the addition of Sparkling Pomegranate Juice, which I found at Trader Joe’s. I also garnished them with fresh pomegranate seeds for a holiday-inspired appeal. Additionally, I added Old Fashioned Bitters (available at BevMo and many grocery stores) for a zesty kick. Cheers!

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Ingredients:

Makes one serving

  • 2 oz ginger beer (ginger ale will work fine if you cannot find the beer)
  • 2 oz Sparkling Pomegranate Juice (or regular Pomegranate juice)
  • 1.5 oz Grey Goose vodka
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 5-8 dashes of bitters, depending on your preference
  • fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Do not shake- simply stir with a spoon to combine. Pour over ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a lime wedge.

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Grown-Up Granola Bars

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for what I like to call, Grown-Up Granola Bars. This nutrient-packed snack is so easy, with just a few ingredients and no baking required. They make a great mid-day snack that feels like a guilty pleasure without all the added sugar and calories. I know kids and adults will equally enjoy them. The agave and vegan chocolate chips sweeten them up but don’t be fooled! They are also full of a lot of protein and fiber. Let’s get started!

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NO BAKE GROWN-UP GRANOLA BARS (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (can also use creamy almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup agave (can also use honey if you are not vegan)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips, like these
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, like the one found here
  • parchment paper
  • 9×13 baking pan

Directions:

  1. Measure out the agave(1/2 cup) and sunflower seed butter (1 cup).

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2. Mix the agave and sunflower seed in a small pot over low heat until combined and smooth. Remove from heat.

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3. Meanwhile, prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Spray the corners of the pan with nonstick spray so the parchment paper sticks to the pan.

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5. Mix the mini chocolate chips and the oats together in a large bowl.

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6. Pour the agave-sunflower seed butter mixture in with the oats and mix until evenly combined.

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6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon to spread evenly.

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7. Sprinkle shredded coconut over mixture.

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8. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and lay flat. Cut the mixture into bars with a knife. Enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Tostada Salad

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Hi there! I hope all of you had a wonderful and safe Halloween with family and friends. Personally, I consumed one-too-many pieces of Halloween candy and I’m trying to get back on track this week.

Today, for our Meatless Monday meal, I’m sharing a fresh and flavorful “tostada” salad that is full of fresh produce yet still fills you up. It is topped with a tasty chipotle-agave vinaigrette. If you’re looking for an easy dinner that is healthy yet satisfying, look no further!

While there is not a lot of cooking and/or time needed for this salad, most of the work involves washing and chopping the salad ingredients, which can be tedious. So, get your best knife and cutting board ready!

TOSTADA CHOPPED SALAD (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 3-4 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 4 radishes, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
  • 2 fresh corn on the cob, shucked with kernels cut off
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup tortilla strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar or dairy free cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons agave (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves

Note: Feel free to add more chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce if you like things spicy! As is, the dressing does have a kick to it.

Directions:

First, wash and chop all the salad toppings: romaine, radishes, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro.

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Next, drain and rinse the black beans under cold water.

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Now, it’s time to roast the corn. Cut the corn off the cob. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.

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Add the corn kernels and chopped cilantro, stirring to mix. Continue to stir until corn is roasted to a golden brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, we make the dressing. This dressing is so good and much better than store-bought with all of those added preservatives. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Combine all the salad ingredients in a big bowl. Top with pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips, and cheese or non dairy cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Enjoy!

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