Tag Archives: pumpkin

The Best of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bonanza

I don’t know if any of you have made it to Trader Joe’s this year, but dear lord, they are killing it with the seasonal pumpkin overload! While most of it isn’t vegan, there are quite a few veg friendly items that are definitely worth a try. Of course, I bought all the vegan items to indulge my pumpkin fanaticism and they are all tasty (except for the body butter, I didn’t taste that. … yet.)

vegan seasonal treats

  1. Pumpkin Joe-Joes- Let me say that these are probably my most favorite Trader Joe’s treats ever. They are like Oreos, but the vanilla cookie ones, with pumpkin filling. Can I repeat that? PUMPKIN FILLING! Ok now that you heard me, let me tell you how amazingly yummy these are. I bought one box and it was gone in a day. Then I bought the second box. It was gone in hours. (Husband and I are not pigs I swear, we just gorge ourselves once in a while. No big deal.)
  2. Pumpkin Spice Roobios Tea- This is a smooth, spicy, tea that’s great for winding down from a long day. This tea is a great substitute to those pumpkin spice lattes that everyone loves and is especially good for people who are avoiding coffee or caffeine. I like to brew it and then add some almond milk so it kinda feels latte-y.
  3. Country Pumpkin Spice Granola- Eat it as a snack. Eat it for breakfast. Eat it hot. Eat it cold. You can even throw this on top of some yogurt. I tried it all ways and its fabulous.
  4. Pumpkin Body Butter- Ok, Trader Joe’s is not the first place I go for lotions and potions but I saw this by the register (damn impulse buys) and I decided to check it out. After a quick check to make sure it was vegan and cruelty-free, it ended up in my basket. It really smells mostly of cinnamon and nutmeg but it feels luxurious when you slather it on. This is a super silkily, delicious fragrance that will have you smelling spicy all day long.

Have you tried any Trader Joe’s seasonal goodies? Which ones are your favorites?


10 Ways to Use Pumpkin This Fall

Alright, alright, alright, it’s October 1st and you know what that means. It’s officially pumpkin season. Now, I know Starbucks and most various other places launched their pumpkin seasonal lovelies back at the end of August but in my own personal opinion, October is really when it should be debuted.

vegan, Pumpkin, recipesPumpkin is crazy versatile and super nutritious (tons of antioxidants.) Fresh is always best, canned will do in a pinch but you have to be aware of those nasty BPAs that  can be lurking in cans. I usually get a good-sized pumpkin, roast it, and then can or freeze it for when I need it. Seeing as there are million things you can make with pumpkin you’ll probably go through it pretty fast.

With that being said, here are my top 10 Favorite Ways to Use Pumpkin

  1. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte- Starbucks may taste nice, but ditch the nasty additives and make the real thing at home.
  2. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- A delightful snack if you’re on the go. Also a great topper for salads and soups
  3. Pumpkin Soup- Super yum. Pumpkin soup is creamy and it can be sweet or savory.
  4. Pumpkin Ravioli- I have yet to make these, but they are on my bucket list for fall this year. Pumpkin filled little noodle delights? Where can you go wrong.
  5. Pumpkin cookies If you remember last year’s pumpkin cookies…
  6. Pumpkin smoothie- Just a little frozen puree, almond milk, and spices and you have liquid pumpkin pie for breakfast.
  7. Pumpkin pie- Der. Can’t have fall without at least one helping of pumpkin pie.
  8. Pumpkin pie oatmeal- You can have pie for breakfast! Didn’t you know? Add some puree and pumpkin pie spices to oatmeal for a hearty breakfast.
  9. Pumpkin pasta sauce- Making any squash into a pasta sauce is super delicious and makes me want to cuddle up under a fluffy blanky and watch the leaves fall.
  10. Roasted pumpkin- Roasting is great for almost any vegetable. Roasting really concentrates the flavors and the nice caramelizing on the outside is enough to make my mouth water.

Ok, I think covered everything. Pumpkins are great because they are nutritionally dense on top of tasting amazing no matter what you do with them. Celebrate fall with some pumpkin!

What are you favorite pumpkin treats?

Vegan Cooking: Pumpkin Soup

It's important to wear protective gear when chopping pumpkins.

It’s important to wear protective gear when chopping pumpkins.

I had received a beautiful little pumpkin in my Chow Box. Perfectly symmetrical with an intense orange hue and barely any blemishes on its skin. I let it sit on my counter so I could admire its beauty. Then finally came the day that I had to do it. I had to cook my prize. Devastating, for someone who appreciates the beauty in plants, but that sucker needed to get into my belly.

I started by preheating my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cutting my orange orb in half. I scooped out the seeds and saved them because I’ll roast those later. Then I drizzled a light amount of olive oil on each half. Placing them face down on a baking sheet,  I placed my beloved pumpkin into the oven. After about an hour, the flesh was soft enough to be pierced by a fork. I let it cool and then proceeded to scoop the flesh into my food processor to blend into an awesome purée.  This pumpkin produced 4 cups of purée which might be an overwhelming amount for some but it was a challenge for me. You see, there are a bunch of ways you can sneak a little pumpkin puree into your everyday life. Try adding it to oatmeal, soup, stew or chili. Use it as a substitute for a portion of the oil when baking breads and muffins. Add it to yogurt (haven’t tried this yet but sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it?) Also you can try to make pumpkin spice hummus (I bet you didn’t think of that, now did you?)

I decided to make soup. I made this super basic so you could add anything to it. The makings of soup

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1C pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2C of vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

First in a medium pot, saute the onion in oil until translucent. Then saute the garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then very carefully blend with an immersion blender. Enough for 2 large servings.

Pair with a leafy green salad and you have an antioxidant party on a plate.

Pair with a leafy green salad and you have an antioxidant party on a plate.

There. Easy. Tasty. Try experimenting with it maybe add some hot sauce or additional squash like butternut or acorn. The possibilities are endless.

Usually on these types of posts I try to give some nutritional information but, guess what? I already posted some information here when I made the pumpkin cookies. Mmmmm, drool.

If you had 4 cups of fresh pumpkin puree, what would you cook up?

Vegan Breakfast: Pumpkin Waffles

A great way to start your day: Pumpkin Waffles!!

A great way to start your day: Pumpkin Waffles!!

Hey there, it’s Sunday morning. I woke up this morning feeling a little bit like I needed more pumpkin in my life. After making the Sell Your Soul Cookies, I just felt that it wasn’t enough. As I took my pup for his morning constitutional I gave it some thought. The sun was just peeking over the mountains, just slightly warming the chilly, desert air, and it came to me: pumpkin waffles. Oh boy, the awesome deliciousness of pumpkin pie but in breakfast form? (You see, I’ll get that flava any way I can without actually making a pie-insert sad pie bird here). So I wondered back home and began creating this delicious delight. A little bit of pumpkin, a little bit of cinnamon, and a little bit of sass. That’s right, sass, it’s very important. So I went through my cupboards to find the fresh jar of cinnamon that I bought yesterday only to find that dummy me bought cinnamon sticks, not ground cinnamon. (I guess it pays to slow down and read the label…) So I put on my problem solver pants and came up with this solution: I’ll just throw that shit into my coffee grinder and see what happens. Seeing that some of the bark was a little thick, I threw a couple of sticks into my food processor to break it down a bit, followed by fine tuned grinding in the coffee grinder. To my surprise this crazy plan actually worked and is actually better than the pre-ground stuff. Sweet. Not only do I have awesome smelling ground cinnamon but the traces of it left in my coffee grinder created cinnamon flavored french roast. Double bonus!!! A word of caution though: if you try this, do not, I repeat, do not get the fresh ground cinnamon in your eyes- that shit burns!!!!!! (I swear I need fucking goggles when I do anything!)

Try a short stack!

Try a short stack!

OK, so back to the subject at hand: pumpkin waffles. I flipped through Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan With A Vengeance because I vaguely remember seeing a recipe for pumpkin waffles in there and low and behold I was right! The recipe makes a lot and since it’s just me that will be partaking of this sweet, breakfast delight I had to cut it in half. Over all, a great end result and my tummy is super happy. Only complaint that I have is that waffle irons are kind of a bitch to clean, especially if you get overly excited at the end and overfill the plates-like this girl right here did and it oozes out the sides and gets stuck in all the cracks.

Unlike the cookies, this recipe does not require you to reduce the pumpkin which is good if your really hungry since reducing pumpkin takes some time. This recipe also called for oil and didn’t specify. I used coconut oil just for kicks and it turned out pretty scrumptious. I ate these with just a drizzle of maple syrup but you could probably top these with a dusting of powdered sugar or make them super healthy and spread some type of nut butter (I’m sure almond would be fantastic) in between two waffles and make a sandwich. Or turn them into a dessert and put vanilla ice cream on top (now why didn’t I think of that when I was eating them…) Either way, use your imagination to make these super exciting-not that having a pumpkin waffles isn’t already exciting.

Nom nom nom nom get in my belly!

Nom nom nom nom get in my belly!

Vegan Baking: Pumpkin Cookie Delight

You know nothing says Halloween season like pumpkin (aside from the giant bags of candy at Target, scary movies, and dressing up in a fun costume.) Of course, pumpkin under normal circumstances is nutritious and delicious. Why would we want to go that route though? I will probably get to the healthy stuff eventually seeing as there are more pumpkins in my future but this time is going to be a sweet adventure.

You see, pumpkins are awesome cancer fighters. They have the antioxidant beta-carotene which is one of those put-up-your-dukes kinds of antioxidants. A half cup of cooked pumpkin also has 24 calories, 6,115 IU of vitamin A, 282 mg of potassium, and a whopping 6,012 micrograms of carotenoids just to name of a few of the benefits. Pumpkin is also crazy versatile, meaning it can be dessert, it can be dinner, or it can be a snack(Mmmmm seeds, drool.)

So anyways, I just happened to have a can of pumpkin puree and I sat down to think about how I could transform it into something for my sweet tooth. For me, it’s too early in the year for pumpkin pie. As I flipped through my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (I know, I know, when I get some extra cash I’ll invest in a new book). I stumbled upon a recipe for “Sell Your Soul Pumpkin Cookies.” Sell your soul, you say? I accept the challenge. Without any hesitation, I whipped these beauties together and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Not only did they deliver on their promise to be good enough to part with your soul, they were also like pumpkin pie but in a cookie cakey form. Needless to say, this batch of cookies did not last very long. This batch has also convinced me the Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero know what the fuck they are doing, so if you haven’t checked out any of their cookbooks yet you should probably do that.

Have some cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and a can of pumpkin puree just laying around? Why not throw it into some cookies? Or something else pumpkiny... or something...

Have some cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and a can of pumpkin puree just laying around? Why not throw it into some cookies? Or something else pumpkiny… or something…

Looking for other ways to turn healthy veggies into something desserty? Check out this post on carrots.