The Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

15 11 2011

It’s that time of year, pumpkin everywhere. I was at Sunterra Market in Calgary a few weeks ago and they had organic unsweetened pumpkin pie puree on sale. So of course, I stocked up. I have made pumpkin pie from scratch, and there is nothing like it. Well, having cans of pumpkin ready to go makes using this healthy ingredient (pumpkins are full of important vitamins) that much easier.

This pumpkin pie recipe comes from the same great gal who gave us Chia Seed Pudding, Kathy Patalsky from Healthy-Happy-Life blog. It is vegan and only has four ingredients, well five including the pie crust.

  • 1 can unsweetened Pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup (not Aunt J’s)
  • 1 1/4 cups soaked Cashews (plan ahead you need at least 8 hours)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Spice

That’s my kind of recipe, especially when you are experimenting. There is nothing worse than trying a recipe with a bunch of ingredients and steps and it doesn’t turn out all that great. Blah. This pumpkin pie recipe delivers. I experimented with a rice flour pie crust because I am making this for a gathering of friends and one has celiac. I didn’t love the pie crust, but hey, it did the trick. I picked up the rice pie crust from Planet Organic and noticed they had whole wheat pie crusts as well, two in a pack, mmmm.

mmm, Pumpkin Pie filling

For the original recipe go here. My adjustments and notes:

  • I had more filling than the pie crust could hold – but the rice crust is a bit smaller. That didn’t matter, I ate it right out of the Vitamix!
  • I made my own pumpkin spice, see below. It gave me the opportunity to use the whole nutmeg I got in Mexico last year, fresh ginger and Mexican cinnamon.
  • Because the pie was a bit full, I had to bake it twice as long, 65 min. The crust was tough, but softened the next day. I will try not pre-baking it for 8 min next time. If I have a regular crust, I’ll try the pre-bake again.
  • We didn’t try it with coconut whip, but will next time. I looked up that whipping gadget she uses and it is TWICE as much on Amazon.ca than Amazon.com. Annoyed. Maybe The Bay will have it. I also so want a jar of vanilla bean specks, that’ll get me to the mall and Williams and Sonoma.

A very full pumpkin pie ready for the oven!

Pumpkin Spice:
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg (fresh ground is so much better)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves (use a mortar and pestle to easily ground the cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated Ginger (invest in a fine grater for things like nutmeg and ginger)
TIP: I freeze my ginger whole, and grate as I need. Perfect way to always have it on hand. If you buy a fine hand grater, then it is a cinch to add in a zip.

Fresh Baked

Seriously, make this. It is guilt free, vegan, naturally sweetened and makes you happy.
Eat well, Be well,
Nat
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Chia Seed Pudding

1 10 2011

October 1. No snow on the ground. Good. Although I am dreaming of big pots of warm soup and the smell of curries on the stove. What I love about fall and winter is that cooking gets a bit easier but more creative at the same time. There is so much to be made on the stove and in the oven, which we try to use less of in the summer. The BBQ reigns supreme from veg to fish and fresh salads are a staple. The markets are full of root vegetables and squash at the moment. We ate a medley of fresh beets from our garden and baby potatoes last weekend, cooked on the BBQ of course.

I did get some food experiments in the last few weeks. My favourite has been Chia Seed Pudding. I bought chia seeds in my last nut and seed order from Real Raw Food months ago, but they can be found at most health food stores now. Chia seeds are all the rage at the moment in healthful cooking. You’ll remember the sprouted version as ‘chia pets’ growing up. These little tiny seeds are packed with omega 3-fatty acids and a-linolenic acid (ALA), both essential fatty acids believed to be important for metabolism. I did a bit of research on what to easily do with them. Adding them to my green smoothies or to my breakfast seed/nut mix was too easy. Then I came across this fun chia seed pudding recipe from Happy Healthy Life vegan blog. A sweet blog with a bunch of great recipes and healthful advice. I highly recommend it.

It was very cool how over night the chia seeds expanded and thickened the liquid, like little baby tapioca’s. T said they looked like snake eyes, ah, okay. T being my adult husband ;).

Here is my rendition of her recipe for Chia Seed Pudding:

  • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (I used a 250 ml tetra pack)
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together. Cover and put in the fridge. I checked on it once or twice the first day, and gave it a bit of a stir because I saw the seeds settling to the bottom. After a day or so in the fridge it was ready to eat. You have to try this. It was delicious. A perfect dessert and if you have kids, a perfect kitchen experiment to understand the cool things food does.

I don’t usually buy sweetened soy or almond milks, but this was an exception. I will try making it with unsweetened and add my own vanilla flavour. I don’t think my home-made almond milk would work well, it tends to separate a bit and I have to shake it each morning to use. I’ll keep experimenting though.

Happy October everyone!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Recipe Share: Almond Butter Maple Cookies

18 04 2011

Bit of a dry spell on the blog as of late. This weekend I finally had time to spend in the kitchen, besides whipping up easy soups for work, at least I got that far the previous two weeks.

I have been wanting to start a post called ‘Recipe Share’ for awhile. I have a beautiful recipe book that my dear friends put together for my wedding shower. Each guest wrote down a favourite recipe and it was pasted into the book. Since then this book has become my recipe-food-garden journal. I have recorded menus for meals we have hosted, garden plans and progress and recipes in it. I save a lot of what I do digitally, but there is something nostalgic about writing it down. My grandmother has an amazing recipe book that was her mothers, and I hope that I will be able to pass mine down to someone one day. How do you save your recipes?

Anyhow, my goal is to write about the recipes I try from the book, from friends and blog readers. Today’s Recipe Share is from my sweet friend Emily. She gave me this cookie recipe to try, and it is yummy. It made for the perfect dessert Sunday night. I have recorded the original recipe below with my comments of course, I can’t help but give alternatives and share what I did. If you are looking for a semi-healthful sweet, these are for you.

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I used 1/2 cup pastry and 1/2 cup spelt to up the wholeness)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt (use sea salt if you got it)
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds (I used slivered almonds)
1/2 cup Almond Butter (unsweetened)
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil (I used 2 tbsp and try using a light olive or sunflower)
1 tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract (invest in good quality, not imitation, they’re full of chemicals)

  • Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together (although, I mixed the almond butter right into the dry and then added the mixed wet). Mix the wet and dry. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the fridge. Pinch off and roll into 1.5 inch balls, press lightly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-14 min. I give this range because the recipe calls for 10, my oven 14 was better. 12 worked and they were a bit chewier in the middle. Makes about 16.
  • Thanks Emily!!!

Besides making cookies and a nice meal on Sunday, I gave my new favourite kitchen appliance a try, my Vitamix. Oh yes, this is the shizzz. I have been blending perfection into my green smoothies since I got it, not a kale or swiss chard lump in site. Sunday I made almond mylk for the first time using it, I was saying out loud, ‘unbelievable’. How smooth it was. The almond meal left over is flour. Not that my old blender didn’t do a good job, it’s just amazing the difference the appliance makes. If you haven’t invested in one, think about it. I finally felt justified to retire my eight year old blender Tony so sweetly bought me (and fixed half a dozen times) for my birthday when we first started dating (ah). Plus, I got the smaller four cup container thrown in, how could I resist!

I hope everyone is having a nice Monday…have a great week!

Eat well, Be well

Nat