formats

Pumpkin Pie (Vegan, Grain-Free & Really Good!)

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Who says you can only eat pumpkin pie during the holidays? Actually, I don’ t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that…and I hope they never do. While there are many delicious flavors of pie, pumpkin is at the top of my list and I highly recommend eating it year round.

I actually did make the pie in these photos for Thanksgiving. The recipe was so good I knew I had to share it. Everyone liked it (even the non-health-conscious eaters) and truly this pie is like the classic pumpkin pie I remember from Thanksgivings gone by. You’ve probably noticed that sometimes when you make a healthier version of a classic recipe, it just doesn’t turn out quite the same. It might still taste good, but it really can’t compare. Well, this recipe, in my opinion, is spot on.
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This pie recipe isn’t one of my own creations. I discovered it at thespunkycoconut.com. I didn’t modify this recipe at all, so I’m not going to reprint it here. Instead, just follow this link when you’re ready for some wonderful, homemade, full-of-comfort pumpkin pie!

The crust is made with nuts and dates and is super easy…you don’t even have to bake it! It’s not the same as a traditional pie crust but does remind me of a graham cracker crust. The evaporated milk normally used in pumpkin pie is replaced by coconut milk. The great texture of the filling is in part due to the use of agar agar, an ingredient I will definitely be experimenting with. I can see a lot of possibilities with this stuff!

FYI, the recipe calls for 1.5 cups of coconut milk and 1.5 cups of pumpkin. That worked out to one regular size can each.

I had to share one more picture. This is a pie my mom made. Blueberry with a gluten-free crust. It was wonderful, too…and so pretty!

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formats

Weighing In: 17 Pounds

I’ve decided it’s about time I get back to blogging. My last post was on November 20th and today is January 27th. Yikes! That’s over two months! As you know, time has a way of slipping away and the things you have every intention of doing don’t get done…especially during the busyness of the holiday season.

That’s part of why I haven’t written in so long. The other part has to do with what my diet looked like from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. And the scale agreed. I worked hard to lose 15 pounds and then — poof! — I gained half of it back. I was very disappointed in myself and considered forgetting this blog altogether.

But then it was a new year and a fresh start. And I know there is truth in the statement that you never really fail unless you give up. So I’m not giving up. I’ve been back on the straight and narrow since the beginning of January and I’m very happy to say I’ve lost everything I gained back plus a couple more pounds. In addition to healthy eating, I’ve also added in some regular exercise. Even though I have to force myself to do it, I always feel better after.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead and I’ve got some great recipes coming, including some amazing cookies that I’ve been devouring the last couple of days. Stay tuned!

formats

Easy Coconut Whipped Cream

 

 

Thanksgiving is almost here! And that makes me think of pumpkin pie…with whipped cream of course!  I don’t have a recipe for pumpkin pie, but I can tell you about a quick and easy way to make a healthy and delicious version of whipped cream.  All you need is a can of coconut milk!

If you Google coconut milk whipped cream, you’ll get loads of results. This is a very popular idea and for good reason. Who doesn’t love a dollop of sweet, creamy goodness on their dessert or even to top off a cup of hot cocoa?

This is how I made mine:

Put a can of full-fat coconut milk (not light and not the kind of coconut milk designed for drinking out of the container) in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to use it, open the can and scoop out the cream (coconut is not low fat!). You can save the liquid to add to a smoothie or another recipe or even drink it if you like. Put the coconut cream in a bowl and whip it with an electric mixer until it gets fluffy. That’s it! You’ve got whipped cream!

Now, to make this whipped cream even better, I highly recommend that you add a little stevia (I used liquid vanilla flavored) or your favorite sweetener of choice. I also added a splash of vanilla extract and 1 tsp. of lemon extract. The lemon is what put it over the top for me. I think there are several other flavors that could work nicely, too, like orange or almond extract.

This kept nicely in the fridge but did become more dense. You can always re-whip it if needed. Here’s a step-by-step photo tutorial if you want to see how it’s done.

And if you don’t have a pie or cake to top, you can enjoy it by the spoonful!

 

 

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formats

Eggless Zucchini Frittata…Two Ways

 

 

If you’ve never had zucchini frittata…well, just take my word for it that it’s very good. Frittata is an egg dish similar to quiche. Definitely not vegan. A traditional frittata is usually cooked in a skillet, a glorified omelet really, but this egg-free version works best in a casserole dish in the oven.

I wasn’t originally setting out to make a vegan version of this tasty Italian dish. I was actually attempting to make a cake, which turned out horribly.  But I noticed it had a nice custard-like quality that could work good in casseroles.  Enter the lovely zucchini and tomatoes you see above.  The finished dish reminded me very much of the zucchini frittata I’d had before, minus the eggs and cheese.  I love it when mistakes work out so nicely (I wish they all did!).

 

 

Since my first frittata a couple months ago, I’ve since revisited the recipe to try creating a lower fat version.  The original version had almond flour and oil.  The new version uses garbanzo bean flour and water.  Both versions have ground flax seed, which is a big part of what creates the “egg” quality, so the lower fat version is not fat free, but it is greatly reduced and you can’t get a much healthier fat than flax seed!

 

 

Doesn’t that look like real eggs?!  Mmmmmm….so good.  Here’s the recipe for round one.

 

Eggless Zucchini Frittata #1
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 T. ground flax + 6 T. water (mix and let sit for a few minutes)
  • ¼ tsp. stevia powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ to 1 T. garlic and herb seasoning (or your favorite seasoning to taste)
  • 1 T. minced onion (or use a couple fresh green onions)
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2-1/2 c. almond flour (I used Honeyville blanched)
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 1 XL zucchini or 2 medium or 4 small, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
  • black pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Mix "batter" ingredients (everything up until the zucchini in the list).
  3. Stir in the chopped zucchini.
  4. Spread mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Put tomato slices on top.
  6. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast and a little black pepper (optional).
  7. Bake for approximately one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Notes
You could probably use frozen zucchini, but make sure you drain it very well. I'd estimate 2-3 cups should work.

 

In the second version of this frittata, I added three stalks of broccoli. The florets often get used in salad, but who wants to eat those tough stalks?  So I figured this was a good opportunity to use them. I buzzed them up in the food processor so they were very finely chopped. I originally used 1 T. of garlic and herb seasoning, but in this second version I felt like the garlic was too strong, so I’m recommending 1/2 T., but it all depends on your preference of course. I think any multipurpose herbal seasoning can work in this recipe, like Mrs. Dash or whatever your favorite might be. I don’t think you can go too wrong.

 

 

I didn’t use tomatoes in this version of the frittata and instead served it with salsa. I added a dollop of vegenaise to mine, which was very good; I’m sure a vegan sour cream would be a nice addition as well.

I found that this second version was a little firmer than the first, perhaps more like a traditional frittata that can be sliced and served in wedges (I scooped it out with a spoon for the photo, but I did later cut it into squares).  As for flavor, both versions were very good.  I’m sure you could experiment with different flours that would create slightly different results.  Since I like to be grain free, I opted for almond and garbanzo bean flours, but certainly there are other alternatives that could work, although measurements may have to be adjusted.

 

 

Eggless Zucchini Frittata #2
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 T. ground flax + 6 T. water (mix and let sit for a few minutes)
  • ¼ tsp. stevia powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ to 1 T. garlic and herb seasoning (or your favorite seasoning to taste)
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped (or 1 T. dried onion)
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 c. garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 c. water
  • 3 stalks broccoli (optional) (this is a way to use the tough stalk part; it's easiest to finely chop in a food processor)
  • 1 XL zucchini or 2 medium or 4 small, chopped
  • black pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Mix "batter" ingredients (everything up until the broccoli in the list).
  3. Stir in the broccoli (an optional ingredient) and chopped zucchini.
  4. Spread mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  6. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Notes
You could probably use frozen zucchini, but make sure you drain it very well. I'd estimate 2-3 cups should work. I recommend serving this with salsa!