pumpkin

guest post from The Little Red Journal / spiced pumpkin oat cookies

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Today I guest posted at The Little Red Journal! Click on the link or read it below “Dead Turkey & Butter Rolls: How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan”. The blog’s founder, Kelsey Folmar, is a fellow vegan blogger I met through Twitter. Check out her guest post on Crumbs & yummy vegan recipe below. Happy Thanksgiving!

As the Autumn weather approached in the city of Austin, Texas, I began to crave something with pumpkin in it. Since going vegan in February 2012, I had been experimenting with different baked goods and tweaked different recipes to find a nice balance. A coworker who I had personally helped transition to veganism after I made my switch overheard me talking about my pumpkin craving and sent me a recipe. I modified it and have perfected the recipe below. Enjoy one or six of these cookies with a nice glass of almond milk!
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Spiced Pumpkin Oat Cookies
yields 4 dozen

2 cans of whole pumpkin
2 tsp. cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. all spice
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 bag dairy free chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 and combine pumpkin and spices in a large bowl.
2. Stir in the sugar and chocolate chips.
3. Add in the rolled oats.
4. Drop small round balls of the dough onto a 9×13 with parchment paper.
5. Press down balls with a spoon.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

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 About Kelsey & The Little Red Journal
I am a journalism graduate in my mid-20s with a passion for writing, health, veganism, and spreading the knowledge about the benefits of a plant-based diet. I focus on posting interesting information regarding a plant-based diet, offer some insight to my lifestyle, document struggles, celebrate accomplishments and spread knowledge about the benefits of going plant-based. I’m an aspiring writer, blogger and minimalist enthusiast and have been vegan since February 2012.
 
My guest blog post! 
“Dead turkey & butter rolls…how to survive Thanksgiving as a vegan”

 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends and be thankful for all that we have. It’s also a time to eat copious amounts of dead turkey. This can be a problem for those of us vegans who choose to abstain from buying or consuming animal products, not just for the obvious reasons, but because the Thanksgiving meal is such an intimate affair. If you don’t eat your grandmother’s 3,000 year old recipe for stuffing or your aunt’s infamous butter rolls, you risk ruining the entire celebration. Translation: evil stares from every member of your family while sitting at the dinner table, pursed lips and shakes of the head at your blatant display of vegan tofurkey, hushed whispering in the kitchen about your protein deficiency and residual teen angst from over a decade ago, and eventual shunning from post dinner drinks and board games. Your instinct might make you want to throw your tofurkey across the table while yelling about the inhumane slaughtering of turkeys, but trust me, that will only alienate you further and confirm their suspicions that your anger is due to malnutrition. Instead, try to see your lifestyle from their perspective, and realize that your veganism is forcing them to question how they think about food, animals, and their health. Even if you don’t bring up animal rights or vegan nutrition at the dinner table, your plate will speak volumes. I always find that the less I say about my diet, the more I draw people in. So instead of ranting about the murdered bird on their plate, calmly eat your tempeh sausage collard wraps and wait for them to come to you. Food is as personal as religion and politics. If you tread lightly, you’ll survive the holidays and perhaps even tempt others to explore a vegan lifestyle!

In addition, if you’re spending Thanksgiving at a family member’s or friend’s home, call ahead and tell the host that you’ll bring a few vegan dishes, and not to stress about cooking something special for you. This will take a lot of stress off of your host and will eliminate the probability of your diet becoming a huge inconvenience. In fact, cook my vegan tempeh sausage collard wraps and everyone will be jealous of your yummy plate! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, nightshade free, and free of processed sugars!

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Tempeh Sausage Collard Wraps with Cranberry Sauce & Avocado

 

1 package tempeh, crumbled (I recommend SoyBoy Five Grain Tempeh)

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs poultry seasoning 

3/4 cup stock (I recommend No-Chicken Broth)

2 tbs mirin or white wine

1 tbs nutritional yeast

1 tsp tamari or shoyu

2 large collard leaves, stems removed (you should have 4 wraps)

1 avocado, sliced

1 tbs cranberry sauce (see recipe below) 

Sea salt & fresh black pepper to taste

 

In a sauté pan, heat oil on a medium flame. Once hot, add crumbled tempeh and cook without stirring for 3 minutes, or until tempeh begins to brown. Add poultry seasoning and deglaze with mirin, scraping up any stuck pieces of tempeh from the pan using a wooden spoon. Pour in the stock, tamari/shoyu, and nutritional yeast, and allow to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, steam collard wraps in another pan with salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. To assemble wraps, place a few slices of avocado, a scoop of tempeh sausage, and a dollop of cranberry sauce on the upper third of a collard wrap. Slowly roll the top of the collard over the mixture and continue until completely wrapped. Optional: serve over forbidden rice or sweet potatoes. Makes 4 wraps. 

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Festive Cranberry Sauce

 

1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge for a few hours before using)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup coconut nectar or natural sweetener of choice (I recommend Coconut Secret’s Coconut Nectar)

Pinch each of nutmeg & cinnamon

 

In a saucepan, bring water and orange juice to a boil. Add cranberries and return to a boil, then pour in coconut nectar and spices. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until berries burst open. Makes about 2 cups of sauce. 

why I’m not a vegan nutritionist / rawesome pumpkin snowballs

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I am in fact a vegan but I am in no way a nutritionist. I’m a slacker nutritionist. Translation: I can’t do chemistry. I have a BA in English, which is for the most part useless. I’m well educated but lacking those shiny letters that start with an M or a P that are all the rage now. You have a college degree? Nobody cares. You have a Master’s or a Phd? Now you’re talking.

So several years back in my scheme to become a certified nutritionist, I bravely enrolled in Chemistry 101 – not once but on three separate occasions. Why? I obviously didn’t get the message the first two times when my eyes glazed over at the sounds of the words “covalent bonds.” Look, I’m not an idiot but when you’ve been out of college for five years, (and in those five years have been either living with your parents or on an island in the pacific waiting tables and bodysurfing), you forget things. Not important things like how to drive, make credit card payments, and which recyclables go in which bins, but those annoying things that are only relevant in an academic setting. Translation: how to find the area of a triangle, isolating X to find the answer, the difference between a mixture and a solution, finding the square root of some useless number, the necessity of litmus paper, graphing calculators, and three-ring binders, the importance of the Pythagorean theory, and the term degenerate as meaning things having the same energy instead of losers who steal cars. These are the things that evanesced from my brain like morning mist after a sunrise, lost forever beneath the blinding necessities of real life. But in Chemistry 101 I quickly learned that all of these things were incredibly important again. Needless to say, my brain rebelled. Everything the fuzzy bearded professor said went into my ears and was savagely attacked by a reckless horde of macrophages (yes, I do remember what a macrophage is. They are quite possibly the only thing I remember from my high school Biology class.)

I took notes, drew pictures, and tried to ignore the pimple-faced children surrounding me. But I quickly realized that I had become that weird older person that comes to class and no one knows what the hell they’re doing there. I lasted two classes. The second time I attempted Chemistry was while I was living in Hawaii. Need I say more? I made it through one class before realizing the absurdity of choosing Chemistry 101 over drinking beers on the beach. The third attempt was the most horrifying because I had come to the brilliant conclusion that the best way to tear through prerequisite Chemistry courses was to do accelerated classes. Translation: an entire semester of chemistry in four weeks for smart people with science backgrounds.

This time, the professor was hideously overweight with a wrinkled grey shirt that blended in perfectly with the cinder block walls behind him. The room was uncomfortably warm and smelled of pencils and stale chips, and in a matter of moments, he was scribbling furiously on the blackboard about atomic mass and density and other nonsense while I stared bug-eyed with horror at the equations and sweat rings under his arms. The other students nodded their heads with boredom, and I nervously asked the girl next to me why she was taking the course. I’m pre-med, she said, I just want to get a few classes out of the way over the summer. My height went from 5’9″ to 5 inches and I quickly learned that the other geniuses in the room were doing something similar. Pre-med, said one, Engineer, said another.

My fears only increased when we left the grey classroom and entered the lab. It smelled like vinegar and the countertops were freezing to the touch. An eyewash station with orange toggles hung by the door, and again the professor wasted no time before doling out beakers, Bunsen burners, graduated cylinders, and Erlenmeyer flasks. Then he announced that we were going to be finding the “Mass Percent Composition of an Aqueous Hydrogen Peroxide Solution.” That was about the time I started seeing unicorns everywhere.

rawesome pumpkin snowballs!

Now that you’ve failed at Chemistry and have decided to rescue ducks for a living, why not make yourself a sweet treat that’s autumnal and makes you want to carve pumpkins and dress in slutty costumes? Raw desserts are my favorite thing to make because they don’t need sugar (see my post “the devil is white and sweet, not in a 50’s housewife kind of way”), they don’t require any baking nonsense, and they’re good for you! This recipe combines pumpkin and cinnamon and everything that makes fall fabulous, minus the colorful leaves (because vegans don’t eat leaves I swear.)

Rawesome Pumpkin Snowballs

Makes about 12-14 balls

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup pitted dates, any kind will do

2 T unsweetened shredded coconut + more for rolling the balls in ( I recommend Let’s Do Organic)

1 T pumpkin puree (I recommend Fig Foods)

1 T virgin coconut oil

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice blend (I recommend Frontier Naturals)

1 tsp coconut nectar (I recommend Coconut Secret)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

rolling the balls in toasted hazelnuts

In a food processor, add dates and pecans and pulse until starting to crumble. Pour in the remaining ingredients and blend until mixture resembles a large, gooey ball. In a shallow dish, pour some shredded coconut. Now roll quarter-sized balls in the palm of your hand, and then afterwards, in the shredded coconut. For a variation, you can also roll your balls in other toppings like toasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder, or anything else that makes you happy. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve to 6 Chemistry dropout unicorns in need of a sweet fix.