Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creamy Pumpkin Apple Soup

Hello, perfectly fall-lovin' soup. This is probably a soup recipe that you could google and find many versions of. I whipped these ingredients together the other day because I was craving something warm and comforting as the cool autumn breeze has been blowing hard in my neck of the woods. If you ask me, a warm comforting soup simmering on the stove is one of the best way to enjoy the new found fall chill. And since it has also been raining here for the past 36 hours straight, I'd say soup is the most perfect meal any and all times of the day.
And when you combine fall pumpkins and apples. Magic happens. In a romantic kind of way. And, because I love you, I wanted to let you know that you can't miss out on this delicious and nutritious meal this fall.
Like I said, when you roast a few pie pumpkins you will have lots of puree for fall goodies. Yes, I am one of those people that loves pumpkin so don't mind over doing it this time of year. But even if you are not a pumpkin person, I bet this simple creamy fall and comforting soup will have you starting to reconsider this lovely orange bulb. It can be for more than just for pie and donuts. In fact, it's hints in savory dishes really bring out it's rich flavor qualities. And don't forget that roasting pumpkin also involves a nice batch of crunchy and addicting pumpkin seeds. Seriously. addicting.
So, settle in for a rainy fall day and make a simple batch of this delicious soup to keep you warm and snug.
Creamy Pumpkin Apple Soup Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, and sugar-free, vegan}
1 TB of olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 cup of diced celery
3-4 medium apples, skinned, cored and diced
1 ts. of sea salt
dash- 1/2 ts. of cracked black pepper
4 cups of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh sage
1 TB of fresh rosemary chopped
1 TB of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
dash of celery seed
dash of ground cinnamon
3 cups of vegetable broth or stock
1 cup/can of full-fat coconut milk

In a large 5 quart pot, saute the chopped onion, garlic, celery and apples in the olive oil. Add in the salt and pepper to help the vegetables to sweat. Then after 5 minutes of saute, add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, and then turn down heat to a simmer. The apples may be floating a bit, but just stir in and try and keep the soup mixed well and on a constant simmer for 30 minutes. 

Then turn off the heat and let cool down. You can eat the soup like this, as a bit more "chunky" or I prefer to make it super creamy and blend it in batches in my high powered blender when it has cooled down by 50%. I wait for it to cool don to blend because I want to be careful to not get burned by the boiling liquid. Or if you own an immersion stick blender, it would work perfectly to blend this soup right in the pot. Otherwise, it took me 2-3 batched of the soup in the blender to blend it up. I then keep it warm on the stove until I want to serve. 

Serve with a drizzle of herb oil or sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds. Or topping with some fresh chopped parsley or thyme works too for a little extra green and flavor. This recipe will serve 6-8 people in one sitting. But it is easily doubled to make more for a larger crowd or for freezing or sharing too. 
I use a mix of tart and sweet apples to bring out an applesauce affect in the soup. The almost bitter sweet pumpkin paired with a fall mix of apples is a perfect blend for your taste buds to full enjoy and feel satisfied. Delicious fall in a bowl. Yum.

Even if you are not enjoying this lovely soup, I hope you find ways to stay warm and cozy today!

Much love to you as always!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Date Donuts

Fall. Falling leaves. Hot cider and hayrides. Don't forget some pie and donuts too...Yes, donuts. Lovely pumpkin donuts baked in the luxury of your own kitchen, from scratch with the greatest fall ingredients imaginable. That is the magic of fall.
I made these donuts more than a few times over the last week. They are a perfect toddler snack and they have lots of fiber and nutrients in them as well. Plus, with no refined sugars I can give these sweet treats to my son with no guilt or bad thoughts filling my head.
Pumpkin is one of my most favorite foods, and when you get into October you just can stop me from having pumpkins on my mind and lots of fresh puree in my fridge. And all of the extra pumpkins are finding space on my kitchen floor and front step because they last so long and will be ready for eating when November or December roll around.

These pumpkin date donuts will have your mouth watering before the first bite. And after moist and chewy!

Fresh pumpkin has loads of iron, vitamin C and E, and many antioxidants to boost your immune system. There are vitamins, minerals and fiber all which the body needs to function well and thrive during the fall season and climate changes. Like I even need all those benefits to tempt me into eating more. I mostly just love the scents and smells of pumpkin in the kitchen this time of year. And then to remember all of the good things it also offers my body, those are just extra perks to enjoy.
Pumpkin Date Donut Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut and refined-sugars free}
1 cup of non-dairy milk (coconut or hemp work best!)
1 cup of chopped pitted dates

1 cup of Bob Red Mill's GF all-purpose flour blend (or other favorite GF flour blend)
1/2 cup of organic coconut flour
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice blend
1 ts. of ground ginger
2 TB of flax meal mixed with 4 TB of water (or 2 farm fresh eggs)
2 TB of melted extra virgin coconut oil
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup
1 cup of fresh pumpkin puree
1 TB of lemon juice

First, soak the chopped pitted dates in the non-dairy milk for at least 4-8 hours. If you don't have that time you can warm them on the stove top for 10-15 minutes until the milk is warm. Do not boil! And then when warm you can blend just like if you had soaked them. Blend the soaked dates and milk in a magic bullet or high powered blender and then add the rest of the donut ingredients. Make sure to whisk in the coconut oil well so that there are no clumps and if you choose to make the donuts vegan then make sure you make your flax-eggs and let them sit for just a few minutes before adding to the batter. Let the whole batter sit together for a few minutes and then pour the batter into a large gallon zip lock bag. Take a scissors and cut one of the bottom corners to squeeze through the batter into a grease donut baking pan. You do not need to use the zip lock bag method if you want to spoon out the batter into the donut pan. I have just found that the process is less messy and quicker if you squeeze out the batter into the pan. 

Bake the donuts in a preheated 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes depending on your oven. Bake until they are golden brown and stiff. Pull from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle some maple cinnamon glaze if you want a soft and gooey addition to the donuts. Or of course you can dunk the donuts in regular sugar mixed with cinnamon as well. Whatever floats your boat!

Cinnamon Maple Glaze
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons of tapioca flour
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon

The glaze is kinda an estimate and what I mixed up together to make the syrup stick to the hot donuts. This recipe will make 12 medium large donuts or 24 small tiny donuts. I use a Wilton's donut baking sheet that has 6 donut shapes to the pan so I either use two pans for this recipe or bake the 1 pan twice to use up all of the batter. 

It may seem a tad complicated if this is your first try at baking donuts, but they are just as easy as making muffins, tea bread or even pancakes. These treats are super moist, chewy and perfectly delicious. I hope you try out this recipe especially if you are trying to avoid sugar this fall season. It will leave you pleasantly surprised, I promise!

Much love as always!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Maple Pumpkin Pie

Well, hello darling! Don't worry I haven't forgotten you or lost contact with my blog. To be honest, my oven broke a few weeks ago and it took a week to replace and than a week to catch up on kitchen life. And then on top of all that, it has been sunny, gorgeous and so colorful this past week in Michigan. You can just smell the pumpkin deliciousness in the air and the crisp and crunchy apples have been keeping us busy too. I have been thinking about making a few pumpkin treats and I broke-in the new oven with baking off some fresh pumpkins to make some fresh pumpkin puree (a quick instruction below).
And when you bake a whole fresh pumpkin you jumpstart the fall baking inspiration juices as well. You have a whole pumpkin after all, and the smells of fall filling the air will leave you feeling a little weak in the knees. So some things in the recipe forecast... pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cinnamon raisin bread, and maybe a new fall apple cake...looking forward to experimenting and trying out a few ideas...
But for today I made a fresh pumpkin pie- one of my husband's favorite desserts. This on is only sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla goodness. Surprising, yes. But not really once you try it. The maple flavor is a perfect pair to the pumpkin and the not oh-too sweet wonderfulness to a piece of pie will have you thinking you are eating a nice serving of veggies too. So why not? Indulge in some thick, creamy and delectably sweet pumpkin pie.
Minus the dairy, the refined sugars and gluten of course. It is a bit different than my Grandma's thanksgiving pie. Or any canned pumpkin, canned condensed milk kind-of-pie for that matter. It is fresh tasting, lots of flavor, and did I mention you feel like you may be indulging in vegetables too much. Maybe, just too much.
Yes, it may be a little too soon for a Thanksgiving treat, but as I turned the calendar this morning to be greeted by the lovely month of October, I feel no remorse or shame in breaking out the fall favorites early this year. What else is a girl to do?
Fresh Maple Pumpkin Pie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut and refined-sugar-free}

1/2 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour (grind buckwheat groats in a food processor or high powered blender to come up with a powdery flour mixture)
1 cup of Bob's Red Mill GF all-purpose flour blend (or a favorite GF flour mix or baking flour works)
2 TB of pure maple syrup
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/3 cup of softened coconut oil

Mix the flours and salt together and then drizzle in the vinegar and maple syrup. Lastly add the oil and use a spoon or your hands to make a thick and sticky pie dough. Then roll in a ball and plop in a 9 inch pie pan. Use a 1 cup measuring cup bottom to spread evening through out the pan and basically you are using your hands to form a perfectly even pie crust. Make the edges nice with your finger or with a fork and then put in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take out immediately and let cool completely before adding the pumpkin filling for baking round two.

If you have a favorite pie crust, you can use that in place of my above recipe. I really like the above combo because it makes a nice crust that sticks together and still seems a bit flaky and crispy too. 

pumpkin filling:
2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I used So Delicious) (or canned coconut milk works too)
1 TB of pure vanilla
2/3 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
2 fresh farm eggs (or chia/flax egg replacement)
1 TB of pumpkin pie spice mix
1 ts. of ground ginger
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour
2 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of sea salt

If you are curious on how to get some fresh pumpkin puree, google it :) or it is pretty simple by slicing in quarters, scooping out seeds (save for roasting and eating), and then baking in the oven for 1-2 hours depending on size. Once the pumpkin is soft to slice with a butter knife, pull from the oven and let cool.  Use a spoon to scoop out the soft pumpkin into a blender or food processor and then blend until it is a thick and creamy puree. You may need to add water to the blender to get the pumpkin to start blending. I usually end up adding close to 1/2 cup of water to the pumpkin while blending to get a nice puree. 

Then in a large bowl, add the 2 cups of pumpkin along with all of the other wet ingredients, including the eggs. 

NOTE: You can use chia-eggs as a sub for the real eggs, but the pie will turn out much more gel-like and gooey, so make sure you are aware of that beforehand. 

Then whisk in quickly the melted coconut oil so that is does not get cold and clumpy. Then add in the dry ingredients and whip up well again. Let sit for 10-15 minutes for the wet and cold ingredients to gel together and it should look like a nice thick and creamy pudding mix. Then pour the pumpkin filling into the prepared and cooled pie crust. 

Then gently place the pie into a preheated 350 degree oven for 60-80 minutes depending on your oven and elevation. What you are looking for is a few cracks on the pie top and also for there to be no liquid movement in the center of the pie. You should shake the pie gently and see if there is any giggle. If there is you need to keep baking till there isn't. 

When you are done baking, let cool on the counter for 1 hour and then put in the fridge uncovered for another few hours or overnight for best results. Cover with a top or plastic wrap after a few hours to keep the pie moist. Serve chilled, or with a dollup of fresh coconut whipped topping or other favorite whipped topping. 
I usually like mine cold and with no topping. It is the best way to taste the pumpkin and maple goodness. Here is slice one that I shared with my toddler, so I may need to share another with my hubby tonight.

The pie will serve 8 even slices and will stay best in the fridge up to 3 days.

I hope this pie gets you into the fall spirit if you haven't yet.
It's never too early for pumpkin pie, if you ask me.

Much love as always!