Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

‘Tis the season to be putting pumpkin in everything! I would say that I have a problem, but really, eating a lot of pumpkin is a good thing! I talked about some of the health benefits of eating pumpkin in my Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal post, and since I’m starting to work out again, I need as much potassium as I can get.

The ingredients are super simple, and can be found or bought easily. One of my favorite things about smoothies is that they create the least amount of dishes and clean up, and usually don’t require very much preparation. Quick and healthy recipes like this make it easy to start your day off right!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Frozen Ripe Banana
  • 1 Cup Slightly Thawed Pumpkin, Unsweetened if you use Canned
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Organic Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 Cup Non-Dairy Milk or Water
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. Raw Agave or Maple Syrup for a touch of sweetness

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and puree until very smooth. Add more non-dairy milk or water if you want a less thick consistency.

Smoky Pumpkin Mac & Cheeze

The weather had finally become consistently cooler down here in Southern California and I couldn’t be happier; well, minus the 100 mph winds that blew throughout several counties this past week. It’s this time of year that I find myself wanting to eat heartier foods that have great flavors. This recipe is great for satisfying your appetite and sticking to your bones without sticking to your love handles (unless you don’t have love handles, in which case I am very jealous!).

I was inspired by Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheeze recipe, really only changing a couple of the ingredients and adding a couple of my own. I have to warn you though, once you have the sauce made, remember to finish making the dish instead of sitting there with a spoon eating it out of the blender. My mom and I could have polished off the cheeze sauce for dinner if we had the chance, it’s that good!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Cooked Pumpkin (Canned/Unsweetened Pumpkin is an option)
  • 3/4 cup Raw Cashews, Soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Turmeric powder, optional (gives the orangey colour)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika + more to season
  • 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke
  • Your pasta of choice (I used 3 Cups Dried Wagon Wheel Noodles)

Directions:

  1. Take all ingredients, with the exception of the noodles, and place them into a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend at medium or high-speed until the contents make a smooth sauce with no cashew chunks left. Taste the sauce and add more of whatever spices you feel it may be lacking.
  2. Heat a medium/large pot that is filled 3/4 of the way with water, over medium/high heat until it is boiling. Add in noodles and cover with lid, leaving room for air to escape so that it does not boil over. Cook until noodles are soft, but not mushy, roughly 10 minutes.
  3. When the noodles are done cooking, drain them of all water and stir in the “cheeze” sauce. You really only need to cook this for 5-10 minutes so that the sauce is warmed and the noodles soak it up. Serve warm, straight from the pot; or bake in a dish and top with a bread crumb/panko mix.

Look at that cheezy goodness!! If there was ever a thought in your mind that you couldn’t be vegan because of the dishes you’d be missing out on, one look at this picture could surely change your mind. To be honest, I drooled just looking at it. 😀 This is a dish that I’ll definitely be making again.

Cookie Blog Hop: Orange Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies drizzled with Chocolate

It’s a new month AND a new blog hop theme! The month of December is going to be filled with delightful cookie recipes, and I really can’t wait (I’m such a sucker for sweets). Please join in on the #cookielove fun by linking up any cookie recipe from the month of December 2011. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #cookielove event! The twitter hashtag is #cookielove :).

Here is a list of all of the wonderful hosts this month!

Badger Girl Learns to Cook/ Kimberly Aime/ @BdgerGrl
BigFatBaker/ Erin Meyer/ @BigFatBaker
Bloc de recetas/ Salomé/ @Blocderecetas
Bon a croquer /Valerie/ @Valouth
CafeTerraBlog/ Terra Baltosiewich / @CafeTerraBlog
Cake Duchess/ Lora/ @cakeduchess
Creative Cooking Corner/ Karriann Graf/ @KarriannGraf
Easily Good Eats/ Three-Cookies
Georgiecakes /Georgie Kubarych /@georgiecakes
Hobby And More / Richa/ @betit19
knitstamatic / Deb/ @knitstamatic
Mike’s Baking / Mike R./ @mikesbaking
Mis Pensamientos / Junia/ @juniakk
Oh Cake / Jessica Hose/ @jesshose
Queen’s Notebook /Elizabeth Quirino/ @Mango_Queen
Savoring Every Bite /Linda Geiler/ @Spicegirlfla
Simply Reem / Reem /@simplyreem
Soni’s Food for Thought / Soni/ @sonisfood
Teaspoon of Spice /Deanna Segrave-Daly/ @tspbasil
That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!/ Liz / @Thatskinnychick
The Spicy RD / EA Stewart /@thespicyrd
The Wimpy Vegetarian /Susan Pridmore /@chezsuzanne
Vegan Yack Attack! /Jackie Sobon/ @veganyackattack
Vegetarian Taste Buds/ Raji / @vegtastebuds

Phew! Quite a list we have here, make sure to check them all out (even the non-vegan ones 😉 )!

Now, we proceed to MY recipe, which is quite delicious and pretty cute if I do say so myself. I’ve never made an orange marmalade or jam before, and was surprised by how easy it was to make without any references and how tasty it turned out. Chocolate and orange has always been one of my favorite flavor combinations, paired with an unbiased “butter” cookie, it is the perfect edible platter for gooey sweetness.

Whole Recipe makes roughly 30 Cookies

For the Orange Marmalade:

  • 2 Cups Peeled Orange Slices, De-seeded
  • 1/4 Cup Organic White Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Take the orange slices and place them into a blender or a food processor and blend until slightly chunky. Pour the contents of the blender into a small sauce pan, over medium heat. Add in sugar and arrowroot powder and stir together.
  2. Simmer orange mixture, stirring occasionally, for roughly 25 minutes or until the mixture has the same consistency as jam. Take the pan off of the heat, and let cool. (Make the cookies while you are waiting for the marmalade to be done)

For the Thumbprint Cookies:

  • 1 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 1 Cup Organic White Sugar
  • 1 Flaxseed Egg, (1 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed & 3 Tbsp. Warm Water mixed together)
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Almond Extract (Optional)
  • 2 3/4 Cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in flaxseed egg, vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium-sized bowl combine salt and flour, then slowly add to the butter mixture until evenly distributed and very slightly crumbly (not too wet).
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or silicone baking liner and start forming the dough into 2 tbsp. sized spheres, roughly 2 inches apart. Press down in the center of the dough balls to create a teaspoon sized indent for the orange marmalade filling.
  3. Using a measuring spoon (either 1/2 or 1 tsp.), pour the orange marmalade into each cookie, distributing it equally. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes. (Make chocolate drizzle while the cookies are baking)

For Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil, stir in cocoa powder and maple syrup. Wait for the mixture to cool slightly, then pour into a sandwich bag and cut a millimeter (or two 🙂 ) sized hole into the corner of the bag. Now, you have a makeshift icing bag that you can use to decorate your cookies however you choose to.
  2. You can chill the cookies to completely set the chocolate drizzle but it is not necessary.

I’m taking these cookies to a movie night, tonight, and I just know that they’ll be perfect for the occasion. But, for everyone else, bring these cookies to your family and friends for a fruity, sweet treat!


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