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MacroTreatFriday (MTF): Pumpkiney, pumpkin, pumpkin!

Hi there sweet friends,

If you read anything related to food, no doubt you've been swarmed lately with pumpkin everything. Drinks, treats, soups, casseroles, you name it. I can't really say I'm that sad about it. I do love pumpkin in cooking and in baking. I use pumpkin year round, but there is something extra lovely about it, at this time of year.

So, without further ado, this Macro Treat Friday post is a Dainty Pig round-up of all things to do with pumpkin, that I have posted on the blog over the years.

MTF: Dainty Pig Macrobiotic Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

Get your oven mitts out, crank up the music, and put your apron on :)

ALL of these treats are vegan, whole-food based and use natural ingredients. Most are gluten free friendly, and are in tune with Macrobiotic principles.

 

Dainty Pig Pumpkin Pie

RECIPE HERE

Crustless 10 Minute Macro Pumpkin Pie

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RECIPE HERE

Chocolate Chip & Pecan Pumpkin Oat Cookies

RECIPE HERE

Baked Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

RECIPE HERE

Easiest Pumpkin Spice Cookies Ever

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Oatmeal Carrot Cake

RECIPE HERE

And, I also have a whole bunch of tips and tricks for selecting winter squash, the differences in the types, how to perfectly bake squash every time, and some recipes using all kinds of winter squash in your meals.

Winter Squash How-To Guide

CLICK HERE for TIPS & WINTER SQUASH RECIPES

 

Also, I am super happy to announce that I'll be teaching another class next week, Friday the 26th, at Templed Mind, on Macrobiotic Sweets - finding sweetness within the Macro lifestyle, and how to make some tasty treats - great tips for the upcoming holidays. Class info is HERE. Hope to see you there!

What's your favourite PUMPKIN treat?

Happy day, weekend, baking, life, you name it.
Sending some love your way.

xo jess
 

 

 

MacroTreat Friday: Macrobiotic Baked Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

Yum yum yum.

That's about all I've got to say about these guilt-free super healthy treats. Seriously, it's just like oatmeal...that's been baked...in a muffin cup.
 

MTF: Macro Baked Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

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[JUNK FREE]: Flour Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with no leaveners added!

Makes 12 medium - large sized muffins.

Ingredients

Wet

  • one 398ml/15oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup almond milk (or water, or rice or soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2TBSP oil (sesame, grapeseed, avocado, olive or liquid coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (I used one of those little snack sized containers)

Dry

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats (use GF oats here if you like)
  • 1.5 cups steel cut oats, quick cooking steel cut oats, or more rolled oats (again, GF if desired)
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seeds
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup other mix ins - currants, raisins, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, more nuts or seeds
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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl, using a fork.
  3. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients, except for the sunflower seeds and mixi-ns.
  4. Add wet to dry, mixing with your fork.
  5. Add in the sunflower seeds and whatever other mix-ins you so desire. (I divided the batter up and left 1/3 with only sunflower seeds, 1/3 I added in some currants, and 1/3 I added in some chocolate chips).
  6. Spoon into muffin liners, or a greased muffin tin. Don't be shy - fill them right up to the top, even piling it on and rounding with a spoon.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, until firm and a toothpick comes out clean (they'll firm up more as they cool too).
  8. Let cool and serve!
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These treats were inspired by an overflowing pantry, and my flour free spicy pumpkin ginger cookies that are seriously the easiest cookies ever :)

Have a great weekend lovely friends.
I hope you enjoy some oatmeal in muffin form.
T & I sure do :)

xo Jess

 

Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie Revisit

The Dainty Pig's Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie

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Vegan, Gluten Free | Oat Flour Crust, Maple Sweetened

Recipe makes one regular 9" pie.

This recipe tied for 1st place in my pumpkin pie showdown of 2012, and is based off of and adapted from Eden Foods' recipe here. I tweaked it to make the filling process a bit simpler, and the appropriate size to fill one regular crust. I adjusted the spices to my liking, and as per my taste testers' requests. And I swapped oat flour for the wheat flour. The result is a delicious & healthy, spicy, vegan & gluten free macrobiotic pumpkin pie...YUM!

Oat Flour Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour (sift it if you can)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or sub in some grapeseed &/or avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup COLD milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Pulse / whisk / blend together oil & milk
  4. Add wet to dry and mix until combined (hands work best, crumble it with your fingers...just go for it!).
  5. Roll into a ball (adding any additional flour or cold water if necessary) and place in fridge for about 20 minutes.
  6. Roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper, and carefully transfer into a lightly oiled 9" pie pan. Crimp edges if desired or if used a crimped pan.
  7. Poke holes with fork in bottom and sides of crust.
  8. Pre-bake crust for 5 mins before adding in the pumpkin filling and baking (see assembly & baking instructions below).

Pumpkin Filling

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree (I simply used one entire 15 oz. can)
  • 1.25 cups milk of choice (again, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 TBSP Agar flakes
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 heaping tsp. ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 TBSP Kuzu powder, dissolved in 2 TBSP cold water (*do this part right before you add it in).
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup or so of pecan halves

Directions

  1. In a small - medium saucepan, combine the agar agar flakes and milk, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in maple syrup, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until agar flakes melt, about 10 minutes. Whisk/stir fairly often to ensure the flakes melt and are combined in.
  4. In a small bowl combine/mash up the pumpkin puree, salt, spices, and vanilla. Mix with a fork, or a hand blender, and then stir it into the agar/milk/maple mix, combining well.
  5. Dilute the kuzu and stir it into the mixture.
  6. Stirring (fairly continuously to avoid lumps), bring everything to an almost boil, then remove from heat. Continue on below with baking directions.

Assembly & Baking Directions

  1. Carefully pour filling into pre-baked crust.
  2. If desired, sprinkle pecan halves on top of the filling, around the edges of the crust, before baking (pretty delicious, btw).
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden, at 350F.
  4. Please be careful when removing pie, as the filling will still be a bit liquidy.
  5. Pie will continue to set as it cools, so let cool completely (at least 3 hours) before slicing & serving.
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Suggestions & Notes:

  • CRUST: I have also made this using a pre-made frozen whole spelt crust. If using a frozen crust, thaw for 20 minutes. Then poke holes with a fork along the bottom and sides. Pre-bake for 5 mins at 350F.
  • This pie tastes even better the next day, after letting it sit in the fridge overnight. So if you have the time, make it the day before you want to serve it.
  • You can also place pecans along the bottom of the crust, before you add the filling, to make it even more decadent.
  • Serve with coconut milk whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
  • This pie was my favourite winner of the 2012 pumpkin pie showdown! My second favourite filling uses tofu and is in that pie showdown post as well. I'll do a revisit of it as well, soon enough :)

♥♥♥Enjoy!

 

Macro Monday: Easiest Pumpkin Cookies Ever <3

That's a bold title...but it's true.  All you need is one pot, and one bowl, and the desire to make friends with anybody you give these to...because that will definitely happen.

I made cookies these last Fall, quite often. They were actually the result of a combination between a failed pumpkin custard recipe attempt, and a whole bunch of recipes combined. I just kinda free-styled it, and I cannot remember or find which recipes were my inspiration (oops). Regardless, I'm so glad that custard never turned out, because these are YUM :)

It's time to make them again. Here we go!

MM: Spicy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Macrobiotic Inspired, Vegan, no oil, sugar, flour, or gluten <3

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4-6 Tbsp pure maple syrup (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it) 
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)  
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 cups regular rolled oats (gluten free rolled oats if you need to)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups mix-ins of your choice: chocolate chips, nuts/seeds like sunflower seeds, chia, pecans or walnuts, dried fruit or simply use more rolled oats, or even some steel cut oats for texture (my favourite versions are down below!).
  • pinch of sea salt. 
  • Optional: candied ginger chunks, or some chunks of dark chocolate, for pressing into the tops. 

Directions

  1. Set the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet, or place parchment paper on top of one.
  2. Mix the next 4 ingredients together in a smallish saucepan. I whisked everything together with a fork. 
  3. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly. 
  4. Mix the remaining 4 ingredients together in a bowl. 
  5. Once everything is boiling in the saucepan, remove from heat. 
  6. Wait a few minutes, then lightly stir in the dry ingredients. If you're concerned about the chocolate chips melting, then add them in last, after you've stirred in all the oats. If you let it sit for a few minutes, you'll be amazed at how much of the liquid the oats soak up.
  7. Scoop out cookie dough with a table or soup spoon, forming mounds on the cookie sheet. Then lightly press down with a fork, or back of the spoon.
  8. If desired, and highly recommended, press a small chunk of cut up candied ginger in the center of each one. (if you are not using chocolate chips in the actual dough, then press a chunk of dark chocolate into the center).
  9. Bake for ~13-15 minutes, until firm around the edges.  
  10. These cookies are very moist & chewy. They will continue to set/firm up overnight. If you'd like them to be crispier, then bake them longer, to your liking :) 

Let's be real: these are just pumpkin oatmeal in a cookie shape...so enjoy freely!!  They're GREAT for breakfast :)

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My favourite versions are:

  • 2.5 cups oat flakes, 1/2 cup steel cut oats, and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, with dark chocolate pressed into the top
  • 3 cups oat flakes (or 2.5 cups oat flakes & 1/2 cup steel cut oats) with 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, a tablespoon of chia seeds thrown in, and then some candied ginger pressed into the top. 
  • 3.5 cups oats/steel cut oats, and then simply decorate some with chocolate chunks pressed in, and some with ginger chunks. 

Notes & Mix-ins Ideas:

  • This recipe is VERY forgiving...if you find yourself with slightly more or less of any of the ingredients, it usually always works out
  • Feel free to go nuts with the pumpkin pie spices: cloves & nutmeg would be great in here too, I'd mix them in with the dry stuff. You can also add in vanilla to the liquid ingredients. :) 
  • I keep thinking that some almond butter or other nut/seed butter mixed in would make these even more delicious. 
  • I usually make a double or triple batch or however many I can to use up a whole can of pumpkin. They freeze pretty well...and make great treats to give to friends who enjoy pumpkin treats in cold weather. <3

I've been wanting to post this for awhile now, but had been unsuccessfully searching for this recipe (I realized that it is at the bottom of a moving box). This post is up because of my dear sister, who had a copy of this recipe (THANKS!). We made these last year together, multiple times. She's the best, and deserves a gold star...and a batch of these cookies.

They also taste amazing with an almond milk latte the size of your head...just sayin' !

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Crustless 10 Minute Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie

Oh my pumpkin pie. 

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I decided at 4pm on the day of our Thanksgiving dinner, that I actually did indeed want a pumpkin pie for dessert. But, I didn't feel like making the ones from last year (so so so delicious btw), as I didn't have enough flour to make a crust, or enough time.

I had saved this recipe I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, and decided to go for it, as I had just enough time to make it and try it for dessert. 

10 Min. Crustless Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie

Oil Free, Refined Sugar Free, Crustless, Vegan, GF if desired, & Delicious

As mentioned above, this recipe is entirely inspired by and based off of this one here, by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Such a good find. I jess-ified it a bit, and made it more macro-friendly. This crustless pie actually forms an almost-crust on it's own. Way to go pie, gold star for you!

Ingredients

  • 398ml (15 oz) can of organic pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 cups soymilk (I used Eden brand original, but I'm sure other milks like almond or coconut would work as well)
  • 1 heaping TBSP Kuzu Powder
  • 2 Chia "eggs" - 2 TBSP white chia seeds, whisked into and then soaked in 7TBSP water for about 10 minutes.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oat flour {I ground about 3/4 cup regular oat flakes in high speed blender to make the flour}** See below for other flour options.
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar (coconut palm sugar would also work here)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

Directions

  1. Turn oven on to 350F.
  2. Prepare dry ingredients: Mix together everything that's dry, except for the kuzu powder, in a bowl.
  3. In a blender, combine the soymilk, chia "eggs", vanilla and kuzu powder. Blend on high until combined.
  4. Add in the pumpkin puree and blend on high until combined.
  5. Add in bowl of dry ingredients and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until everything is combined. Stop if necessary and stir/scrape sides so everything gets mixed in.
  6. Oil a pie pan - I used a glass pyrex pie dish, and I oiled it with sesame oil.
  7. Pour the blender contents into the pie dish. 
  8. Bake for 60 minutes. 
  9. Let cool before serving. (I let it cool down enough to put it in the fridge, and then let it set and cool for a few more hours before eating it.) *Tastes even better the next day. 
  10. Serve with tofu whipped cream or coconut whipped cream, if you like. 
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**The oat flour makes this "pie" a bit more dense. Whole wheat pastry flour also works, as does regular old unbleached flour. I'm sure the white rice flour option would be awesome, and I'm looking forward to trying this with other flours such as light spelt flour and sweet rice flour.  The texture was nicest with the the unbleached flour, so I want to try it again with light spelt flour next time. :)

This pie got a 2 thumbs up from T, as well as a regular pie eater too. I also got a request to bake this pie inside the crust I made from last year. And I made it last minute on a whim. I think I'll call that a win.

Eating this pie for breakfast the next day? That's for SURE a win :)

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Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

On Monday, I talked about KUZU - Macrobiotics' secret thickening ingredient that is also very useful when prepared medicinally for healing and helping many conditions. I promised you a recipe using this ingredient.

Seeing as how it's Autumn, almost Canadian Thanksgiving, and there are as many beautiful colours of leaves as there are beautiful pumpkins, I thought I'd stick with the theme. I've had pumpkin pudding on the brain since my Pumpkin Pie Showdown last Thanksgiving. I've made quite a few different variations and random throw-together quick puddings in the kitchen, but this time I sat down and wrote it all out, so I'd remember it for next time. The extra filling from one of my pumpkin pies last year, that I ate the next day pudding style, was my inspiration behind this recipe.

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Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

Dainty Pig Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pumpkin (398ml or 14 fl oz.) 
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or your choice of milk - coconut or soy would make it a bit creamier) 
  • 4 TBSP maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (this amount is for cinnamon lovers, so reduce to 1 or 2 tsp. if you'd like it a bit more subtle)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/3 cup (6 TBSP) Kuzu diluted in 1/3 cup water.  *** Edited to add: I tried this again, and you can totally get away with 4 TBSP Kuzu diluted in 1/4c water
  • Maple flakes, cookie, cinnamon, pecans! as an optional garnish
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Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan combine the pumpkin and almond milk (I used a fork, but you could also whisk it together). 
  2. Add in your sweetener - I used maple syrup - and mix it in. 
  3. Heat it up, stirring often, over medium-low heat.  Mixture will begin to bubble a bit, so be careful of splatters.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and spices. 
  5. Prepare the kuzu: in a small bowl or mug: add 1/3 cup water to 6 TBSP kuzu, and stir until liquidy and combined. 
  6. Add kuzu mixture to the pumpkin mixture on the stove, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. 
  7. Continue stirring until mixture thickens - maybe 3 minutes or so, and then simmer for 1-2 more minutes (it may get a bit translucent, depending on the kind of milk you used).
  8. Pour into 4 separate bowls or ramekins. 
  9. Enjoy warm, or leave (covered) overnight in the fridge to thicken and for the flavour to develop.  {I had a bit warm & it was delicious, but then I left the rest in the fridge overnight to see what it was like the next day}

Enjoy! 

If you eat it right away it has more of a pudding texture (my favourite). If you wait until the next day it is thicker, like a custard. I topped mine with a store-bought macro friendly ginger cookie, and a few sprinkles of maple flakes and cinnamon. I recommend serving it with a nice cup of chai tea. Divine!

***This makes a lightly sweetened pudding, so if you're planning on serving this to regular eaters, you might want to consider adding in a bit more maple syrup :) 

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I'd love to know what your favourite pumpkin recipe is! 

Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie: 4 crusts, 3 different fillings

When you make four different pumpkin pies, all vegan, wheat-free, and macrobiotic, and then subject your family  (mostly "regular eaters") to multiple taste testings, you kind of hope there will be a definite best-tasting pie. At least I did.

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This time, though, two of the pies received equal praise. There was no clear winner. But then I realized:  2 > 1. Two delicious pumpkin pies is better than 1 delicious pie. Um. Duh.

Enough chit chat. Here are the recipes & reviews:

Pie #1 - 3rd Place

Recipes from Kristina Turner's The Self-Healing Cookbook
Wheat Free Oat Crust (p. 152) & the filling for Sweet Squash Pie (p. 154)  

For the filling I roasted 2 sugar pie pumpkins in the oven ( I cut them in half, gutted them, rubbed a tiny bit of salt on the flesh, then placed them cut side down in a baking dish with a 1/2 inch water, and baked at 350F for about 50 minutes). And I followed the directions in the book exactly for the crust, which baked fairly well!

Pie # 1: baked then&nbsp;puréed&nbsp;sugar pie pumpkin filling

Pie # 1: baked then puréed sugar pie pumpkin filling

Brown Rice &amp; Oat Flour Crust.

Brown Rice & Oat Flour Crust.

Results & Comments:  Last Place. It was still edible---but was just "ok" as reviewed by the "regular pumpkin pie eaters." Most people found that the crust tasted a little bitter (perhaps they weren't used to the strong taste of wholegrain flour --- brown rice flour, in particular). I was told that the filling was delicious, but not really like a pumpkin pie filling, and would perhaps do better as a savoury dinner kind of pie. It wasn't spicy or sweet enough for most eaters. To be honest, I think that the sugar pie pumpkins were a bit under ripe. They didn't seem heavy enough for their size, and the flesh just didn't have the rich colour I was expecting. For my macro-ified taste buds, the crust was just fine, and the filling was okay. But, I think it would have been more delicious had I used my favourite, kabocha squash, instead of the sugar pie pumpkins. This cookbook is wonderful though, and I highly recommend it. Most recipes I make out of it are received very very well, and I plan to give this recipe another chance in the future.

Pie #2 - tied for 1st place

I used this recipe as my base:  from the Eden foods website.

Crust from oat flour &amp; olive oil.

Crust from oat flour & olive oil.

My substitutions were:  I used all oat flour instead of wheat flour, and rolled the crust into a ball, then put it between parchment paper and rolled it out.  I needed to add a tiny bit more oat flour to make it form a ball. I also used almond milk (unsweetened vanilla flavour) instead of the soy milk. In the filling, I again used almond milk, and also used only 1/2 cup maple syrup instead of 3/4 cup. The canned pumpkin I was used was organic, in a BPA free lining can. I also omitted the nuts. Overall, my changes from the original recipe lightened up the pie and made it wheat free.

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Results & Comments: Well deserved 1st place spot. The filling was really great: the spices could be a little stronger, but the texture was amazing. The crust was a clear 1st place winner though. Out of all the crusts, this one was everyone's favourite. The oat flour worked perfectly in place of the wheat flour, making it tummy friendly. It stuck together well, and baked quite nicely. I preferred this pie the 2nd & 3rd day, after it cooled off a bit in the fridge. This recipe makes a LOT of filling. I filled two regular pie crusts full and had TONS left over (must be intended for a deep dish pie) when I doubled the recipe, so I imagine the normal recipe could make enough filling for two regular crusts. 

Pie #3 - 2nd Place

Crust from Kristina Turner's The Self-Healing Cookbook
Nutty Oat Crust (p. 152 ) with some modifications. Same filling as pie #2.

Substitutions: I used ALL oat flour instead of the recommended brown rice & wheat flour. I did not use any nuts, simply left them out. And I was out of sesame oil, so I used sunflower oil instead.

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Results & Comments: 2nd place. This pie was definitely good. Everyone enjoyed it, as expected, because it has the same filling as pie #2. The crust was enjoyable. It held together nicely and baked well, BUT, it just didn't seem quite right for a pumpkin pie. Not so much like a regular crust. As you can tell by the picture above, it was almost like a giant not-so-sweet oatmeal cookie. I want to try this crust again with something else as a filling. This combo was good for breakfast the next day, I was told.

Pie #4 - Tied for 1st place

Based on this recipe here.

Substitutions: For the crust, I used the same as pie #2, only lightened it up a bit by using 2TBSP olive oil and 2TBSP cold water. Again, I used all oat flour, and almond milk in place of the soymilk. For the filling, I reduced the ample syrup to 1/2 cup, left out the barley malt, and used a generous 3 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon plus hefty shakes of cloves and nutmeg. 

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Results & Reviews: A very close flat out winner. Upon first bite, most people said this was hands down the best. But after a few more tastes, the votes were split between this and pie #2. No one could guess the secret ingredient: tofu. The spices in this pie were the strongest, and therefore my favourite hands down, and everyone else agreed that the flavour was delightful. The biggest pumpkin pie fan of the lot said that this one had the most similar texture to regular pumpkin pie. The sweetness of this one was JUST perfect---it tasted a bit sweeter than pie#2 though, despite having the same amount of maple syrup. As per the instructions in the recipe, the pie definitely does best to sit overnight in the fridge. The lightened up version of crust #2 was good, but not as good as #2 --- if you must reduce the oil, then this one turned out very well, but if you can spare the extra oil, using the full 1/4 cup in the crust will give you the best taste.

Overall Thoughts

I was really impressed with pie #4. I am not usually a big tofu eater, and was definitely skeptical making this pie. As I was blending the filling (very quick & easy btw) I really couldn't predict how it would turn out. To say I was pleasantly surprised with the taste is a big understatement. I knew pie #2 would be delicious the second the filling started bubbling on the stove & I snuck a taste. 

I'm really happy that I was able to successfully replace wheat flour in the crust. Changing flours in recipes is always tricky, but it turned out so well I couldn't stop smiling. I plan to do a post soon with the measurements and changes I made to both winning pies in regular recipe format for ease of reading. 

Next year, I'll be making 2 pies: Crust #2 for both, filling one with pie #2 filling but adding more spices, and then making filling #4 exactly the same as I did this year. 

Champions side by side: pie #2 on the left, #4 on the right.

Champions side by side: pie #2 on the left, #4 on the right.

And what to do with all that extra filling from pie #2? Well folks, that's 2 more sweet pumpkin treat recipes for 2 new posts. 

Did I ever mention how much I love pumpkin?

Happy Thanksgiving --- Pumpkin Pie showdown.

Hi friends,

It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. I'm only so-so excited. And mostly because of the extra day off. Truthfully, growing up I never really was a fan of the whole "turkey dinner thing." I didn't really enjoy meat so much, and turkey was no exception. From a young age creamy things like whipping cream made me feel queasy. And cranberry sauce on top of turkey? YUCK! A true nightmare. Cranberry sauce as jam on bread---ok. As an overly sweet thing on top of meat--- no thanks. And I've never even really even tried stuffing. Mashed potatoes were just ok, and as for gravy, I could take it or leave it.  

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The one thing I always did enjoy though, was my mom's roasted veggies. She bathed oven roasted carrots, turnips, & sweet potatoes in fresh herbs and lemon. Hmmmm... and people wonder why I enjoy macrobiotic cooking so much? I think I was just designed from the start to enjoy this way of eating.

I have another confession to make as well: I never really liked pie much. Especially pumpkin pie. But I think this was because I got sick one time after eating it, and I can only guess now that it was because of the giant pile of whipping cream on top. But alas, times have changed.

Pumpkin Pie Showdown 2012

Pumpkin pie sans whipping cream? Yeah, ok. Let's do it up. I do love a good pumpkin. 

I spent 6 hours in the kitchen yesterday. I made four different whole-grain gluten free & vegan pie crusts, and three different pumpkin pie fillings. I even roasted 2 sugar pie pumpkins to use instead of canned pumpkin puree in one of the pies.  

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Two different thanksgiving dinners means everyone gets to sample two different pies each day. I want to get a feel for which recipe is the tastiest, so next year when I want to indulge in my pumpkin love, I know which one to make. The only downside to my method, other than the time and sweat,  is that I only had one pie plate, so I had to buy a few cheap aluminum ones. But, c'est la vie.

Sneak peak of yesterday's champion:

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Please share with me: What's your favourite pumpkin pie recipe --- macrobiotic, vegan, or otherwise?

Cafe at home.

Wow! Fall is in the air. 
Crunchy leaves under my shoes as I walk to work in the morning.
It's brisk enough outside that I can justify wearing a scarf.
After teaching my class, the sun is just warming up the sky.
It's truly the perfect time to reacquaint myself with an old friend : the oven.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
"Crunchy leaves and scarf weather cookies"

Simple. Nourishing and just sweet enough.
Vegan and Wheat Free.
*Oven to 350F*
Mix up dry:
1.5 cups flour 
(I used: 0.5 cups quick oats, and 1 c. brown rice flour)
3 cups of rolled oats (I did 2 c. quick cooking oats, 1 c. thick oats)
1.5 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1-3 t cinnamon (I used a lot...I love cinnamon)
dash of dried ginger
1/2 t nutmeg / cloves or pumpkin pie spice
Not-Dry
Make 2 eggs out of  flax:  
6 T ground flax + ~8 T warm water. Whisk together and let gel for 10 minutes.
Then cream together: 
1 can pumpkin puree, and 1/4 - 1 c. sugar 
(I used 1/4 c sucanat) on medium speed until fluffy (~3mins)
Add in flax "eggs" and mix on high to combine.
Add in 1t of vanilla.
Add dry to not-dry, mixing on low until combined, about 1/2 a minute.
Add in 1 cup of goodies i.e., chocolate chips, raisins, seeds...
I did 3/4c 70% chocolate chips and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.
Bake on lightly oiled or non-stick sheets for about 18 mins
 or until just set and golden.
Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.
Note: These cookies are a bit tough--I like them, but next time I will add a bit of almond milk to the batter to make a tad more liquidy. Adjust to your liking.
Now, serve them up with a piping hot cup of chai tea, in your AT HOME CAFE.

Oh red tea pot I missed you while I was in Japan.
Oh Japan, thank you for providing me with many pretty dishes.
Maybe Canadian winters won't be so bad if I can look forward to my Cafe at Home :)
What things do you like in the brisk fall weather?