Vegan Pumpkin Streusel Muffins | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Ten

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
 Secret ingredient: Is there an unconventional ingredient or product you use to make a certain dish that no one would suspect?

The idea of “hidden” or “secret” ingredients in my food has always weirded me out a bit, perhaps because I grew up with a younger sister who has some pretty severe nut allergies. “Hidden” nuts in food sent her to the hospital or to her emergency Benadryl/EpiPen stash more than once, so I’m all for transparency in labeling and serving.

That said, I appreciate the idea that sometimes an ingredient might put someone off a food if they knew what was in it. (Hey, kinda like those dumb-dumbs who don’t want to try vegan dishes even though they contain nothing weirder than vegetables, grains, and not-animal-based proteins!) I also appreciate the recipe developers who have found immensely creative ways to add nutrients to apparent junk food in an effort to healthify treats. (Though, to be honest, I personally want my junk food to be junk food and my treats to be treats!) Chocolate-Covered Katie in particular has a whole arsenal of ONE WEIRD TRICK-esque recipes, which rely on surprise ingredients to add moisture and flavor to (and reduce fat and sugar in) her baked goods. (See: a chocolate cake featuring cauliflower!)

So perhaps my issue is with semantics: Call it an “unexpected” ingredient and I have no quarrel with the notion. I even have a few recipes featuring unexpected ingredients of my own (black bean brownies, anyone?).

"Pumpkin" streusel muffins But one of my favorite ways to subvert expectations — while offering superior flavor — is a relatively simple one: using mashed roasted sweet potato instead of pumpkin. Much of the flavors we associate with “pumpkin” are actually the warming spices that typically accompany it, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice that just scream “autumn!” to most Americans. In reality, pumpkin by itself is quite bland; it really needs the augmentation of said spices (and some sweetness) to shine.

I offer up in its place sweet potato, which plays just as well with those lovely spices yet has an inherent mellow sweetness of its own. Cup for cup, it also boasts more fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Baked into a muffin and topped with a crumbly, oaty streusel, you get a treat that could easily pass for pumpkin. So, next time you fire up the oven to make muffins, pass over the pumpkin and pass me the sweet potato! (Just be on the watch for folks with sweet potato allergies.)

"Pumpkin" streusel muffins

“Pumpkin” Streusel Muffins

Makes 12

Muffin ingredients
  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup roasted and mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Streusel topping ingredients
  • 3 T softened butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 T rolled oats
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash salt
Method

In a small bowl, mix together the streusel topping with a fork until crumbly and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare a muffin tin by adding silicone or paper liners or spraying it lightly with oil.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients (almond milk through vanilla extract, whisking to combine. Add the sugar and thoroughly mix.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Use a plastic spatula or wooden spoon to mix just until combined; do not over-mix. (If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour. Some sweet potatoes seem dryer than others!) Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each well about 2/3 full. Add a spoonful of streusel to the top of each muffin.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until a toothpick or other testing mechanism comes out clean. Enjoy! You’re not eating pumpkin!

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"Pumpkin" streusel muffins

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Make-Ahead Vegan Breakfasts to Save Time and Keep You Full!

Moment Cafe PragueBreakfast: allegedly the most important meal of the day, and almost definitely the most easily skippable. As a reformed chronic breakfast-skipper, I can sympathize with anyone who just isn’t hungry enough to eat in the morning. (And don’t let the breakfast evangelists get you down — it turns out that the science behind breakfast’s importance has been over-stated and misinterpreted.)

These days, I nearly always eat something within an hour or two of waking up. On weekdays, that means I’m eating at my desk; I’m just not hungry enough to eat before I leave for work. (And, to be honest, I simply don’t want to get up early enough to make and eat breakfast at the house!) So I’ve come to rely on to-go options that will give me a burst of energy and keep me full.

If you, too, are in search of vegan breakfasts that you can make ahead of time and take with you, I have you covered! Here are some of my favorite ways to eat breakfast without digging into that stash of Clif bars you keep in your desk. (Save those for afternoon slumps!)

Top-down view of a metal baking dish filled with a casserole-like baked oatmeal studded with blueberries. To the right is a tan baking mitt, and across the top of the dish is a wooden spoon.

Make-ahead oatmeal breakfasts

There’s a reason overnight oat recipes are still popular: they’re awesome! Overnight oats are portable, dead easy to make in advance, and quite healthy. (As long as you don’t sweeten them into oblivion.) Put together your jar of ingredients before bedtime and by morning, you’ll have breakfast ready to go. You can even make a large amount and parcel it out for a few days’ worth of breakfasts!

Here are my favorite easy overnight oat recipes:

If cold oats don’t appeal (especially during the winter), you can always heat up your overnight oats. Or you can make fresh hot oatmeal in the morning, provided you have access to a microwave at work. I do this frequently — before I leave for work, I’ll fill a jar with a big scoop of quick oats and a handful of frozen berries. When I get to work, I’ll pour everything into a bowl and add some soy milk and hot water, then cook it in the microwave. The berries add flavor and a little extra nutrition; I don’t need to sweeten my oats when I use them. No, quick oats aren’t as nutritious as rolled or steel-cut oats, but they’re certainly better than no oats at all!

Baked oatmeal is another oat-based breakfast favorite of mine. You’ll need to prepare the baked oats in advance, but then you can reheat portions for a hot, oat-y breakfast that’s not quite oatmeal and not quite a breakfast bar. My banana bread baked oatmeal or baked blueberry oatmeal would both work here!

(Semi-)healthy breakfast bars or cookies

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal BarsIf you’ve overdosed on oats or just want something a little more indulgent, a batch of breakfast bars or cookies might fit the bill. (They could also be a great option if you’re used to eating sugary muffins or pastries for breakfast and want to transition to a slightly healthier baked good.) What moves a bar or cookie into breakfast territory? Well, my completely unscientific definition is that if it contains less sugar than a normal recipe and has other redeeming factors (whole grains; extra protein to keep you full), it counts! Perhaps best of all, you can make a batch on the weekend and it’ll sustain you for the entire week.

Here are a few options to get you started. I’d pair one of these bars or cookies with a piece of fruit for a rounder meal.

Easy vegan pudla

My love for pudla (savory chickpea-flour omelettes) never wanes! Although I typically enjoy pudla for dinner, you could make a double batch and save one for breakfast. Just reheat and serve with your favorite toppings. My basic recipe is here, but you can also make them smaller and thinner, like crepes. Play around with flavor profiles and mix-ins for infinite pudla fun!

Leftovers for breakfast!

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.comWhat? Last night’s dinner for today’s breakfast? Why not?! Plenty of folks enjoy savory food for breakfast, and you can too. If last night’s kale and grain bowl was particularly tasty but didn’t leave enough leftovers for a full lunch, why not just eat it for breakfast? There are worse ways to start the day than with veggies. You could even purposefully make extra roasted or pan-fried potatoes and call them home fries the next day. Now that’s thinking ahead!

Filling breakfast smoothies

Although I prefer to make my smoothies right before eating them, some recipes handle overnight refrigeration just fine. I personally wouldn’t do it with a banana-based smoothie (because I find that the banana flavor and texture get a bit odd), but any other fruit and nondairy milk smoothie should work OK! Add protein powder for even more staying power.

PB granola and vegan yogurt // govegga.com

Other easy vegan breakfast options

Let me know if I’ve missed any other great make-ahead vegan breakfast recipes!

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Make-ahead vegan breakfasts // govegga.com Make-ahead vegan breakfasts // govegga.com

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Five Vegan Pancake Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

Although my pancake recipes are predictably and unimaginatively housed on my breakfast recipes page, I am a firm believer in the occasional pancake dinner. Pancakes are quick, they’re relatively filling, and they’re practically dessert! And I am all for the occasional dessert-y dinner.

If you’re feeling lazy and in need of a carbolicious meal tonight, might I suggest you make pancakes and say it’s all in the name of celebrating Shrove Tuesday? Here are a few recipes to get you started, both from me and from some of my fellow bloggers. (For more vegan breakfast recipes, check out my Pinterest board!)

Vegan pancake recipes for any time of day (or night)!

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce (pictured above)

Spicy pillows of puffy goodness topped with a buttery apple pie-inspired sauce—what’s not to love? Check out my recipe here.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cinnamon Swirls

This recipe from Minimalist Baker is the stuff of my breakfast-for-dinner dreams! Note that it’s a yeasted batter, so you’ll need to allow an hour for the batter to rise.

Puffy Pillow Pancakes

For classic melt-in-your mouth straightforward pancake goodness, look no further than the queen of all things vegan brunch-y, Isa Chandra.

Bright blue cloth with a white plate and a stack of seven thin, orange pumpkin pancakes. Scattered around them are a few mini chocolate chips.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pancakes (pictured above)

This recipe is an oldie, but definitely a goodie! If you’re into towering stacks of wafer-thin pancakes studded with little chocolate bites, this is the recipe for you.

A stack of five pancakes, covered in maple syrup, sit on a blue plate. To the left are three slices of apples. In the background is a bowl of chocolate chia pudding and a bottle of ginger syrup.

Whole-Wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes (pictured above)

Another one of my older recipes, go for this recipe if you’d like to convince yourself you’re eating a healthy dinner: It uses whole wheat (pastry) flour, after all!

What’s your favorite vegan pancake recipe?

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Five vegan pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday -- or any day!

A Frittata for Friends

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

Quick post on this Wednesday morning! Our magazine goes to press today, so the team is bringing in snacks to tide us over as we work to finalize photo credits, tweak titles, and double-triple-quadruple-check literally everything.

Vegan frittata

I opted for a hearty breakfast item, since I know we’ll have a table chock-full of chips, chocolate, and lots of snack-y things. Enter this bright-yellow frittata! I followed this recipe; it’s your standard tofu frittata with the addition of roasted potatoes and onions. (Side note: I burnt some of those onions and, who knew, but crispy, slightly burnt onions are kinda delicious!)

What’s your go-to breakfast for a crowd?

Irish Farls — Vegan Potato Scones

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Two: International Week

I spent summer 2007 with a group of fellow English majors studying Irish literature in — wait for it — Ireland. We packed quite a lot into those two and a half months: a week in County Mayo (“God help us!”), where we climbed Croagh Patrick and I enjoyed my first whiskey; a month in Dublin, where we took classes on James Joyce under one of the finest Joyce scholars around; a week in Galway, where we attended the Yeats summer school with folks from all ages and walks of life who just can’t get enough of the poet; and just under a month in Northern Ireland, where we focused on more contemporary (political) literature at Queen’s University in Belfast. (There was also a blissful week break in Spain, but that’s another story for another post!)

Louisburgh, County Mayo, Ireland

Beautiful Louisburgh, County Mayo, at sunset.

During our time in Belfast, we stayed in the student dorms at Queen’s and walked about a mile up the road for classes each morning. Breakfast was included in our stay, and it was your typical full Irish breakfast fare: meat, meat, and more meat. I was a vegetarian at the time, so the few non-animal items became my breakfast staples. I soon became enamored with potato farls, a simple yet oh-so-satisfying fried dough made with flour and mashed potatoes, and I’d enjoy two or three of them every morning. (You might’ve heard of them by another name; they’re called tattie scones over in Scotland.)

Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Queen’s University, Belfast

Fast-forward nearly 10 (!) years, and I’ve yet to have a farl again, despite returning to Ireland with Steven a few years back. What better time to make them than during the first day of Vegan MoFo’s international week?! I decided to make the farls as part of a full Irish breakfast. Alas, fate (read: a sudden lack of vital wheat gluten for making sausages) stepped in, and I scrapped my more ambitious plans in favor of making the farls by themselves. And that’s okay. They’re just as good dripping with butter and jam alongside a mug of strong tea as they are accompanied by sausages, bacon, mushrooms, scrambled tofu, and baked beans. Give them a shot for a weekend breakfast and let me know what you think.

Vegan potato farls (Irish potato scones) // govegga.com

Vegan Potato Farls (Irish potato scones)

Makes 8 small farls or 4 large

  • 1 lb Russet potatoes
  • 2 T vegan butter (plus more for cooking)
  • 1/2 C + 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Scant 1/2 tsp salt

Method

Set the 2 T vegan butter out to soften.

Put a large pot of water on to boil while you peel and chop the potatoes into roughly equal pieces. Add to the pot and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain potatoes and add to a large mixing bowl, then mix in the butter and mash (see note below). Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix with a fork until a light, soft dough comes together into a loose ball. If it’s still sticking, add one or two more tablespoons of flour.

Move the dough to a clean, well-floured surface and separate into two equal balls (for small farls) or one single ball (for large farls). Roll out into a circle about 1/4″ thick, then cut in half and half again to form four triangles.

Preheat a pan on medium-low and add a small pat of butter. When melted, add 3-4 farls (depending on their size and the size of your pan) and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side.

Repeat with remaining farls until all are cooked. If necessary, keep in a pan in a warmed oven while cooking the remaining farls or preparing the rest of your breakfast. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Many recipes suggest using a potato ricer to get lots of air into the mashed potatoes. I don’t have one, and a fork worked just fine for me — the Russets break apart easily.
  • I used a cast-iron pan and it worked nicely; you could also try non-stick.
  • For extra-buttery farls, add a little softened butter to the side facing you just before you flip the farls in the pan. That way, both sides get cooked in butter.
  • If you don’t intend to eat these with jam, feel free to add black pepper or even chopped chives to the dough.

…and one more photo of County Mayo because it’s too pretty not to share.

Louisburgh, County Mayo, Ireland

Another sunset in County Mayo.

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Vegan potato farls (Irish potato scones) // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a mouth-watering breakfast recipe for the whole family! Fluffy, cinnamon-y vegan pancakes studded with little bits of apple, topped with an oh-so-special sauce reminiscent of apple pie filling. Somewhere between decadent (thanks to that sauce) and relatively healthy (thanks to white whole wheat flour), these pancakes make for a special weekend breakfast that requires only marginally more work than regular old pancakes.

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

If a buttery sweet topping seems a little too rich for your blood, no worries. Read through the post-recipe notes for a lighter, fat-free sauce that works just as well but tastes a little less like dessert.

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce

Makes 10 pancakes

For the sauce
  • 3/4 apple, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 T Earth Balance
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T water
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash salt
For the pancakes
  • 1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Heaping 1 T ground flax
  • 2 T canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C almond milk
  • Scant 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 apple, diced small

Method

First, add the Earth Balance to a small saucepot and melt on low heat while you prepare the apple. To do so, peel it and then chop 3/4 of the apple into thin half-moons (1/4″ thick at most). Chop the remaining 1/4 apple into very small dice and set aside.

Add the apple slices to the melted butter and then add all other ingredients. Stir to coat the apples, then turn the heat up to medium-low. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low and let simmer while you prepare the pancake batter.

For the pancakes, start by mixing the dry ingredients (excluding the flax and apple) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flax with the wet ingredients and let sit for about 30 seconds before adding to the dry mixture. Stir or whisk just until all ingredients are combined, then fold in the diced apples. You should have a thick, puffy batter.

Start heating your favorite pancake cooking device while the batter rests a bit. In the meantime, give your apple pie sauce a few stirs.

Cook pancakes in scant 1/3 cups full for 3-5 minutes on each side. Cooking times will vary based on your stove, pan, etc. For best results, place finished pancakes in a tray in a 200˚F oven to keep warm while you finish cooking. When ready, serve with the apple pie sauce drizzled on top.

Notes

  • You can certainly substitute another flour, but be mindful of the liquid ratio. For pure whole wheat flour, you might need a little more water; for all-purpose, you might need a little less.
  • For a lighter, fat-free sauce, heat 1/2 cup applesauce on the stove and mix in the sliced apples, spices, vanilla, and sugar. Forgo the lemon juice and water. Simmer while you cook the pancakes.
  • I have a dedicated non-stick pancake pan — this All-Clad 11-inch griddle. I never need to use oil or cooking spray!

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Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

VeganMoFo 2015: PB&J Overnight Oats for Breakfast

VeganMoFo 2015 bannerIf you’re a regular reader, you know that every year I get very into the Vegan Month of Food (aka VeganMoFo). Themes are my JAM, and I love coming up with a new one every year. But not this year. This year, the powers-that-be at MoFo HQ are doing something a little different by offering up daily prompts that participants are highly encouraged to follow. And I’m happy to join! No more MoFo stress for me; this year, I’m going to revel in the simple deliciousness of vegan food. And what better way to start than with breakfast?!

That’s right, today’s prompt is: Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast.

Now, I’m no stranger to breakfast recipes — I’ve shared lots of ’em here. For a work-day morning, I generally keep things simple: oatmeal, a baked good, a piece of fruit… I usually don’t get much more complex than that. So for today’s breakfast, I opted for an easy, make-ahead breakfast: overnight oats. This time, I adapted a classic lunch flavor pairing (PB&J!) for breakfast. The addition of peanut butter adds a little extra hit of protein, helping keep you full for longer. You can use any jam, jelly, or preserve in this recipe; I opted for a homemade blueberry-lavender jam I whipped up a few weeks ago. It’s unsweetened and a little tart, so I added some brown sugar to my oats. Feel free to omit the added sweetener if your jam is sweet enough!

PB and J Overnight Oats

PB&J Overnight Oats
Serves two

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Heaping 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 T brown sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup (omit if your jam is sweetened)
  • Dash salt
  • ~1/4 cup jam of choice

Add the almond milk, peanut butter, sweetener, and salt to an airtight container and whisk until the peanut butter is emulsified and fully incorporated in the mixture. Add the oats, cover the container, and shake for about 10-15 seconds. Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, layer oatmeal and jam in a serving jar or bowl. Top with chopped peanuts if desired. Enjoy!

Trying a new jam flavor? Let me know how your vegan PB&J overnight oats turn out!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Strawberry-Coconut Granola

I’ve got a pretty robust travel tag going, and for good reason: I love, love, love to travel. And I love talking about traveling! Besides daydreaming about my next trip, planning a detailed itinerary, and overthinking my suitcase strategy, every trip I take involves lots of pre-departure food research. This New Zealand trip has been no exception! And one very important part of my food planning is deciding what travel snacks to bring.

My strategy hasn’t deviated much from the one I employed when I went to Italy a few years ago. It’s all about nutritious, protein-rich snacks to keep my tummy full. I made a Wegmans and Trader Joe’s run to stock up on pre-made snacks, and I also whipped up a batch of granola for munching. Since I knew I’d mostly be eating this by the handful (not in yogurt or with plant milk), I needed to make sure this granola had lots and lots of big ol’ clumps. I’ve seen oil-free granola recipes that use applesauce for moisture, so I decided to try something similar. But I wanted to experiment with a different, bolder pureed fruit, one that would add flavor as well as moisture. Strawberries seemed like the perfect choice, and they worked wonderfully, especially when paired with coconut. Mmm.

Strawberry-Coconut Granola

Strawberry-Coconut Granola

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of choice (I used chopped almonds and chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spread liberally with coconut oil.

In a food processor, blend the strawberries until they’re nearly pureed. (If you’re using frozen strawberries, they should be the texture of a slushie.) Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine, heating over low so that the oil melts. Once all three ingredients are well mixed, stir in the dried coconut. Let sit for a minute, then turn off the heat. Add the pureed strawberries and stir to combine, then set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, ground flax, and salt together, then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine, then fold in any mix-ins you’re using.

Pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, then remove from oven and let cool completely before eating.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce for Crepes and More

There’s no easier way to make your breakfast game fancier than by whipping up a sweet sauce for pancakes, crepes, or scones. Using freshly picked blueberries (or frozen blueberries you picked yourself during warmer months!) makes your breakfast even more special.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce

This blueberry sauce employs red wine to provide a slightly acidic undertone, while cardamom adds a spicy note. It only takes a few minutes to come together, so you can keep watch over it while you’re flipping pancakes or crepes. I like to serve it with the crepe recipe from The Urban Vegan, but any neutral pancake, crepe, or scone recipe will benefit with a spoonful of this sauce! Serve it with a dollop of coconut whipped cream for an extra-indulgent treat.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce
Serves 3 or 4

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine (Malbec or Merlot work well!)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

In a small pot, whisk together the wine, water, cornstarch, vanilla, and cardamom until the cornstarch is mostly dissolved. Turn the stove to medium and add the sugar and blueberries to the pot. Heat the sauce, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble, then turn the heat down to low. (If you’re using frozen blueberries, make sure they’ve thawed through before turning down the heat.) Simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

Ah, weekends. I truly enjoy my job, but I still relish the no-obligations charm of the weekend. With a few exceptions, this Saturday morning was top of the charts. Reading, coffee, toast, cool autumn air, yesterday’s Diane Rehm show, the scent of pumpkin muffins in the oven… what’s not to love? (Cleaning Luna’s mucus-puke off the sofa, but let’s not get into that.)

I don’t know about you, but when I cook a pot of grains, I always make extra. Brown rice, quinoa, whatever—it’s a sure thing that we’ll use it up, whether it’s in a lazy lunch like a burrito bowl or a slightly more time-consuming meal like Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup. So when I prepped the quinoa for last week’s Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash, I made extra. Instead of incorporating it into a savory dinner dish, though, I decided to try putting quinoa into muffins. And I’m really glad I did. I love the slightly nutty taste and the not-quite-crunchy texture it adds, not to mention the nutrition boost!

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (or more flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash cloves
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • Heaping 1/3 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or more regular sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or vegetable/canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and prepare a dozen-muffin tin using liners or a light spray of oil.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir in the wheat germ, if using.

In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (not including the quinoa) and the sugar(s) until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet. Using a plastic spatula or a wooden spoon, stir gently to combine, but don’t over-mix. Fold in the quinoa, then add the batter to the prepared muffin tin with a spoon. Fill each well about 3/4 full. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating.

~~~

Fair warning: If you have a major sweet tooth, you might want to add more coconut or brown sugar to these babies. Although my younger self would probably recoil in disgust at this development, I find myself less drawn to sugary-sweet baked goods these days. (With a few notable exceptions!) Especially when those baked goods might well constitute my breakfast. So these muffins, which are spicy and quinoa-y and not so sweet, are my perfect fall breakfast snack. I think they could only be more perfect if I’d used spelt or whole-wheat pastry flour, but alas—we have neither in the house right now, and S took the car this morning, and I was too lazy to walk over to the grocery store. Ah, Saturday.

What’s your ideal Saturday breakfast? What else should I put quinoa in?!

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)