Monthly Archives: November 2013

Everyone Knows, The Most Delicious Part of the Muffin is the Top


I bet that caught your attention.  And it is.  We can thank Elaine’s muffin-top addiction on Seinfeld for making the muffin-top a little bit of popular culture, paid homage by Jenna of 30 Rock in this slightly scandalous muffin top song.  I think she’s just talking about muffins.  Right? Right?

(I apologize, I couldn’t find a link that went directly into the song, so you get a little extra Jenna love.)

There is a link here… I made these delicious pumpkin pancakes, but they didn’t spread out much like pancakes are supposed to.  They reminded me more of muffin tops.  And it’s all good, folks. 

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

(if you look closely, these will resemble my whole grain vegan blueberry pancakes.  But pay attention cause I did switch things up a bit.  Don’t get carried away singing along to muffin top and throw the wrong ingredients in the bowl!)

Makes about a dozen pancakes

1/2 C pumpkin puree (I used canned, but knock yourself out and make it from scratch if that’s your thing)

2 T baking powder (hmmm, me thinks this is where my muffin tops came from… try scaling it back a bit for flatter pancakes)

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

1 t pumpkin pie spice

1 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 C oatmeal (uncooked oats)

1&1/2 C almond milk or milk of choice

3/4 t stevia (I used sweetleaf brand) or equivalent sweetener of your choice

Mix it all together.  Get your griddle nice and hot.  See my blueberry pancake recipe for pancake tips, here: 

Drop by about 1/4 C portions on your griddle and cook ’em up.  Serve.  Well that was easy.

Muffin top pumpkin pancakes.  Suggestive song lyrics optional.

New Blender’s Maiden Voyages


I am the happy recipient of a new Blendtec blender! Yeah me! Yeah birthdays! Plus it is always a joyous occasion to celebrate my 28th birthday, again… 😉

This blender was a major splurge but the timing was perfect. My old $30 blender had a bad seal and was leaking almond milk on the counter when I made my smoothies, and it looked like nasty stuff was growing in the base of it. Adding B12 to your diet may be important but I am pretty sure THAT is not the best way to get it! So I did a little research (ie hit the inter-tubes and quizzed my facebook friends). The VitaMix and Blendtec both seemed to have everything I would need, and the Blendtec won me on the twister jar (homemade almond butter, I’m looking at you right now) and the $100+ lower price tag.

blender recipes

The first concoction to grace my new blender was a strawberry-pineapple-coconut sorbet. MMMMM. Even my “I don’t eat milk that’s not from a cow” child ate it up. Since I was experimenting with the blender, I wasn’t measuring out ingredients, but I think it was about a cup of frozen strawberries, a cup of frozen pineapple chunks, and coconut milk–probably close to a cup, but I just poured it in as I blended until it hit the right consistency. This came out of the blender the consistency of sorbet, and while you might be able to do something similar in the food processor, I didn’t have to scrape down the sides or deal with a messy clean up project.

This morning I made a pineapple-carrot–ginger green smoothie. I never could have done carrots with the old blender. In went 3/4 C almond milk, 2 leaves worth of kale, 1 T chia seeds, about a 1/4″ slice of ginger, a handful of baby carrots and frozen pineapple, one banana, and a good handful of ice cubes. I first ran it on ice crusher, then ran it on smoothie. I am used to green smoothies getting stuck in my straw, but this was as smooth as the ones from the smoothie counters. For kids who are “used to” the idea of a green smoothie, this is also an easy way to sneak in extra vegetables. I really couldn’t taste the carrots but it was nice to have 4+ servings of fruits and veggies before 9 am!

Finally, I made a dressing for my salad at lunch that came out a lovely shade of pink. I’m calling it Pomegranate and Lime dressing. Pop in 1/3 C each raw cashews, pomegranate seeds, and apple cider vinegar, 2/3 C water, the juice of 1 lime, 1 t soy sauce, and about an 1/8″ thick slice of ginger. Whiz it up. Be sure to check that the pomegranate seeds are good and pulverized, and if you can plan ahead and soak the cashews you may have a slightly creamier dressing.

So what should I make next?

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Leek Soup: It’s like a hot bowl of fall, in under 30 minutes


photo credit: Boaz Yiftach,

photo credit: Boaz Yiftach,

Yes, you heard me right… homemade from scratch soup in under 30 minutes. Of course, that’s if you use a pressure cooker. But even without a pressure cooker I bet you could have this done in about an hour or so, and it is well worth the effort. Rich and creamy… a hint of sweet from the apples… the flavors of Thanksgiving from sage, rosemary, and ginger… and the leeks give the hint of onion without overpowering the soup. My favorite Thanksgiving stuffing (which will be vegan-ized this year) combines apples and leeks for divine results, so I figured it would work well in my soup. The hubs and I loved this. My oldest, who usually eschews anything plant-based, actually ate a whole bowl of it. My other two tasted it, one liked it but wouldn’t eat any, the other didn’t like it (and he is the one I can usually count on to eat veggies… go figure). So, your mileage may vary, but give this hearty soup a try.

A note on vegetable broth… by all means make your own. I was saving time and used canned, and I was quite disappointed to see how much sodium it contained. Live and learn. I usually make my own and freeze it in quart containers but right now I’m fresh out. See my post here: for instructions. My next experiment will be to make it in the pressure cooker, but my PC won’t hold 4 quarts worth so I think the extra time to make it in a regular pot might be worth it for me. Especially now that we have these long, dark, cold nights… what better to do than babysit a stock pot? 😉

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Leek Soup
1 T (or less) olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into roughly even sized cubes about 1″
3 leeks
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut about the same size as your squash
2 cans of vegetable stock or, preferably, 3-4 cups of homemade vegetable stock
about a 1/2″ wide slice of ginger, or roughly 3/4 t minced ginger (don’t go overboard… too much would make it taste soapy… better to be subtle)
about 1 T each chopped fresh sage and rosemary (you could probably substitute about 1 t each dried if you don’t have fresh)

Directions: Put a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker and let that heat over medium to medium-high heat. As you chop the squash, add that to the pot and stir occasionally so that it will start to brown up a bit. Continue chopping your apples and leeks, adding to the pot as you go. When you are done chopping all the veggies, the squash should have a bit of browning and things should be softening up. Add the stock and seasonings (no need to chop the ginger, just throw the chunk in, it will get smashed up later). Close and lock the pressure cooker, increase temp to high and bring it to high pressure. Reduce the heat and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release the pressure. When it is safe to do so, open up your cooker. It will look like an unappealing pile of mush. Don’t fret. Take your immersion blender and pulverize it–everything should be very soft and break down easily into an even, creamy, caramel colored soup. Serve as is or top it with some pumpkin seeds, or swirl in some coconut cream, or sprinkle with more fresh herbs. Enjoy!

So my big question… which is more “fall”–butternut squash soup, or chili?