Pumpkin Recipes with a Dash of Mockolate

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I love most things pumpkin.  I blame Starbucks.  I think they started this trend with their lattes for every season.  It was a slippery slope.  First, there were Gingerbread Lattes, then Eggnog Lattes and then PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES. It was then that pumpkin obsession began for many, many of us. 

So, naturally, I have a favorite (or four) pumpkin recipe.   In advance, I apologize to those of you who will not get my references to the television show Friends.  I’ve sprinkled them throughout this post.  In my defense, it’s nice to have adult friends hanging out in the kitchen, even if they aren’t technically “real.”  

The first recipe comes from Post Punk Kitchen, and it is vegan.  Vegan baking can actually mean better tasting.  I find the vegan versions to be moister (seriously, how is that a word?)

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread

I’ve tweaked Post Punk Kitchen’s original recipe a bit, mostly for the convenience factor. 

Equipment:
(2) 8″ x 4″ loaf pans -TWO LOAVES!  (They are perfect for gift giving or holiday parties.)

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (This does not have to be all white flour, you can mix in half wheat.)
 2 & 2/3 cups natural brown sugar (Sugar in the Raw, Florida’s Crystals etc.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk (From the can, not the carton.  Try THAI Kitchen brand, Goya or Polar Coconut Milk.  It’s in the Asian food section.)
2/3 cup flaked coconut.  (This can be either sweetened or unsweetened.)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans.
2. Spread walnuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and coconut milk, and mix until all of the flour is absorbed. Fold in the flaked coconut and toasted walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cover loaves tightly with foil. Allow to steam in foil for 10 minutes. Remove foil, and turn out onto a cooling rack or a plate.  

Side-note & More Pumpkin Recipes:

Many years ago, before kids, I hosted Thanksgiving for my family.  Since dinner was at my house, I was also doing the majority of the cooking.  I had a plan.  The day before the holiday, I put a DVD in my laptop and got down to Thanksgiving cooking.  I watched many, many episodes of  Friends on my laptop and just cooked.  I disturbed no one, and they did not disturb me,  No one wanted to help.  It was peaceful.  

Since kids, I’ve been trying to re-create that moment.  Only now, I’m afraid it’s mockolate mayhem, my friends.  Now, I can start a Friends episode and have a cooking plan.  For five whole minutes, it’s just me and the gang at Central Perk.  Then, the mood changes.  I hear distant cries of, “She’s not sharing!”  Suddenly, it’s me, the gang, and two more cast members who went off-script.  Oh, sure, Monica and I are cooking, but it’s with the added bonus of offers of “help” from my girls, demands for chocolate milk, and sneaky fingers making their way into bowls of uncooked desserts.  So, it is good that I know all the episodes by heart; it’s a necessary talent.   It’s Mommy -Unagi: a form of self-preservation.   It’s Friends Zen. 

steel cut pumpkin oatmeal

Steel-cut Pumpkin Oatmeal

Great for overnight guests! Literally, breakfast makes itself during the night.  The girls and I mix chocolate chips in for added yumminess.  We like Guittard Semi-Sweet chips, but any chocolate will work. 

Pumpkin Almond Butter Cups

These pumpkin cups are not only beautiful but pretty healthy, too!  Just make sure to use coconut oil; this is not a time for substitutions.  The coconut oil, while satisfying your crunchy-mommy side, helps the chocolate to solidify. (I love this as an alternative to peanut butter cups!)

pumpkin almond butter cups

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake

For those of you who are ready for Holiday food, or you have a random (always) craving for cheesecake, I’ve got an easy recipe for you.  While this is not vegan,  please use cage-free eggs.  Cage-free eggs are at every grocery store, and you only need three.  

Now, turn on your Friends dvds, get someone to entertain your kids, give them some Play-Doh, or let them “help” you cook and get your pumpkin on! Maybe throw in some pumpkin mac n’ cheese for Chandler.

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Bethany is a stay-at- home mother of two high-energy daughters, ages 5 and 2. Her husband is a busy ER resident. In addition to the two kids, their family consists of two demanding dogs, two demanding cats, and some laid-back fish. Bethany develops curriculum online during nap time or when the kids (finally) fall asleep for the night. She has a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Children’s Literature. She loves yoga and used to be able to do yoga every day. Now, she tries in vain to get through a couple sun salutations, before the girls laugh and climb all over her.  Bethany has been a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) since 1989, and her kids are being raised vegetarian, too. She has a healthy addiction to lilla rose hair clips and works as a stylist.