Whole foods and other things for optimal living.

Whole foods and other things for optimal living.

T is for Fall

Seasons are sort of a foreign concept in California. As a result, when the weather finally drops below 80 at the end of October, this girl books it to Trader Joe's to hoard canned pumpkin and cinnamon brooms as if they are only available to the public during certain temperatures.

Tonight, the "cool" Fall weather inspired me to make this thick, creamy, vegan chai and I could not keep it to myself. Give it a try, or a chai, depending on how much you like puns.

Creamy Pecan Pumpkin Chai (serves 4)

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3 cups water
2/3 cup pecans
1 banana
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
8 chai tea bags (I used Red Rooibos Chai)
honey (optional)

Directions:
 
1. Blend the water, pecans, banana and pumpkin until completely smooth.

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  2. Pour through a sieve, strainer, cheesecloth, or muslin bag (depends on how smooth you want it). 

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3. Add liquid mixture to a pot along with your chai tea bags and bring to a boil.  

 

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4. Remove from heat. Take out the tea bags and add vanilla. If you're looking for a more decadent treat, drizzle in some honey.

 

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5. Pour into your favorite mug, curl up by the fireplace channel on your TV and try to pretend it's not going to be 90 degrees this weekend. Also, sip cautiously (it's hot, yo!).

 

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Breakfast Trifle

You know that feeling when a brilliant idea strikes you? Your veins are bursting with creative juices as you pull this 100% original idea out of thin air. You're pretty sure it now validates your entire existence and you will go down in history as the first person to ever think of it, thus changing the course of humanity as you know it.

Then you Google it.

Suddenly your originality points have tanked. You've gone from Madonna to Lady Gaga in the click of a mouse.

I love dessert trifles that are layered miles high with cake and pudding and sprinkled with goodies like oreo cookies and rainbow jimmies. So, needless to say, a lightbulb went off in my head when I thought, "I can make a breakfast-y parfait trifle out of breakfast items instead of birthday cake and cookies!" 

Well, I don't think this breakfast trifle recipe made with our Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake will necessarily win the Popular Science Inventor of the Year Award, but I do think it's a great new spin on dessert for breakfast.

Also, I'm pretty sure I'm not the first one to think of it but I choose to protect my ego and refrain from typing "coffee cake trifle" into my Google search bar....

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake Breakfast Trifle

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake Breakfast Trifle

Coffee Cake Breakfast Trifle

Ingredients: (serves 1):
1 square of coffee cake or muffin (recommended Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake)
Yogurt of choice
1/2 tablespoon Maple Syrup 
Fruit of choice (handful)
Chopped nuts (handful)

Crumble the coffee cake and build layers with the yogurt, maple syrup and fruit. I made 2 layers of each ingredient. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup and handful of chopped nuts. Easy.

"Figamon" Rolls

In case you haven't heard the news, refined sugar is bad news. This is why, I have turned to my amazingly creamy, sweet and versatile pale yellow pal, the banana, as well as his good friend in carmel-y creaminess, the fig, to turn up the sweet in this recipe.

With all these good ingredients here are just a few essential nutrients you will be treating your body to: vitamin C (immunity, lowers cholesterol, fights free radicals), Magnese (bone growth, activates essential ensymes for digestion), Fiber (digestion, helps control blood sugar levels, keeps you regular), potassium (heart, kidneys), good saturated fats (heart, hair, skin).

Banana and fig. Two peas in a pod. Two fruits in a roll.

Warm, flaky, cinnamon-y....

Figamon Rolls

Dough

2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast

1/2 cup warm milk of choice (I use homemade almond milk)

2 tablespoons honey

3 cups flour  (I use this gluten free flour mixture, see below for important notes*)

2 teaspoons cinammon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large bananas 1

/2 cup coconut oil, melted

*Add 1 teaspoon on xanthan gum if you go gluten free and your flour mix doesn't have a binder (usually in the form of xanthan or guar gum).

Filling

14 large figs or dates soaking in water (several minutes is fine)

1/4 chopped nuts (I like pecans)

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (any liquid sweetener works for this)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3-4 tablespoons hot water

Icing

2 tablespoons Creamed honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Combine honey with warm milk. Sprinkle yeast on top and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl combine banana (squeeze it out of the peel to get it mushy) and melted coconut oil. Beat until combined.

3. In another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon and salt.

4. Slowly add the dry mix and the risen yeast mixture to the banana mixture. Stir until combined. If you are using an electric mixer, put on your kneading attachment (hook-shaped gizmo) and knead for 10 minutes. If you're not using an electric mixer, do this by hand (workout! high five!).

5. Put the ball of dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm place for 60-90 minutes to rise (I like to let my oven heat to 175˚, then turn it off just before placing the dough inside).

Keep in mind, if you're not using gluten, this dough will not rise much.

While the dough is rising, you can start making the filling:

1. Drain the dates.

2. Put dates, sweetener and 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a blender (melt the other tablespoon and set it aside for brushing the dough).

3. Start blending and add the hot water gradually, as needed. Blend until smooth. This may take a few breaks for scraping the sides of the blender.

Meanwhile...

1. After the dough risen, punch it down like an overpacked suitcase and leave it for 5 minutes.

2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about a 10 x 12 rectangle (no ruler necessary).

3. Brush the dough with coconut oil. Spread the filling on the surface of the dough.

4. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

5. Roll. From short end, to short end, tightly roll up the dough.

6. Cut the log into 12 even slices and lay in baking dish. Don't get frustrated. This may seem messy, but just go with it. Trust me, it's all in the plan.

7. Lay slices in baking dish.

At this point you can cover them and let them rise overnight for extra gooey, puffier rolls (all this hard work will be a full night's sleep behind you when you wake up in the morning and pop them in the oven), or you can just bake them now for instant(er) gratification (nom nom nom). 

Whenever you're ready...bake them in a 350˚ oven for 25-30 minutes.

Icing

While in the oven, blend all the ingredients for your icing, then drizzle them over the warm, gooey finished product.