I guess we all know when it is February (at least in WI) when a) everyone gets a bit grouchier-let us chalk that up to lack of sunshine; b) everyone is getting a cold and/or the flu; and c) the sub-zero temperatures give you instant brain-freeze upon walking outside. All of that combined makes for a challenging month to get through in one sane piece. I certainly have had a challening month: between research methods not working (when they did like...a month ago!!), food flops, lack of inspiration and motivation, cabin fever and a general need for a ton of chocolate each day....it has been a true Feburary in WI.
So in efforts to cheer-up myself and everyone around me, I am sharing a recipe today that makes me happy just looking at it (ok-TWO recipes!). This pumpkin bread is amazing...like, really amazing. We shouldn't only love pumpkin around the "holidays": it is full of fiber, packed with vitamin A, boasting tons of free-radical scavenging beta-carotene and carotenoids, and is chock-full of vitamin C and potassium (even more than bananas!). And I love baking with pumpkin: you get the added bonus of moisture and structure-so no need for eggs! Likewise, the bread recipe is super simple to make. I halved the original, yielding only 1 loaf, but please feel free to double if you want two! The only suggestion from where this recipe hails from is that if you like super pumpkin-y flavor, you may want to bump-up the pumpkin amount by 1/3 cup as I did; I also could go with a touch less sweetener (ps: check out Joy's blog-it is such a delight to read!!). I reflected these changes in the recipe below. This tender and comforting bread will make you happy...and will also leave you with the perfect amount of pumpkin puree to make the pumpkin chia pudding (which is a cinch to whip-up, and we all know the amazing powers of chia seeds already!).
Eat the bread plain, slathered with your favorite spread, or layer it with some chia pudding. I found that toasting for a minute or microwaving for 15 seconds or so to warm the bread makes it even better if not enjoying this fresh, or out of the fridge. The bread is quite firm when refrigerated (or at least when using virgin coconut oil in it), so I really suggest warming if enjoying straight from there. Whatever-just treat yourself to some fantastic, mood-boosting baking this week...and consider sharing your bounty to help kick the winter blues! I have joythebaker.com to thank for this recipe inspriation-and even she feels this way about this amazing bread.
Note: I used Bob's Red Mill spelt and whole-wheat pastry flours. I suggest using a lighter spelt flour for this recipe, but if necessary, you can substitute the spelt with all purpose flour, or even more whole-wheat pastry flour.
Vegan Pumpkin Bread (Vegan, soy-free option, nut-free option) //makes 1 loaf or about 12-16 slices//
- 1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used organic canned)
- 3/4 cup spelt flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 TB freshly grated ginger (or 1-2 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sucanant or brown sugar
- scant 1/3 cup agave, maple syrup or honey (for the not super strict vegans)
- 1/3 cup water, or unsweetened milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil or other neutral/pleasant tasting oil (like grapeseed), melted
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (for nut-free, use could a seed of choice, like pumpkin or sunflower)
- 1/2 cup granola or additonal nuts or seeds for topping
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a loaf pan (I use and highly recommend anodized aluminium), or line with parchment. If using glass or a darker pan, you will need to adjust baking time since glass retains heat, and darker pans heat-up a tad more in the oven. My pan measured 9"x5"x2.5". See here for details.
2. Coarsley chop nuts, and toast on a baking sheet or simply in the loaf pan in the warming oven for about 10 minutes. Set a timer...or you WILL forget about them. You may also toast the seeds if using as well. Toasting is optional, but recommended for best flavor and crunch.
3. Melt coconut oil (if using) or measure out vegetable oil in a large bowl. Stir in the pumpkin, spices, salt, sugar, liquid sugar, water or milk. Stir in the toasted and slightly cooled nuts or seeds.
4. Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the wet mixture to the dry. Mix, but don't over do it. Scrape into the prepared bread pan, leveling the surface a bit. Top with granola, nuts and/or seeds, pressing into the batter to help stick.
5. Bake the bread for 1 to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester poked into the center comes out clean (hint: you can use a thin knife, piece of spaghetti, a toothpick or a official cake tester for this). Allow to cool for 1 hour before slicing-this loaf is pretty tender fresh out of the oven.
6. Layer with pumpkin chia pudding, banana soft-serve and granola in a bowl or in a jar for a to-go breakfast or kick-ass snack!
Pumpkin Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free option, soy-free option, paleo)//2 servings// adapted from paleOMG.com
- 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (soy, almond, etc)
- heaping 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 TB peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter
- 1 TB maple syrup, agave or honey (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp dried or freshly grated ginger
- pinch cloves
- pinch sea salt
1. Mix everything in a bowl or container with lid. Taste, and adjust seasonings and sweetness. Allow to sit for at least 3 hours, or overnight (best!) in the fridge. Mix, and thin with a bit more milk after sitting if desired.
Banana Soft Serve (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free option, soy-free option, paleo)//2 servings//
- 2 frozen ripe bananas, broken into smallish pieces (use 1 banana for 1 serving)
- 1 to 2 TB milk of choice (soy, almond, etc)
- 1 TB peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter (optional, but adds creaminess)
1. In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Pulse and scrape down the container until the banans are smooth and creamy. Add milk by the tablespoon if needed to help mix smoothly.
2. layer with pumpkin chia seed pudding, crumbled-up piecces of pumpkin bread and granola if desired. Enjoy immediately!
The bread, in all of the pupmpkin-nutty-granola glory it truly is!!
The parfait ingredients (I recommend mixing the chia pudding the night before-so simple and quick!):
Creamy, delicious sunflower seed butter....mmm....you could just put this onto a slice of pumpkin bread and call that breakfast :)
The pretty pumpkin chia pudding. I just love that color-so cheery!
The bananas! What would we do without frozen bananas?
And the final product!! I love putting these in to-go jars, because I am running late...to everything...all the time! Ha...! Try to not over-fill them, like I always do, since the lid has to fit on....
So tasty, so simple...and so...nice to look at!
Well, I guess that about does it for this time...I have a date with a box of kleenex, lots of herbal tea, some miso broth. I'll be in bed, reading this wonderful book I got in the mail last week and dreaming of spring!