Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Squares

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I have to squeeze in one last pumpkin recipe before October is over. With 5 cans of pumpkin in my cabinet I could keep going, but I don't want to over-pumpkin you.

So far I've made pie and muffins - both pumpkin, both wonderful, but both round. I thought it was time for something of a different shape, so I made Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Squares. Because what goes better with squares than chocolate? (Yes my mind really does work this way.)

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They're gooey. They're chocolatey. They're not raw, but not baked either. Maple syrup and pumpkin puree aren't exactly raw dessert approved, but don't bother preheating your oven either. Even though the ingredients aren't raw, there is no baking involved in this recipes. Just a little bit of fridge time is all this no-bake dessert requires.

Don't go overboard with you swirly-whirling, or you'll end up with a muddy mess!

Ooey, gooey, pumpkin and chewy...

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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Squares

Serves 8

Crust

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

2 tbsps cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1-2 tbsps water (if needed)

Pumpkin

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup pitted medjool dates

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsps non-dairy milk

Chocolate

3/4 cup dates

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp non-dairy milk

2 tbsps cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

  1. Grind the oats in a blender or food processor. 
  2. Mix together the oat flour, cacao powder, and maple syrup. Add 1-2 tbsp of water as needed to form a dough. Press into the bottom of a lined loaf pan.
  3. Blend all of the ingredients for the pumpkin layer on high until smooth. Spread on top of the crust.
  4. Blend all the ingredients for the chocolate layer on high until smooth.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate on top of the pumpkin and swirl it with the handle of a spoon. Don't go overboard with you swirly-whirling, or you'll end up with a muddy mess!
  6. Refrigerate (or freeze for firmer bars) for 4 hours.
  7. Cut into 8 squares. Store in the fridge.
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Happy Halloween!

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Powdered Peanut Butter Bites with Banana Filling

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That's quite a lengthy name, but there's a lot going on in these little powder-coated creations. I'll just call them PPBBWBFs for simplicity's sake.

The first "P" for powdered refers to the magical banana fairy dust decorating the surface of these bites. But the peanut butter in this recipe is also of the powdered variety. Powdered peanut butter doubles as flavor and flour in the date dough, making the ingredient list short and very sweet. 

Magical Banana Fairy Dust

Magical Banana Fairy Dust

Fresh or freeze-dried center? You could wrap a fresh banana slice in a bundle of PB-date dough for a gooey center reminiscent of a vegan jelly-filled donut. Or you could hide a freeze-dried banana slice inside for a crunchy center. Or you could make some of the centers gooey and others crunchy for a surprise every time you bite in, reminiscent of a vegan box of chocolates.

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And if you're now craving donuts and chocolates, scroll down because these PPBBWBFs will satisfy all of your cravings in a very fruity way.

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Banana Peanut Butter Bites

Makes 8

3/4 cup freeze dried banana slices

1/2 of a ripe banana, sliced (eat the other half as your mid-recipe snack)

2 cups dates

1/4 cup powdered peanut butter (I used PB2)

  1. Grind the freeze dried bananas in a very, very, very, hasn't-been-used-in-12-hours dry blender.
  2. Set aside on a plate far away from any liquid.
  3. Process the dates in a blender or food processor.
  4. Add the powdered peanut butter and process to combine.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls, then flatten into discs.
  6. Sandwich a banana slice in-between. Squish the edges together around the banana, being careful not to squish the banana.
  7. Coat both sides with banana dust.
  8. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
  9. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before eating. Keep in the refrigerator.
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Granola-Topped Pumpkin Maple Muffins

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I have granola bits all over my kitchen, and I am not complaining one bit.

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I obviously haven't been making enough muffins. I had to invest in a muffin pan just for this recipe, because all I had was mini pans. Last weekend I became the unofficial muffin (wo)man, and whipped up 5 different batches of these Granola-Topped Pumpkin Maple Muffins until they came out just right.

All of this pumpkin and cinnamon and seasonal sweetness deserves to be full-sized. Plus full-sized muffins means more surface area for (liberally) crumbling on the sweet granola topping. The oven works its magic on those little maple-oat morsels, and 20 minutes later they have become perfect crunchy crumbles adorning the muffins' peaks.

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These granola-sprinkled muffins have perfectly mounded tops and soft pumpkin joy underneath. The granola crunchies might make a mess, but it will be a scrumptious maple mess. Just make sure not to burn your fingers plucking them from the pan in your warm-from-the-oven excitement.

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Granola-Topped Pumpkin Maple Muffins

Makes 12

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups rolled oats

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

Granola Topping

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tbsps maple syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Grind the rolled oats to a flour in a blender. Mix the oats with the spices and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  4. Add the dry to the wet in two batches alternately with the almond milk. Stir everything together until it is well combined.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them 3/4 of the way for nice rounded tops.
  7. For the granola topping, grind 1/4 cup of the oats in a blender. Mix together the oats, oat flour, maple syrup, and spices with a fork until clumpy.
  8. Sprinkle the granola generously on top of the muffin batter.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Let the muffins cool. When warm, the wrappers may stick. Once cool, they will come off cleanly.
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Candy Corn Pops with Poisonberry Dip

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Halfway through the pop construction I had an almost crisis. I could not remember whether candy corn colors went white-orange-yellow or white-yellow-orange? I freaked, afraid I'd made a banana-topped blunder. But my subconscious Halloween candy memory is better than I thought. It is white-orange-yellow after all. Phew!

Or banana-cantaloupe-pineapple in this case...

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The trick to this treat: It's all about how you slice the fruit. So get a little artistic with your knife skills, and shape the cantaloupe and pineapple into perfect smiley shapes. Slide them onto a stick with a "white" banana cap, then dip them into the fruity poison...if you DARE.

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Poinsonberry = boysenberry! I've never tried boysenberries before, but when I spot something unusually fruity in the freezer case, I buy it. They look sort of like blackberries, but with a deep red hue. That deep color means antioxidants. Lots of antioxidants. Like two times the antioxidants of blueberries! They taste a little tart, and a little sweet. They will kill you with health. Not really.

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Candy Corn Pops with Poisonberry Dip

Makes 6 pops

2 pineapple rings

2 cantaloupe slices

3 bananas

6 sticks/skewers

Poisonberry Dip

1 cup frozen boysenberries, defrosted (or any berry)

4 medjool dates

  1. Slice each pineapple ring into three smiley shapes. Slice each cantaloupe slice into 3 smaller smileys. Slice the ends off of your bananas (eat the middles, or freeze them).
  2. Slide the pineapple slices, cantaloupe slices, and banana toppers onto the sticks.
  3. For the dip, blend the defrosted berries with the dates on high until thick and smooth. Taste it and adjust the sweetness if you wish.
  4. Enjoy your spooky snack!
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Easy Vegetable Noodle Bowl

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Cold weather = soup weather. Soup is mandatory in the fall and winter months that we're heading into. It's slowly starting to feel like fall around here. Today I wore long sleeves with my shorts and flip-flops...hehe. Even though I make fun of Florida's wimpy weather, it really does get cold here...really it does.

This soup-noodle hybrid is perfect for these cooler days. An array of veggies cooked in an broth with asian flavor accents, then poured over almost-instant rice noodles.

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This steaming bowl is literally overflowing with color and flavor and lots of noodles! I overestimated the size of my bowl, underestimated my number of noodles, and ended up with a soupy spill. So choose a big bowl for this feast.

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Just 10 minutes! The rice noodles cook in less than 5 minutes, the veggies cook in less than 10, and eating time will vary depending on the utensil you choose. I can say from experience, that if you go with chopsticks you're going to be there a while. 

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Easy Vegetable Noodle Bowl

Serves 1 hungry vegan

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup water

2-4 tbsps coconut aminos (or soy sauce/tamari/nama shoyu)

1 stalk green onion

1/4 inch chunk fresh ginger

2 heads baby bok choy

1 cup mushrooms

1/2 of a carrot

4 oz. rice noodles (I used Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles)

  1. Cook your noodles following the instructions on the package.
  2. Drain the noodles and put them in the bottom of your big soup bowl.
  3. Chop your veggies, mince your ginger, and dice your green onion.
  4. In a nonstick saucepan, cook the ginger and green onion over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir constantly.
  5. Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Keep on stirring.
  6. Add the stock, water, and baby bok choy. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Pour the broth and veggies over the noodles and feast!
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