Pumpkin Week at the Book of Yum: Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

October 24th, 2011 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Easy, Egg Free, Pumpkin, Smoothie, Soy Free, cashew 4 Comments »


Welcome to Pumpkin Week! I’ve had a fondness for pumpkins since I was a little kid picking out my pumpkin for a Jack O’lantern. Then I moved to Colorado and made friends with a pumpkin patch with a delightful assortment of pumpkins and squash, hay rides and mazes for the kids (and those who were kids at heart). I discovered the joy of bringing baby pie pumpkins home and roasting them in the oven for homemade gluten-free pumpkin pie. When we finally bought a house in California last year where we could have a garden, I knew I wanted to plant pumpkins so I could realize a childhood dream and grow my own pumpkin for a jack O’lantern. Of course I thought pies with homemade pumpkin would be a nice perk, too. Our pumpkins vined their little hearts out in the garden and produced some darling beauties. I haven’t had the heart to cut them open and bake them yet, although I did roast one of the spaghetti squash that we grew. It was very yummy.

As autumn has set into California with its fickle, spring-like nature that alternates cool days with sunny days and the nights turn crisp, I find myself craving pumpkin. This week I will be sharing two (possibly three) pumpkin recipes with you and hosting a pumpkin recipe mr. linky on Friday, so stay tuned.

I’ll start the week with a healthy drink for a dairy-free Chocolate Pumpkin Cream Smoothie that sounds naughty but isn’t really. Toddler Yum heard the word “chocolate” and slurped it down like nobody’s business, which made me happy. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

One note- the avocado is there for the additional healthy fats and creaminess. It does add a little flavor so the cocoa is absolutely necessary for smoothing the flavors together, in my opinion. Do be careful not to add too much banana as the flavor is quite strong. It is mostly there for the sweetness, so if you prefer another mild fruit, feel free to experiment.

As part of the Tastemaker program with Foodbuzz, I got the nifty Tervis Tumbler pictured. I thought it might be fun to participate, and we can always use another bpa free, dishwasher safe cup for Toddler Yum. Their 8 oz toddler-sized tumblers look interesting. I might have to get some cups made for Toddler Yum!

Here are some additional recipes for Pumpkin Smoothies:
Vegan
Pumpkin Smoothie with Ginger and Maple Syrup
Sugar-free Pumpkin Smoothie with Coconut Whip
Pumpkin Smoothie with Homemade Hemp Milk
Silken Tofu Pumpkin Smoothie
Pumpkin Smoothie with Flaxseed and Soy
Pumpkin Smoothie with Protein Boost
Pumpkin Smoothie with chia and almond milk
Vegetarian
Pumpkin Smoothie with Yogurt
Brown Sugar Sweetened Pumpkin Smoothie

Other Foodbuzz folks put some interesting things in their Tumblers:
Juiced tangerine limeade

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie
Ingredients
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (canned ok)
1/2 avocado (peeled and without the pit)
1 cup homemade cashew milk* (or favorite non-dairy milk of choice)
1 tbsp agave or your favorite liquid sweetener (such as homemade simple syrup. Do NOT use honey as it has too much personality)
1 tbsp cocoa powder (NOT optional, although carob powder might be a good substitute if you are sensitive to chocolate)
1 small frozen banana

1 nutmeg for grating

Directions
Combine ingredients in your blender (a cheap-o blender will be just fine) and process until smooth and creamy. Pour in a glass or cup and grate nutmeg on top for serving. Enjoy!

I am curious about what it would taste like frozen into a popsicle- I think it might be pretty tasty.

I also considered adding 1/2 tsp of vanilla. I might do that next time. You can also add a pumpkin spice type blend of spices. I like Penzey’s Cake or Baking Spice.

Notes
*CASHEW MILK RECIPE: I made one big batch of cashew milk that I used in recipes for several days. I soaked 1 cup of cashews overnight with enough water to cover and then drained them, discarding the liquid. I blended them together with water up to the top of my blender (measuring 5 cups including the cashews), to make a milk which I did not strain. I stored it in the refrigerator in a glass pitcher to use as needed.

For drinking or to use in hot cereal, I add a drop of vanilla and a little agave to the milk.

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Vegetarian Beet and Beet Green Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe

October 3rd, 2011 yum Posted in Japanese, Rice, Soy Free, beets 4 Comments »

The DH and I became addicted to Onigiri, or Japanese Rice Balls, when we lived in Japan. You could go into any convenience store at any time of night and pick up a delicious triangle of rice, usually wrapped in Nori Seaweed, with a wide variety of fillings. I liked umeboshi plum as a filling, and the DH’s favorite was tuna mayonnaise. Unfortunately I found that you did have to be careful with the ingredients, as many major chains brushed the nori with shoyu soy sauce, which contains wheat. I found out which companies had flavors without wheat and stuck to those, but I also started making them at home. The DH’s favorite is still probably tuna mayonnaise, but the other night I tried some fusion-type vegetable fillings from our garden and he loved it. We have been growing some gorgeous beets and multi-colored carrots in our garden. We aren’t swimming in them like we were drowning in pattypan squash, but there are enough to have beets and carrots for dinner whenever we want them. I was making Toddler Yum and the DH their favorite tuna-mayo onigiri and decided to make myself some fun veggie fillings with both parts of the beet- the beetroot and the beet greens! Somehow cheese seemed like just the right accompaniment for the beet root, and balsamic vinegar is a natural when talking beet-cheese salads. And I was reminded of one of my favorite vegan onigiri fillings, the spinach-tahini filling, that I made some time ago, so I decided to make an easy twist on the recipe and add some roasted carrot for texture. Both were smashing successes, and ever so tasty. If you have any leftover filling, they make great veggie side dishes too. Hope you enjoy!

Beet Cheese Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

2 medium sized beets or 3 small beets, cooked, peeled and diced small
Small amount of your favorite white, salty cheese (I used Laughing Cow), diced into the same size cubes as the beets
dash Balsamic Vinegar (I used a gourmet cherry balsamic but any you like is fine)

large grain salt like kosher or flaked
freshly grated black pepper

Directions
Combine your diced beets and diced cheese in a small bowl. Splash with balsamic vinegar and mix to evenly distribute. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches “tall”. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your beet-cheese filling in the center of the triangle. Try to drain off any excess liquid (vinegar) before adding the beets so you don’t get soggy rice balls. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

Beet Green Tahini Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

Tahini from middle-eastern market (in a glass jar)
water
1/2 tsp or more lime juice, or apple cider vinegar
drizzle of agave nectar or simple sugar syrup (I bet you could make this from coconut sugar if desired!)
salt

beet greens from 3 small beets or 2 medium beets, boiled, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tbsp. leftover diced roasted Carrot fries [They were cut into thin "french fries", placed on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and roasted at 450 until you have yummy caramelized "fries" (turning as needed)]

Large grain salt
sesame seeds, preferably toasted, brown variety (I was out so had to use black)

Directions
Squeeze out any additional moisture from your beet greens and chop them finely. Pour 1/4 cup (or more) tahini into a small bowl. Add water to thin slighly, and whisk together. Add your lime juice and agave nectar and combine. Taste, and adjust sweetness-sour ratio to your preference. Add salt to taste. Add your beet greens and diced roasted carrot mix together.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches tall. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your tahini-beet green filling in the center of the triangle. If your tahini dressing is very runny, drain some off before adding it to the rice. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with large grain salt and sesame seeds. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

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