Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

One week down of vegan month and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten this many chips in my life. I have always been a sweets girl – like scream from the rooftops “I love chocolate” kind of lady. Buuuuut milk chocolate (my favorite) isn’t vegan so I’ve clung to other options.

Unhealthy option #1 – chips. Especially whole wheat corn chips. Who’s bringing the salsa?
Unhealthy option #2 – dark chocolate. Sure a small amount is, in fact, very healthy, but I dare you to try and pry a piece from my hand once I’ve opened a package.
Unhealthy option #3 – overloading on quick breads. HELLO PUMPKIN BREAD! Like its friend dark chocolate this bread is lovely in small amounts annnnd like all things, not so healthy after you’ve eaten half a loaf. Whoops!

This bread is super moist, with the perfect amount of spice that truly makes it one of the best quick breads I’ve eaten. If you’re not into the whole vegan thing, forget about it! This is simply a wicked-good quick bread that you’re sure to like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8×4″ loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and water.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Fold the ingredients together using a spatula, making sure to incorporate the flour mixture well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Fold in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and arrange 4 pecan halves on the top of each loaf (this just makes it pretty).

Bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes.

Invert onto a cooling rack. Serve bread warm, in thick slices.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread
Makes two 8×4-inch loaves
Recipe taken from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 water
1 cup chopped pecans
8 whole pecan halves (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8×4″ loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and water.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Fold the ingredients together using a spatula, making sure to incorporate the flour mixture well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and arrange 4 pecan halves on the top of each loaf (this just makes it pretty).

Bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Serve bread warm, in thick slices.

Note: Loaves can be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. These loaves also freeze well!

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Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Being sick is not fun. Being sick at the same time as your boyfriend? Sooooo not fun. Double not fun. It sucks!

But not because you will both be sneezing and coughing everywhere and not because you will be going through tissues like mad – it’s because you won’t get spoiled. You won’t get soup made for you and you wont get little teaspoons of cough syrup put into your mouth. You’ll have to do it yourself. You’ll have to put off being a complete baby for another sick-time.

Now don’t get me wrong. Tea is made for me every day! But if you’re a woman reading this post then I don’t have to tell you that the man in the relationship is always the bigger baby when he is sick. It’s a fact.

So, with this darn cold I’ve been trying to take care of my boy. Make sure he has Buckley’s, Puffs tissues, Vicks vapo rub…and cookies. No matter how sick this boy is he will not turn down cookies. His throat isn’t sore enough for those. But hey!
Neither is mine!

To begin, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

It’ll look like this:

Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans last.

Form into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans last.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. I like mine chewy and cook them for 8 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pecan Pie Bars

Even though I recently made buttertarts, I needed to bring back that sweet, gooey texture to my mouth. I didn’t want to make the EXACT same recipe though. So I thought of pie. Pecan pie to be exact. And then I thought “if I make bars, I could eat the whole ‘pie’ and not feel bad”. So that’s what I did. I made pie-bars.

Also, I made this recipe at Christmas and the bars got completely eaten up. So, I made two batches to give away to a friend of mine who is having a birthday. One tray for her and her family, one tray for me and my stomach. Sounds fair to me.

This recipe makes 16 beautiful 2-inch squares. It is a family favorite, and I found it written on an old cue-card. I miss the old way of recording recipes! I find it amazing how my Nanny remembers where all the scrap pieces of paper are. She always does though. When I ask “Nan, where’s the butterscotch pie recipe”, she’ll reply “it’s not in the book, it’s above the microwave under the tortilla dip card”….uh ok! Sweet.

Ingredients:
Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Topping
2 large eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups pecan halves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. To make the crust, combine flour, icing sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the ingredients just begin to come together in clumps. Sprinkle the mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake the crust until the edges are just golden (about 18 to 20 minutes). When crust comes out of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, to make the topping, whisk together the eggs, butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in the pecans.


4. Pour the filling over the hot crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.


5. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares.

NOTE: Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. But you know they won’t last that long :P

Mango and Cranberry Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

I don’t know why, but I am unable to make a meal without including a starter. Whether it be a soup, salad, or some sort of warm bread, I need one. I find that out of all the starters possible a nice, colourful salad is my go to option. I think it’s because they come together so quickly, and never bore me.

I also like salads because I can add in bits of protein (in the form of nuts and seeds), and fruit to make the starter salad a MEAL!

This recipe serves 6, and is from the Bite Me cookbook

Ingredients:
Sugared Pecans:
1 large egg white
1 tbsp water
4 cups pecan halves
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup seed mustard
1/4 cup honey mustard
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp salt

10 cups romaine lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cranberries

Directions:
1. For the pecans, preheat oven to 250 F. Coat baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white and water until bubbles form. In a medium bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add pecans to egg whites, mixing to coat. Add sugar mixture, tossing pecans until they are coated. Spread pecans onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

*you will have LOTS of extra pecans, that are an excellent snack for later!

2. For the dressing, in a medium bowl, which honey, seed mustard, honey mustard, vinegar, oil, orange juice and salt.
3. In a large bowl, place lettuce, diced mango and cranberries.

4. Add 1/2 cup of sugared pecans and salad dressing, tossing well to combine.