Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes

25 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure you’ve all gathered up the ingredients, laid out the place settings, and prepped the pre-dinner cocktails.

My family’s Thanksgiving dinner has always been a traditional one…until I became a vegetarian. No, they don’t ditch the turkey cooked on the grill, the stuffing made with Italian sausage, or the dinner rolls enveloping crispy bacon. But thankfully, my mom HAS made room for my vegetarian dishes, and always sets aside a bit of meatless stuffing for me (because it’s SO good).

In an effort to broaden my family’s palates, I always try to bring a veggie dish that they’ll at least try. It’s not always easy – I’ll eat almost anything vegetarian now, whereas they still need robust flavors, agreeable textures, and nothing too green. This year, I’m planning on a lentil and chickpea loaf topped with a maple-tomato glaze. If nothing else, I’ll have plenty of leftovers!

One thing that hasn’t changed…dessert. For eight people at the table, it’s imperative we have AT LEAST two pies. Because pie. However, I’ll propose that even dessert can take a lovely turn for the different. These cupcakes combine the traditional flavor of pumpkin sweets, with the exotic creaminess of coconut, in an easy-to-transport cupcake form. So, if you’re assigned to bring a dessert and all the pie flavors have been claimed, try these! They’re sure to please, and super easy to make.


Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes, adapted from Nancy Creative

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, blend canola oil and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree and blend well. Add the flour mixture into this pumpkin mixture and stir until blended. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to completely cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, adapted from Baked by an Introvert:

  • 1 C softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 4-5 C powdered sugar
  • 1/2 C softened coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 7-10 tbsp coconut milk (from the can)

Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to beat the butter until whipped and creamy. Add in the sugar one cup at a time. Next add the extracts and beat to combine. One tablespoon at a time, add in the coconut milk until you reach a consistency that’s perfect for piping.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a piping tip of your choice to frost. Be generous! You’ll have enough frosting, and the flavor combination is one you can’t beat.


Raspberry Walnut Quick Bread

22 Nov

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Shimmering lights, warm mugs of hot beverages, roaring fireplaces, and baked goods galore. Sometimes the comforting spices of the winter months are just what the cheer doctor ordered. But sometimes, you just need a taste of summer.

Bright blue skies filled with puffy clouds and chirping birds. A slight breeze makes the blades of grass shiver in cool air, only to be heated up by the glistening sun. Plump berries, picked fresh off the vine, are sweet and tart in your mouth.

Raspberry Walnut Quick Bread | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Delight your guests this holiday season with a treat that captures the essence of summer, in taste and in memory. This month’s Recipe ReDux challenges us to bake a creative quick bread. What’s more creative than August in December? This quick bread pairs raspberries picked at the peak of freshness from my Opa’s garden, and then frozen for later use, with the hearty taste of chopped walnuts. To make it even better, this vegan loaf is made with whole wheat flour and raw oats, just the slightest amount of organic sugar, a bit each of coconut & olive oils, and some rich vanilla to round it out.

Stay happy and healthy for the holidays. Enjoy!

Raspberry Walnut Quick Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1.5 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 C organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 C nondairy milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the curdled milk, the liquid coconut oil, olive oil, gelled flax egg and vanilla. Whisk the wet into the dry.

In a separate bowl, coat the raspberries and walnuts with 2 tbsp of extra flour, to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the loaf. Fold this mixture into the batter with a spatula.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 55 min.

Cool for at least 15 min before removing the loaf from the pan. Slice and enjoy!

Black Bean “Meatballs” with Creamy Beer Pasta

20 Nov

Your day took a turn for the hectic, you forgot to think about what dinner will be, and you still have a million things to do. What do you make? A frozen pizza? Boxed mac & cheese? A frozen dinner?

I hope not! Real food doesn’t always need a long time to cook. In fact, a full dinner should be easy to pull together, provided you are stocked with the right ingredients. This meal is simple but loaded with flavor. Instead of your boring old spaghetti with tomato sauce, I went a different route with this pasta: a creamy beer sauce. And even us vegetarians can’t have pasta without meatballs! Black bean meatballs require only a few ingredients, minimal time, and just one hot, well-oiled pan.

Have a healthy, hearty and delicious dinner on the table in no time. Garnish with fresh shredded cheese and you’ll look like a pro!

Black Bean “Meatballs” with Creamy Beer Pasta
Serves 4

For the pasta:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 C milk of choice – I used soy
  • 1/3 C low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2/3 C beer – wheat or summer Ale are good choices
  • 2/3 C fresh grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 oz pasta + water to boil

For the “meatballs”:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C bread crumbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Cook pasta according to package directions, but subtract one minute from the boil time.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook the minced garlic a few minutes, stirring to avoid burning. Add the milk, broth and beer. Mix well and bring up to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes to reduce down.

Add the grated cheese one spoonful at a time. Mix well after each addition to avoid clumping, and so the cheese can melt properly. Mix in the spices and continue to cook on low heat.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and stir it into the sauce mixture. Keep the pot over low heat, stirring occasionally. This will help cook the sauce INTO the pasta, enhancing the overall flavor.

While the pasta and sauce meld, make the meatballs. In a bowl, mash together all the ingredients until well-combined. Heat a large skillet over medium high and spray with PAM or coat with a tablespoon of oil. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to make meatballs. Note: the scoop was perfectly sized and left my hands relatively clean! Place the meat balls in the skillet and cover with a large lid. Cook for 4 minutes, turn, then cook another 2 minutes.

Serve pasta into bowls and top with the black bean balls. Garnish with parsley and additional grated parmesan. Enjoy with a cold glass of beer!


Chocolate Chip Coconut Yogurt Scones

15 Nov

By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by siggi’s yogurt and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

The holidays are filled with cookies, cakes, pies and quick breads. And while all of that is wonderful (and it IS wonderful), sometimes, you just need something else for dessert. Which is why I made these scones, full of melty chocolate, coconut flavor, and a healthy dose of oats.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Yogurt Scones | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What’s more, these delightful treats are made with siggi’s yogurt, a product which prides itself in not containing much sugar – now THAT’S something I can get on board with! The coconut yogurt in these scones lend to both their moist quality, and the coconut flavor, which pairs so perfectly with chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Yogurt Scones | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

For your next holiday get-together, consider this alternative dessert. Your guests will surely be pleased, and happily welcome something a bit different than the norm!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Yogurt Scones

Makes 8 scones

  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 C melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 C milk of choice
  • 1/4 C real honey
  • 5.3oz siggi’s Coconut yogurt
  • 1/4 C shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 C dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with PAM.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the extract, melted oil, milk, honey and yogurt. Mix until just combined.

Add the shredded coconut and chocolate chips. Dump the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Form the dough into a circle, and press down until it’s about 3/4″ thick, evenly across. Use a butter knife to slice the round of dough into 8 equal triangles.

Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and slide the paper or foil off of the pan and onto a baking rack, to stop the scones from cooking more.

Serve warm and enjoy!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap!

11 Nov

Back in July, I did something stupid. I signed up to run a half marathon. Yes, I thought it wise to aim for a 13.1 mile run, when I had only begun running in JANUARY. I found a training plan to fit my needs and schedule and planned out 18 weeks of running, stretching, yoga and foam rolling.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Post-rainy run look.

What I didn’t realize is how much this running thing would consume my life. I slowly worked up to 25 miles a week. My weekends revolved around long runs. My evenings were always first for training runs, and second for cooking, cleaning, socialization and of course, my boyfriend. Aches and pains filled my dreams as my legs longed for me to just quit. Why did I think I could do this anyway? What made me so sure I could even go that far, much less in one shot?

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Running is better with a friend!

My boyfriend, family, friends and my own self-confidence. That’s how I got through it. Sure, there were runs where I hated myself for signing up for this silly race. I wanted to collapse during more than one long run. Crappy weather: rain, cold, wind almost kept me from lacing up. But Chris never failed to push me out the door (sometimes literally). My family & friends never ceased to be impressed by my progress. I made new friends thanks to group runs, who helped remind me I can do it. And my own history told me it was not only possible, but that I’d shine.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chris even joined me for a 5k the weekend before my race!

It was tough. 18 weeks of self-torture. And I’ll do it all over again. The finish line experience is something else entirely. It’s incredible to be cheered on by that many people. It’s incredible to have your loved ones on the sidelines watching you accomplish this goal. I nearly burst into tears upon finishing. Tears of pure joy and happiness, tears of pride, tears of “I did it!”

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

And I can’t wait to do it again! I have already signed up for a few 8k and 5k runs, to keep myself motivated enough to train, and I’m looking into which half I want to aim for next year. Training over the Wisconsin winter won’t be easy, but I’ll make it work somehow!
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Half Marathon Recap! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What’s not so difficult: this smoothie. It’s easy to make, and even easier to eat. Reduce the milk and you have a spoonable smoothie bowl! Use it to recover after a long run, a great yoga class, or when you have some leftover pumpkin puree to use up.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Serves 1

  • 1 C cold non dairy milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C oats (uncooked)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (optional, for added fat if you need it)

Add all ingredients into your blender and go to town on it! Make sure you blend until completely smooth. Serve and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


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