Spiced Pumpkin Latte Syrup

I’ve never been a fan of flavored coffee. When I drink a cup of coffee, I want to taste coffee. But the other day I saw spiced pumpkin latte on a menu and was fascinated. I looked up a recipe and found a version of this one on-line. It’s converted my thinking. I’m thinking I’ll try some other flavored coffees now. This one is so delicious, rich and creamy. But the best part is that now I can have 19 more mugs of spiced pumpkin latte without making flavoring. This recipe actually makes about 4 cups of syrup. If, like me, you use 1/4 cup of the syrup in each 2-cup mug, you’ll get 20 cups of rich and creamy latte. And like most of my recipes, feel free to adapt it to your taste by adding more or less instant coffee (or espresso) as well as adjusting the sweetener to your liking.

In a 2-quart saucepan combine:

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree

2 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup date syrup*

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (adjust this to your taste as well)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons instant coffee (or espresso)

Whisk to combine all ingredients and cook over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium to medium low and cook until the syrup mixture coats the back of a spoon. I cooked it over medium low (I was afraid of burning it) so it took about 40 minutes to reduce. Makes 4 cups of syrup (more or less).

*Feel free to use your favored sweetener. If I make this for my son, I’ll probably use stevia.

Using the syrup to make a spiced pumpkin latte:

In a small saucepan (or if you want it faster, in a microwaveable large mug) heat:

2 cups non-dairy milk (oatmilk froths very well)

When hot combine with:

1/4 cup spiced pumpkin latte syrup (more if you want it stronger)

Heat until desired temperature. If you want the milk frothy, use a milk froth device or I used my immersion blender (don’t do this in the mug! you’ll have a mess of oatmilk all over your counter!). If desired top with a whipped non-dairy cream.

Using this syrup to make spiced pumpkin latte pudding (or creme brulee):

In a 2-quart saucepan combine:

1 cup spiced pumpkin latte syrup

2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (DO NOT USE SOYMILK)

1/2 to 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso

In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

3 tablespoons arrowroot

Whisk to combine and make a slurry before adding to the saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, whisking every few minutes (I usually whisk it almost constantly) until the mixture comes to a boil at which point it should also be thickening. Remove from the heat and pour into serving dishes. If creme brulee is desired, after the pudding cools, top with 1 teaspoon sugar in each dish and brulee. Makes approximately 6, 6-ounce servings.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Here’s another take on those Sweet Potato pie squares I blogged a couple years ago. This one is lower in sugar and is fat-free as well. But, just as tasty! Makes 9 servings and will keep in the frig for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

5 tablespoons warm water

Set aside for a few minutes to form a flax gel. In a food processor bowl, combine:

1 cup pumpkin seeds (or any seed your family likes, even walnuts or pecans if you can have them)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., whichever you prefer

1 teaspoon date sugar

Process until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the flax gel and blend until the mixture forms a dough, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared baking dish and using your fingers, a spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, press firmly into the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree)

1/3 cup date sugar (or maple syrup, honey or agave)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least one hour before cutting. I like mine really cold so I cool on the counter for an hour and then in the refrigerator for several hours before I cut into squares. But as you see in the photo, I couldn’t wait that long this time and cut it before it was fully cooled. Once cooled it does stand up like it should! Can be topped with any non-dairy topping or frozen “nice” cream.

Eggplant Schnitzel

I just searched the site and can’t believe I haven’t posted a recipe for fried eggplant! It’s my grandson’s favorite so I make it quite often this time of year. It’s slightly different since it’s only floured or battered. Schnitzel has a bread crumb crust instead. It’s pretty easy to make, just be sure to salt the eggplant and let them sit awhile before proceeding. (This actually keeps the eggplant from absorbing oil when fried or sauteed as well as removing any bitterness. So this isn’t necessary when using the thinner eggplants such as Japanese or graffiti.)

Step 1 is to peel and slice the eggplant into about 1/2″ slices. Then salt them generously on both sides (I usually do this on my cooling rack over the sink), place some weight on top of them (usually use a cookie sheet with some cans on top of it) and let sit for at least a half hour.

So peel and slice:

1 large eggplant or 4-5 small graffiti eggplants

Prepare the breading station by placing in 3 separate low-sided (1-2″ high) bowls large enough to accommodate the slices of eggplant):

Bowl 1:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

Stir to combine.

Bowl 2:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Bowl 3:

1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Again stir to combine. Breading stations are now ready for the eggplant.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper and then spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the weights and cookie sheet and rinse off the eggplant. Dry with a paper towel. Then dip each slice of eggplant into Bowl 1 being sure to coat both sides with flour. Then dip each slice into the milk mixture in Bowl 2, letting excess milk drip off before dipping each slice into Bowl 3. Place on a cookie sheet and then sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately. Number of servings will depend on the size of the eggplant and slices. Approximately 4-6 servings.

Chicken with Eggplant and Zucchini

My search for tasty and easy chicken recipes has landed another one! This one doesn’t come from the Chicken Bible but is a combination of a recipe I found on-line and what I had in my refrigerator. Once everything is peeled and diced, including the chicken, it’s so simple to put together. Planning ahead is necessary with this recipe however since the chicken must be marinated for at least an hour in the refrigerator after dicing.

First, mix together the marinade in a gallon storage bag or large bowl:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Then dice up:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Add to the marinade, and after closing the bag, swish around the chicken to make sure it’s completely covered in the marinade. If you want a stronger lemon flavor, add:

Grated rind of 1 lemon

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables:

4-6 small cipollini onions, peeled and quartered*

1 medium zucchini, washed and diced

1 pound eggplant (any type will work, I used 4 small graffiti eggplants), peeled and diced

1 clove garlic (about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons minced)

When the chicken is almost ready, heat a 10″ skillet over medium heat with:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is hot, add:

onions and garlic

Cook for 2-3 minutes just until the onions turn translucent. Then add the:

Zucchini

Eggplant

And cook another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Put the skillet back over the heat and add the:

Marinade and chicken mixture

Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce is beginning to reduce. Stir the vegetables back into the skillet and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

*Don’t have cipollini onions and your local supermarket doesn’t carry them? They are small and slightly sweet becoming much sweeter after cooking. So feel free to use a different sweet onion in their place but cut smaller.

Vegan Creme Brulee

No eggs, no dairy – how can one possibly make creme brulee without these things? At least one that actually tastes good? Well, here’s how. Although it’s much more a pudding than a custard, this tasty vanilla creme brulee will satisfy anyone’s desire for a rich, creamy dessert. If you don’t have a brulee torch, simply put the ramekins under the broiler for a couple of minutes – be sure to watch them closely!

In a 2-quart saucepan whisk vigorously:

1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (any milk except soy) – for a richer creme brulee, use 1 cup of non-dairy creamer and 3/4 cup milk*

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild tasting oil)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/4 cup date sugar

3/4 teaspoon agar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Whisk until the arrowroot, agar and date sugar are all dissolved. Place over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens and you see small bubbles along the outer edge of the pot. Remove from heat and pour into 1/2 cup ramekins and let cool on the counter for about 1 hour before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating until thoroughly chilled, 2-3 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with:

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of date sugar

Using either a torch or the broiler, caramelize the sugar. This should take about 1 minute per ramekin with the torch and about 3-5 minutes under the broiler. Date sugar doesn’t caramelize as easily as cane sugar and will not get hard. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

*If using a creamer that has added fat, reduce the amount of oil added to the milk or omit it entirely.

Carolina Mustard Barbeque Sauce

I’ve recently found that tomatoes and tomato-based sauces bother my stomach so I’ve been searching for alternatives, especially since my favorite foods are ribs and wings. Here’s one that’s very tasty and easy to make. I used a jar of dill pickle mustard that I had in my cupboard and wow, that a great taste! Only takes a couple of minutes to mix and can be frozen if you don’t use it all. I made a batch of chicken wings with it.

In a small bowl (about 2 cups) combine:

1/2 cup mustard – any mustard will work – I’ve used the dill pickle mustard as well as my usual stone ground and both made very delicious sauce

1/4 cup honey (date sugar, coconut or agave nectar, maple or date syrup would also work)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup white vinegar (rice or apple cider vinegar would also work)

1 small can green chilis (about a 4-ounce size; I used mild but feel free to use a hotter variety if your family likes them)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Brush on ribs or wings or serve on the side once the meat is cooked. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender.

I brushed the sauce on the wings before baking them for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Broiled (or Grilled) Eggplant

Here’s another very easy side dish that’s just yummy if you like eggplant, especially if you love it as much as my grandson does! This would work for zucchini or yellow squash as well.

First, wash, remove stem end, and peel*:

1 large Italian eggplant (or multiple other smaller ones), about 1-1 1/2 pounds

Cut into 1/2″ slices crosswise. Place on a cooling rack over your sink (or if you have a very large sink, in your sink). Once all the slices are on the rack, sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Be sure to sprinkle on both sides. Then place a baking sheet on top of the slices and weigh them down with something heavy like canned goods or a bag of flour. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll see that they are now wet. Remove tray and weight before washing each slice under cool water. Dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat the broiler in your oven or start the grill. If using the broiler as I did, spray a baking sheet large enough to hold all the slices comfortably with non-stick cooking spray. Place the slices on the sheet and then sprinkle each slice with:

Garlic powder

Ground black pepper

Herb of choice (I used an Italian seasoning mixture but any herb your family likes will work)

Spray the tops of the slices with more cooking spray (I use avocado oil spray but whatever you normally use will work). Place under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes until the slices begin to soften and turn golden brown. Remove and turn them over, return to the broiler and broil for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately. A nice pasta sauce would compliment them nicely.

If you’re grilling the eggplant slices, spray each side with cooking spray and sprinkle with the herbs before placing on the grill.

*FYI, I peeled strips off my eggplant and found that they were very tough and inedible after broiling.

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

I’m constantly looking for new ways to serve vegetables so when I came across this recipe for Yachae Jeon (Korean vegetable pancakes), I had to try it and see if it would work gluten-free. I used to eat something like these at a local Vietnamese restaurant except they called them scallion pancakes. Quite easy and quick to make with a food processor and oh so tasty especially with the dipping sauce.

First, into the bowl of food processor:

1 small to medium zucchini (about 6-7 inches long), cut into chunks

6 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet potato (I used 2 very small purple sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium carrot, chunked (I used about 3/4 of a cup of shredded carrot)

1 jalapeno pepper (Optional), seeded and chunked

1 bunch scallions (roots removed), cleaned and cut into chunks

It may require several batches in the food processor. Process the vegetables until they are small pieces so they’ll cook quickly in the pancake.* You should have about 4-5 cups.** Next, in a large mixing bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 cup arrowroot

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

Whisk to combine before stirring in the finely chopped vegetables. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. In a 10-12″ skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil (or spray with cooking spray)

Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out pancake mixture and place in skillet, using a spoon (or the back of the measuring cup), to flatten into a round disk about 6″ in diameter. Cook over medium low heat until bubbles appear, just like a regular pancake (in my case, it was really bubble holes in the pancake that I saw). Flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side before increasing the heat to medium high to brown the pancake on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Place on a cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remainder of the pancakes. Serve hot with the following dipping sauce. Makes 6-8 pancakes.

DIPPING SAUCE

Combine in a small bowl:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup (or agave syrup or honey)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or your hot sauce of choice) (Optional)

*If you don’t want to use a food processor simply cut all the vegetables into thin strips like shredded carrots you buy in the supermarket or grate them on a box grater.

**These are just my suggested vegetables. Feel free to use whatever vegetables your family might like but the scallions really are the only ones required. I thought about adding a few garlic cloves as well as a crunchy vegetable like jicama or water chestnuts as well.

Asian Coleslaw

I do love a good coleslaw. I’ve put several recipes for it on my blog over the years and here’s another one that I think is up there near the top. Quick and easy to make, it tastes delicious. Of course, if you can use real soy sauce, feel free but use only half as much as the soy sauce substitute. And I know, more brown food! Can’t seem to stop making brown things.

To make the sauce whisk together:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup avocado oil

5 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini would also work well)

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute (or 3 tablespoons soy sauce) (SEE recipe under SAUCES)

3 tablespoons date sugar (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

1 teaspoon garlic puree

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (Optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (toasted preferably)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Whisk until thoroughly blended and then pour over:

5 cups shaved green cabbage (or Napa cabbage, even some bok choy would work)

2 cups shaved red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup diced water chestnuts

1 cup diced Asian pear*

6 scallions, chopped (reserve a few of the chopped greens for garnish)

Mix thoroughly (I used a serving fork) to combine the sauce with all the ingredients. Makes 8-10 servings.

*Asian pears aren’t very sweet and are very firm. If you can’t find Asian pears, feel free to add another chopped fruit such as pineapple. Regular apple or pear won’t work very well here. Jicama would also work but not add any sweetness but you could substitute some apple juice for some of (or all of) the oil. You may want to omit the date sugar if you add pineapple or apple juice.

Zucchini and Turnip Fritters

I love finding easy side dishes to replace the starch of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Here’s one that’s healthy as well as delicious that your family will love because it’s fried! The golden brown goodness of these fritters will get even your children to eat them. Feel free to change up the vegetables – I used zucchini, purple top turnip and carrots but one made with yellow squash, kohlrabi, and butternut squash would also work, or maybe you’d prefer zucchini, celery root, and parsnips. The seasonings can also be switched up – instead of garlic powder and coriander, how about dill, marjoram, basil, thyme, cumin or even some curry. Have fun with this one.

In the bowl of a food processor, place:

1 medium zucchini, cut into sections lengthwise and then quartered

1 medium purple top turnip, ends removed, peeled, and quartered*

8-10 baby carrots, rainbows make a pretty patty

Pulse until well grated. While the vegetables are grating heat over medium heat in a 12″ high-sided skillet:

about 1/4 inch of oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado oil)

Pour the grated vegetables into a medium-sized bowl and add:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)

1/4 teaspoon coriander

2-4 green onions, chopped, both green and white sections

Stir to combine thoroughly. Scoop out portions using a 1/4 cup measure. Form into patties. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, flip and do the same on the other side. Remove and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil, season with a little more salt. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings depending on what else you’re serving with them and your family’s appetites!

*The purple top turnip has a very mild flavor while the yellow turnip (or rutabaga) is much stronger.