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.

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-Style Sorghum Salad

There are so many great grains out there for those of us who can’t digest gluten or potatoes. Here’s one that takes a little longer to make, only because sorghum takes such a long time to cook but is really delicious and quite different from any other grain. As usual, feel free to use variations listed below if a non-Asian type of salad is desired. Enjoy something other than pasta or potatoes!

Cook in 2 quarts of boiling water:

1 cup washed sorghum*

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once water boils, reduce heat to medium high and boil uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until sorghum is soft. Rinse under cold water.

While the sorghum is boiling, prepare:

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup diced jicama (or diced water chestnuts)

1 cup stringed and sliced pea pods

Combine in a large bowl. Then make the dressing. Pour into a 2-cup jar:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or wasabi paste)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or ginger (Optional)

Shake vigorously to emulsify although the oil will separate if not used immediately so it will need to be repeated prior to use. Once the sorghum is cooked, rinsed and cooled, pour into the bowl of vegetables and add the dressing. Toss to combine and serve.

*Sorghum has a waxy outer shell that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.

VARIATIONS:

Italian Sorghum salad: Use diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or basil, carrots, peas, etc., with an Italian style dressing.

Sorghum “Potato-style” salad: Add some diced onion, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and a mayonnaise dressing.

Indian Sorghum salad: Use chickpeas, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, spinach, or zucchini along with a curry or tahini-based dressing.

Sesame Noodle Salad

It’s been very hot in Minnesota so I don’t feel much like cooking never mind eating something hot. I’ve been looking for salad recipes and this one is scrumptious and quite easy to put together. Most of the vegetables are raw which means some cutting but very little cooking. Boiling noodles, no problem there. And the sauce can be whisked together very easily. Add some cold meat if you like; I added some grilled chicken breast to mine but even without that, it’s very filling and delicious. This recipe makes two servings as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

First, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water boils add:

6-8 ounces Thai rice noodles or whatever type of gluten-free pasta your family likes

1 teaspoon salt

Cook following package directions. I used the Thai Kitchen brown rice noodles which you throw in boiling water and remove from heat, let sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then drain and put in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

Next, prepare the vegetables. I can’t eat raw onions or sweet pepper so I sauteed them for several minutes to soften on the cooktop but feel free to add them raw if you like them that way. Into a medium (4-quart sized bowl), combine:

6-8 (depending on size) baby onions (the white parts of the scallions, should be about a half-inch in diameter; these are sometimes called spring onions)

1/2 of a yellow, orange, or red sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

8-10 baby carrots, grated, diced, chopped (I used the food processor for this) or one regular-sized carrot

2 baby cucumbers, peeled and diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

1 small can diced water chestnuts OR 1/2 medium jicama, diced

Next, make the sauce. In a small bowl add:

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

2 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used my pumpkin seed butter)

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon garlic puree (or crushed garlic)

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or siracha (more if you want it quite spicy; I think 1 teaspoon would have been better)

1-3 tablespoons hot water to bring the sauce to the right consistency

Whisk together everything except the water. If the sauce seems too thick (it should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing), add the water a little at a time.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables, drain the noodles and toss them with:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

and add them to the bowl and mix to combine. Cut:

1-2 scallion greens

On the diagonal as a garnish. Add more sesame seeds as a garnish as well (about 1 tablespoon). Serve.

To serve as a main dish, add some diced grilled chicken breast; diced beef; shredded turkey breast; or other protein like grilled tofu. This would be the perfect vehicle for leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are my favorites. I like other cookies but I LOVE oatmeal cookies. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that makes about a dozen and takes 3 times longer to bake then it does to mix together. Delicious, almost like eating a nut butter and jam sandwich on oat bread but even better! Use whatever nut or seed butter your family likes and feel free to use whatever sugar-free jam you have on hand as well. I had strawberry jam so that’s what I used. You can find numerous types of free-dried fruits now on-line or at the grocery store.

In a medium (8 cup bowl) combine:

1 1/2 cups sprouted rolled oats

1/4 cup oat flour

2 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir to combine. In a second 3-4 cup small bowl whisk together:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1/4 cut nut or seed butter (I used tahini)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar-free or low-sugar strawberry jam

1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries (save some whole ones to press on top of the cookies before baking)

3 tablespoons date syrup (or agave, coconut nectar, maple syrup, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Stir whisked wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until mixture is moistened and well mixed. Using a medium (or small for smaller cookies), scoop and drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart and flatten each one with either the back of the scoop or a fork. Press a piece of dried strawberry into the top of each cookie. Bake 10-17 minutes depending on size (cookies should be firm to the touch). Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. They will keep for about a week (not in my household!). They will also freeze in a vacuum sealed bag for up to 3 months. Using my large scoop, I made 10 cookies.

Alternatives:

Use 1/2 cup pear sauce, 1/4 cup cranberries or raisins, and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried apples and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup peach jam, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried peaches

Use 1/2 cup plum jam, 1/4 cup diced dried prunes

Use 1/2 cup of any jam and 1/2 cup carob chips

Use 1/2 cup pineapple jam and 1/4 cup crushed dried bananas or pineapple

Really just about any combination of sauce or jam with dried fruit or chips will work in this recipe. Just be sure to add the extra sweetener if using sauce rather than jam.

Easy Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

The Chicken Bible strikes again! I had a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and wondered, what am I going to do with these? So out came the Chicken Bible and this recipe struck my fancy. I love fried foods but don’t make them often because of the mess, all that fat and because they are especially unhealthy for diabetes. Nothing shoots up glucose levels more than fried foods. We’ve all got to indulge in something sinful now and again so I thought I’d give it a try. Turned out very easy to make, the only part I didn’t like was, of course, cleaning up after frying. If you have a deep frier use it instead of a skillet on the stovetop! Makes 2-3 servings.

First, make the marinade by combining in a medium bowl:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons date syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine before adding:

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds (6-8) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed off and cut into 1″ wide strips*

Stir to combine chicken with the marinade. Let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. While the chicken marinates, prepare the pans needed as well as the dredge. So, line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper, set one aside and place a drying rack on top of the second and place 2-3 layers of paper towels on top of the drying rack. Set aside. In a pie plate or large soup plate, place:

1 cup tapioca starch (cassaba flour, corn starch if you can have it, potato starch, or arrowroot would also wok)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk to combine and set aside until chicken is ready. When the chicken is done marinating, using tongs, pull out all the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bowl and place it in the tapioca starch mixture. Using your hands, coat each piece individually and place on the first baking sheet (the one with just the parchment paper), being sure to knock off any excess starch. Repeat until all the pieces are coated. Set aside the marinade for later use.

Next, in a 12″ skillet with high sides or a small Dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of:

Oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado but feel free to use your normal oil)

Be sure to also use a thermometer so that you can heat the oil to 375 degrees and keep it between 350 and 375 while cooking the chicken. While the oil heats, look over the chicken. If there is still patches of white starch, using a cooking brush (or spoon) brush with the marinade to moisten.

When the oil is to temperature, using the tongs, place individual pieces of chicken into the oil from back to front (place them in the oil away from you then towards you). Don’t overcrowd the oil. It took three batches to cook all my chicken. Cook about 4-6 minutes depending on thickness, turning over once. Place on the second baking sheet (the one with the paper towels) using either the tongs or a slotted spoon. Salt lightly as you remove them from the oil. Serve the chicken with lemon wedges – don’t squeeze the lemon on them until you serve them or they’ll get soggy! I served mine with some air fried zucchini squash slices – delicious. See recipe under side dishes.

*With the thigh skin side up (that’s the side that has the film over it), long side towards you, slice crosswise into 1″ strips. You should get about 4 slices per thigh. Don’t worry if some come out in triangles, cubes, etc., since some pieces will come off the main parts of the thighs.

More brown food! Can’t seem to get away from it.

Easy No-Bake Carob Quinoa Bites

If you’re looking for a delicious, easy to make snack, this just might work for you. It’s very easy to put together and has a wide variety of possible flavors. I made carob bites but mocha, coffee, vanilla, pumpkin, etc., etc., etc., would work. It’s very easy to do.

First, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup cooked quinoa (I packed my 1 cup measure like one would brown sugar)*

1/4 cup carob powder (or other powder of choice, see variations below)

1/4 cup date syrup (agave, coconut, maple or honey all would work depending on the flavor desired)

1/4 cup seed or nut butter (again can vary depending on flavor)

1 tablespoon whole chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the above together until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop (mine was 1 tablespoon), scoop out the mixture and drop on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 1-3 hours depending on size. My 1 tablespoon scoop produced 24 bites and they froze within 1 hour.

*Quinoa is very quick and easy to cook. For this recipe combine 1/2 cup quinoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until water is gone and quinoa is translucent.

VARIATIONS:

COFFEE: Use 1/4 cup instant coffee and delete the vanilla extract, add coffee extract or a little water if mixture is too tight

MOCHA: Use 2 tablespoons instant coffee and 2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa if possible)

PUMPKIN: Use 1/4 cup pumpkin flavored protein powder (not pumpkin seed protein powder which has no taste)

VANILLA: Use 1/4 cup plain or vanilla protein powder; I would suggest using white quinoa and white chia seeds for vanilla as well as agave nectar

ALMOND: Use 1/4 cup almond butter, a 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and plain protein powder

MAPLE: Would probably work best with 1/4 cup maple syrup, maple extract instead of vanilla and the mildest of butters, perhaps tahini or cashew with plain or maple flavored protein powder

Use your imagination! As many combinations as we can think of would be possible for these bites.

Glazes

I made some pear donuts this morning, fried a couple of fritters from the dough as well. While I found them sweet enough without a glaze, I know my daughter-in-law and grandson will prefer them with one. Took me several tries to find the glaze I wanted on my blog so I thought putting the several I’ve used in my blogs in one place might be a good idea. So here they are – ones used cold after baking and the Honey Bee Glaze that’s baked on the dough.

Maple Glaze

In a small bowl whisk together:

1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance soy free)

1/2 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener (Lakanto makes one that Whole Foods or Amazon carries)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2-3 shakes of salt (or a dash!)

When the donuts are still warm, dip one side into the glaze. 

Standard Confectioner’s Sugar Glaze

Whisk together for a thin glaze:

1/3 cup sugar free confectioners’ sugar (Lakanto has a monkfruit based powdered sugar)

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

OR for a thicker glaze:

6 tablespoons vegan margarine

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar-free confectioners’ sugar

1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

If you don’t care for the taste of monkfruit sweetener, mix together 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar with 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed (white). Pour over or dip donuts in glaze.

Honey Bee Glaze

In a small bowl whisk:

1/2 cup agave nectar (or date syrup or coconut nectar)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup crushed nuts, sesame seeds, or hemp hulls (Optional)

Pour over unbaked dough and bake per recipe directions.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.