I don’t know if it’s the cool, crisp days, the fall colours or the fact that I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, but I’ve been inspired to cook using seasonal ingredients, and my slow cooker - matching my pace these days; low and slow.
I want to share some of the recipes I’ve been making lately to inspire you during these long days and weeks at home. Stay home, and stay safe!
Last week I went on a pumpkin (and coconut) kick, making Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Pumpkin Coconut Chickpea Soup.
I love baking and cooking with pumpkin because it adds a creamy texture, similar to bananas, but is low in calories and sugar and high in fibre. It also adds a lovely, comforting flavour when paired with cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg.
This muffin recipe uses coconut flour, which is a healthy choice because it’s gluten-free (even though you may not be celiac, many people have a gluten sensitivity or find it hard to digest), a source of fibre, and healthy fat. Also, because coconut flour is super absorbent, recipes usually call for 4-6 eggs, which are a great source of protein. Coconut flour muffins or bread will keep your belly happy and satisfied!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
½ cup coconut flour
2.5 tsp. of pumpkin spice or combine the following: 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. ground ginger, ¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
⅔ cup. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¼ - ½ cup. maple syrup or honey (or half syrup or honey and half monk fruit sweetener)
½ cup coconut oil, melted
6 eggs, whisked
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional add-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips or walnuts or pumpkin seeds (school safe!)
Line a muffin tin with paper cups, and spray with coconut oil or other non-stick cooking spray.
Combine all the dry ingredients (excluding the chocolate chips) in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Then add the wet to the dry ingredients (you’ll need to mix for a while to fully incorporate the flour, don’t give up!). Fold in chocolate chips.
Place batter into muffin tin cups.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a fork inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. They may seem a bit under, but let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooking rack until completely cool. They freeze well.
I love soup, but I often need something else with it as it doesn’t fill me up. Not this soup! The addition of chickpeas (hello fibre and protein!) makes all the difference. It’s creamy, flavourful, and filling - perfect for dinner and lunch lefties!
Pumpkin Coconut Chickpea Soup
2 tbsp. Butter or ghee
1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pumpkin puree, or 1 cup roasted sweet pie pumpkin
2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Cinnamon and ginger OR 2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. Curry powder
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 tbsp. Maple syrup
½ cup vegetable broth or water
Juice from one lemon
Hot sauce (optional)
Heat butter and oil in a large pot on medium heat. Saute onion for 5 minutes or until cooked. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk and chickpeas. Bring to a rapid simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in spices and more salt and pepper to taste.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend until smooth or desired texture. Stir in maple syrup, broth and lemon juice, and simmer on medium-low for another 5 minutes. Add more spices, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a dash of hot sauce. Enjoy!
My mother-in-law recently gifted me with 3 pounds of MacIntosh apples so I made my favourite fall recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Butter. This recipe is super simple, and only requires a couple things: apples and time (oh, and the smell in your house while the apples cook is amazing - think your favourite fall spice candle, but better).
Slow Cooker Apple Sauce or Butter
3 lbs or 12 small, 9 medium, 6 large apples, peeled, roughly chopped (any type of apples will work)
2 tsp. pumpkin spice OR 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ginger, ¼ tsp. nutmeg ¼ tsp. Clove
¼ cup coconut palm sugar or monkfruit sweetener (optional if you like it tart vs. sweet)
¼ cup water
Peel, core and rough chop apples, and place them in the bowl of your slow cooker.
Add in the pumpkin spice or cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/clove spice blend, coconut sugar and water.
Cover, and cook on high for 5 hours or until apples are tender enough to be mashed with a fork (check after 3 hours).
If apples are done, puree, using an immersion blender. If you’re making apple sauce, simply remove apples from the pot, transfer into a glass container or mason jar, and let cool. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you want to make apple butter, you will need to cook them down even more. Uncover, and cook on high for an additional 2 hours, stirring occasionally until mixture has thickened. Apple butter is done when it’s brown, thick and creamy.
Let cool, transfer to a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Apple butter tastes amazing on plain Greek yogurt with granola, pancakes or waffles, toast, muffins or in savoury dishes like pulled pork or chicken. Enjoy!
I pulled out my slow cooker yet again to make slow cooker beans for Meatless Monday. There’s no comparison when it comes to homemade vs. canned beans, but it’s something I only do once a year because it takes time, and I tend to make enough beans to last a year.
I love this recipe from The Kitchn (I used kidney beans). My plan is to make bean and quinoa burritos tonight with all the fixings. If you have time, and plan ahead, I encourage you to give homemade beans a try. It may inspire you to go meatless on Mondays!