Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Mmmm, pumpkin!! Doesn’t get anymore delicious does it?

If you’re like me, you got a bunch of pumpkins/squashes right after Halloween when everybody had them marked way down! My favorite local pumpkin spot had everything for $1.00. You can bet your bottoms I stocked up!! Now that my freezer and kitchen and hallways are full of pumpkin, I’m making quite a lot of pumpkin-y things!

This recipe is super tasty, vegan or not!

We are not vegans (not even vegetarians!!) I just have a tendency to run out of eggs at the weirdest, most inconvenient times, so I end up making/testing/trying quite a lot of vegan recipes!

This bread is very sweet, and could easily be used for a dessert as its also moist and dense.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

sus1fbww008tjw7eaihw0jdqyshb14fa

Ingredients-
4 tbsp. chia seeds
6 tbsp. water
1/2 c. organic cane sugar (or sucunat)
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1 c. cooked pumpkin (pureed or not, I never puree my pumpkin)
1.5 c. organic unbleached white flour
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the chia seeds with the water, stir them and let them sit for 5 minutes (I usually melt the coconut oil while I’m waiting for the seeds to gel!). The seeds will form a gooey substance very similar to an egg*. When the 5 minutes are up, add in the oil and sugar. Whisk it together as much as it will combine. Add in all of the other ingredients and mix it together very thoroughly. Dump the batter into a well greased bread pan and bake for 50 minutes. It won’t rise too much and it will feel sturdy and not liquid-y when you tap the top of the loaf if it’s done. Let it cool completely before you cut it.

*If you want to use eggs instead of chia seeds, add 2 eggs and leave out the water and chia seeds.

Peace, love and blessings!

8134hn45nide8996n79yx2x2j9dujuf4

Tomato Wild Rice Soup

Ahhh, fall!! My FAVORITE season!! Why?? Sweaters and soup. I love sweaters and soup. If it were more logical, I could totally live off soup. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on my husband with soup I love it so much.

This wonderful soup warms me to the bone and tastes fantastic!

ept04v3dql07jqv1dlax7ojjnacdrzk9

Tomato Wild Rice Soup

You will need:

1 28 oz. can organic tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed, any way!) or approx. 4 large fresh tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock (homemade would be best!)
1 large chopped organic onion
1/2 cup organic wild rice
2 tbsp. organic olive oil
3 cloves of chopped organic garlic
1 tbsp. dried organic basil
1 tbsp. dried organic parsley
2 tbsp. organic, unbleached sugar (you can leave this out if you want!)
Salt and Pepper
Optional- 1 tsp. organic crushed red pepper

Put everything except the stock, rice and the tomatoes in pot and cook it in the olive oil until the onions are withered and soft. Take the pot off the stove. If you have an immersion blender, add the tomatoes and the stock to the pot and blend it until the tomatoes are no longer chunky. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put the tomatoes (with the juice the come in) in a food processor until they are smooth then add them to the pot. Return the pot to the stove and add the rice. Bring it to a boil then reduce it to a simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and tender.

That’s it!! Its super easy and delicious =) I like it with freshly grated Parmesan and some homemade bread!!

Stay tuned for an easy, homemade deodorant recipe later this week!!

8134hn45nide8996n79yx2x2j9dujuf4

Creamy Garlic and Purple Cauliflower Pasta

Pre-post note- You may have noticed that I have been blogging less. I have decided to blog 1-3 times per week as opposed to daily/every other day. Its taking a lot of time away from my family and housework. And I don’t want to look up from my blog one day and see my little baby daughter is going to college and I blogged away her childhood. So I’ll just be slightly less posting =)

This is just about the most delicious pasta I’ve ever made. I ate two whole plates of it and I generally don’t eat that much.

You will need-

1 pound of pasta
(I used squid ink pasta, but you can use any you like. Squid ink pasta makes it that much better though!)
Half a large head of purple cauliflower broken into bite size pieces
(you can use white cauliflower, I just prefer the amazing flavor of purple)
5 cloves of organic garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of organic olive oil
4 tbsp. grass fed butter
3 tbsp. organic flour
1.5 c. raw milk

Its beautiful isn't it?!

Its beautiful isn’t it?!

Cook your pasta and set it aside. Put the olive oil, garlic and cauliflower into a skillet and cook it until the cauliflower has started to cook, but is still crunchy.
Make a roux from the flour and butter. (If you don’t know how, the couscous section of this post explains it.) Add the milk to your roux and cook it on medium heat until it thickens. Add the cauliflower and garlic to the roux and get it totally covered then mix in the pasta. (Or you could pour the sauce over everything.) And that’s it!

Add a little fresh grated Parmesan and crushed red pepper.

8ptlrk9qnwi3ecuxno9u0pnokjf0w9bn

As my dad always said, ‘Yum, yum, eat em up!’

Enjoy!

8134hn45nide8996n79yx2x2j9dujuf4

Chicken & Israeli Couscous in Pan Gravy Sauce

This was a huge hit at my house. My husband gave me 5 stars on it, and even compared it in deliciousness to our at-home-honeymoon lobster dinner.

20130915_184242_zps9d02452a

I use all organic ingredients and local whenever possible. While its not necessary to make this recipe, I strongly suggest it and personally feel its the best way to eat anything =)

For the chicken:

2 pastured chicken legs*
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 chopped tomato
1/2 an onion
A big pinch of oregano
3 tsp. dried cilantro
1 tbsp. cumin
A big pinch of cayenne pepper and paprika
2 cups water
2 tbsp. coconut oil
Generous pinches of salt and pepper

(*We generally don’t eat this much meat in one sitting, for a less meaty version, you can make 1 chicken breast and shred it into small pieces and mix it into the couscous.)

Over a medium heat put everything but the water and cook until the chicken is browned on both sides and has started to cook through (easy, huh?).

20130915_180324_zps6a10b942

Add the 2 cups of water, cover and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked completely. Which should be between 20-30 minutes. Take the chicken out and set it too the side, but save all the water you cooked it in and all the drippings/scraps/juice in the pan.

For the Couscous & Gravy:

2 cups Israeli couscous
4 cups homemade chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour

Bring the broth to a boil, add the 2 cups of couscous and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to let the couscous cook.

In a separate pot melt the butter and mix the flour in. Whisk constantly until it starts to bubble then (while still whisking) cook for 1 minute. For those of you that don’t know, this is called a roux. Add all the cooking liquid from the chicken and stir until it starts to thicken.

Mix the gravy and the couscous together.

20130915_184141_zps48d09f49

It may not look the prettiest, but man oh man, its delicious.

Oven Baked Green Beans:

Even though these aren’t in the post title, you gotta have your veggies and these are amazing. I absolutely can’t stand cooked veggies 95% of the time. But I love these so much I scarf them down the second they’re cooked.

Coat the green beans in coconut oil then add generous amounts of salt and pepper (I like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat, but this is totally optional). Bake them in the oven at 400 degrees. Bake them for 7 minutes, stir them around and bake them for another 5, or until they start to get brown.

SO GOOD!!!

Enjoy!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Quick and Easy Fried Potatoes…. And the giveaway winner!!!

2 great things this post… Delicious fried potatoes and the giveaway winner!!

First off is the winner of the 6 half gallon Mason jars!!

Drumroll please…….

Marcia G., entry number 76- mg—-@yahoo.com!

Congratulations!! You won my first giveaway! I sent you an email, just get back to me in the next week (by September 3rd) with your mailing address and I’ll get em shipped right out to you!! Go brew some fantastic teas, or store some yummy food, or decorate your house with em!

Thanks to everyone who entered!! If you didn’t win and would like some, they are available over here on Amazon (and they are even on sale)!

Now its recipe time! It’s been like 2 weeks since I posted a recipe, I’m feeling pretty slack, but I’ve been working on my wedding… Which is in 12 days! So much to do…

Quick and Easy Fried Potatoes

You will need-

4 medium/large organic potatoes
3 tbsp. coconut oil for cooking in
1.5 tbsp. organic garlic and herb seasoning (I like this stuff best)
1 tsp. organic cilantro (dried, if you use fresh, use a little more)
1 tsp. organic oregano (dried, same thing as the cilantro)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional, makes em spicy!)

First off slice your potatoes into thin circles, don’t peel them. As thin as you can make them. Then roughly chop them into quarters. Very roughly. I just piled them up and cut randomly. They’ll get mushed when you cook them, don’t waste time making them perfect. Pour the coconut oil in the bottom of the pan and dump all the ‘taters on top. Dump all of the seasonings on and stir them. Make sure they are all thoroughly coated in the oil and the seasonings.

20130824_173420

20130824_173505

Cover them and cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Stirring once every 5 minutes. Not stirring them the whole time gives them a chance to get browned, and covering them makes them cook faster.

20130824_175520

Yummm!!

If you add free range/pastured eggs, you can make them a main dish. You can also add onions at the beginning and cook them with the potatoes. And of course bacon and cheese make everything better =)

Enjoy!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Jackfruit!

If you remember way back 2 weeks ago, I made a post about exploring the shops of the Strip District in Pittsburgh PA. You may also remember I got a fantastic, enormous (as a matter of fact, it is the largest tree borne fruit in the world) fruit known as the jackfruit.

Use my hand as a size reference

Use my hand as a size reference

It weighed about 19 pounds, and getting it apart ain’t no easy feat!!

It took over 2 hours to clean the whole thing. But it was totally worth it! Deliciousness all around!

In order to clean it you have to cut it into big chunks. Once its in big chunks, you have to peel out the yummy, yellow fruit, which are basically seed pods. However, the fragrant pods are tangled up in sticky, sappy, totally 100% evil fibers.

bn0zem5qf31jr2fr1v4qank35q2kew3k

Honestly, the fibers are like sticking your hand to a leaking pine tree. The trick to navigating the jackfruit, is to oil one of your hands. The hand that’s not handling the knife. Cut with your dominant, non-oiled hand and pull apart seeds and fruit with the other. I just rubbed some coconut oil on my left hand and cut with my right. (Oh, and I oiled the knife).

After I got the hang of it, it wasn’t that bad. From the whole jackfruit I filled a gallon sized container completely to the top, almost overflowing with fruit and an overflowing quart mason jar with the seeds.

20130801_204343_zps91414d52

Seeds!

Seeds!

If you want a more in depth description of how to cut it, head over here and check out this post on how to do it! It’s a great tutorial!

So what did I do with mine you ask?

I made sorbet, froze a ton for some deliciously tropical smoothies and boiled the seeds for snacking.

Let’s start with the seeds. (Which are a lot of work, as is everything with the Jackfruit it seems). Once they are all removed from the pods, rinse them off and put them in a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes. They are done cooking when you can easily stick a fork in them. They get similar to the texture of potatoes. The difficult part is peeling them of their tough outer skins. Most of the skins on mine split open, making it easier to peel, but not all of them. Just peel the milky white skin of the outside and enjoy the delicious insides. The thin, brown skin is edible, just so you know.

The final product will look like this:

Seeds on the right, inedible  skins on the left

Seeds on the right, inedible skins on the left

For the sorbet, I pureed 3 cups of fruit, mixed in 1/4 cup of sugar, and added enough water to make it smooth. Then I processed it in my ice cream maker for about 20 minutes and stored it in the freezer. Yummy!!

It can be stored in an airtight glass container in the freezer for a couple of months. But it can get pretty hard, so you may have to take it out of the freezer 10 minutes or so before you serve it.

4e95d40c-13a8-4029-81dc-7f0ce301c1f3_zps54fdcbfd

And lastly, if you want to freeze it for smoothies, here’s how. (This method actually works very well for most, or all, fruit). Chop it into small, 1/4-1 inch pieces and spread them all into an even layer on a cookie sheet and set it flat in the freezer over night.

20130803_133041_zps3bcdbee7

Transfer it to a freezer safe container and store it for 8-12 months. Just pop some out and add it to a smoothie any time you like. I think jackfruit goes wonderfully with banana, mango and pineapple.

We also made these jackfruit lime popsicles-

Yum!

Yum!

Get the recipe for them over here.

Head on over to your local Asian foods store and pick up some jackfruit!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Meadow Mint Tea

If you’ve ever been to Amish country, you’ve probably heard of or tried Meadow Tea.

I was raised in Amish country, and its probably my #1 favorite drink (well, other then water).

I had a plan to grow out my leg hair really long, quit using deodorant and get an Amish dress so I could infiltrate their community and get the super secret Meadow Tea recipe.

However, I quickly decided that was a ridiculous idea, and figured out their recipe on accident!

2e1bf41e-05bd-449b-989d-488783f150fa_zpscb38b070

Meadow Tea

You will need:

1 packed cup of fresh cut spearmint (bruised and put in a glass container)

2 cups of water

1 cup of organic unbleached sugar (I like this brand)

Put the sugar and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk and boil until all the sugar is dissolved and it becomes syrupy. Pour the syrup (while still boiling) over top of the spearmint. Let it rest until its cooled down. Strain out the leaves and make sure to squeeze them a lot to be sure all of the syrup is out.

This is spearmint simple syrup. (Just like the honey suckle simple syrup I made a few weeks back).

Put approx. 8oz of simple syrup in the bottom of a half gallon container. Then fill it the rest of the way with filtered water and shake it to combine the two. Sip a little bit and make sure its a sweet/minty as you like it and then put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning it will be cold and delicious!!

If your impatient (like me) and want some tea right away, you can mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of syrup into a glass of cold water.

Add a sprig of mint to garnish and enjoy!

You can also make extra mint syrup while its in season and freeze it to have tea in the off seasons!

4aedf302-eeb8-44d9-a33b-0d355e1a6465_zps54f398e9

P.S. Mint is super easy to grow! I have a pot of it growing in my kitchen I use to make minty things. I dug a few of the runners from my moms mini mint forest she has growing and buried them in a container of organic potting soil. Its growing like crazy.

ca351ff5-98aa-43dc-b373-56fc2ef7c40a_zps89c9e27e

To anyone who’s had Meadow Tea before, your welcome! This tastes just like Amish are cooking in your kitchen for you!

And to anyone who’s never had authentic Amish Meadow Tea, I’m so sorry you’ve missed out thus far in your life. Make this now!

Happy sipping!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent