Pumpkin Oatmeal (V, GF)

Who’s tired of pumpkin flavored things yet? I’m not sure if I am, as I don’t think I can truly hit pumpkin overload until a post-turkey-day-cold-pumpkin-pie-for-breakfast moment has occurred. And trust me, it’s coming like a freight train (t minus seven days until Emily and I make the first -and last- road trip from New England to good ol’ Jersey!!!) But before I can hang out all snuggled in a blanket on the couch with my one true love (read: stuffing+mashed potatoes+corn casserole all smashed up in a bowl, sry for any confusion) I’m going to have seven more breakfasts. Which means seven more bowls of oatmeal, because I recently realized I’m on a serious oatmeal kick. Just ask the giant mason jar of bulk oats in my pantry. Or the other container of steel cut oats on top of the fridge. Or my roommates at 8 am when they see me frantically running downstairs because I’ve forgotten about the boiling pot on the stove, even though I do this every single morning. It happens. Anywho, I was perusing the blogosphere and because it’s fall everyone and their mother has been adding pumpkin to everything, be it pumpkin hummus, pumpkin milkshakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, even pumpkin martinis (?!? someone try this and tell me what happens) so I knew it was my turn to join the insanity. I’m actually very pleasantly surprised with the results! NOTE: if you’re like me and don’t like the innate pumpkiny flavor of pumpkin, I strongly recommend you taste the mixture as you go, paying special attention to the kind of sweetener you’re using. I use unsweetened milk so I have all the power over the sweetener, but that’s just how I roll. Gotta be able to control some aspects of life, even if it is just via breakfast food, amirite? I think maple syrup or brown sugar compliment pumpkin in the most autumny way possible, so I vote you go that route. But feel free to play around with honey/agave/coconut sugar/regular sugar!

Oatmeal (serves 1)

1/2 c rolled oats

1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like. You can also do 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c water. Or 1 c water- I don’t judge!)

pinch of salt

2 tbsp canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

~1 tbsp maple syrup (or desired sweetener)


Place the liquid and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. While that’s happening, mix together pumpkin, spices, and sweetener. Taste and adjust as desired. Add oats to boiling liquid and reduce heat to medium. Add pumpkin mixture and cook down, stirring regularly for about 4-5 minutes. To serve, top with pepitas and a sprinkle of more sweetener!




Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 

+ a fall wish list

I received a very important text from Emily a few weeks ago. She needed pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Well, I’m nothing if not a fan of helping a girl in need of dessert, so obviously I went out and bought a two cans of pumpkin- a batch for her and a batch for me, duh. Spoilers: I didn’t eat the whole second batch myself. I shared some with my roommates in exchange for some cookie-hand modeling (scroll down), and then brought the rest to Vassar to share with my boyfriend. He thinks a serving of cookies = an entire tray, which makes me happy. So anyway, as I walked to the grocery store it dawned on me: I’m wearing a sweater and it might actually be fall right now. So that was weird. And since college for me tends to be a bubble/black hole where all aspects of the real world are only enjoyed through tiny windows (did you know the holiday season actually starts before finals are over?) I made up my mind right then and there to pay more attention to life outside of school. Is anyone else sensing a pattern to my posts lately? If you can guess it I’ll mail you one of these cookies. So, whenever I decide to do something it always starts with a list. I like making lists. And in an effort to actually follow through I’m going to post it on the blog so I have witnesses…even if the only witness is the internet.

This fall I will:

carve pumpkins with my roommates (are they roommates if we don’t share a bedroom? housemates? apartmates?)

make pumpkin spice lattés from scratch in the hopes it gets me to actually like pumpkin spice lattés

drink mulled cider or wine outside while wearing a birkenstocks + socks (fashion show fashion show)

go running/walk at least twice a week in an effort to spend more time outside and less on homework because last year I did the opposite and am fairly certain it led to the solid two months of debilitating migraines

dress up as Betty Draper for Halloween

find someone who has a dress I can borrow in order to be Betty Draper for Halloween (or should I just wear my prom dress from high school…tbt?)

have a Friendsgiving in my apartment before we all leave

try out this vegan pumpkin pie on my relatives and see if they notice

learn to make challah in an effort to somehow stay connected to part of my heritage even though I completely missed Rosh Hashanah

Can I do at least 2/3 of this? We shall see!

Cookies (adapted slightly from Food52)

c whole wheat flour

tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

c unbleached cane sugar

1/2 c vegetable oil

c canned pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla extract

large egg

c bittersweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped

coarsely ground pepper (optional, but it shouldn’t be)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, pumpkin, vanilla and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between the cookies. Sprinkle with pepper if desired (do it do it do it peer pressure do it). Bake for about 12 minutes. They’re always going to be pretty soft, but a minute or two more certainly won’t hurt them if you’re not sure. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about five minutes, then finish cooling completely on cooling wracks.

Also, quick facts about these cookies: 1) the texture is extremely similar to that of a soft and fluffy whoopie pie. Which means you should probably whip up a quick batch of cream cheese frosting and get sandwiching! Or crumble them over vanilla/maple/butter pecan ice cream. OR layer them with whipped cream, pepitas, and crushed gingersnaps to make a trifle! 2) I made my first tray of cookies without the pepper, then I had a moment of inspiration and decided I would just go for it, and they came out INCREDIBLE. Put pepper on all your pumpkin/ginger/snickerdoodle cookies right before you bake them. And while you’re reaching for the condiments put salt on your chocolate chip cookies before you bake those. You won’t be sorry.



Pumpkin Pancakes (V)

A few days ago was Mountain Day! A pretty rad Smith tradition wherein our president cancels all classes on a beautiful fall day and we’re free to do whatever we like! Technically. This year’s mountain day happened on a fairly overcast Monday, so I enjoyed the outside air for a bit (read: I sipped on a mug of coffee while standing on my patio) but mostly hung with friends in my apartment and then went to my night class BECAUSE NIGHT CLASSES DON’T APPLY TO MOUNTAIN DAY GOD DAMMIT. So, yeah, not the greatest way to end my Smith-Mountain-Day-Journey. But I started out the day the right way- with pancakes!

Want to know the secret to frying vegan pancakes? Coconut oil. Lots. And a REALLY GOOD nonstick pan at the perfect temperature. If you do not have these things you should probably just make waffles. Otherwise you will be in a pickle. For the first three pancakes I didn’t use enough oil and the heat was up too high (the latter is what happens when you grow up using a gas stove with a temperature range 1-6 and then move into an apartment with an electric stove and temperature range 1-10). I stood over three different pans with three different kinds of oil -olive, coconut, and vegan butter- all smoking and sizzling like crazy and none coming out right. At one point I was scraping up a half uncooked half almost burnt lumpy pancake and my spatula broke. Literally fell into two pieces in the skillet. So I threw the entire contents of the pan into the trash and then tried again. That time the pancake cooked well enough but the batter seemed too thick (my original recipe included less liquid) and it was basically a hockey puck. A tasty hockey puck, but not what I was looking for in a pancake. My roommates tasted said hockey puck pancake and tried to assure me it was fine- good, even. But this did not make me feel better. I pride myself on making food that tastes and looks good. I could tell what they were thinking, “why all the vegan recipes, girl? They seem to cause you a lot of anguish” Answer: even though I am not a vegan, I really like vegan food and am truly interested in the science behind alternative and special diet-oriented cooking. I’ve made many a normal pancake and now is the time to experiment. So I went back into the kitchen, determined this endeavor would not be a flop. It would not become ‘that time Becca tried to make everyone pancakes and failed even though she has a cooking blog and clearly thinks she knows how to make food’.

So I stood there, staring at the sticky counter covered in pumpkin, baking soda, and crushed dreams, feeling very sorry for myself. It was getting dangerously close to The Falafel Incident (in which I attempted a scary new falafel recipe in an attempt to wow my parents and boyfriend. Long story short, I ended up sitting on the floor, stained in oil and crying. They’re serious troopers for putting up with me, let me tell you). Fast forward to me on Mountain Day. Another kitchen, another frustrating frying encounter. Press play. What am I doing if I can’t even make a pancake? I should just throw this all out the window and have a bowl of yogurt. And then I realized I was being fucking ridiculous. I’m supposed to be an adult. Adults don’t let less-than-perfect pancakes ruin their mornings, let alone destroy their self confidence. I pulled myself together. I added more almond milk. I added water, one tablespoon at a time. I made another pot of coffee. I reheated a pan and spooned out batter. And, lo and behold, successful pancakes were put on a plate. Pancakes of which I was actually quite proud!

I will not find all the solutions to my problems in a stack of pancakes, but sometimes determination pays off. And if one can feel vindicated by a tower of fried cakes, life is really not bad. Not bad at all.

Pancakes (loosely adapted from The First Mess and For Love and Lemons)

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)

1/4 c water

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 ripe banana

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2  tsp baking soda

2 pinches sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger)

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash maple syrup (optional)

coconut oil (for frying)

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, non-dairy milk, and pumpkin until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Whisk well. Fold in the pumpkin mixture, maple syrup, vanilla extract. Combine completely, but don’t overmix!

Heat a large nonstick skillet (vegan pancakes are notoriously stubborn, don’t use a regular pan) over medium heat . Brush the pan with additional melted coconut oil.  Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges look cooked. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute. Remove pancakes and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter and stud with maple syrup, date syrup, melted coconut oil, or jam until you’ve fed all your roommates and yourself in the most festively autumnal manner!