pumpkin pie squares

pumpkin pie squares | the veggie nook #vegan #glutenfree

Happy belated Thanksgiving (or very early Thanksgiving for my U.S. friends or just happy Wednesday to everyone else)!

It was inevitable…the pumpkin dessert had to make an appearance at some point. I resisted for quite, avoiding all pumpkin but when Thanksgiving comes around it just has to happen! I remember when I was younger we would always go to my grandparents’ for dinner. Being French Canadian, my grandma really knew how to cook a holiday feast right down to the home-preserved pickles, homemade ketchup, tortiere and mashed potatoes. I loved those potatoes so much she always made extra for me. And of course, there were 2 kinds of pie- one of them always pumpkin.

I was always so fixated on the pumpkin, I honestly have NO IDEA what the other one was. I had a selective memory as a child.

pumpkin pie squares | the veggie nook #vegan #glutenfree

Here’s my version of pumpkin pie. I am a lazy cook and couldn’t be bothered to make a traditional pie with crust, so I went for more of a square. And I made them no-bake because I could make them and just stick them in the fridge without having to pay them much mind. Crucial for days I feel like I’m running around with my head cut off trying to get a million things done.

These pumpkin pie squares are packed full of healthy fats from the nuts and coconut and tons of fibre and Vitamin A from the pumpkin. Of course this is dessert so it has to be sweet- maple syrup does a brilliant job of playing up the warming fall flavours and pumpkin pie spice gives it that real pie feel while also delivering a punch of blood-sugar balancing cinnamon. The real secret ingredient here? Coconut flour! Just a couple tablespoons really help thicken the filling up, giving it a traditional texture while also adding a dose of sweetness and fibre. Coconut flour is a tricky ingredient to get used to but it’s magical once you do.

pumpkin pie squares | the veggie nook #vegan #glutenfree

I hope some of you give this a try whether it’s for a Thanksgiving celebration or even if it’s just because it’s fall and that means ALL THE PUMPKIN.

Adapted from these bars from The Kitchn.

pumpkin pie squares
 
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A delicious bar that tastes like pumpkin pie but is way easier and healthier!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, no-bake
Serves: 9 bars
Ingredients
Crust
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
Filling
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ + 2 tbsp cup maple syrup or coconut nectar (or to taste)
  • ¼ + 2 tbsp cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
Instructions
  1. Line an 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper so you can lift the bars out for cutting.
  2. Crust: Place oats, pecans, coconut, cinnamon and sea salt in a food process and pulse until finely ground. Add in the dates and process until sticky and holds to together when you press it. Press the dough into your prepared pan and put in the fridge while you make the filling.
  3. Filling: Place all filling ingredients except coconut oil and flour in to the food processor and process until smooth and well combined. With the food processor running, pour in the coconut oil. Finally, while it’s still running, add the coconut flour. Pour on top of the prepared crust and smooth it out with a spatula.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving. Sprinkle with coconut shreds, pumpkin pie spice or coconut whipped cream and serve!

To all you Canadians, how was your Thanksgiving? Favourite dish you or a friend/family member made? These squares topped my list but there was this amazing apple cider sangria that deserves a mention…

Americans- have any of you started planning your Thanksgiving meals yet? Do you have anything you always make?

Everyone! What’s your favourite way to enjoy pumpkin (or any squash)?

lemon & ginger chocolate fudge cups {nairn’s review + giveaway}

lemon ginger chocolate fudge bites

There are a lot of different food cravings that exist out there. Sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, healthy, deep-fried, decadent, light. And comfort. Comfort is what I associate with Nairn’s.

Nains logo copy JPG

For the year I lived in Ireland, as a vegan, it was very hard to find comfort food when I was feeling homesick. The Irish are very proud of their dairy and hence it is in everything. Foods that it doesn’t need to be in! Every cracker, soup, even breads and most chocolate contained it. I enjoy cooking and baking so it wasn’t a big problem, but sometimes you just want a store-bought cookie (because they really do taste different) to dip into your Starbucks coffee (because it’s the same everywhere) and curl up and feel sorry for yourself. It was those times that I was so so so grateful for Nairn’s and their variety of healthy cookies.

So of course, when Nairn’s contacted me and asked if I would do a review of their products on the blog, I jumped at the chance! I had never tried their more savoury offerings before so this was a great opportunity to check out more of what they have to offer.

Nairn’s is a Scottish company that specializes in all things oats. From their website,

So you could say that here at Nairn’s we really do know our oats. We also know the importance of keeping our delicious award winning products as simple, wholesome and healthy as possible – the proof is in the taste.

I can certainly attest to this statement! What they make is delicious, using only whole oats and wholesome ingredients and they will satisfy any cracker or cookie craving you might have. I had a hard time stopping myself from eating the whole box! Thankfully, they are prepackaged into individual portions (which also makes taking them on the go super convenient)!

*before I go further, I should note that while Nairn’s does have certified gluten-free products, the products I am reviewing are not them. While containing no grains except oats, there is a risk for contamination. So if you are very sensitive to gluten, check out their gluten-free products. Not available in Canada.

Oatcakes

 nairns oatcakes

I tried the Rough Milled and Organic Oatcakes. They were both softer than a cracker, but chewy and really tasted like oats! This might be a silly statement but how often in our current food system does a food really taste like its’ ingredients? Not too often.

Oat Crackers

usandcanadaproductherosunflowerseed0

I tried the Oat Crackers with Sunflower Seeds. This were crunchy just like you would expect a cracker to be and have added sunflower seeds to they are actually quite filling.

Oat Biscuits

nairns oat biscuits

And now my favourites! These taste more wholesome than your average store-bought cookie: they have a distinct oat flavour. The oats lend a wonderful chewy texture to the crisp cookies. I tried..

The Chocolate Chip had rich dark chocolate chips, the Mixed Berries actually taste like real berries and the Stem Ginger had a wonderful kick. In fact, the ginger were my favourite so I decided to use them in a recipe.

I wanted to see how these biscuits would fare as a cookie crust. Turns out very well!

Nairn’s has also offered to send one lucky reader these products to try as well! To enter, leave a comment below telling me which product you’d like to try most! Giveaway will remain open for 1 week, until midnight on October 15, 2014.

lemon ginger chocolate fudge bites 2

lemon & ginger chocolate fudge cups
 
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Chocolate fudge bites brightened up with lemon and ginger.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: vegan, gluten-free
Serves: 7
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 packet of Nairn’s Ginger Oat Cookies (5 cookies)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • small pinch sea salt
Fudge
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • lemon zest for topping
Instructions
  1. Line 7 muffin tins with paper cups.
  2. Pulse the crust ingredients in a food processor until the cookies are broken down and it sticks together when you press on it. Press into bottom of prepared muffin liners and put in the fridge while you make the filling.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over low heat. Add the almond butter and honey and stir until combined with the melted coconut oil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cacao powder and lemon zest until fully incorporated. Pour filling onto of the cookie crust and place in the fridge for a few hours until hardened. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Thank you to Nairn’s for these wonderful products and for providing a giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided the products for review free of charge, but I was in no way obligated to post a positive review. All opinions are completely my own.

lemon poppyseed & coconut quinoa bake {gf}

lemon poppyseed quinoa bake2

I come to you all today, with a very un-fall-like recipe. No pumpkin, no squash, apples, or anything of the like. In fact I actually chose lemon and coconut- two tropical flavours that are much happier in the spring and summer. So just what am I doing?

Fall is hands-down my favourite season, even with the knowledge that winter will follow. I love the colours, the copious amounts of tea, coffee, cider, hot chocolate, etc. that I can justify drinking, the sweaters, scarves and boots that I get to pull out of hibernation and the cool crisp breezes I feel on my face. I love the flavours of the food and the feeling of a “new start” that the school year always brings. Continue reading

let’s catch up over some tea (and gf tea & date quick bread)

tea and date quick bread (vegan and gf) - the veggie nook

It’s been a while eh?

This past summer was both difficult and wonderful all at the same time and it left me with little time to blog. It started as an accident and became a conscious decision to take time for myself.

I won’t bore you with all the details of my absence, but I will certainly highlight some of the more wonderful things: Continue reading