Pumpkin Spice Balls

We are well into October, but here in Bristol, we are being spoiled by beautiful weather this weekend. Walking around was so perfect and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter will be here soon. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I went to Zero Green in Bedminster, one of Bristol’s many plastic free shops. You bring your own containers, weigh, fill, then weigh again. The oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, date/raisins, and pulp are from this shop. They also feature almond, cashew, and oat mylk in glass bottles from a lovely company called O!Mylk. They often leave leftover nut pulp for customers to take for free! So I took about a cups worth and decided to make these Pumpkin Spice Balls. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (or desiccated almonds if you don’t have pulp)
  • 1/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 5-6 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds to coat

Place the pulp, oats, dates & raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice in a bowl. The pulp is moist, so I found it best to mix together with a fork, working all the ingredients together as much as possible.

Once mixed, it should look a bit crumbly, as seen above.

Next, add the honey, nut butter, and pumpkin. Really stir it through so that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and not holding, you can add a bit more pumpkin. If it’s turned out too wet, just sprinkle on a bit more oats.

After rolling into a ball, I squished pumpkin seeds onto the outside. You really have to press them in as they don’t stick easily. Alternatively, you can drizzle the balls in chocolate or icing, then put the seeds on.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Spice Balls! They were super easy to make and would be a fun activity for little ones. There are also a lot of ways to adapt this recipe to your liking. You can always use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey. And if you like them sweeter, add more honey and slightly less pumpkin to bind. I think toasted pecans or chocolate chips would work really well in these treats. However you make them, this is a great way to create a healthy snack without producing much waste.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

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Pumpkin Spice Scones

Happy October! Now it’s time for all things pumpkin, which really is one of my favourite things to eat. I’ve also noticed a lot more businesses are offering pumpkin spice flavored treats, which I plan on reviewing at a later date. Anyhow, on to these delicious scones. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pumpkin seeds to top scones

First, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix very well, making sure you break up any brown sugar lumps.

Next, add the pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Mix very well until the wet ingredients are fully incorporated, creating a sticky dough.

Place 8 even portions of the dough on your baking sheet. Top with pumpkin seeds. Since my seeds are raw, I like putting them on top so they end up with a nice, toasted flavor. Also, if any one likes my baking mat, I got it for £5 at Sainsbury’s.

Place into the oven at 350 F / 180 C for 15 minutes. Once done, take out the oven and let cool completely.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Scones that are vegan, egg free, dairy free, and delicious!

Even without butter, these are soft, chewy, and bursting with pumpkin spice flavor. They are easy to make as you just put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix it up, and bake. No fuss! And if you’re wondering where to find canned pumpkin, Sainsbury’s tends to have them in the American (junk) food aisle. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Easy Blackberry Jam

The weather is starting to turn, but we’re still having lots of sunny afternoons with cool breezes. And, there are still blackberries to be harvested. So, I thought I’d make some easy Blackberry jam with my last haul. It makes a small batch, which is approximately one jar. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon

After washing your blackberries very well, place in a small sauce pan with the sugar.

Next, grab a masher and spend several minutes smashing the heck out of those berries. You really want to get the juice flowing so that the berries become a liquid purée like mash up.

There will still be bits of berry, but as you can see above, it should have lots of juice. Place on the stove and set on high. I used mark 5.

Bring the berry mash to a boil, stirring it the entire time. By constantly stirring, you’ll ensure it does not burn. Once it boils for about 5 minutes, put on medium low and simmer until it thickens. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the spoon.

Juice the lemon, and stir in the liquid while the berry mixture is still hot.

Make sure your jar is already prepared. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled to sterilise. While the liquid is still hot, spoon jam into the jar. It will firm up as it cools.

And there you have it, one batch of Easy Blackberry Jam! This is the perfect way to preserve the last of the summer fruit to enjoy into the cold winter months. Stir it in porridge, put it in yogurt, or enjoy on some toast! However you slice it, this jam is just too easy to pass up. Give it a try before the berries disappear. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Coconut Banana Cookies

Hello Bristol! Anyone else loving these cooler temperatures? I get the feeling that autumn is upon us and that means I can finally fire up the oven! So, as I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, I wanted to make these cookies which are great snacks packed with energy. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin)
  • 1/4 raisins (or chocolate chips)

First, mash your bananas very well. The riper they are, the sweeter they’ll be, and the easier they will mash up.

At this point, add some vanilla, stirring it in thoroughly.

Next, add the coconut, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. I will add that although the pink bag of coconut says flour, it’s more like finely shredded coconut. I do have actual coconut flour which is much finer. I suppose you can use that as well, and if so, let me know how it turns out.

Spoon out the mixture onto a cookie sheet, flattening them a bit. Place them in an oven heated to 350 F / 180 C for 15 minutes. If you want a bit more browning on top, add another 3-5 minutes to that.

And there you have it, Coconut Banana Cookies! These were super easy to make, and start to finish, took just over 30 minutes or so. You can also customize these as you like once you have the banana, coconut, and vanilla base. I think chocolate chips and walnuts would be great together, as well as dates and almonds. However you bake them, this recipe is hard to mess up. Give these a try this weekend as the cooler weather rolls in. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

No Bake Cookies

Anyone else hot up in here? Ok, ok, so I know that the weather we’ve been experiencing is called summer – I did grow up in California after all! But after living in Bristol, this sudden heat is all so sudden! I’ve not really baked anything lately because I don’t want to heat up my home any more than I need to. Most homes here don’t have that precious central air conditioning, so we kinda have to rely on harbour side breezes. However, I wanted something sweet to enjoy while watching football and I have to clear out my cupboards. Hence, no bake cookies… aka I’ve got coconut flour and golden syrup that needs to be used up. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cups coarse coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Step one, pour all ingredients into a bowl! Great recipe right? I did make my own almond flour with raw almonds I got from the Zero Green shop in Bristol, and added some organic cranberries I got there as well. And if you’re looking for a coarse coconut flour, I got this one at Southville Deli ages ago, but I’ve also seen the same brand at Sainsbury’s.

Next, mix it up! If you find the dough is still a bit dry, you can add a bit more syrup or almond milk to bind it together.

Once the dough is a bit sticky, roll into cookie like shapes and place on a plate.

Pop into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes to set.

And there you go, No Bake Cookies, made unique by whatever you’ve got in your kitchen. There are a lot of ways to personalise these as you see fit. You can add nuts and/or chocolate chips. And you can substitute honey or maple syrup for the golden syrup. Or drizzle caramel or chocolate on top. Oh go ahead, just dip them in the chocolate! And the best part is that you don’t have to power up the oven! Make these ahead of time for a cool summer treat, or to bring to a World Cup get together. Stay cool Bristol, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Oat and Banana Energy Bites

Today is bank holiday Monday and it is absolutely gorgeous! I had a fantastic run this morning and decided to make this recipe as a post workout treat. And although I do enjoy running as a hobby, this time it’s in training for the Bristol 10k. I also decided to raise funds for the Bristol city centre hospital charity, Above and Beyond, which does some really great things for so many patients. If you would like to make a donation towards my fundraising goal, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/candice-cole

And if you’d like to make these delicious energy bites, here is what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups oats (270 g)
  • 4 tablespoons milled linseed or flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (170g)
  • 1 cup peanut butter or nut blend (225g)

Go ahead and mix up the oats, linseed, and cinnamon. Put aside.

Next, mash the bananas. Make sure your bananas are ripe. This ensures they are soft which makes it a lot easier to mash into a smooth purée.

Add the vanilla, honey, and nut butter to the bananas, stirring very well.

Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture, and mix very well. Once thoroughly incorporated, let sit for about 10 minutes for the oats to absorb some of the banana mixture.

At this point, roll into balls and place on a piece of parchment or baking paper. If the dough is still a bit wet, you can add a bit more linseed, or roll with something like coarse coconut flour, chopped nuts, or mini chocolate chips.

Place in the freezer for an hour to set.

And there you have it, Oat & Banana Energy Bites! They are the perfect pre-workout, post-workout, or sitting on the couch snack! You can even have these for breakfast or an afternoon pick me up. It’s also tasty to try different nut butters like a coconut peanut butter, as I did in mine. Next time I’ll experiment with different bits to roll in it, although the coconut is delicious! However you make them, I hope you savour these healthy treats! Enjoy the good weather and if you’re around on Sunday May 13th, cheer on all of us running the Bristol 10k in the city centre. Remember your sunscreen, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Eggy Tartlets

I decided to give up meat for lent and am looking forward to trying out the veggie options at my favorite Bristol eateries. However, I can’t eat out every day and I can easily get into the habit of making the same thing over and over again. So when you’re tired of the same ol’ omelette, just add pastry! Here is what you’ll need:

  • Shortcrust pastry
  • Puff pastry
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 handful chopped spinach
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

First, you’ll want to cook the mushrooms and onion. If I’m baking, I like sweating out all the liquid so the pastry doesn’t absorb it instead.

While that’s cooking, go ahead and cut two squares of short crust pastry.

Next, cut two equal squares of puff pastry and cut out a smaller square from each of those.

Place the puff pastry “window” square on top of the short crust square. Using a fork,press down on the outside edges to seal them together.

Best the eggs thoroughly with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Brush the pastry with some beaten egg and place in a oven heated to 180 C / 350 F for 7 minutes. Why 7 you ask? For my oven, it allowed a pre-bake that made the puff pastry rise enough to hold the egg mixture that comes next.

Chop up the bell pepper and spinach, adding it to the beaten eggs along with the cooked mushrooms and onions.

Scoop a generous portion of the egg mixture into the center of each bit of pastry. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.

And there you have it, Eggy Tartlets! These took a little more time to make than I had hoped, but makes a great vegetarian main foe those times when you don’t want an omelette, but you’ve got heaps of eggs to use up.

You can pretty much add whatever veggies you’d like or even some cheese. For an extra kick, I drizzled some sriracha over them. These would also go great with a side salad or some roasted potatoes.

That’s all for this week! It’s supposed to get super cold tonight, so if you stock up on eggs, these tartlets will definitely warm you up. Take care and mind the ice Bristol! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and hopefully you have all your ingredients in order. If not, there is still a bit of time. If you happen to have to cater for a vegan guest, this week’s recipe would make a great dish on your menu. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup cooked couscous
  • 1 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed pecan pieces
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 butter nut squash, cut in half, seeded

Add the couscous and oats to a bowl.

Next add the pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, and raisins.

Add the honey and cinnamon to the mixture and combine well.

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place in a baking dish and measure out the filling evenly into each half.

Place in the oven at 350 F / 180 C, on the lower rack (to avoid burning) for ~45 minutes.

And there you go, Stuffed Butternut Squash! These were delicious and not too sweet. The nuts gave it a savoury bit of flavour and the cinnamon made my kitchen smell so good! I highly recommend trying this, especially since it’s easy to customize and change the filling as you see fit.

Enjoy your week and watch out for the rain in the forecast. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Pea & Vegetable Soup

I know it sounds crazy, but I really like when the weather turns cold. It means I can use my slow cooker for a lot of meals, which means dinner is warm and ready when I get back from work. So continuing with savoury things this month, my slow cooker prepared a lovely soup for me the other night that was hearty and satisfying for a vegetarian soup. This Pea & Vegetable soup can easily be made vegan by substituting veggie stock instead of the chicken stock. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 small potatoes, or 1 large one
  • 5 cups frozen peas
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 chicken stock cubes (use veggie stock cubes to make it vegan)

First chop up the onion, celery, and leek, and throw it in the pot.

Next, chop up the bell pepper and carrot, adding it to the other veggies in the pot.

Chop up the potato and also throw that in. There isn’t really an order of chopping here. It will taste the same regardless of what you chop first, but this is the order I did it.

Next, add the frozen peas.

Lastly, throw in the stock cubes and add the water.

Place the lid on top and let it cook away on medium for ~6 hours. If on high, you can cook it for 4-5 hours.

Once the cooking has been completed, give it a good stir. Then, you can go ahead and use a hand blender to make it smooth.

If you don’t have a hand blender, you can get similar results by using a potato masher.

And there you have it, Pea & Vegetable Soup! This was the perfect thing to eat after a long day at work.

You can also add pepper to it to enhance the flavour. My husband modified his by adding cooked gammon (ham) bits. I didn’t add any other spices or seasonings other than the chicken stock and pepper at the end. This is because the recipe uses really fragrant vegetables, that when cooked together, gives it a wonderful flavour of its own. But of course, you can always add other spices if you’d like. That’s all for this week my lovers! Enjoy your weekend and if you get the chance, have a walk around Bristol and check out the Christmas market stalls around town. Maybe whip up a batch of this soup before you head out for an easy dinner, ready for you when you return. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!