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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Thanksgiving, at it's core, is about coming together and giving thanks.  Thanks for the harvest, thanks for community and thanks for another year of health.  Let's keep that at the forefront as we enter this holiday season. 

I encourage you to take time to sit in gratitude.  I promise, when we focus on the things we are grateful for we actually feel better, happier and my guess is more pleasant to be around.  This year I am thankful for so much; a happy and healthy baby boy, a loving and supportive husband, an adventure loving husky, wonderful family and a safe home to call our own.   This chapter of my life isn't exactly what I pictured but it is quite wonderful and everyday I choose gratitude.

 

Now, onto this rich and creamy soup!  I can't say that I love every pumpkin soup I try.  I knew if I was going to create one it needed a little bit of a twist.  A little added intrigued and I think the combination of creamy coconut milk and spicy and flavorful ginger meld perfectly with the sweetness of pumpkin.

This is a great addition to your holiday menu and you can even make it ahead of time and heat right before serving.  One less thing to do on Thanksgiving Day!  If you try this recipe I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. 

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

In gratitude,

Crystal

Coconut Ginger Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 baking pumpkin, around 2 1/2 lb
Cooking oil, preferably avocado
2 shallots (or 1 small onion), sliced
3 cloves of garlic
1 15 oz can of coconut milk
1 heaping tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
3 cups of vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper, to taste
toppings of choice

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds.  Drizzle both sides with about 1 to 2 tbsp oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place open side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

2. While the pumpkin cooks, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add in the sliced shallot and whole garlic cloves.  Cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat and set aside.

3. When pumpkin is done, remove from oven.  Allow to cool and remove skins.  Rough chop the pumpkin.

4. In a blender add the can of coconut milk*, grated ginger, cooked shallots and garlic, 3 cups of vegetable stock or water and the pumpkin.  Blend until a smooth consistency is reached.  CAUTION:  if your ingredients are hot start blending very slowly and/or blend in batches.**

5. Pour soup into the large pot that was used for the shallots and garlic.  Heat over medium until starting to bubble, reduce heat to low.  Cook until warmed through and desired consistency is reached, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

6. Ladle into a bowl and serve with your favorite toppings: a swirl of coconut milk, micro greens or parsley, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds if you are feeling extra festive.

Notes: *Reserve a couple spoonfuls if you would like to use as a garnish.  **Be very careful if any of your ingredients are hot.  Hot liquids expand and can send the lid to your blender flying and liquid everywhere.  If your blender is small or you are worried about it being hot, split between multiple batches and stir together in the pot once completed.

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Jun 01, 2017

 

I love hummus.  I remember when it was first starting to gain popularity and wasn't just seen as a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food staple.  I would try every brand to find my favorite, which changed over time as I was exposed to new brands.  I even tried making it a few times but I could never get the texture and consistency just right.  I had lots of good versions at restaurants and mine just never lived up to it.  All of the research I did said I needed to add tons of oil and I just couldn't get myself to pour in half a bottle of olive oil when I was making it at home.  First, because it was expensive and second, I could see no reason to add all of that fat (not that I'm opposed to healthy fats).  So mine always turned out too dry and not that rich creamy texture you think of with good hummus.  For the time being, I gave up making it and resorted to only eating it at restaurants or the store bought varieties.  After a while, I got frustrated with all the packaged varieties and their ingredients.  I didn't want it with canola oil and preservatives but it was hard to find so back into the kitchen I went. 

This time I decided I would try adding a mixture of oil, tahini and water to see if I could still get the rich mouth feel that the oil and tahini gives it but come to a creamy consistency with the added water and not spend my whole paycheck on olive oil.  After a few tries, I had a great recipe (in my so humble opinion) that I could actually be proud of.  I've been using this recipe for a couple years now and it is a fantastic template for any other other hummus your heart desires.  I have used this base recipe with caramelized onions and balsamic, cilantro and jalapeño and I've even switched out the chickpeas for white beans to make a delicious white bean hummus.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  I hope you will give it a try and please let me know in the comments below if you would like me to share my other hummus recipes with you!

Love and hummus for all,

Crystal

Hummus

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of chickpeas, cooked and drained*
1/3 cup tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Put all of the ingredients (except the water) in a food processor.  Pulse until starting to combine.  Scrape down the sides.

2. Turn the food processor to on and start to drizzle in the water.  Scraping the sides occasionally.  Add until a nice creamy consistency is made.  It usually takes about 1/4 to 1/3 cups water. 

Notes: *To get the creamiest hummus I've been told you need to peel the chickpeas.  I'm sure it probably works but I can't get myself to take this step.  It's up to you if want to spend your day peeling beans but I think it is still good and creamy without this step!

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Growing up, Almond Joys were my favorite candy bar.  My dad would often pick me up from elementary school and take me to 7 Eleven and I would almost always grab an almond joy and a cherry Icee.  Well, those sugar loaded days are gone but I still love the combination of coconut, chocolate and almond. 

While we were on the road it was nice not to have to cook three meals a day so overnight oats became an easy breakfast staple.  You may remember my Strawberry Almond Butter Overnight Oats I shared from Maine.  There are so many variations and flavor combinations you can try with this concept.

This recipe is packed full of superfoods and is perfect for people with busy mornings.  All you do is stir the ingredients together and place it in the refrigerator overnight, scoop it into a bowl to enjoy or pack it in a jar for a delicious breakfast to go.  Don't forget your spoon!

Happy mornings,

Crystal

 

Almond Joy Overnight Oats
Makes 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gf if needed)
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp maca powder (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/3 cup almond butter
2 to 3 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey*
2 1/4 cups almond milk (preferable homemade)**

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients: oats, chia seeds, cacao, maca (if using), coconut and almonds.

2. Add almond butter, sweetener of choice and almond milk.  Stir until everything is incorporated.

3. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

4.  Scoop into a bowl or pack in a jar to go.

Serving suggestion: top with coconut, almonds and cacao nibs.

Notes: *Depending on how sweet you like it.  I reccomend starting with 2 tbsp and you can taste and add from there.  **Check out my Almond Milk recipe here.


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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.