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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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I never really understood the whole pumpkin craze that arose at the beginning of every fall.  The only pumpkin I would usually see came out of a can and ended up in a pumpkin pie, which I never really liked. 

The last couple of years I have been getting in the kitchen and experimenting with this seasonal vegetable and I am really growing to love it.  Here is another seasonal treat that is great for replacing your overly sugared and processed store bought cereals and granolas. 

This is a little more savory than most granolas and it is another reason I like it so much.  It is great for breakfast with homemade almond milk or as I have it here: served over a banana with a dollop of almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop it is a perfect time to get inside and try some new recipes.  But still take some time to enjoy the autumn colors.  Bundle up and go for a hike!  We went exploring in the Dolly Sods this weekend.  Even though a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves it was a beautiful fall day to be outside. 

Pumpkin Spice Granola with Pecans and Cranberries
Makes about 5 cups


1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch ground gloves

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/3 cup quinoa or millet (uncooked)

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

3 tbsp hemp seeds

3 tbsp flax seeds, freshly ground

1/2 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)


1. Preheat oven to 250°.

2. Combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, spices and sea salt in a small pan over medium-low heat.  Stir until combined and remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl stir together oats, quinoa, pecans, pepitas, hemp seeds and ground flax seeds.

4. Add pumpkin mixture to bowl and stir until thoroughly coated.

5. Spread mixture onto a large parchment paper lined sheet pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour or until starting to brown and get crispy.

7. Remove from oven and stir in dried cranberries.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 

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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.