Pumpkin Applesauce Cranberry Walnut Wheat-Germ Muffins

Contrary to what the title of this post might lead you to believe, I did not make five different kinds of muffin.  (That would just be crazy!)

So, here’s the thing.  I am obsessed with pumpkin.  Never before have I eaten much (or any) pumpkin, and I certainly have never cooked or baked with it.  But, ever since I made those Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins, I’ve had pumpkin on the brain.  I’m a few recipes behind on my blogging, but so far I believe I have made:

And now:

  • Pumpkin Applesauce Cranberry Walnut Wheat-Germ Muffins (adapted from Veganomicon)

Hmm…That’s a lot of pumpkin!

The original recipe in Veganomicon is for Banana-Wheat Germ Muffins.  But I didn’t want banana.  I wanted pumpkin.  (And yes, I know there are a zillion pumpkin muffin recipes out there that I could have followed, but I was attracted to the wheat germ, too.)  And, since the obsession has arisen, I have a well stocked cupboard full of (among other things) cans of pumpkin puree.  So I chose to modify the recipe as it was written, and turn it into Pumpkin Everything Muffins.  Here’s what I used:

Pumpkin Everything Muffin Ingredients

Pumpkin Everything Muffin ingredients. (As you can see, I love Sunflower Market.)

  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
  • *3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • *1/3 cup natural applesauce (mine was homemade)
  • *1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • *1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • *3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • *1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • *1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • *3/4 cup halved fresh cranberries

(*Ingredients with an asterisk are those that I changed or added to the original recipe.)

The main changes I made were to use pumpkin instead of banana, applesauce instead of oil, add pumpkin pie-like spices, and add nuts and cranberries.

For the directions, I pretty much followed the recipe book:

  1. I combined the soy milk and the vinegar, and let them curdle for a bit.
  2. Then, I turned the oven to 375 and put the walnuts in the oven to toast while it was heating up.
  3. While the milk was curdling and the walnuts were toasting, I mixed together all the dry ingredients.
  4. Then, I mixed together the wet ingredients, starting with the curdled milk.
  5. I took the walnuts out of the oven, and dumped them into the dry ingredients.
  6. I chopped the cranberries in halves and stirred them into the wet ingredients.
  7. I poured the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mixed as little as I could, so that the dry ingredients were mixed with the wet ones.
  8. Then, I oiled a muffin tin. I scooped a little less than 1/3 cup of batter into each of the muffin spots (except one – I ended up with 11 muffins instead of 12.)
Pumpkin Everything Muffins, ready to go in the oven.

Pumpkin Everything Muffin batter, ready to go in the oven.

When I took the muffins out 27 minutes later, they were beautiful and very healthylicious looking.  (Healthylicious is a new portmanteau I just made up.  It means healthy and delicious, and comes from the same place in my brain as the word amazingfood.)

Pumpkin Everything Muffins, baked and ready to devour.

Pumpkin Everything Muffins, baked and ready to devour.

I was curious about the nutrition information for these muffins, so I submitted it to SparkRecipes.  According to that website (I don’t know if it’s correct or not), each muffin has:

  • 140 calories
  • 3 grams fat
  • 4.5 grams fiber
  • 4.5 grams protein

I’d say that’s pretty good for such a tiny Frankenstein(‘s Monster) of a homemade muffin.  These are muffins I can feel good about eating for breakfast.  (Or lunch.  Or dinner.  Or a snack.)

I’m excited(/worried) to see what other pumpkin-themed food I make next… I should stock up on cans while they’re on sale for the autumn/winter holiday season.

And, on a non-edible note, my awesome roommate got me a wonderful contraption.  A cookbook holder!  I no longer have to precariously balance cans of beans, jars of applesauce, or half-full mugs of tea on my cookbook pages to keep the book open.  The recipes are now clear and at eye-level in a lovely cast-iron cookbook holder.

Cookbook holder!

Cookbook holder, displaying Veganomicon's recipe for Banana-Wheat Germ Muffins.

Thanks to my roommate!

I am the newest member of the Chickpea Cutlet Fan Club!

So, I finally succumbed to the hype, and made The Post Punk Kitchen’s Chickpea Cutlets.  (I actually made the Doublebatch of Chickpea Cutlets, even though it was my first attempt, because the hype was so positive.)

Upon reading the recipe on The PPK, my hope was that these would taste something like the Morningstar Farms Chik Patties or the Boca Chik’n Patties.  I had long had an embarrassing obsession with these (I think I liked the Morningstar ones more, but I could never really remember, so I always just bought whatever was on sale.)  Since going vegan and working to eliminate chemicals and preservatives from my eating habits, I haven’t bought these “vegetarian junk food” items, as my roommate and I used to refer to them.   In my pre-vegan days I would cook up one of those chick’n patties and top it with tomato sauce and cheese and have a lovely little veggie chick’n parmesan.  Or, I would put on some salsa, jalapeños, and cheese, slice it up, put it in a tortilla, and serve it up Mexican style.  Or, I’d mix together some honey and mustard, and serve it with a honey mustard sauce.  Or, I’d put on catsup and mustard and eat it on a pita like a chick’n sandwich.

In the past, I’ve sort of had possibly unhealthy streaks of chick’n patty overdose.

Now, though, I was ready to move on and be a healthier person.  I was ready to try the famed Chickpea Cutlets.  They’re originally from Veganomican, but I used the recipe off the website (see above).  Of the 167 comments posted about the recipe, nearly all of them are positively glowing.  Much like when I made the heavenly delicious Mac and ‘Shews recipe a few months ago, I didn’t believe that the hype could be true.  But, much like 234 commenters couldn’t be wrong about the Mac and ‘Shews, those commenters erecting monuments in honor of the Chickpea Cutlets are pretty much right.  The Chickpea Cutlets are a winning food all around (unless you can’t eat gluten, sorry.)

These delicious patties are made mostly of chickpeas, vital wheat gluten, veggie broth, and spices.  That’s it.  So quick, so easy, so perfect.

I do have to admit that I had a bit of trouble, though.  The recipe says to mash the chickpeas, which I tried to do, but I don’t think I mashed them enough.  When it came time to mix everything together, the chickpeas had a really hard time incorporating into the rest of the dough.  This was such a problem, that I ended up loosing a good deal of them in the process – I just could not get the chickpeas to mix in with the rest.  When I divided up the dough to make into patties, I ended up with about 1/2 cup (maybe more) of chickpeas sitting sad and alone at the bottom of my mixing bowl.  Next time I make these (and there WILL be a next time, probably really, really soon), I will make sure to smoosh the chickpeas even more.  Hopefully that will help them to incorporate into the dough more fully.

Also, instead of pan frying the patties, I baked them in the oven.  They came out absolutely lovely and delicious.  (I sprayed the baking sheet with olive oil, then sprayed the top of the patties with olive oil, too.  I flipped the patties after about 20 minutes, and let them cook ten more minutes after that.)  I should add, though, that when I say “lovely,” I simply mean that they weren’t burned and they tasted good.  They weren’t quite round, or oval, or any recognizable shape.  But they tasted like I wanted them to, and that’s what mattered.

As luck would have it, I think I have finally found my homemade substitute for those preservative-laden store-bought chick’n patties.

Chickpea Cutlet

Close up of the chickpea cutlet.

I didn’t get any pictures of the chickpea cutlets alone, but that’s okay.  They are pretty boring looking.  Here, though, is a close-up of a chickpea cutlet covered in tomato sauce and nutritional yeast.  So yummy!

Chickpea Cutlet Parmesan

Zoomed out a bit, with a view of some pasta beside the chickpea cutlet.

I usually don’t eat much pasta, but I made an exception here.  I felt that a chickpea cutlet just begged to be eaten beside some whole wheat pasta, with everything drowned in nutritional yeast.  (And really, who am I to deny the chickpea cutlet what it wants?)  It was good!

Perhaps I became a vegetarian all those years ago because I just didn’t like having to cut meat.  One of the selling points of the chickpea cutlet for many people is that you need to eat it with a steak knife.  Well, I don’t want to eat it with a steak knife.  I’d rather eat it with a fork and nothing else.  So, I tore a chickpea cutlet into bite-sized pieces and mixed it in with some pasta and sauce (and a good dousing of nutritional yeast).  This method worked wonderfully.  No knife, no fuss!

Chickpea Cutlet in Pasta

Pre-cut chickpea cutlet with pasta.

The next day for lunch I had my last serving of Mac and ‘Shews that I made months ago and froze in individual containers.  I though, ‘why not tear up a chickpea cutlet and add it to the Mac and ‘Shews?!’  So I did, and it was perfect.

I also ate a chickpea cutlet with catsup and mustard in a pita bread.  Delicious.

I had half of a leftover sweet potato sandwich that I was going to eat.  I wondered what would happen if I added a chickpea cutlet to the sandwich.  So, I tried it and it was great!

I would like to officially become a member of Chickpea Cutlet fan club.  I plan to make them many more times, and devise many more ways to eat them.