20 Days of Happiness Part 8 – Pumpkin Season

There’s a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where Ernie and Burt (from Sesame Street) have a conversation with Doc (from Fraggles) and Ernie and Burt can’t help pointing out what letter every word begins with.  “Bunk beds: B words!” they say as Ernie chortles.  When Doc looks at them askance they explain, “Where we come from, this is small talk.”  My sister once said that the scene reminded her of our family — except that complaining, not letters, are our family’s small talk.  It’s not that we are unhappy people.  We just like to air our grievances.  But sometimes it’s good to air positive feelings too and that’s just what I plan to do.  For my next 13 posts, I’ll focus on the many reasons I have to be happy.

Pumpkin Ziti

Pumpkin Ziti

All Plated Up

All Plated Up

TECHNICALLY, IT’S FALL FOR 10 MORE DAYS

As a kid, fall was my favorite season.  It was a time when everything seemed fresh and new — new clothes, new books, new teachers, changing leaves and crisp fall weather.  Here in L.A., the early part of fall is often one of the hottest times of the year.  I’m more likely to be digging out my swimsuit than my winter jacket.  Fortunately, though, late fall often has weather that I find more seasonable and I seize the few days that drop below 60 as an opportunity to cram in all of my sweater wearing and fall cooking.

Nothing says autumn like pumpkin and this year I stocked up on both fresh and canned.  Since pumpkin is equally at home in sweet and savory recipes, it’s been making plenty of appearances on our plates.  The pumpkin ziti from Veganomicon (above) is one of my absolute favorite pumpkin recipes.  With a pumpkin cashew ricotta filling and sage crumb  topping, it’s creamy, crunchy, pumpkin-y and indistinguishable from its dairy equivalent.

Inspired by a menu item at a very veg-unfriendly diner, I also tried my hand at pumpkin stuffed french toast.  The filling is vegan cream cheese, pumpkin, agave and spices.  Although it was tasty, the filling was not firm enough for my liking, so the recipe needs some work before it is fit to share.  (I’m thinking that a pumpkin butter and cream cheese filling will strike the right balance between taste and texture — and maybe look less like grilled cheese).

Happy fall everyone!

Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast

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