Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to our First Virtual Potluck! What better way to connect with friends and family living elsewhere during this special holiday?
Around the same time last year, I recall making these delicious mashed potato-meatloaf cupcakes (previously featured on our blog) at Ricelessasian’s home in Toronto. Since I’m thousands of miles away in Vancouver now, I thought it would be a good idea to connect with my East Coast friends who I haven’t seen in a while and bake something ‘together’ this weekend. I’m so glad that my partner-in-crime, Ricelessasian, was also on board with the idea!
Naturally, we decided to invite our friend and classmate Helen from EatPrayBake to participate in our virtual potluck. Helen is a fellow food blogger and a nutrition enthusiast. With her experience and interest in baking (especially in vegan treats :)), we thought she would be the perfect person to ask! To learn about some amazing vegan recipes and to see Helen’s potluck contribution (hearty Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne & Baked Sweet Potato Fries), visit her post here: http://eatpraybake.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/virtual-thanksgiving-potluck-with-underground-culinary-lab/ We know we can’t wait to try out her recipes one day!
Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly to be thankful for each day, but because of this virtual ‘assignment’, I’m thankful for having such amazing friends and fellow food bloggers to share recipes and travel stories with.
Wishing and hoping you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving wherever you are,
Criteria for the Potluck
1. Prepare a homemade dish
2. Use pumpkin as the Thanksgiving-related key ingredient
Pumpkin Bread (Ricelessasian’s contribution)
In keeping up with the pumpkin-themed baking Matchachoco has been doing lately, I decided to bake a simple pumpkin bread recipe for the virtual Thanksgiving potluck.
To be honest, I’m not really a huge fan of pumpkin desserts, but I recall enjoying a piece of pumpkin bread sample that I once got to try during a school event. Fortunately, recipe cards were also being given away at the event, and I was able to get the recipe for the pumpkin bread. Now I often misplace recipe cards that I get, but for some reason, I did not lose this one. I’m glad I didn’t! It’s been hanging around in my room for about two years now, and it’s only now I that I finally get to use it 😛
Some changes I made to the recipe were using canned pumpkin puree (to save time) and garnishing the top of the bread with pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds did not only give the bread a nice touch, but it also gave the pumpkin bread another layer of texture along with the walnuts.
I think I might have slightly overbaked the pumpkin bread as the crust felt a bit dry to me. However, the inside of the pumpkin bread still turned out soft, moist, and had fine crumbs—just how I wanted it. I found myself snacking on the pumpkin bread in small pieces throughout the day (help!).
P.S. I already ate two slices by the time I took the last photo.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies (Matchachoco’s contribution)
I think this was one of the simplest recipes I’ve made, but ironically my sister said this is one of the top 5 things I’ve ever baked. Haha which begs the question: is the simple route the best way to go? Knowing me, I really love to take on a good challenge and get bored of making something rather ordinary sometimes. But I don’t think I’ll hesitate to make these cookies for another potluck in the near future.
I enjoyed this recipe for many reasons! My favourite part about this cookie was that it was chewy in the center and a little crunchy on the bottom. I also had most of the ingredients already at home in my baking drawers (woohoo!), which was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any dairy-free chocolate chips at home to make this authentically vegan, but this recipe is versatile enough to be made for those without any dietary restrictions as well.
I originally thought this recipe would taste too ‘healthy’ for my family, in terms of them being bland, but the addition of dark chocolate chips made the cookies rather decadent and rich. The chips really spruced up the subtle flavour of the pumpkin and oats. This is definitely one guilt-free cookie that you can really love and enjoy second and third rounds!