Meatless Monday: Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup


Things I especially love about this time of year are plentiful.  While the days are noticeably shorter, there is still daylight. And in that daylight, there are still  warm hours of the day. I can still get by with wearing tank tops and shorts without feeling like a crazy person. The leaves have been vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, for a while now. Our fall has been mild so far; it’s obviously here — the trees are threatening to go bare, while brightly colored leaves litter the street; the mornings and evenings are cold enough for light sweaters and we’ve turned the heat on a few times now. Today has been wet and overcast, seeming ominous about the winter that slowly approaches.

Soup weather. I have never been someone who gets really excited about soup. Its taken almost three decades to grow any appreciation at all. Yesterday, however, it’s precisely what felt needed and the anticipation of cooking something that would bring warmth into the house and fill our home with the scent of homey, earthy food seemed necessary. Since our friends Ray and Janet shared some of their homegrown pumpkins with us again this year, I knew I wanted to experiment with a pumpkin soup (although I say every year that I will not succumb to the pumpkin-flavored-scented-whatever-everything-anything).

This soup is creamy and filling while remaining completely vegan. The beans add a fullness to the soup, while the coconut lends a bit of sweetness. It’s perfect for this time of year!


Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8 – 1o people.

One 4-pound cooking pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut manna
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1- 13.66 ounce can full-fat coconut milk



Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and membranous threads. Cut each half into four or five strips, following the natural vertical stripes along the sides of the pumpkin. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to peel the outer skin from the pumpkin. Dice into 1-inch cubes.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and coconut manna together over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent (5-7 minutes).

Stir in the salt, coriander, pepper, cubed pumpkin, cannellini beans, broth and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Once the pumpkin is fall-apart tender, remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup until smooth (you may have to do this in batches if working with a smaller blender or food processor).

Return the pureed soup to the stove over low heat. Stir in the coconut milk and vinegar, heating until the soup reaches your desired serving temperature. Serve while hot, topped with fresh black pepper and/or a bit of plain yogurt or sour cream (dairy-free versions of either of those will keep this soup completely vegan).


Day to Day Life: Weeks 39, 40, 41, 42!

I cringed when I just looked back to see how many weeks of these particular posts I’ve skipped… Four weeks! Life has been busy. Here’s a glimpse of the craziness:

One morning my mother in law invited me to go grape and plum picking with her… The result was 35.5 pounds of grapes and 11 pounds of plums!

And what does a girl do with all of that produce? Make 13 pints of grape jelly infused with orange zest and lavender. And then also make fresh grape juice, apple plum jam, and lots of marinara sauce (from the unpictured MASS quantities of tomatoes out of our garden).

A pretty rose for an early morning walk to the grocery store.

We’ve been out of town often for water polo… Vincent’s been killing it as the varsity goalie! He is also one of the captains for their team — a role generally reserved for senior players… which he won’t be until next year (!).

Silas’ sister also plays water polo for Ashland High School. She, too, has been a great asset for the team.

You know who else gets to go out of town for water polo? This dude.

And this dude/dudette.

My favorite food group… NOODLES.

A tiny, tiny vertical rainbow in there… Up north, near Eugene.

I went on an adventure with my friend Janet one day… Evidence of the drought we’ve been experiencing around here — the lake is essentially nonexistent at the moment.

Janet, right smack in the middle of the “lake.”

Looking like a southern Oregon photographing hippie… Photo by Jazzy Renteria (Jazzy Photography)

There’s something beautiful in this sad dried landscape (including the fact that it’ll likely be full again come spring time).

Midweek margaritas, don’t mind if I do!

Like I said… favorite food group! Noodles! Enjoying the last of our basil as homemade pesto.

A random, last minute dinner one night — red lentil coconut curry with tofu and garbanzo beans.

Chicken likes when I wear dangly earrings…

A big ‘ole southern style dinner.

Despite losing yesterday’s game, and feeling really sad about it, this boy shared a smile with his grandmother.

One of my favorite snacks. Smashed avocado on toast with lots of black pepper and flaky salt.

Hope the last few weeks have been good for you! :)

Saturday Sites: Week Forty-Two


  1. These inappropriate spelling mistakes from kids made/makes me literally LOL.

  2. I often over-think salads. Seriously. This is a good reminder.

  3. There are some important things in this article.

  4. It’s true that I could probably eat an entire block of tofu myself, especially prepared like this!

  5. Are you curious about milks other than dairy milk? Our kids are huge fans of vanilla rice milk, of which I do not care for. I like a good vanilla almond or cashew milk. For cooking, I do prefer dairy, however.

  6. Hah — number 22.

  7. What kids all around the world eat for breakfast.

  8. An interesting read and a simple concept!

  9. I immediately need to know who this guys is (mainly because I’m an asshole).

  10. Let’s make (but more importantly, eat!) this stew.

  11. I think there are huge importances in these words: It did however give way to my biggest triumph in life, in that of using vulnerability to eradicate shame. I can relate to this deeply and admire Abigail’s bravery.

  12. This was probably the story of my life from about the ages of 11 through 22.

  13. ‘Tis the time of year where I say, I will not, I will not, I will not make pumpkin flavored ANYTHING. However, this pumpkin curry that is cooked in the crock pot is enticing!

  14. These are one of my favorite kinds of cookies. Except I would make a different filling because marshmallow fluff ain’t my thang.

  15. I admit… I have listened to this song about half a billion, maybe a whole billion times this week. We lost a very dear friend who is, and was, much too young to not be here anymore. He is who I think of when I listen to this.

  16. Hah! Drunk J Crew models?

  17. I. Feel. All. These. Things. Please don’t be offended.

  18. These cookies are happening in my kitchen this week.

  19. This site is crazy-mesmerizing.

  20. Yes, to these words.

Joy the Baker’s Man-Bait Apple Crisp

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Oh, hello out there… Are you still here, there, somewhere in this funny shaped little blogosphere? I am not sure where all the days have gone, nor how we’re in mid-October now… And while I’m at it, when did fall hit in full-force? Life has been a series of chaos and busyness, as this time of year often turns out to be. Blogging has sort of took ten steps back from every day living. But I am still here. Still cooking frequently, photographing when the opportunities present themselves (although currently, that has mainly meant photos from Silas’ football games and Vincent’s water polo tournaments) and trying to catch up on sleep in-between the messes and constant go-go-go.

When we are traveling frequently, I miss my kitchen. While I don’t miss the piled up dishes in the least bit, I do miss cooking and having that creative space to dive into whenever I want. The warmth of anything home-baked always seems to allow an immediacy into feeling like you’re back home–the deep earthy, sweet smells as well as the literal warmth of the oven running–they’re an easy invite and welcome. This time of year, when apples are in their full glory, my first inclination is to bake up a pie. But then in the last few years, I’ve learned the beauty of a good apple (or whatever fruit you want!) crisp, wherein the smells are equally as intoxicating but the work is so much lighter.

While I have made various apple crisps before, this is my new all-time favorite. With a name like “Man-Bait Apple Crisp” how can you not enjoy such a treat? It’s simple, perfect, and most importantly — delicious.

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Joy the Baker’s Man-Bait Apple Crisp

Yields one 9×13-inch pan

(You can cut this recipe in half and use an 8-inch square pan)

10 to 12 medium-sized apples
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2 2⁄3 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
11⁄3 cups chopped pecans
2⁄3 cup quick-cooking oats
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

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Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

Peel and core the apples, then cut them into 1⁄4-inch thick slices. In a small bowl, mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Place all of the apple slices in the prepared baking dish then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Toss the apples with the cinnamon sugar, using your hands, until the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and oats in a medium sized bowl. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients, using your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Remove 1 heaping cup of the flour mixture, then sprinkle it over the apples. Toss with your hands to incorporate.
Spread the remaining topping evenly over the apples.

Bake the crisp until topping is toasted and apples are bubbling, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Scoop the warm crisp into bowls. Serve as is or topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Ethiopian Food, Part 4: Atkilt Wat

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I’ve shared a number of Ethiopian recipes with you, and this is the last one to round out all of those dishes.

I am not a huge fan of cabbage. As a kid, I distinctly remember my mom cooking it periodically… The only two versions I liked included corned beef and cabbage around St. Patrick’s Day (as a gesture towards my Irish heritage, which came from my dad’s side of the family) and stuffed cabbage in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. However, this cabbage dish is one I also added to my “enjoyed cabbage dish” list when I had Ethiopian food for the first time.

The cabbage is accompanied by some potatoes and carrots, making the dish a bit more filling. It’s comfort food that just so happens to be filled with vegetables and good-for-you spices such as cancer-fighting ginger and turmeric.

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Atkilt Wat (Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes)

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Yields about 4 servings.

2 1/2 pounds green cabbage, cored then cut into 3/4″ pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, quartered, then cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ squares
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste


In a large casserole pan, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion and cook over medium-high heat until soft and just beginning to brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper, cooking until everything is fragrant (5 or so minutes).

Add the carrots, potatoes and water, cooking over medium heat. Occasionally stir until the carrots and potatoes just begin to soften (5-7 minutes).

Stir the cabbage in, in large handfuls. Let each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Drizzle in a bit of water if the pan starts to dry out.

Once all the cabbage has been added, cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft and tender (30-40 minutes). Serve with injera.


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