I actually had an entirely different article planned for today, but you know what? Bread ended up happening instead. As many of you probably know, I am undertaking a newfound hobby of baking and my goal is to bake a different kind of bread each week. This week, I decided to make pumpkin bread!

As with last week’s bread, I found this recipe on pinterest and will link it here. I was drawn to it because it claims to be a “Starbucks copycat”- I’ll be the one to judge that, as a Starbucks employee and connoisseur. Find out at the end how this recipe measured up to the Starbucks pumpkin loaf!

I already had most of the ingredients; the only things I had to go out of my way to buy was the pumpkin puree (and a can opener for the said puree.) The rest of the items were just your basic kitchen staples- flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. First I mixed together the dry ingredients- the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking sugar, and salt. I only added half a teaspoon of cinnamon because I didn’t want it to be *too* overpowering, but you can definitely add another teaspoon of cinnamon if you want an extra kick.

Next, I mixed together the wet ingredients. I was a little bit nervous about “whipping up” the sugar and the butter because I don’t have a mixer, as the recipe instructs, but honestly, just using a regular ‘ole pastry spatula worked fine for me. I mixed the sugar and the butter until it was as light and fluffy as possible, and then I added in the pumpkin puree, eggs, and almond milk. After that was mixed adequately, I slowly added in bits of the dry ingredients until I had a very thick batter. I was expecting it to be less chunky, but again, I don’t have a mixer, so that probably affected the consistency a little bit.

I then poured the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper (easier cleanup for me) and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 75 minutes. The recipe only calls for 50-60 minutes, but my bread actually wasn’t quite done for an additional fifteen minutes. Make sure you test out your bread with a toothpick or a fork to make sure it’s cooked all the way through! By the way, this bread smells AMAZING while it’s baking. It’s a perfectly sweet and subtle pumpkin scent, and it made my entire kitchen smell like fall. 

I waited until Nathaniel got here to cut into it, so we could both try it at the same time (he also works at Starbucks and was ready to compare it to our pumpkin loaf.) I personally think the bread came out absolutely delicious, soft, and so perfectly sweet. I also think it had the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor and tasted preeeetyy darn similar to the actual Starbucks version (minus the fact that this recipe doesn’t have the nuts on top.) Nathaniel thought the bread was delicious, too, but he didn’t think it tasted “pumpkiny enough.” I’m gonna have to disagree with him there, I think the notes of pumpkin really came through and it didn’t need any alterations. Overall, this recipe was a huge success, and I’m excited to bake this bread for my family! Maybe for Thanksgiving this is what I’ll be bringing to the table.

So, that summarizes this week’s adventure in baking! I think next week I’ll switch back to a savory recipe, so let me know if you have any ideas or recommendations for me. Thanks for reading!

Since emerging into ∼adulthood∼ and learning how to cook various dishes, I’ve certainly come across my fair share of food blogs. Several of them I discovered through Pinterest (another milestone of adulthood?) but others are blogs I’ve known and loved for years, such as Budget Bytes and Ellie Krieger. I was drawn to several of these blogs because of their delicious vegetarian recipe selections, but trust me, you definitely don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with these recipes. 

Supper with Michelle

Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup - Supper With Michelle
Source: Supper with Michelle

As I said, learning how to cook dinner and shop for groceries responsibly is like a pinnacle of adulthood. Particularly being a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find yummy recipes that are easy, cost effective, and nutritious, since most of us find ourselves resorting to boiling pasta or toast to save money.

What I like about Supper with Michelle is her site’s incredible organization: there are separate pages for vegetarian, vegan, and pescitarian meals. She also has a tab specifically dedicated to soup, which I’m sure I will be frequenting as the months begin to cool down. Right now, I have my horizons set on making the Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup. What could be a better cheap dinner meal for September? 

Nora Cooks

Vegan Stuffed Jumbo Shells with Spinach: Stuffed jumbo shells with cashew tofu ricotta and spinach.
Source: Nora Cooks

If you are looking for delicious, affordable vegan meals that everyone will love (vegan or not,) Nora Cooks is the place to start. I love that so many of her recipes are classic, simple recipes- just vegan. So many times, people assume that if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you must only enjoy eating vegetables. That’s simply not true; plant-based love desserts, pasta dishes, and classic American dishes just as much as the next person. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend trying her jumbo stuffed shells with spinach– they’re incredible and worth every minute of prep!

Julia’s Album

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta
Source: Julia’s Album

Ironically, a lot of the recipes on Julia’s Album are actually not specifically vegetarian or plant-based (several of them are pasta or chicken dinner meals.) However, I love this blog because chicken meals are actually extremely easy to substitute with plant-based alternatives. Tofu is a great replacement for chicken, of course, but there are also several believable vegan “chicken” products you can buy at the grocery store (particularly those from Gardein.) I’m really looking forward to making her Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta next week and subbing it out with vegan chicken strips instead. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it turns out!

Budget Bytes

Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes - My Story - BudgetBytes.com
Source: Budget Bytes

I’ve been a huge fan of Budget Bytes and Beth Moncel, its creator, for as long as I can remember. My mom originally bought the cookbook, and after I read that so many times it started to fall apart at the seams, I began checking out her blog. What I love about Beth and Budget Bytes is her affordable yet healthy recipes, as the name “Budget” Bytes may imply. As a recent college grad who lives off food stamps, being able to find cheap, delicious recipes has been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to making her soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls next, with a side of butternut squash soup. Unfortunately, I do not have a link for her dinner roll recipe because I’m using it straight from the cookbook. 

Ellie Krieger

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats 
Source: Ellie Krieger

Ellie Krieger is yet another OG cookbook author from my childhood, and although her recipes aren’t particularly vegan/plant-based oriented, you can easily sub out the meat recipes with your favorite vegan ingredients (similarly to Julia’s Album.) As a nutritionist, Ellie Krieger is an expert about how to make recipes that are both yummy and healthy, which definitely takes tons of practice and knowledge to learn. I am so excited to try these Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats– don’t they look absolutely incredible and perfect for fall? 

Anyway, those are all of my favorite food blogs! I am super excited to try some of these recipes and tell you guys how they turn out. I think I’m most excited for the pumpkin spice overnight oats and the dinner rolls- what do you think sounds the tastiest? Let me know down below!

My favorite month is FINALLY here, and I’m ready to go all-out with the fall content. I do have a ton of fun things planned for this month, including a visit to a haunted goat farm. More to come on that.

Anywho, let’s talk produce. Pretty much all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season this month, so I’d love to schedule some fruit picking to use in baking. I’m not an incredible cook, but it’s a lesser-known fact that I’m pretty good baker. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. 


Pumpkins | Reducing Chronic Diseases

pumpkins
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

It shouldn’t be new information that October is PUMPKIN month. Technically, pumpkins are a type of winter squash, but I truly believe the pumpkin deserves its own entry. Not only are they delicious for baking and Starbucks drinks- you can also carve them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. We love a spooky, well-rounded healthy snack. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, which can help protect you from chronic diseases, different cancers, and skin damage. Pumpkins are also filled with nutrients that can improve your immune system- something I especially appreciate during allergy season. Below I’ve included a link to a basic pumpkin pie, which you can make dairy-free by opting for almond milk instead. You can also make it vegan by using applesauce instead of eggs!


Bananas | Heart Health & Weight Loss

Bananas are one of my favorite fruits to eat year-round. They’re extremely delicious and highly convenient to eat, and (of course), they are also perfect for baking. One banana only has around 100 calories, and they consist almost entirely of water and carbs. Because bananas have such a low calorie count and fill you up fast, they are an ideal snack for those seeking to lose weight. My mom makes the most amazing banana bread on the planet, but sadly, I don’t have her recipe on hand. However, I do have this delicious recipe from Allrecipes, which comes up as a close second. Just replace the butter and the sour cream with vegan replacements, and you’re good to go. 


Apples | Dietary Fiber

close up of fruits hanging on tree
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just like pumpkins, apples are a staple of October that deserve love and recognition. I haven’t gone apple picking in forever, so I’d love to make time for that this month! Apples are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which can help prevent the development of certain diseases. Consuming apples has been linked to the prevention of obesity, diabetes, strokes, dementia, and other neurological disorders. Less healthy than eating an apple (but arguably more delicious) is an apple pie, and my personal favorite version is the one by Marie Callender. It’s 100 percent vegan, completely by accident, and it tastes deliciously homemade. I have an entire article about accidentally vegan snacks, so I’ll link that below, too.


Greens | High in Vitamins, Low in Calories

Leafy greens include kale, herbs, spinach, cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I am admittedly a little picky about the leafy greens I like to eat, but most of them can snuck into a smoothie undetected. A kale smoothie might not strike you as a typical fall meal, but it’s one of the best ways to get some raw kale in your body (especially if you hate the taste on its own, like me). Also, a fall salad with some grapes and nuts actually sounds delicious to me ATM, and as we all know, those leafy greens are fantastic for your health. Consider combining some of the other produce in this guide to make your perfect fall salad, smoothie, or breakfast meal!


Potatoes | No Fat, Sodium, or Cholesterol

You may not think of a potato as being particularly healthy, but it’s actually not a bad choice. Like the subtitle states, potatoes contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and they’re packed with healthy nutrients. Potatoes are also naturally gluten-free, making them an iconic staple in the vegan + gluten-free community. I found a great recipe for vegan mashed potatoes on Allrecipes, so I’m going to link that down below for you too! Also, real talk, can we make potato picking a thing? I would be 100 percent incented to go to a potato picking farm as a charming fall activity. 


Raspberries, Strawberries, and Cranberries | Healthy Skin

Technically, strawberries aren’t a berry, but their high antioxidant count is very similar to that of a berry. Antioxidants aid in a variety of wonderful things for your body, notably, they can even help prevent wrinkles and skin damage. Berries are also excellent for fighting inflammation, which helps to defend your body against infections from injury. In regards to cooking, there are a multitude of great ways to bake with berries and strawberries. Below I’m going to link a Triple Berry Crisp recipe, which can be easily customizable with different fruits, and easily made vegan as well. 


Winter Squashes | Vitamin C

yellow round vegetables
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last but certainly not least, winter squash is in season for the month of October. Did you know that squash is actually a fruit? (I did not know until I started writing this article). I love squash for its sweet, nutty taste, and its versatile properties in both summer and winter dishes. Squash is packed with a variety of different vitamins, most notably vitamins C and A. The benefits of eating squash include boosting your immunity, regulating your metabolism, and even preventing infections! The notorious winter cold is just around the corner, so eat up on your veggies and get in as much squash as you can!


Nutrition sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin#section2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-bananas#section1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leafy-green-vegetables

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-reasons-to-eat-berries#section5

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/butternut-squash


Pumpkin Pie: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23439/perfect-pumpkin-pie/

Banana Bread: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17066/janets-rich-banana-bread/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Vegan Mashed Potatoes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254779/vegan-mashed-potatoes/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Triple Berry Crisp: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/52547/triple-berry-crisp/


Accidentally vegan snacks: https://diplomatsdigest.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/my-favorite-accidentally-vegan-snacks/

There are only twelve months in a year, of course, so it’s an unfortunate reality that I’m going to eventually run out of posts for “What’s in Season?”. For the time being, however, I’m happy to report that I still have a couple months left of produce content to cover. Maybe once “What’s in Season” is finished, I can start a new food-themed monthly series. What do you guys think?

yellow bananas
Photo by Juan Salamanca on Pexels.com

Bananas are one of the most delicious, easiest snacks I can think of to have on the go. I’m not really a big citrus person, so I appreciate bananas for having a sweet, almost creamy taste. Bananas are also super versatile, and the possibilities for cooking with them are endless- smoothies, pancakes, and of course, baked goods. I usually don’t have much of an appetite when I wake up, so at the very least, I can usually convince myself to have a banana. It’s not a bad breakfast option- in fact, bananas are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and manganese (which is fantastic for your skin, by the way). Bananas also pack a ton of energy, making them perfect for a breakfast snack to ease you into the day. Like I said, however, they do make great desserts, so I’m going to include my favorite banana bread recipe at the bottom!


bell peppers blur chili close up
Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

Bell peppers are also in season in July, and though they certainly aren’t sweet like a banana, they’re still delicious. Lots of people love to eat their peppers hot or stuffed, but for me, I actually only like them cold (and preferably on a salad). There’s something about squishy, warm vegetables that kind of turns me off. Nonetheless, bell peppers are extremely healthy, and they pack a ton of antioxidants. They also help support healthy night vision, similarly to carrots, and they can even help to raise your iron levels! I sometimes struggle with my own iron consumption because I’m such a picky eater, so if that sounds like you, considering throwing some red peppers onto your next salad or pizza. 


two sliced melons and grapes
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Is it just me, or is cantaloupe severely underrated? I feel like not enough people are casually reaching for cantaloupe like they do with apples and oranges. Cantaloupe has a sweet, juicy taste and a soft consistency, and it’s also packed with nutrients. Cantaloupe contains a ton of carotene, which, yes, is the same thing that makes carrots orange. The vitamin A in carotene can help aid in healthy eyes, red blood cells, and even a healthy immune system. Because cantaloupe has so much water in it, it’s a perfect summertime snack to prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated. Cantaloupe is also safe to give your dogs in moderation, and I can say from personal experience that Duke approves of this healthy snack. (Side note, I love the feminine energy of this cantaloupe picture. Ugh. New lock screen?)


tomato lot
Photo by Julia on Pexels.com

Tomatoes are another one of those super versatile foods that I love to cook with and eat. I’m actually growing a tomato plant right now, bur admittedly, he isn’t looking too good. The interesting thing about tomato is that it’s technically a fruit, but usually prepared as a vegetable would be. In regards to health benefits, tomatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, and can even help to prevent some types of cancers. I’m really interested in trying shakshouka, which is a poached egg dish with tomato sauce and spices. I’ll put a link to that recipe at the bottom, so let me know if you’re going to try it as well!


pineapples
Photo by Chay A. on Pexels.com

I have a very complicated relationship with pineapple. Like I said, I’m not really a citrus person, and anything sour is a turn off. I do like pineapple on my pizza, which I realize is an unpopular opinion. Alas, pineapple is loaded with nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants, so you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it! Pineapple can also speed your recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise, which is something I appreciate as a relatively athletic person. I also enjoy putting pineapple in a morning shake, because it wakes me up without tasting too sour or acidic. 


Image result for corn on the cob but instead of the corn bone

Corn is definitely one of my favorite vegetables, right up there with potatoes. Seriously, sweet corn makes the perfect side dish for anything. Corn can actually help aid with weight loss, despite the myth that it causes you to gain weight. I was reminded of my appreciation for corn after Jenna Marbles posted a video the other week making an excellent dish- “Corn on the cob, but instead of the corn bone, it’s a hot dog.” I will leave the link to that video at the bottom of this page, so that you may also bask in the glory of Jenna’s groundbreaking recipe and make it for yourself.


*Banana bread and Jenna’s recipe can be made vegan with substitutes!*

Banana bread: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/20144/banana-banana-bread/

Shakshouka: https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2015/10/shakshouka-poached-eggs-in-spicy-tomato-sauce.html

Corn on the cob, but instead of the corn bone, it’s a hot dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VosRKPBGE8

Coming up next: I’m Pissed at YouTube