Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkins and Chocolate... Something comforting

Lots of personal details of my life first... Scroll down for the recipe...  GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, SOY FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE, VEGAN Chocolate pudding...

In the last few weeks our family has been going through a lot. As some of you may know, or remember, I announced in my last post that we are planning to adopt a child from Ethiopia. In addition to all that comes along with getting prepared for our home study and dossier preparation, we have decided to add a little more crazy to our lives and buy a house too! So, there has been no end of stress for us in the past few weeks. More stress was piled on with the announcement from our adoption agency that Ethiopia, in the hopes of cleaning up the corruption within it's adoption program has slowed to a crawl the number of referrals it is processing per day to 5 (instead of 50). What does this mean for us? It means that our adoption wait time has jumped from 9-18 months to 36+months... Yes, that's 3 years. It has been truly devastating to me, and though we still feel that adoption from Ethiopia is right for our family, it also means that our plans for our family are not going to happen the way we had hoped they would. At this time, I would like to ask for your prayers, or your good vibes, (depending on your own beliefs on the subject). We will gladly accept all good feelings and thoughts for our family (including our son whom we wait anxiously to be united with) and for the Ethiopia program itself to speedily recover from the devastation of finding corruption within some of its orphanages. They are trying to clean things up to make sure that children are coming in to the system appropriately, and not being trafficked. It is so sad. Money ruins so many lives. I also ask for prayers that the U.S. embassy will not shut down the international adoption program with Ethiopia.

So, in addition to that particular stress, as those of you who have purchased homes before understand all the headache that goes along with it... Things are going fine, then they aren't, then they are, etc... Hopefully that will be over quickly and we can move in to our house by the end of the month. But along with that, we have the added insanity of having to pack up the entire house, and try to figure out if there is anything we can sell in a yard sale, as well as try to sell our rental lease...

Now my mind wanders to the family I want to grow and all the ways in which I can do that. Our insurance will fully pay for IVF (3 tries) and I wonder, is this something I should consider? I so desperately want to be pregnant one more time. Then, if it works, and our adoption is completed, we will have 3 miraculous children, and we will be complete... Only time will tell. So many things going on and so many heavy things weighing on my mind. In all of this fog and confusion, I need some things to bring me comfort and help me feel that all is well. Here is a small list of things that are helping me right now...

Brandon Flowers' Solo album, FLAMINGO (I am in love with his voice)
My vintage dishes from the 1970's... I seriously love the earth tones
My clearance orange throw blanket from IKEA
Hugs and kisses and cuddles from my son
Being held by my sweetheart, (who lets me sob and doesn't judge me for it)
The crisp Autumn air

Oh yeah, that's what this post is supposed to be about... This is a food blog after all...

So, back in January when I started this little blog I wrote a post about how to make homemade Chocolate pudding out of Avocados...

Well, I've been feeling stifled creatively as of late due to the simple reason that I am incredibly (understandably) distracted by my world being thrown upside down... I almost forgot that this time of year is my favorite time of year, and the one time of year that I thoroughly enjoy the variety of pumpkin flavored items everywhere you look... Here are some amazing examples as of late from some of my favorite food bloggers, (and all around amazing people)...

The INCREDIBLE Amy Green over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has shared a VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD!
The WONDERFUL Maggie Savage over at She Let Them Eat Cake  has shared PUMPKIN AND PEAR STREUSEL MUFFINS!
The TALENTED Karina Aldridge over at Gluten Free Goddess has shared too many posts to count about pumpkins lately... Just check out her blog and scroll through them! One after the other! 

They all have my head spinning... How can I ever compete? Well, I decided to re-invent my pudding recipe using pumpkin instead of avocado... Here is what I came up with. 

Chocolate and Pumpkin (A match made in heaven)

You will need:

12 pitted dates
1/2 Cup HOT water
2-3 Cups of Canned (unsweetened) pumpkin
3/4 Cup Cashew Milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/4-1/2 Cup RAW ORGANIC Agave Nectar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3-1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (start with 1/3 C then add if it needs thickening)
2 Tbsp Pure Gluten Free Vanilla extract
1/2-1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste preference)
Pinch of mineral rich Sea Salt (1/4-1/2 tsp depending on taste)

Boil some water on the stove top, (I use my teapot) and put your dates in your Vitamix. (You can use a regular blender, but it might not get as creamy of a consistency). When your water is boiling, add 1/2 cup of that water to the dates and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. (If you want this to be a RAW recipe, don't boil the water, and let the dates sit for about 45 min-1 hour).

After that time, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high until it is a nice, thick, creamy consistency and tastes good to you. Then put it in a container and store it in the fridge. It should last about 3-5 days, (if you don't eat it first).

I must say that my son, who is notoriously fond of pudding LOVES it. He likes it more than the Chocolate/Avocado pudding I have made in the past.

One bite, and I feel better already.

Much Love,