Monthly Archives: November 2015

Easy Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mousse

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in the US! This means, we are busy in the kitchen preparing family meals!

We usually celebrate Thanksgiving as well as New Year’s with Cuban food. In the menu, this year we have:

Tostones rellenos – Stuffed green plantains
Frijoles con arroz – Black beans with rice
Yucca frita – Fried yucca with garlic and lemon
Vegan “Lechon” – Made out of jackfruit and Cuban seasonings.

My kids have requested, in addition to Cuban foods, Thanksgiving stuffing and dessert. I think this will do it:

Fruity Turkey

However, I have the feeling they want a richer dessert so I am making them a delicious vegan & gluten-free pumpkin mouse. This is pretty easy to prepare. It only took me 20 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

Pumpkin Mousse

Easy Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 8
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Pumpkin Mousse
  1. 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  2. 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  3. 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  4. 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice
  5. 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  1. 1/2 cup of raw pecans
  2. 1/2 cup of raw walnuts
  3. 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  5. 6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  6. a pinch of salt
  1. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it until well chilled (preferable overnight). Scoop out the top layer of fat and transfer to a bowl. You won’t be using the liquid for this recipe but you can save it for a smoothie later.
  2. Whip the coconut cream with a stand or hand mixer until peaks form. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices and vanilla extract. Continue whipping until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. In a food processor, combine the pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut, ginger and salt. Pulse a couple of times. Add the soaked dates and process until the mixture sticks together and starts to form a ball.
  4. In a dessert glass, place 1-2 tablespoons of the date mixture in the bottom, followed by the pumpkin mouse.
  5. Garnish with ginger snaps and chopped salted nuts or shredded coconut and pecans.
  6. Serve immediately; or refrigerate, and garnish with nuts just before serving.
  1. You can also omit the date mixture all together. The pumpkin mousse is delicious and it can stand on its own! 🙂
Sunshine & Kale
Have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thankful Turkeys

Thai Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

It’s getting a little cold in Souther California lately. This means Mr. Naranjito LeCreuset is out and busy. Yes, I named my bright orange pot after the 1982 World Cup Soccer Championship mascot. What can I say? I am a fan! 🙂


With temperatures reaching 60 degrees Fahrenheit, who wants to eat a cold salad, right? It’s time for delicious, nutritious and warm soups!


I’ve made countless variations of carrot soups over the last year, but this is the winner. This recipe was adapted from Joy The Baker. I replaced the  extra virgin olive oil with coconut oil. I also added coconut milk, shredded coconut and orange zest for garnishing. You could also use lime zest instead and some peanuts for a Thai-infused flavor.

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

I hope you enjoy it!

Thai Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup
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  1. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  2. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger (3-inch piece)
  5. 1 large red apple, chopped, no need to peel if organic
  6. 1.5 pounds carrots, chopped (~6 cups) - no need to peel if organic
  7. 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. Optional
  11. 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut, for garnishing
  12. 1 tablespoon of orange zest, for garnishing.
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes.
  3. Add chopped apple and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots are fully cooked, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a blender ( or use an immersion blender). Blend on high speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and blend for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with shredded coconut and orange zest
  1. It makes 5 delicious cups!
Sunshine & Kale

Some interesting facts that I learned today about carrots:

  • Before the 17th century, almost all cultivated carrots were purple. The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including yellow and white carrots. These were rarely cultivated and lacked the purple pigment anthocyanin.
  • In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used. The carrot plant however was highly valued due to the medicinal value of its seeds and leaves. For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100BC) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons with the principle ingredient being carrot seeds. It has since been proven that this concoction actually works.
  • The Romans believed carrots and their seeds were aphrodisiacs. As such, carrots were a common plant found in Roman gardens. After the fall of Rome however, carrot cultivation in Europe more or less stopped until around the 10th century when Arabs reintroduced them to Europe.
  • The largest carrot ever grown was 19 pounds; grown by John Evans in 1998 in Palmer, Alaska.
  • Although the orange carrot was not cultivated before the 16th and 17th centuries, there is a reference in a Byzantine manuscript around 512AD which depicts an orange rooted carrot, suggesting that at least this mutant variety of carrot could be found at this time.
  • Mel Blanc, the voice of cartoon character Bugs Bunny, reportedly did not like carrots.
  • A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. The veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot

For more information about carrots, check here and here and here

Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach

Happy Diwali, everyone!

Diwali (or Deepavali, the “festival of lights”)  is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. The preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika.  

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. ~ Wikipedia  


Photo Credit:

While I don’t have any Indian Sweets and mithai recipes for you at this moment ( I really should bug my Indian friends for some good recipes), I am going to share my all time favorite recipe, Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach, an Indian inspired dish adapted from Rouxbe

Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach
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  1. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  2. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 tbsp fresh ginger ( 3-inch piece), grated
  4. 1 tbsp turmeric ( optional)
  5. 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  6. 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  7. 1 - 15 oz can of chickpeas
  8. 1/2 lb baby fresh spinach
  9. 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  10. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  11. 1 - 14 oz can coconut milk
  12. 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  13. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  14. 1/2 bunch cilantro (to garnish)
  1. Heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and onion. Let it cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat in onion mixture.
  4. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, waiting for one handful to wilt before adding the next. After all spinach has been added, pour the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the ground ginger and lemon juice. Taste for season.
  1. Serve it with basmati rice or chapati or poori bread.
  2. Enjoy it!
Adapted from Rouxbe Cooking School
Adapted from Rouxbe Cooking School
Sunshine & Kale
Happy Diwali Everyone!

Trip to India

Hyderadab, 2004