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Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

A few years ago my godmother Annie moved up to Ashland, Oregon. I have always loved Ashland; it is a charming city just across the California border that is truly like nowhere else I have ever been. Ashland is famous for its Shakespeare Festival, and the entire town is centered on this. In the summer, people are decked out in Elizabethan costumes and roaming the streets before performances. It used to make me think the entire town was either a Renaissance Faire, the way England actually was, or just this really trippy throw back. All of this to say I have loved Ashland for a long time.

My time in this peculiar little town that seems in a world of its own started when my 8th grade class went for our graduation trip. We froze in the outdoor theater as we watched TAMING OF THE SHREW under the stars, we walked through Lithia Park, we went spelunking in the nearby Oregon Caves; it was our last days of grammar school. The next time I returned I was a Junior in High School, we saw a modern HAMLET scale scaffolding, listened to jazz at Southern Oregon University, and had a midnight pool party and got permanently kicked out of the hotel facilities; for a moment I had an idea what I thought lay ahead of me in college.

After returning from what I thought was a life-changing trip, I applied to a summer internship program for high school students between their junior and senior years at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I was 16 and I thought I had my life planned out, oh my god was I stupid, one couldn’t count the number of times I have thought I had my life planned out only to realize you can’t plan for life because it’s going to change a whole lot. But I was 16 and pretty crazy about Ashland. And very likely that is the path my life might have taken. It will always be the possible parallel universe for me and I’m pretty sure in that universe I go by my middle name of Sky and I probably eat millet.

But despite my enthusiasm I didn’t get into the high school program at Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and it crushed me. Despite my mother asking me to make other plans for that summer, I had banked on this one road and it came to a sudden end with a letter that said I was on the alternate list. I sulked in my room and felt certain they would regret not admitting me. At dinner that night my stepfather Charlie said something that has always stuck with me. It was a Tuesday night so it was just Charlie, my sister, and I around our weekly meal of hot dogs, beans, and carrots and cucumber that Charlie called “salad”. Charlie looked up from his Hebrew National and said, “Hey Ra I am really sorry you didn’t get in…” I felt so close to him in that instant, and then he continued, “I never got rejected from anything in my life…” I wanted to kill him in this instant (I was 16 after all) and then he continued, “But I think it is better that you tried and didn’t get in, than me never having tried.” And then a silence sliced the table as he took a bite of “salad”; I knew it was important what he said. I knew he was right. I knew it SUCKED to get that letter and I knew I wouldn’t get asked up to Ashland that summer, but I also knew the world was bigger than this, and my life would grow to meet the world in size.

As it turned out that summer I broke my foot. I wouldn’t have been able to go to Ashland in the end anyway. My dad found a great theater program that I continued in for the next year and a half through when I left for college. I didn’t apply to Southern Oregon University, I thought if I am going to leave home go for it, shake this town and try for the Big Apple, or slightly north by about 45 min.

This is all a very long story to say it had been years since I had been to Ashland when Annie moved up there but I was excited to return. The town hasn’t changed much, the Youth Hostile I stayed at in 8th grade is still there with their porch swing, the motel where we got kicked out of the pool is still open for business in the summer months, the people in Elizabethan garb still gathering on the street. I was happy to return and be reassured by the dependability of this city to charm me and to stay true so much later down the path. And I was happy to know with half a life perspective that not getting in was probably a good thing for me.

One of our first days on that trip before heading to a Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies (where I took the photos in this post), we stopped in one of the cute cafes along Main Street. They had these vegan pumpkin muffins with their domes covered in pumpkin seeds, I couldn’t say no and I am glad I didn’t. Ever since that trip I have made Vegan Pumpkin Muffins at home and thought of Annie, Ashland, and the road not taken. Recently I have spiked up the “alternate universe” play with these and adapted the recipe to include (no not millet) but whole grain spelt flour along with regular flour; I also decrease the sugar and split the sugar with a little agave. Trust me they are delicious!!

I am glad my life has taken many of the turns it has, and I am glad each time I return to Ashland and think about the other ways my life could have played out.

I hope you enjoy these muffins (don’t let the healthy stuff scare you they are great!). I hope you find that you are able to visit the roads not taken. I hope you take many chances in life, and I hope there are only a few rejection letters; here I have to remind myself these too are necessary.

~ Ramona


1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat spelt flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (Fresh or from a can but be careful not to use pumpkin pie mix)
½ cup soy milk (you could also use almond milk – or make them non vegan and use regular milk)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon light agave
Raw unsalted pumpkin seeds


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soymilk, oil, and agave.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.

Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on each muffin.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


03 2012

Recipe Index

Breakfast:     IMG_9940

April Bloomfield’s English Porridge

Baked Oatmeal

Bon Appétit Simple Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Eggs a la Maison Kenya

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Morning Glory Oats

Olive Oil and Coconut Granola

Overnight Cold Oats


Simple Chia Breakfast Pudding

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Very Full Tart

Soup:            IMG_8463

Cauliflower Soup with Mustard & Cheddar Cheese

Coconut Lentil Soup

Potato, Kale, & White Wine Soup

Roasted Kabocha Soup

Roasted Squash and Apple Soup

Soup For The Soul

Soup with Winter Greens and Chickpeas

Sprouted Kitchen’s Everyday Lentil Soup

Squash and Curry Soup

Vegetarian Chili

Salad:    img_9951

Cauliflower Orange and Olive Salad

Fresh Thai Salad with Cayenne Cashews

Moroccan Marinated Carrot Salad

Panzanella with Mozzarella and Fresh Herbs

Peruvian Green Sauce from Skinnytaste

Springtime Salad

Zaalouk (Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Salad)

Dinner:    IMG_9381

Artichoke Tart with Polenta Crust

Baked Endive with Ham and Cheese

Basil Walnut Pesto

Cauliflower Walnut Tacos

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Corn Pudding

Crusty Baked Cauliflower with Farro

Curried Coconut Chicken

Green Beans with Yellow Peppers Tomatoes and Chili Pepper

Kale and Quinoa Patties

Korean Style Chicken

Mama’s Kugel

Onion Casserole

Savory Harvest Strudel

Savory Tofu and Vegetables over Tomato Couscous

Stuffed Peppers with Polenta Cheese and Corn

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Feta

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Coconut Lime Forbidden Rice

Cookies & Bars: IMG_1220

All Star Bars

Almond and Maple Syrup Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate-Chile Mole Meringues

Chocolate Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

Ginger Snaps

Montego Bay Bars

Rosewater Shortbread

Rosquillas de Vino – Spanish Wine Cookie



Spice Cookies

Cakes & Desserts: img_0001

Apple Pie

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

Karen Demasco’s Carrot Cupcakes w/ Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Luisa Weiss’s Simple German Rhubarb Cake with Streusel

Pistachio Rose Cake

Plum Cake

Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Spring Lemon Cake

Summer Crumble


Mexican Hot Chocolate

Super Green Smoothie


03 2017