Category Archives: Desserts

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

It is that time of the year again when everyone is craving pumpkin! I am not a huge fan of pumpkin, but I have made this pumpkin cupcake for multiple events and birthdays throughout the month of October and it has always been a hit!

What I love about this recipe is that it is VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE. Once I started traveling, I met individuals with many different dietary needs either due to religion, personal preference, or allergies. Due to these conflicting dietary needs, it can be challenging to make something that everyone can enjoy. The solution I found? Making something that is vegan and gluten free! I have yet to find someone who will turn this dessert down!

Let me add that Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to new recipes. I combine or add my own twists to multiple recipes I pin on Pinterest. When it comes to cooking, I am quite creative, but whenever I bake, I lack creativity!

I DO NOT claim this recipe as my own. Pinterest led me to Shannon’s, a vegan blogger, website I omitted and added a couple ingredients she used, but, in general, this is basically her recipe. I am happy I found her website because, like I said, this dessert has always been a hit!

I was also quite pleased how easy it was to make!

Medjooled DatesBefore you begin making the crust, you need to soak 1 cup of medjooled dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Be sure to remove the pits from the dates. πŸ™‚

Rolled OatsWhile the dates are soaking, measure and process 1 1/4 cup of rolled oats in a food processor (my processor is already dirty because this was my second batch…I told you this dessert was a hit!).

Oats and Pumpkin SpiceWhen the rolled oats have been processed, add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice into the processor (the pumpkin spice depends on how much you love the pumpkin flavor!). Process until it is evenly mixed in the oats.

Soaked Medjooled DatesRemember those medjooled dates that were soaking? Now it is time to drain the water and add the dates to the processed oats and pumpkin spice mixture!
It is not photographed, but you also need to add in approximately 2 tbs of agave or any other sweetener like maple syrup (If I ever felt like the mixture was too dry or not mixing well, I added in more agave).
Side note: My processor is quite small. I had difficulties mixing in the dates. As a result, I removed half of the oat mixture and half of the dates. As I processed the dates and oat mixture together, I slowly added the potions I set aside.

Date and Oat MixtureProcess the date, agave, and oat mixture until it is nice and sticky! It should look like this! πŸ™‚

Crust and Pumpkin FillingBefore you make the filling, you need to form the date and oat mixture into the crusts! Scoop out approximately 2 tbs of the mix into a cupcake pan. My pan is made out of a material that allows me to bend and invert the pan. If you do not have a pan like this, be sure to line the pan with the paper cupcake wrappers or line the pans with plastic wrap.

Once the molds are made, freeze them for approximately 15 minutes. If you freeze them longer it is fine. πŸ™‚

Now, in the top part of this photo you see coconut cream, agave (or maple syrup), and pumpkin puree (I had to make my own pumpkin puree because South Korea does not sell it in the cans…this was better anyways! The puree was sweeter than what you get from a can.).

In the processor, mix 1 cup of the pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut cream, and 2 tbs of agave. At one point I felt the mixture was too thin, so I just added in more pumpkin puree to thicken it up. πŸ™‚

Pumpkin CupcakesOnce the filling is complete, remove the cupcake pan from the freezer and add the filling into the crust! To decorate the dessert, you can add cacao bits or anything else you want to the top!

Side note: If you want this dessert to be 100% vegan, yet you do not have cacao bits then it is okay! If you decide to use chocolate chips then either get dark chocolate OR vegan chocolate chips. I buy vegan, semi-sweet chocolate chips from Costco. It uses vanilla powder instead of milk products to give it the semi-sweet flavor.

Finally, put the desserts in the freezer for another 15 minutes until the filling solidifies. You can also keep the desserts in the freezer until you are ready to serve them!

Pumpkin CupcakesENJOY!

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Yield: 6 Servings

1 cup soaked medjooled dates
11/4 rolled oates
1 – 11/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 tablespoons agave (maple syrup) for crust

1 cup pumpkin purΓ©e
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons agave (maple syrup) for filling

Cacao nibs

1. Soak 1 cup of medjooled dates in warm water for 10 minutes.

2. Process 1 1/4 cup of rolled oats and 1 -1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice in a food processor.

3. Add and process soaked (drained) medjooled dates and 2 tbs agave.

4. Once the crust mixture is nice and sticky, scoop out approximately 2 tbs of mixture into one cupcake mole. Form the sticky mixture until you create the crust which should look like a miniature bowl. Do this until you have created approximately 6 crusts.

5. Freeze cupcake crusts for approximately 15 minutes.

6. In the food processor mixΒ 1 cup of the pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut cream, and 2 tbs of agave.

7. Remove cupcake crusts and fill them with the pumpkin filling you just created!

8. Top cupcakes with cacao bits or any topping of your desire!

9. Freeze for 15 minutes so the filling can solidify.

10. Enjoy and try not to eat them all in one sitting! πŸ˜›


A Weekend in Seoul

I am deeply sorry, as my last post was nearly a month ago! This last month was my first month teaching, but now that my life has finally settled down (because I have my time management figured out), I will be making regular, weekly posts! I have quite a few topics to reflect on, so I will post each reflection once a week until I have brought everyone up-to-date!

The following post is an insert of my journal which I recorded on September 7th while spending my first weekend in Seoul:

As I sit in a cafe, sipping on Korean tea and eating traditional dessert, I reflect on my weekend. David (my college friend) and I decided to head up to Seoul for his last weekend in South Korea (David had been traveling Asia all summer and one of is stops was South Korea to visit me). We arrived to Seoul late Friday night after taking the bullet train. The bullet train got up to 300 kilometers per hour! That night we stayed at Bong House…my first hostel! It was great! I will be staying at more hostels throughout my travels. As for Saturday, Dave and I went to Gangnam to walk around, shop, and dance…Gangnam style. πŸ˜‰ This was Dave’s last day in Asia and I am very happy he ended his trip by staying with me…for three weeks! It was great to have someone to explore with!

The next day, I had the whole day all to myself because David left for the United States early that morning. This was the first time in three weeks that I was alone! I decided to spend the day at Insadong (인사동). This area of Seoul is filled with people and shops selling traditional Korean souvenirs. While there, I finally purchased my first pair of chopsticks and gifts for family members.

Now…I am relaxing as I write this entry. The theme in this Insadong cafe is amazing. At each table is a notebook/journal that people may write in. Every entry is torn from the journals and placed under glass table toppers at each booth, or hung on the wall. There are hundreds of entries! Everyone is able to leave their mark at this cafe.

I admire all of these entries. I began to think about how I need to leave a mark everywhere I go and with everyone I meet. Individuals never know how much of a lasting effect they can leave. It is my goal to always leave a positive, lasting impression with everyone I meet and everywhere I go! I am excited to leave my mark these next two years in South Korea. Hopefully one day I will be the effects that it made on other individuals. πŸ™‚

The following photos are from my time in Seoul. There is no particular order to these photos. I would like some of them to be closer to one another because some photos have explanations in the captions. I guess you will just have to look at them all! πŸ˜‰

Ice Cream Waffle

Banana Caramel NutDon’t you want to scarf this down right now?!

Holy cow, thisΒ banana caramel nut ice cream waffle was amazing. Some of the coffee shops around here like to serve ice cream waffles. I know you can’t see it, but I promise there is a waffle under all of that ice cream and whipped cream!

Prior to moving to Daejeon, I have never heard of waffles a la mode. Now, I want this dessert all the time!


Bingsoo (λΉ™μˆ˜)


I arrived to Daejeon towards the end of summer and as I strolled the streets I would see advertisements for this dessert. This dessert, λΉ™μˆ˜ (pronounced: bingsoo), is a popular summer dessert in South Korea. Bingsoo translates to shaved ice and is usually topped with an assortment of fruits, red beans, nuts, and much more. When this dessert is ordered it is usually shared between two or more individuals. I, of course, had to try this dessert because of its popularity. The results…outstanding! Bingsoo taste similar to ice cream, but with a richer flavor. The consistency is like a mixture of ice cream and snow cones. As you can see, this bingsoo is a fruit bingso topped with an extremely dense and rich whipped cream. This dessert did not last long!