And just like that, Thanksgiving is over.
This year was Brett and my first Thanksgiving in China and it was definitely sad to be away from family, especially when all my siblings and their kids are celebrating together in beautiful Virginia. It's crazy how much the holidays make us miss the ones we love most, isn't it?! So many memories are made in the winter months when we have more time off from work and are stuck inside warm and cozy houses together.
It's also amazing how holiday celebrations and traditions change and evolve as we get older. When my siblings and I were younger, every holiday was spent together making family traditions and every year we continued those traditions without fail. On Thanksgiving Day, we would always have a relaxing morning eating breakfast and doing random things around the house to prepare for a big mid-day feast. Our family's best family friends would come over in the early afternoon and we would enjoy a huge feast together (usually around 2 PM, which always confused me), play games or do a puzzle, and end the day with dessert and a movie. Dessert always consisted of at least three different pies including pumpkin, apple and my Mom's family chocolate pie. Oh yummmmm.
As my older brothers got older, went to college and started dating , I remember how weird it was to not have one of them around on Thanksgiving or Christmas. All of the traditions we used to take part in were never quite the same if even one family memeber wasn't around to participate. My sister, my Mom and I would always try to keep our traditions going strong though, even if they didn't quite feel the same.
While some traditions have died off, I love how so many new people have been added to our family. My siblings and I are all married and I couldn't have asked for better sister and brother-in-laws. And nieces and nephews make life more fun. A full house makes me so happy, even if it can be loud and chaotic at times. Family is simply the best.
To be honest, it would be so easy to skip holidays here in China. The weather doesn't feel like fall, nobody has carved pumpkins or Christmas lights outside of their apartments, and only the handful of foreigners in our city celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, I've decided that I want to bring the holidays here to China. During November and December I want to light scented candles and hang stockings on the wall. I want to sip on hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music. I want to put pumpkin and ginger into all my baked goods. And I want to start some new traditions with just Brett and me to make me feel like family isn't so far away.
How about we include these Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Muffins?! They're full of fall pumpkin flavor and warming spices and let's be honest...pecans make everything taste better. The whole grains will keep you satisfied for a while and chewy raisins are the perfect sweet surprise.
I'd love to know what some of your holiday traditions are, including your favorite holiday treats! I need to live vicariously through somebody, don't I?
As always, if you try this recipe, let me know your thoughts! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram.
- 2 cups spelt flour
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup raisins
- Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line 12 muffin cups with silicone or paper muffin cups. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, prepare your flax egg by whisking together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside to thicken.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
- Add in the wet ingredients, from the non-dairy milk to the pumpkin puree, and stir until just combined.
- Fold in the chopped pecans and raisins.
- Divid the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
Store leftovers in an airtight bag in the fridge for up to a 5-7 days.