Eli's Corner


pumpkin pie recipe – vegan, gluten free, soy free

Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  Despite having been here four years now, it still feels like practice Thanksgiving, to be honest – a chance to hone your craft before heading down south several weeks later for The Show.  Canadian Thanksgiving is pretty much a standard 3-day weekend up here.  Participation  is elective and spotty at best – it’s kind of like how you wouldn’t know it was Columbus Day unless you saw ads for Columbus Day sales at your local RV dealer and were planning on getting away this weekend because you had a day off…but you’re not necessarily going to do anything Columbus-y.  (Especially not if you live in Berkeley, where if you are doing anything that weekend, you are celebrating Indigenous People’s Day as opposed to paying homage to that bumbling foreign oppressor…but I digress.)

Americans take their Thanksgiving far more seriously – a half day on Wednesday followed by a full 4-day weekend and the total shutdown of all stores – except the few grocery stores that stay open until around 11am to accommodate panicked shoppers who forgot shallots or cranberries or some such thing.  Then of course there’s the football and the frenetic preparations for the utter chaos that is Black Friday.

With the exception of football and Black Friday, my family is no different.  We all make it for Thanksgiving, and the food is epic.  We each have our areas of expertise.  Mine happen to be pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce.  I have a pumpkin pie recipe that was handed down from my grandmother to my mother and eventually to me.  It’s been tweaked and honed over the years – tricks to get that crust to flaky perfection, the slightest adjustments to get the filling to the perfect balance of creamy goodness and pumpkiny spice.  Oh, yeah – and this is not that recipe.  Sorry folks.  That recipe will kill you.

I’m really taking a long time to get to the point.  This is the part I always skip anyways when I’m looking for recipes online….blah blah blah, it’s fall and you wanted to make something homey…we get it, skip to the ingredients.  So odds are you aren’t even reading this.  If you are, the point is that my husband’s family does make a big deal out of Canadian Thanksgiving – thank goodness! – and I’ve got some dietary restrictions this year.  Meh.  Normally, I don’t ask other people to accommodate my diet – I just skip things, or I break the rules and feel gross later.  It turns out, however, that my brother-in-law recently discovered that he is pretty much allergic to all things that you need to avoid on a fertility diet, which works out perfectly for me, since he very much is the sort to ask everybody to accommodate his diet.  So this year, we had vegan mashed potatoes, and vegan, gluten free cornbread and stuffing, and I made this pie.  I have to say, it was the first time I’ve ever finished a Thanksgiving dinner and not felt sluggish, overstuffed and yucky.  It was fantastic!

I adapted the pie from this Vegan Sweet Potato Pie recipe on my Endo Diet Pinterest Board.  Let me be clear: it’s not as good as the eggy, creamy, gluten-and-crisco-laden recipe that my family has handed down for generations – BUT – it was very good.  I felt that my pumpkin pie needs were met and was not tempted to drift over to the regular pumpkin pie that my mother-in-law brought.  Also, I remembered to take a picture this time – yay!


I have made this crust before with regular flour, and it was really tasty.  This time, to make it gluten free, I used this, which I recently stumbled across in Costco and decided to give a whirl:


I found the crust slightly more brittle and slightly less flavorful using this, but people who had not experienced the previous crust said that they thought the gluten-free crust was good.  So, perhaps better if you don’t know what you’re missing.

I’m just reposting the recipe here with all my modifications because it’s going to be easier than switching back and forth between two recipes:


For the crust

1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup gluten free flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the filling

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 14-oz cans pumpkin

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 heaping teaspoon nutmeg

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the coconut whipped cream

2 cans full-fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Add almonds and rolled oats to a food processor and grind to a powder. Make sure you don’t overblend — you may end up making a paste. Place flour in a medium-sized bowl and add almond and oat mixture. Mix well.

2. Add the coconut oil and mix with a fork until it is thoroughly incorporated into the flour mixture.

3. Stir in the maple syrup; mix just enough to blend well and form a dough that will hold together when pressed.
Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and spread into an even thickness on the sides and bottom of the pan.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crust cool before filling.

5. While crust is baking, make the pie filling: in a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and cornstarch until combined. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt and whisk until blended. Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until edges are set and center slightly jiggles. Let cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour before serving.

7. While pie is baking, open the can of chilled coconut milk, turn upside down, and open. Pour out the liquid at the top; you’ll use the cream part, not the liquid.

8. Gently pour the coconut fat into a food processor and blend until whipped. Add vanilla and maple syrup and whip again until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to serve with pie.

Bottom line: Easy recipe with no super obscure ingredients.  Scratches the pumpkin pie itch without making you feel gross later.



slow cooker vegan chili recipe review

As promised, I’m testing the recipes on my Endometriosis Diet Pinterest board to make sure I’m not recommending yuck food.  I had the perfect opportunity to try the vegan chili this week, as I was having a crew of people with a broad range of dietary restrictions over to my house for an informal dinner.  I always feel like it’s sad when the lone vegetarian has to show up with her own tofu sandwich or eat some crappy lesser meal that was thrown together with her in mind, so I wanted us all eating the same thing.  I decided to start with a gluten-free, dairy-free, meatless base and then provide options for people to add to it as they liked.  I made a big pot of the chili and had shredded cheese, cilantro, sliced avocado and lime, as well as chopped-up and sauteed bison sausage all lined up buffet-style as possible fixings.  And of course, there were a couple loaves of hearty bread.

As it turned out, we had 12 people (I was expecting 8), and despite the chicken noodle soup I put on (my mother in law’s – really good soup) – at the end of the night, somebody was literally scraping the last little beans out of the chili crock pot, while we still had ample soup left.  I think this is a solid recipe and will keep it in the rotation – especially for this type of situation.  (Incidentally, the vegetarian pulled me aside afterwards and expressly thanked me for providing something she could eat along with everybody else.  *warm fuzzies*)

I made enough changes to this recipe (based on a compilation of reviewer comments) that it would be easier to just re-write it than have you checking back and forth for all my edits (the spices are entirely different, there are more fresh veggies, and there are a couple other tweaks).

Tragically, I didn’t get a picture of it before it was devoured, because I am a lame-ass blogger.  I did, however, take a picture of the beans after I threw them into the pot.  Does it help you understand how to make this recipe?  No.  Are the colors kind of pretty?  Sure.  Does it in any way resemble the finished product?  No.  But that was also pretty. Unfortunately, you’ll have to take my word for it.

photo (7)


1 (19 ounce) can black beans (drained)

1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)

1 (14 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans (drained)

1 (12 ounce) can whole kernel corn (drained)

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes

2 tomatoes (diced)

1 onion (chopped)

1 orange bell pepper (chopped)

2 stalks celery (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tbsp chili powder

1.5 tbsp cumin

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

A few grinds of black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

BOTTOM LINE: easy, tasty, adaptable, freezable, feeds a crowd.  One downside is that it’s difficult to make more of this recipe without doubling it – which you can’t really do unless you’ve got 2 slow cookers.  I’d say this is best for a crowd of up to 8 people.

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endo diet

I was chatting with a friend of mine on Sunday who is about to start a 40-day sugar fast.  He was terrified about it.  I was trying to assure him that it really wouldn’t be that bad, that after the first few days his body would adjust.  He said, yeah, I was right, it probably wouldn’t be that bad…he was just worried because he drinks pop (soda, for you people in my motherland) like water and eats a danish in the afternoon.  And suddenly I realized, he’s gonna die.

I realized I was listening to him as I am now – somebody who can quench a sugar craving by popping a prune in her mouth.  I eat so little sugar that a sugar fast is almost a non-event.  When he said the thing about the soda, I realized I should be listening to him as my old self – the one who had 3 Diet Pepsis a day and thought that Red Vines were a legit food group.  And then I was like, holy shit I’ve come a long way.

My history with food is a piteous tale.  My mom could cook, but she hated to, so every once in a while she’d make about 30 gallons of soup (you think I’m joking) and freeze it all in our industrial-sized freezer in the garage.  We would thaw and eat soup for months on end.  It wasn’t bad soup, but the very thought of Hearty Brunswick Stew induced a gag reflex by the time we were getting to the back of the freezer.  Then she discovered Costco stuffed shells, lasagna and stir fry.  These were great, because we kids could make them ourselves.  This was pretty much all we ate for the next few years.  These, mind you, were the good old days.

When I was in high school we entered a period of houselessness wherein we had no kitchen and almost no food budget.  That was the era of the 99-cent whopper (it once occurred to me interject and order one of the $2.99 items on the menu in front of the cashier – hoping my mom might let it slide out of shame – but one look of icy cold death had me quickly recanting and saying I would really love to eat a whopper).  This was also when my Dad discovered that the day-old lunches at the prison where he worked could be bought for $1 each, so that was our other standby.  By the time they got to us, the pickle juice had bled all over the mystery-meat-and-american-cheese sandwich as well as the weird little maple bar thing that was always in there.  At first go, they were probably palatable, but after a day sitting in my dad’s hot car, they made you contemplate what you might do to actually go to prison and at least get them fresh.

This only lasted for about 6 months, but it was the beginning of the end, for it was during that kitchenless era of woe that my mom made the unfortunate discovery that one doesn’t actually have to cook to sustain life.  It was pretty much fast food from then on out.  My idea of “healthy” was diet soda and the fiesta menu at Taco Bell.  (It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me how my siblings and I continued to be rail thin through all of this…I suspect by this time we had acquired a revulsion toward food in general.)  I continued to eat mostly crap throughout college.  When I graduated, I lived in a communal house and ate food bank food. (This was before hipsters, fyi – I just couldn’t afford anything else).  I mostly remember eating a lot of high-end truffles and day-olds from Starbucks. (I could do without another maple scone until I die and be just fine.)

Um, this is all very long and perhaps less interesting for you to hear than it is for me to tell.  What I’m driving at here is I was about as far from being a health nut as a gal can be.  When I started dating my husband, who is far more normal than I in almost every respect, he was severely appalled by all the fast food I ate.  Even after years of trying to wean me off it, he’d find tell-tale McDonalds cups in my car and double-decker taco wrappers of shame shoved behind my passenger seat.

I always planned on marrying a cook to solve my problems, but since I married a consultant – and one who was unwilling to subsist on the 99-cent menu – it became clear that there would have to be at least a marginal amount of cooking in this relationship.  I wanted it to be 50-50, in keeping with my egalitarian gender sensibilities, but I quickly realized cooking got me way more mileage than almost any other nice thing I did for him.  Don’t know what it is – some kind of primal need to be cared for that is met specifically through cooking.  So I began to learn to cook.  And since I was learning for the first time, I figured I may as well learn to cook healthy stuff.  So I kind of bypassed cooking with processed, fatty foods and went straight to veggies and lean proteins – with fairly regular binges on Nachos Bellgrandes and cheetos.  All or nothing, baby.

Then endo entered my life, and I began to bit-by-bit eliminate more things from my diet, learning substitutes, amassing recipes and developing new habits.  Because these changes have been so gradual, I don’t think I’ve realized how significant they’ve really been.  It was only in talking to my friend about his sugar fast (haha!  And you thought I wasn’t going to ever bring this back around) that I realized I have actually learned quite a lot and might actually be able to help people find some shortcuts on this whole path to getting healthier, particularly as it pertains to endo.

I have neither the patience nor the photography skills to reproduce all the recipes I use on this blog, so I’m in the process of transferring my go-to recipes to a Pinterest board and adding other ones there that meet the guidelines I’m trying to follow.  As I try new stuff, I’ll let you know how it goes and let you know what substitutes I used.  The goal is to have a decent-sized index of tested, no-brainer food that is tasty and endo diet conscious.  I focus largely around eating foods that will reduce inflammation in my system.  I avoid dairy, wheat, refined carbohydrates and sugars, soy, coffee and red meat, and I eat lots and lots of veggies.

I also want to talk about juicing, general shortcuts and household staples for cooking on a restricted diet.  This will probably be old hat for a lot of you, but hopefully there will be some useful resources, and I’m guessing there are some newbies out there who could use a leg up on this whole thing.

Without further ado, here is my Endo Diet Pinterest Board.

Also, I’ve written a general disclaimer to cover pretty much everything I write and suggest.  Please review it before taking anything I say too seriously.