The holidays are an interesting time of year as their timing falls in line with the subtle pressure of training for early season races.  While I have a pretty well-laid out training plan for the month of December, I am also smart enough have been in this sport long enough to know that this 5 weeks of merriment can thwart some of my training. A bit of advice?  Don’t burn the proverbial candle at both ends during the holiday season. Put your family and friends first and that way when May-through-October rolls around, you don’t feel as though triathlon trumped everything else. I try to stay healthy and have no problem trading that 3rd early morning swim for an extra hour of sleep + a walk on dog beach over a cup of coffee.  Be mindful (but not militant) of what you consume–nothing sends me into a darker mood more rapidly than feeling like I fell so far away from my goals and training by overindulging in food and drink.  See your friends and family, abbreviate your training if necessary (sorry coaches, but I DO feel strongly about this point), eat mindfully on most days and remind yourself that for most of us, triathlon is a hobby in which you are fortunate enough participate and compete.  You can start getting all crazy come the first week of January.

Boozy Sweet Potato Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream and Cinnamon

Boozy Sweet Potato Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream and Cinnamon

With all of that said, what better way to finish a ride than to stop at a liquor store for a 5th of bourbon? (‘tis the season, after all).  I wish the story was a bit juicier, but I been on a tear making Vegan Sweet Potato Pies since before Thanksgiving and decided to, in the name of time efficency, stop on a ride, buy a bottle, take a swig out of it and tote the bottle up the hill to my house as opposed to making a separate trip out later that day (yes, a bottle of booze fits perfectly in a Betty Designs bike jersey pocket–who knew?).  I’ve worked and reworked this recipe 28 times forward and as many times back and finally feel confident posting it (even though the timing would have been best suited to pre-Thankgiving).

Pies started with a little of this......

Pies started with a little of this……

What I like about Baking with Bourbon compared to other dark liquors is that its flavor comes from aging it in charred new American oak barrels. The newer the barrel, the more flavor components leach into the fermenting libations.  Since vanillin is the predominate flavor in American oak, the bourbon takes on that yummy vanilla flavor. Out of all of the whiskeys on the market, Bourbon is the boldest and sweetest and thus lends itself well to dessert making.

Bourbon barrelsVegan Bourbon-Spike Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • ½ Cup Raw Cashews, soaked in water for at least one hour (I soaked them overnight) and drained
  • ¼ Cup Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • ¼ Cup plus 1 Tbsp Canned Full Fat Coconut Milk (I’ve been using the rest of the can in my morning cups of tea)
  • ¼ inch piece of Ginger Root, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed combined with 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract and 3 Tbsp Water
  • ¾ Cup plus 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 15 ounce can of Organic Sweet Potato Puree (you could substitute squash or pumpkin puree)
  • 1 premade pie crust (either Gluten Free or Graham—I’ve tried both)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees or 325 F degrees if using the convection setting
  • In high speed blender, combine Cashews, Bourbon, Ginger Root, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Sea Salt and Brown Rice Flour.  Puree until smooth. (Note, you can use a food processor but filling might not be as smooth)
  • Add Flax Mixture, Coconut Sugar and Sweet Potato Puree and process until incorporated
  • Transfer to pre made crust and bake 20 minutes on middle shelf. Rotate and bake another 20-25 minute, or a total of 40-45 minutes
  • Let cool and enjoy
My great friend, Jared Katz, shot this snow-crusted picture in Richmond, Vermont

My great friend, Jared Katz, shot this snow-crusted picture in Richmond, Vermont

I hope that all of you are enjoying a wonderful December. Love the calendar-worthy snow pics that my Northeast friends keep posting on social media, but I have to admit that I prefer being able to run in shorts this time of year.

Cheers