In my nutrition business, I get a lot of questions from clients about how to handle the holiday season. My answer, enjoy yourself and don’t feel restricted, but try to make healthy choices wherever possible. Today I have 10 recipes for you for a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.
Tag Archives | pumpkin
Guilt-Free No-Coffee Pumpkin Spice Latte
I don’t drink coffee. But when fall hits, I become a Starbucks junkie. My favorite: White hot chocolate with pumpkin. It’s like a warm cup of fall in your mouth. But… it’s also a warm cup of processed sugar and artificial flavoring.
So today when it was cold and I wanted to swing by a Starbucks for my fix, I realized I didn’t need their bad ingredients. I could make a delicious, warm pumpkin drink that didn’t make me feel like I had made a horrible choice like wearing shoulder pads.
This is the perfect drink for a cold day. Plus you have some options to make it even more guilt-free.
This calls for canned coconut milk. Coconut milk is full of healthy fats and gives this a creamy texture. But if you want to cut the fat and calories (which fat really is good for you, but if you’re getting your fat elsewhere, this may be a good option), use unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead.
This also calls for maple syrup which not only makes it sweet but gives it a warmth that goes perfectly with the pumpkin and spices. If you want to cut out the sugar completely, use stevia. My favorite is English Toffee Sweet Drops (click here for link).
I’m not going to lie, the full-fat, maple-syrup sweetened version is better. You just can’t fake that amazing flavor. But the almond-milk, stevia-sweetened version is also delicious and worth drinking.
Plus, this is a great way to use extra pumpkin. It makes me so sad when I use half a can of pumpkin and go back to use the other half later only to find it has patches of mold. It’s downright heartbreaking.
Healthy Remake: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Soup with Apple Relish
A few weeks ago I was more stressed than usual. I decided the thing that would decrease my stress would be to organize my pantry. I know this doesn’t make a ton of sense, but you people like me (Type A and slightly OCD) understand how a well-organized pantry can lower stress.
In my organization, I stacked 13 cans of pumpkin puree. Thirteen!! That’s when I knew I had a problem. But since it is fall, I decided to put that pumpkin to good use and not just for pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes… I really want some pumpkin right now.
I immediately thought of this amazing pumpkin soup I had a few weeks ago. My friend had a pumpkin party (best idea ever, right?) and made this amazing pumpkin soup from Rachael Ray (click here for original recipe). But I was sad when I saw the recipe and realized it included flour and diary. The soup is actually pretty healthy in its original version but if you are like me and swell up in your joints and gut if you eat gluten or dairy, you’ll appreciate my dilemma.
I decided to make the soup but change the ingredients and adjust them to still get the same creamy consistency without the flour. I also wanted to up the protein with some chicken. I’m pleased to report I was very successful. My whole family loved this soup.
The best part is that it comes together in one pan. Start by sauteing the vegetables in the butter.
The bulk of this soup comes from three cans. How easy is that?! Just a can of chicken stock, a can of pumpkin and a can of coconut milk.
Then it gets some great flavor from the nutmeg and bay leaves.
After this simmers together, just add some cooked chicken pieces. We use thighs because we like them better than breasts, but any chicken will work great.
As far as the relish goes, I left it completely the same as the original recipe but replaced the Craisins with raisins. It’s close to impossible to find dried cranberries without added sugar, so I opted for the raisins. The flavor was still amazing. I also left out the chili as I knew that would not impress my 5-year-old.
Now I have 12 cans left of pumpkin in my pantry. Guess I’ll have to try one of these (click here for a link to some great pumpkin recipes).
Thanksgiving Dinner Place Cards to Help You Show Gratitude
Every year we make place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. This year we were short on time so we made these adorable little pumpkins. They may be our cutest place cards yet and they only took a few minutes each!
The Best Pumpkin Dish You’ll Make This Fall
Excited doesn’t really cover how I feel about this recipe. I made it on a Sunday and literally dreamed about it the night before. Yes, I am that big of a loser and yes, it did live up to my dream.
I used to make a pumpkin dump cake that made my heart happy. It was creamy and warm on the bottom with a crunchy, sweet top. I LOVED it! The problem was, it was loaded with both white and brown sugar and was topped with a cake mix…. which you had to add even more sugar to. I thought about cheating and just making the darn thing (Yes, it would have been worth it), but before I sold my soul I decided to try to make a healthier version.
I’m SO glad I did. The pumpkin layer is warm, creamy, sweet and bursting with fall flavors. The topping contrasts nicely with the creamy base and the flavors work perfectly together. This is a perfect dessert for a cold night. Though since this dessert is so good I almost cried, I’ll probably make it for my birthday… in April.
So if you believe all men (and women) are entitled to the pursuit of happiness, make this… now. No really. Go do it.
A few tips first (sorry for the false alarm. Hopefully you aren’t running to grab your slow cooker).
Make sure you grease your slow cooker. If you don’t, instead of talking about how much you love me, you’ll be cursing me to the depths of Hades. Grease that sucker!
Yes, this has a lot of ingredients, but it truly is a dump cake. Two bowls and a slow cooker. That’s it. You don’t even have to beat the pumpkin layer in stages. I really did just throw everything in a bowl and beat it.
Make sure you distribute the topping evenly when you sprinkle it over the pumpkin. This is basically going to cook up like a cake layer, so you want it as even as you can get it. Though since it is a dump cake, you really can’t ruin it. This just makes it better.
The same goes for the butter. This provides a lot of the liquid for the cake layer, so you’ll want it even. But again, you can’t ruin this. The moisture from the pumpkin and the steaming affect of the slow cooker will get any spots you miss.
As far as the pecans go, they are totally optional. If you hate pecans or they kill you if you eat them, you should leave them out. I love the flavor of pecans with pumpkin and fall spices so I left them in. You can even substitute them with another nut if you like. Not peanuts though. I like peanuts as much as the next squirrel, but that just sounds wrong.
Lastly, this is a dish that is amazing on its own, but is even better topped with something cold and creamy. While ice cream would be amazing, we decided to go with something a little healthier and use coconut cream. Don’t worry. If you can hold a hand mixer, you can make coconut cream. Click here for instructions from The Pioneer Woman. We sweeten ours with honey.
Okay. Now you are armed with what you need so go and make it. Now. It’s not a false alarm this time…
Give This a Try Before You Carve Your Jack-o’-Lantern This Halloween
In honor of Halloween, I thought we’d look at some fabulous pumpkins and check out some methods you may have not thought of for creating the perfect jack o lantern.
It’s Not Officially Fall Until You Try These Dishes
One of the best parts about fall is the food. So just for you, I’ve put together a list of my favorite fall foods based on classic fall ingredients. And the best part, they’re all healthy!!! So you can enjoy all your fall favorites and still eat healthy.
6 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Because a large portion of my google/pinterest/cookbook searches include the word pumpkin, I’ve tried many healthy pumpkin recipes. Here are a few of my favorite sweet pumpkin recipes.
Why You Should Eat Pumpkin
Because it’s November, pumpkin should be consumed regularly. Pumpkin is an amazing vegetable with several benefits. Here are 10 benefits of eating pumpkin.
Clean Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake
It’s Fall!! The air is crisp, the leaves are red, the occasional sweater makes an appearance and the best part of the season shows its lovely orange face: PUMPKIN! I firmly believe pumpkin should be a part of everything I eat whenever possible from October 1 to December 31. It just feels right. Basically, this is me:
The problem is, a lot of those delicious, gooey pumpkin desserts are chock full of refined sugars, processed flours and hydrogenated oils. Because I am not willing to give up my pumpkin desserts, I needed to come up with a healthy pumpkin pie. And not just a normal pie, but a CHEESECAKE! Now listen. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating “healthy” treats every day. And to me, it doesn’t mean depriving myself of treats for the rest of my life, because that sounds like the worst life possible. What it does mean is eating healthier treats in moderation. We have dessert every Sunday night. We had this last Sunday and the whole family gave it two thumbs up, including my son with sensory eating issues. That’s always a huge win in our household.
I started with this coconut cookie pie crust by Plated with Style. I’ve made this crust for several pies and love it. Why reinvent the wheel, right? I left the crust raw and baked the filling and crust together with great results. I used a regular pie dish and greased it with coconut oil, which I highly recommend.
This cheesecake easily comes together in a stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use hand beaters.
I’ve heard of several clean-eating cheesecakes that require soaking cashews and then blending them…. I just stick with cream cheese for this. The sweetness comes from maple syrup, vanilla and fall spices like cinnamon.
The batter will be very thick, so don’t worry it’s wrong if it’s not really pour-able.
The pie bakes for 30-35 minutes. The middle should be a bit jiggly, but not sloshy. I’m not ashamed to say, I teared up a bit pulling this out of the oven because it smelled SOOOO good. It’s like a perfect package of fall.
Once it reaches this state, let it cool before refrigerating at least four hours. I made this on a Saturday night for a Sunday dinner and left it in the fridge overnight.
You can eat this plain or top it with whipped coconut cream. Happy pumpkin season!!!