If you've been following me for a while, you know I love me some pumpkin and winter squash. Every Autumn as the leaves begin to turn, I harvest some from my garden and buy many varieties of these babies to make all sorts of tasty treats.
Why? First because anything made with real pumpkin is just fabulous in my book. It can go savory or sweet, and it's really good for you. (More on the health benefits below).
Check out Whole Foods or your local market for heirloom pumpkins. I bake one heirloom pumpkin and turn it into so many things, including soups, stews, chili, stuffed pumpkin, pumpkin and lentils, muffins, smoothies, pie, and so much more. One roasted pumpkin yields many tantalizing dishes.
Baking a pumpkin is easy (scroll down), but you can also save time and buy canned pumpkin puree. That's totally legit!
Pumpkin and squash are one of the highlights in my upcoming clean eating program, the REINVENT Autumn Cleanse, which features all the flavorful foods of this season.
I used to love making these Triple Ginger Pumpkin Spelt Muffins but since I no longer eat gluten, I wanted to create a new recipe that is gluten-free.
This week, these Pumpkin Pecan Muffins hit the spot. They are delicious for breakfast, and have a nice balance of protein, fat, and fiber and a VEGETABLE to keep you going all morning.
The Health Benefits of pumpkin include:
-> Pumpkin has the good kind of carbs. A lot of people fear carbohydrates these days, but eating good complex carbs is essential for good health. Pumpkin is one of the good ones -- it's filled with fiber and is a great source of carotene -- one of our major antioxidants that helps to protect us against certain kinds of cancer (particularly lung cancer), as well as heart disease.
-> Foods rich in carotene -- like our orange fleshed pumpkins -- also offer protection against the development of diabetes. Pumpkins in particular are helpful in the body's management of blood sugar metabolism and beneficial for the health of the pancreas, where our blood sugar regulating insulin is produced.
-> In addition to dietary fiber and carotene, pumpkin provides some good vitamins and minerals including:
• vitamin C
• several B vitamins including B1, B6, folic acid & niacin
Join me for a deeper dive into all the wonderful foods of the Autumn harvest....
In the REINVENT Autumn Cleanse, we'll be cooking lots of real whole food to nourish your body from the inside out, from a simple Butternut Squash Soup to the best damn Brussels Sprouts with Dates and Almonds that you ever had. (Trust me, people who don't like Brussels sprouts love this dish).
Folks, this is the time to set yourself up for success and clean up your diet so that by the end of the cleanse when Halloween arrives, you don't even want to eat the whole bag of candy corn in the office! Learn more and register here.
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins (Gluten-free)
This makes about 10-12 muffins.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil*
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon raw honey
1½ cups pumpkin puree (baked fresh, or from a can)
½ cup almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup raisins
½ cup chopped pecans (may substitute another kind of nut like walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey. Mix well. Add pumpkin and combine well.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, baking soda and salt. Fold in raisins.
Grease muffin tins with a little coconut oil and spoon in the batter. Top with nuts, pressing lightly down so they stick to the muffin. Bake for 30 minutes.
1. I get my eggs from a local farm. Sometimes they are small, sometimes large. I use 5 eggs if they are smaller which works well.
How to Bake a Pumpkin
1. Admire the beauty of this thing and all the sunshine, water, farmer's love, and time it took to grow it.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until the flesh is tender and scoops out easily. How long it needs to bake depends on the size of the pumpkin. The bigger the pumpkin or winter squash, the longer the time.
4. Enjoy in smoothies, baked goods, soups, and more. You can also freeze the cooked pumpkin for later use.