Pumpkin Truffles = A Taste of Fall

24 10 2013

Those who read my blog regularly know I have a slight pumpkin obsession which kicks into high gear in the Fall. Right on schedule, the temperature dips and I am craving my fibreous pumpkin friend to beef up soups and stews to make my belly feel warm and happy. Pumpkin is fabulous for our systems, is versatile enough to throw into savoury things like chili or into desserts, which creates bulk and can replace grain flours in your favourite dessert.

Pumpkin is a miracle food with the exception of anything that Starbucks does with pumpkin. I am sorry Starbucks but pumpkin products should ACTUALLY contain pumpkin.

For those who read my blog regularly you also know I have a thing about truffle and bite-sized desserts. I haven’t met a baked good yet that I has left me gagging with disgust so portion control is a bit thing for me. A whole slice will be eaten, so scaling things down to bite-sized portions makes for better grab and go as well as better on the waist-line.

I am really watching what I eat at the moment as my weight is slightly up and we are heading into the holidays. Ken and I recently had a tragedy and put down our lovely girl Winnie cat. She had been suffering from renal failure since the summer. Worst-Best (for her) thing that I have ever done. I never wish the experience on anyone. We had been playing cat nurse for months, and I often opted to head home to spend time with her then to head to the gym. I let my exercise and food choices slide a bit. After the sickness had ended, I grabbed a can of pumpkin from the pantry and got back on the horse.

I hate that pumpkin is in 28 oz cans. That is A LOT of pumpkin to deal with all at once. In one can I made pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin chia pudding, pumpkin brownies and pumpkin truffles (featured here). Opening a can of pumpkin is a COMMITMENT.
So the next time you need 1/2 a cup of pumpkin and are trying to use the rest up, make up a batch of these for the fridge.

Pumpkin Protein Truffles

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of almond butter (or any nut butter-cashew would be awesome in this)
2 tbsp sf maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (or FOC)
1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
1 cup of almond flour + more if needed (see instructions)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
10 drops stevia
a dash of salt

Optional: 70% or higher chocolate bar (to melt for coating)

Mix almond butter, coconut oil (or FOC) with pumpkin until they are incorporated. Add maple syrup, stevia, and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and give it a good stir. The consistency should be like a dough and when you mix the batter, it should be coming off the sides of your bowl. If not, then add 1/4 cup of almond flour at a time until this happens.

This seems loosey-goosey but it has a lot of do with what nut butter you used (some have more oil than others) and what type of almond flour you use (some are milled finer, absorb more liquid and therefore you use less)
Pumpkin spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting

Roll into 30ish balls and pop in the fridge to chill overnight. I tested one for poison before they went into the fridge. You can leave it as is, or the next day nuke some chocolate, dip in the pumpkin truffle and coat. These are a good time.. they are spicy from the pumpkin spice and good for your soul. Nutrition on these varies dependent on nut butter and how much almond flour you ended up using.

For me I got for two large truffles : 171 calories, Carbs 6 (NET 3g), Fat 14g, Protein 8g, Sugars 2g
Winnie would have approved of this dessert! She liked when I puttered in the kitchen, always at my feet hoping for a little nibble.



Pumpkin Guts Cheesecake

9 10 2013

This was another recipe we presented at the conference this past weekend and the one that garnered the most positive feedback. This is a good time, there is no denying it.

Depending on how you roll, this dessert can be morphed to suit your needs.

No carbs?? NO PROBLEM
Make the filling and bake them in ramekins without a crust for a crustless, holiday treat.

Use the almond flour crust version and ignore the fact you are consuming dairy in the philly cream cheese for some a nice treat.

Non-Diva in the Kitchen? NO PROBLEM
Grab a box of sf Peak Frean shortbreads, beat them with a rolling pin and you are on your way.

Just because I made this in a pan, doesnt mean it isnt a cheesecake. Ideally you should make it in a deep sided cheesecake pan, or brownie pan. I was serving 75 people so my cheesecake looks HUGE.. it was, because 75 people had a tiny little square to sample and I tripled the recipe.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
1 cup almond flour or almond meal OR a cup of crushed sf cookies
2 tbsp sweetener (splenda) *omit if you used cookies
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 tsp maple extract

1 cup pumpkin puree ‘dehydrated’
8 oz cream cheese – one brick
1/2 cup sweetener
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
15 drops stevia extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the crust, preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour and sweetener (or crushed sf cookies). Add butter and maple extract to almond flour mixture (or crushed cookies) until well combined and bake for 8 minutes.

For the filling, spread pumpkin out on a plate lined with several paper towels.

Top with another layer of paper towels and blot to remove as much moisture as possible.
The pumpkin ends up looking like this:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sweetener, maple extract and spices until incorporated. Beat in dried pumpkin puree and stevia extract, then beat in egg until fully incorporated. Beat in heavy cream. Scrape down beaters and sides of bowl as needed.
Bake at 325F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bars are puffed and set. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. I added some pumpkin seeds on the top to be all festive.

A Chance to Make these HOLES!

24 01 2013

I mean Pumpkin donut holes!

So I dont know why, but my life has been surrounded by Tim Horton’s timbits (aka donut holes for those unfamiliar with Tim Hortons) for the last couple of days. We had a box kicking around work and this morning, in a moment of weakness, I popped one in my mouth. It left a giant oil slick in my mouth and it was stale. I have to say the memories of “comfort” food are much better than the reality. It goes to show you how much my tastebuds have morphed… thank God.
Because I have been plagued by donut holes I decided to make some of my own. I was trying to decide what “special treat” I was going to make for my birthday re-do this Thursday with my coffee girls and guys. I *thought* I had a chocolate cake ball all sorted out when the pumpkin donut hole struck me as a better idea. Switched gears and made a batch up last night before I got called back to work because we had a flood. I curse cold weather, it makes pipes burst.

So while these dont look like donut holes aka timbits, they certainly will not taste nor clog your arteries like timbits either. These are grain free, sugar free goodness that remind me more of a scone than anything. God, how I miss bread.
Enjoy these at your next brunch and shoot the timbits an evil eye.

Pumpkin “Timbits”

1 cup Canned Or Fresh (cooked) Pumpkin
½ cups sf maple syrup
12 drops stevia with vanilla
½ cups Butter Or Coconut Oil, Melted
1 teaspoons Vanilla
3 whole Eggs
2 Tablespoons Buttermilk (or 2 tbsp milk with a dash of white vinegar)

1 cup Almond Flour
1 cup Coconut Flour
½ teaspoons Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice

Spice for rolling in after OR cranberries to top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get your baking sheet out and primed with spray OR parchment paper. Mix all the wet ingredients together (first part of recipe) and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a larger bowl.

pumpkin pre mix

Mix ingredients together until you get a slightly thick batter. This always seems so loose for me but just wait a couple of minutes until the coconut flour starts to thicken things up. I swear that stuff is incredible. If it doesnt feel like the batter is thick enough to roll into balls, then add a *touch* more coconut flour OR use your cookie scoop and work with what you have. I chose the later because I didnt want to monkey around with a good thing.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter onto the cookie sheet, and I jammed a dried cranberry in the top. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes and let cool. Nuclear alert, these mothers will burn if you try and consume before cooling.. as well, they tend to be a bit bendy, so wait.If you want, add some glaze or roll in some splenda/cinnamon to create more of a donut feel and brew some coffee!

pumpkin holes

Tada! These made 53 holes.. and the WLS serving is probably two. Nuts are PER hole:
Calories 45, Carbs 3(2g NET), Fat 3g, Protein 1g, Sugar 1g
Dont be an A-HOLE and forget to try these!

Primal Coconut Pumpkin Squares

28 03 2012

Ken asked why we eat ‘so much pumpkin?’ Well, we eat a lot of meat, so we need to balance that with fiber! I told him “the two best things in life are a good cup of a coffee and a good poop”

Other than its wonderful fiberific ability to make my tummy happy, here are some other benefits of pumpkin!

It is one of the vegetables which is very low calories; provides just 26 cal per 100 g and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; but is rich a source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.

With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetable in the cucurbitaceae family with highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for vision. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A helps body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.

It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α and ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.

Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in reitina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from “age related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.

Rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.

It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

This is my second recipe for pumpkin squares, and Ken asks for this more often than the previous one. He really likes this one. Thank you Civilized Caveman Cooking for this recipe. I think the only tweak was to throw in a 1/2 cup of raisins. Grain free, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and full of fiber, this snack is the perfect food.

Pumpkin Coconut Squares
by Civilized Caveman

1 can of organic pureed pumpkin, 14 ounces
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup of sweetener of choice (liquid – i used sf maple syrup)
3 eggs
2 tbsp creamed coconut dissolved in 1/4 cup of warm water
2 tbsp ghee (or fat of choice) melted
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven 350 and get out two bowls. Gather your ingredients.

In one bowl mix your coconut flour, spices and baking powder and set aside.
In the other bowl mix the pumpkin, fats, eggs, and sweetener. Mix the dry into the wet liquid.

Pour into greased pan and pop it into the oven for 45 minutes and make sure if the middle doesn’t jiggle. TADA delicious!!

Primal Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Cinnamon Icing

19 02 2012

This is a special addendum to my first post today. Two posts in one day!! I am feeling guilt that I haven’t blogged in a bit, but the reality is because of the Sick we had and me being away, it has been 3 weeks of Thai butternut squash soup and Kat prepared frozen meals for Ken. I haven’t really been cooking. I am making up for it this weekend.
Get your own cake!

I have, however, been market-ing. We took a 2 hour break from minerals and went to St Phllips Farmers market in Tucson. I love that place.. I bought Blue Moon blend from Adventure Coffee Roasting, more spices from Native Seeds/SEARCH, and two types of dates from the date ladies. My bag got mega-searched coming home as it was full of Mexican oregano, spices and hot sauces. OLE

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cinnamon Icing

from Heath-Bent by Meaghan Keatley
**adaptation for WLS people in bold

For the Pumpkin Cake
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c almond butter
1/2 c raw honey (I used sf maple syrup and 10 drops vanilla stevia)
2 eggs
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
**1/2 t ginger
**1/2 cup of cranberries, dried

For the Cinnamon Icing
1/4 c coconut butter
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c raw honey (I used half coconut sap, and half splenda)
1 t cinnamon

For the Pumpkin Cake
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine.

Pour into an 8×8 oven safe baking dish (I suspect you could squeeze 12 cupcakes out of this recipe if you use a muffin tin). Bake until completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.

For the Cinnamon Icing

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and use either your mixing blade attachment or a whisk to beat the ingredients until fluffy.

Once the pumpkin cake has cooled, cut it into 9 squares and remove from the pan. Now…if the cake isn’t completely, 100%, no doubt in your mind, cool you are not allowed to proceed.
I’m telling you, if your cake isn’t cool, the icing will just slide right off into a pile of goopiness and all will be wasted. If you haven’t experienced what disastrous-ness comes from not heeded the above warning, you only need try it one time to learn. Use a small offset spatula or a spoon and drizzle the frosting over the top.
**OMG they are so right!! This cake needs to be stone cold before you smear the coconut icing on it. I will say Ken and I loved the cinnamon topper, I wasn’t sure I was going to add it, but I am glad I did, even if it did slide off a bit 🙂

No pics of the icing, but this is out of the oven and cooling.

Store the Pumpkin Cake Bars you haven’t immediately annihilated in the fridge. The icing will harden in the fridge, let it come to room temp if you’d like it soft. If you’d like it softer, faster (for the impatient types, like myself) the frosting will melt beautifully if you stick the cake bar in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Goes great with your morning coffee or tea!

Winnie approves the cake and coffee combo..anything that promotes me lingering on the couch instead of doing chores is a good thing in her books. You’ll note my flat, bloat free tummy in this pic.

Primal, ‘The Sick’ & Pumpkin Casserole

19 02 2012

So I am back from Tucson. Such a fabulous business trip, saw colleagues, Kim and I had a grand time shopping and looking at spectacular minerals and equally ridiculous things-giant dinosaurs, hottub sized amethyst geodes, gorgeous displays.
Cold medicine was my friend..i felt like a criminal buying cold meds at midnight at Walgreens

The down side to my trip was I got Mega-cold 2.0. I had been Mega-sick about a week prior to leaving, and things cleared up and I thought I was in the clear. I worked out twice in Tucson and then was struck by Mega-cold 2.0. I lost my voice, fever and serious sinus infection. What a bummer. At first I sort of thought it might be the primal diet, but in hindsight, I cycled out of this cold pretty fast compared to most people. I was 60% in Tucson and I sort of lost my appetite, because who cares what you are eating when you can’t taste it. I came home down 3 pounds. Hopefully the loss isn’t due to lack of working out. I was doing push ups and planks on the floor when Kim had her shower in the morning.

Anyway, I am back, back at the market this morning, and just cooked up a storm this afternoon. I was back in my element. I have decided that primal is sticking around for a while. My tummy loves the lack of dairy, grain and beans.. I have no bloat.

A pet peeve had a silver lining today. My grocery store only carries the 28oz can of pumpkin purée. That is a heck a lot of pumpkin, and once you open the can, you are stuck trying to figure out what to do with all that pumpkin. So today I made the pumpkin chicken cream casserole from PaleOMG, and had about 1 cup of pumpkin left to make a rocking pumpkin snack cake with cinnamon icing. I was in pumpkin heaven today. Look for Pumpkin Snack cake as my next blog.

Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole

From PaleOMG with modifications noted n bold

1.5 lbs of chicken breast, cubed
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 head of cauliflower (**I roasted only half a head)
1 can of pumpkin puree (14 oz can)
½ can coconut milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoon of fat (I used bacon fat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
** 1 tsp garam masala
** ¼ cup of cilantro
** 1 tbsp hot cock sauce
** ½ cup of fried onions (I know they aren’t primal, but we love them)
** chicken stock on standby

Preheat oven and line a 9 x 11 pan. Cut up half the cauliflower and cut the spaghetti squash in half. Place cut side down in dish and sprinkle cauliflower around the squash and pop in the oven. Check in on everything after 45 minutes, and if the squash is yielding, then it is done.

As the squash-cauliflower is in the oven, crack out a heavy pot and heat up your fat of choice. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the cube chicken and cook. The original recipe says to cook 2/3rds but I know my husband, who has a tendency to eat something right out of the fridge, so I didn’t want to poison him with 2/3rds done chicken.

Once the chicken is done, there will be chicken juices in the bottom of the pot…this is a good thing. Add spices and let them cook for 3 minutes.

Add coconut milk, pumpkin and cilantro. Give everything a big stir and taste. It needed something so I added some hot sauce, and salt. At this point, this was a thick stew so I used some chicken stock to thin it out. This stew has to mix with spaghetti squash and cauliflower and be re-baked, so too thick and it would be cement when added to the squash-cauliflower.

As the stew is simmering, prep the spaghetti squash out of each of the half squash using a fork. The cauliflower and prepped spaghetti squash are sitting in a greased 9×11 inch pan. Pour the thinned stew over the squash-cauliflower and combine. Sprinkle the onions on the top of the casserole and saran wrap for later or pop directly in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until everything was heated through.

This casserole reminded me of the old school canned mushroom soup Kraft kitchen casserole of my childhood. This makes a lot of deliciousness.. many thanks to PaleOMG for this deliciousness.

Pumpkin Protein Un-Bread

7 12 2011

So I am going to start off with what I ate today…some days I could get EVERYTHING, and other days I can get very little into the system. I have made a commitment to myself this holiday to plan in my treats and make sure I hit the gym almost every day. I am finding it stressful over the holidays and the running-spinning-elliptical-combat classes allow me to sleep like a rock without my head spinning too much.

SO today.. I am hot and cold on soup in general, as it is really a slider food but I made Jess’ Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup but jacked up the protein content (up to 24g per cup) by adding a half a package of silken tofu to the mix. It was a good time.
Protein coffee for breakfast, a medium 10oz cappucino for mid-morning snack, and 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with some sf jam for afternoon snack. A turkey pepperoni before I hit the gym, and frijoles charros for dinner. Snack for tonight will be pumpkin un-bread. Before snack tonight I have close to 970 calories and 97g of protein in.. not too shabby.

This pumpkin un-bread is delicious, and loaf-like without using flour, which drives the carbs WAY down. Un-bread is like bread, but not, and it feels different enough that this doesn’t feel like old habits. I have full control when this is in our house.. an ACE Bakery baguette may be more of an issue. I can only eat half a slice of this un-bread, but Ken can eat a whole slice. This recipe makes 12 slices of bread (24 if it is all WLS sized). While the half of a square will LOOK small, this feels pretty heavy in the system… just a word of caution, don’t overdue it the first time eating it.

Kat’s Pumpkin Pepitas Un-Bread

1/2 cup almond meal(flour)
1 1/2 cups Splenda
3/4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder
6 tbsp vital wheat gluten
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda

2 extra large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup of sour cream, low fat
1 container ~ 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
4 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup of pepitas, optional

Set the oven for 350 degrees and line a loaf pan with some parchment paper. This stuff wants to stick to everything, so spray won’t cut it for this recipe.

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside (first half of ingredients above)

Grab another medium sized bowl and crack the eggs, beat until scrambled, combine the pumpkin, sour cream, apple sauce, oil and vanilla extract.

Mix until combined..

Pour into your prepped loaf pan and again, don’t spray the pan and think this is going to come out clean. I have tried it, you need parchment paper to lift this out once it is cooled. Sprinkle pepitas on the top of the loaf, and pop into the oven to bake for 55 minutes, checking with a toothpick for done-ness.

TADA! Delicious, nutritious and like devil bread, BUT NOT!

Nuts on this are as follows (quoted with pepitas) per slice (12 slices per loaf). If you can only finish HALF a slice, adjust accordingly.
Calories 181, Carbs 10g (NET 8g), Fat 11g, Protein 12g, Sugar 3g