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pumpkin pie

I love my pumpkin pie, but I am determined this year to not have regrets about what I ate over the holidays!  How many times do I need to learn that the recovery time is not really worth the few bites of gluten laden decadence?  For those of you looking for a delicious alternative to feeling regret, read on!  I started with a real pumpkin because my CSA gives them to me!  But working with canned pumpkin is just fine too.  The only thing is you won’t have the yummy roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on while you are waiting for the pie to cool!

Start by baking a pumpkin, if that’s your plan.

pumpkin

pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scoop out the guts and seeds of the pumpkin.

pumpkin guts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake face down on a sheet pan at 350 degrees until soft.  Let cool before scooping the flesh out of the shell into a measuring cup.

baked pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, separate the pumpkin guts from the pumpkin seeds.  Rinse the seeds and roast with a little oil (I used delicious, nutritious coconut oil which I got here) until you hear popping sounds coming from the oven.  They should be crunchy and irresistible, especially with good salt.  Pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition.  Known to be a good source of minerals including zinc and magnesium as well as protein and essential fatty acids.  Research suggests they are useful for prostate health, bone density, parasites, arthritis and healthy blood lipids.  Find out more here.

pumpkin seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a food processor make the crust:

3/4 cup raw pecans or pumpkin seeds (grind ‘em up real good in the food processor)

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup coconut flour (find out why I’m such a fan of the coconut here and here)

1/2 tsp good salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup  coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 free range egg

 

Process dry stuff, add the coconut oil and process.  Then add egg and pulse until it comes together.  It will be sticky.

Press into a pie plate or tart pan.  Freeze for 15-20 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees until lightly browned.

crust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next mix up the filling in the food processor:

Filling:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup (or less)

1/2 tsp good salt

1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

pinch of cayenne

pinch of ground cloves

1 can coconut milk (not LITE)

Blend everything together until it is a smooth puree.  Pour into partially baked pie crust.  Tap to release bubbles.

unbaked custard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake 45-55 minutes at 325. Be sure to let it cool before you serve it.

Delicious ending to a healthy fall meal, but honestly it makes a darn good breakfast too!

 

 

dig in!

 

Anyone out there have tomatoes piling up?  Attracting fruit flies?  Tired of BLT’s? (Never!)

tomatoes from MY YARD!

I realized today that if I didn’t act, and act TODAY my tomato harvest would be fruit fly food.

 

I had yellow tomatoes, green stripey tomatoes, and red, red tomatoes.

 

If I mixed them all together I would create a really attractive brown tomato sauce!  So I made Cream of Tomato Soup with the yellow and green ones, and Roasted Tomato Sauce with the red ones.  I’m pretty pleased with the results, so I thought I would share!

Cream of Tomato Soup Indian Style

Saute in coconut oil:

  • ginger, onion, garlic

Meanwhile toast your whole spices in a dry skillet:

dry toasting spices

  • cumin, coriander, black pepper corns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds

Grind the whole spices and add them to the onion mixture.  Add a healthy dose of turmeric (if I’d had fresh turmeric I would have used it, but dried ground turmeric is fine.  Remember how good it is for you?  Anti-inflammatory?), and a dash of cinnamon.

Saute the spices for a minute. Then add a bunch of cut up tomatoes.  I used yellow and green ones which worked great with the turmeric which is bright yellow too.

Add a little chicken stock or water to get the tomatoes to start breaking down.  Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for a while, checking occasionally and stirring.  When the tomatoes are completely broken down, puree the whole she-bang.  I used my trusty Vita-Mix, but those immersion blenders work well too.  After pureeing the mixture, put it back in the pot and add a can of coconut milk and salt to taste.  Heat it gently at this point.  You don’t want the coconut milk to boil.

lunch. check.

 

 

Depending on how sweet your tomatoes are you might want to add a handful of sugar, honey, or maple syrup to balance out the acid of the tomatoes.  I decided against that.  I portioned out the soup (after eating some, of course) for lunches for the next few days!

 

 

 

Next up:

Roasted Tomato Sauce

The recipe is thus:  Cut up a bunch of tomatoes, toss with olive oil, salt, fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

red tomatoes ready for the oven

 

 

Roast in a 350 degree oven until they break down and start to dry out a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

herbaceousness

 

 

Add some fresh garlic and chopped basil and spoon over  spaghetti squash, roasted cauliflower, zucchini ribbons, or…. pasta!

I spooned mine into a jar, and froze it for some winter day when I need to conjure up the bounty of these last fall days!

 

 

 

 

 

after roasting

 

 

Tomato’s nutritional claim to fame is high levels of a carotenoid called “lycopene.” Carotenoids act as anti-oxidants in the body and high intake of lycopene has been found to be protective against prostate cancer.  Lycopene is what gives tomatoes, watermelon, and guavas their pink/red color.  Lycopene is more available to the body when tomatoes are cooked, and they should be cooked with some oil to aid absorption.

 

Salmon and Turnips

Salmon and Turnips

We got turnips again this week.  I am ecstatic!  For lunch I sauteed them with some chopped ginger and scallions (coconut oil, of course), added a splash of tamari sauce and covered them for a minute to steam.  Then I added the greens in at the end and cooked them until they were wilted.  I served the turnips and greens with a piece of steamed salmon.

This week's CSA offerings

This week's CSA offerings

I am crazy in love with the turnips that we get from our CSA.  They are the white things on the right, a little bigger than the radishes.  If your only experience with turnips involves the overgrown purple and white root vegetable that has been sitting in the bin at the grocery store too long, I ask you to set aside your preconceived notions of the turnip.  This week was our first vegetable pick up of the season.  We have been members of the Sauvie Island Organics CSA (Community Supported Agriculture to learn more about community supported agriculture or to find a farm near you click on the link) for about 5 years now.   They do a bang up job of raising the most delicious, nutritious, variety of vegetables that come straight from the farm to us every tuesday from May to late November.  The first year we became members it was a challenge for my family of four (two teenaged boys) to eat all the vegetables every week.  I actually (gasp) started eating vegetables for breakfast!  Instead of a vegetable side dish at dinner we would have two or three different veggies.   We all know that as confusing as nutrition advice can be, everyone agrees on one thing:  Eat More Veggies! Now, five years later we easily consume our weekly treasure chest of fresh, organic vegetables.  And can I put in a plug here for feeding kids local, organic, real vegetables as opposed to slimy, “baby” carrots and bags of prewashed salad greens?  Organic, farm fresh food actually tastes better people!  Kids will eat it!    And when vegetables are as fresh and vibrant as these are, you really don’t need to doctor them up too much when you cook them.  A little olive oil, a sqeeze of lemon and some good salt (you know how I feel about that) is the only “recipe” you need!

Is it not true however that most things in life can be improved with bacon?  And that is my favorite thing to do with the Hakurei Turnips!  Sautee up a couple of pieces of bacon which has been cut into small pieces with kitchen shears.  Add some onions or leeks if you like.  Quarter the turnips and add them to the bacon.  Let them cook for a while in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally.  After about 10 minutes or so add a splash of vinegar.  Sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar.  (As an aside, I keep dried burdock sliced soaking in a jar of red wine vinegar and use it for salads and things like this.  The burdock adds little flavor, but I feel I am adding a wonderful herbal tonic for my liver and blood whenever I use it!)  Cover the turnips with a lid of some sort and let them steam in the vinegar for a few minutes.  Then uncover and keep cooking until they are browned and fork tender.  Depending on the size of your turnip slices you may need to steam them in a little water also to get them cooked all the way through.  But be sure to brown them up a the end of the cooking time.  Salt and pepper to taste.   And don’t forget that the greens are delicious too!  Cook them up separately or throw them in near the end of the cooking time of the turnips.  Nutrition facts for turnips can be found here.   Turnips are a cruciferous root vegetable, a member of the brassica family and share similar health benefits to cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower.  They are low in calories (so don’t feel guilty about the bacon), high in vitamin C, and fiber.

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