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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!

 

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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.

 

Yesterday I was reminded that I actually have some followers out there!  Hello people! I have some pictures to share from the last few months. They are all the things that I wanted to blog about but never got around to it!

Calcifer

Meet Calcifer, our new stove

Baking Gluten Free Blue Cornmeal Biscuits

Roasting Chickens and Vegetables

Roasted Delicata Squash With Fennel Salt

Yesterday I catered a lunch at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral where I served a red quinoa salad.  It was a hit with the crowd and requests were made for the recipe. I can recreate the ingredients, but not the proportions.   It is really flexible though.  Do not worry about proportions.    For the record, the salad I made was heavy on the vegetables, light on the quinoa.  Many people have not heard of quinoa, and many who have think that it is a grain.  In fact it is an edible seed and has a great nutritional profile.   Click here for nutrition data on quinoa.  It is gluten free, high in amino acids (protein), and fiber.  It is delicious, easy to cook and very versatile!

Here’s what I did:

Cook the red quinoa in chicken stock. (cooks just like rice 1:2 quinoa:liquid).  Let it steam a little in the pot so it gets fluffy.  Let it cool.

Chop a bunch of veggies.  I had broccoli, scallions, green cabbage, shredded carrots.

Make the dressing.  In  a food processor, combine:  cilantro, mint, fresh lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, salt, olive oil.

Mix the cooled quinoa, the raw veggies and the dressing.  Chill until ready to serve.  Just before serving, toss with crumbled feta cheese.

Red Quinoa Salad

Today I whipped up my favorite gluten free corn bread to go with the leftover salad for lunch.  This recipe is thanks to my sister in law, Betsy.

Blue Corn Cornbread

Did you know, that one more thing to worry about when it comes to nutrition, is if our food has been genetically modified?  Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops along with soy, canola oil, and tomatoes.  In order to be safe, make sure you are getting organic corn products (if it is yellow or white corn).  Blue corn and popcorn are not genetically modified.

Blue Corn Bread

Preheat your oven (oh, my lovely Calcifer!) to 450 degrees.  Preheat an 8 inch cast iron skillet in the oven.

In a small bowl mix 2/3 cup blue cornmeal with 2/3 cup boiling water.  It should make a stiff batter.  Add 2 eggs, 1 T honey, and 1 1/2 cups almond/hemp/soy or buttermilk.  Stir to combine.

In a larger bowl, mix 1 1/3 cups blue cornmeal with  1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Mix the wet into the dry.  Add chopped bits of ham, bacon, scallions, green chilies, cheese…

Meanwhile, after your skillet gets hot, add 2 T butter to the hot pan.  Swirl it around until it melts and coats the inside of the pan.  Pour the excess into the batter and stir in before adding the batter to the hot pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or so, until it is firm, lightly browned on top and has a lovely crack around the edge.

Lovely golden crust and blue bread

Butter from grass fed cows is the perfect accompaniment

edamame

edamame

I have to share this salad because it has been very popular this summer.  It is easy to make, keeps well, is very nourishing.  It has a good amount of protein because of the edamame (soy beans) and black beans.  It is high in good fiber.  It looks lovely and tastes great!  Unfortunately I have not taken any pictures of it yet, so you will have to use your imaginations.

The recipe comes form Ellie Krieger’s magazine “Eat Smart”

Asian-Style Three-Bean Salad

Ellie Krieger

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bag (10 oz) of frozen shelled edamame
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed

Steam the green beans and the edamame together for 4-5 minutes.  Quickly drain and rinse them in cold water to stop them from overcooking.  Add all the beans to a bowl.

3 Tablespoons organic canola or grapeseed oil
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup 100% fruit apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

Whisk together and add to beans.  Let the beans marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or longer.
When ready to serve, slice a few scallions and stir them in or use as garnish on top.

yumthingsI have been reading Nourishing Traditions this week and got inspired to sprout some lentils.  Sprouting beans, grains or seeds unlocks a whole new level of nutrition in them, changing the enzyme activity, and the carbohydrate:protein ratio.  Nutrition facts for sprouted lentilssprouted lentilsThen I had a mason jar full of live little growing lentils that were calling my name today.  All morning in class I kept thinking about them.  On the way home I stopped by the Asian grocery near my house and bought some ginger, jalepenos, and cilantro and I went home and created this recipe.  It is extremely easy to put together (provided you have a food processor).  I thought they were delicious!  And filling!  I do need to think of a better name for them though.  If anyone has any suggestions…

Sprouted Lentil Yumthings

2 cups sprouted lentils (green)
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
3 jalepenos
1.5 inches fresh ginger root
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup pecans
1 generous pinch of dried kelp flakes
2 eggs
2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 Tablespoon sea salt
coconut oil

Sprout your lentils.  To do this start with a wide mouth mason jar 1/2  full of dry lentils.  Add water to the top of the jar and let them soak overnight or for 12 hours or so.  Drain them (you can buy a handy screen that fits exactly in the top of a wide mouth mason jar, or you can use cheesecloth, or a fine mesh strainer) and rinse them well.  Leave them in the jar, which should not be sealed shut, but allowed to drain upside down in the dishrack.  Rinse them 2 or three times a day.  The sprouts should pop out by the second day or so.  I like to use them when the sprout tails are fairly short (about 2 days), but you can let them grow longer if you like.  When they are sprouted to your liking, rinse them again and then store them in the fridge with a closed lid on the jar this time.  They will stop growing in the cold fridge.

Get out your food processor.
Process the pecans first.  You want these to be ground up fine, just be careful not to turn them into nut butter.  Empty these into a bowl.  Next process the onions into a nice small dice.  Saute the onions a little in a skillet with some coconut oil.  Then add them to the bowl with the pecans.  Next process the garlic, ginger, jalepenos, until they are finely chopped.  Add the cilantro to the processor and give it a whirl until it is nicely chopped as well.  Add all these things into the bowl.  Next process the sprouted lentils.  These should reach almost a paste consistency.  Add to the bowl.  Then to the bowl add the kelp (or omit if you don’t have any), salt, garbanzo bean flour, and eggs. bowl of goodies Mix all the ingredients together.  Taste to make sure you have added enough salt.  It should be  fairly soft, but hold together somewhat.  It’s not an exact science.

Heat some coconut oil in a skillet and fry the patties until brown and crispy on both sides.  Make sure that the first side has browned completely before you try and turn it over.  You will be happy if you do this because they will hold together better.frying yumthings

Serve hot with chutney and lime chili pickle.

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