Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. The air feels crisp and clean, apples taste sweeter, and my favorite winter squash abounds: Pumpkin! How can you not love a vegetable that makes the most delicious desserts? I use every possible opportunity to incorporate pumpkins into my fall recipes, but pumpkin pie custard has to be my favorite. I eat it for breakfast or as a sweet treat after lunch or dinner. Best of all, it is filling and satisfying but without all the extra sugar and processed flour in pumpkin pie.
- 2 x 15 oz cans of Fresh Pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Raw Honey
- 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (1-1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves)
- 4 Large Eggs
- 14 oz can of Light Coconut Milk (or low fat 2% evaporated milk)
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Lightly grease glass bakeware with butter (one 13″ x 8″ dish, or several smaller dishes)
- Mix together pumpkin, honey and spices (KitchenAid mixer will work well!). Add the eggs. Last, pour in the coconut milk.
- Pour the liquid into your greased dishes. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40 – 60 minutes (depending on the size of your pan). The custard will be done when you can shake it and the middle does not jiggle (or insert a butter knife in the middle and see if it comes out clean).
- Let the pumpkin cool completely (overnight is ideal) and serve cold, either as breakfast or a dessert.
Makes 12 servings, 100 calories per serving.
OPTIONAL Alternative Serving Ideas:
- Top custard with nonfat vanilla greek yogurt as a creamy topping.
- Serve custard with a plate of ginger snap cookies for a sweet dip at parties.
This recipe could also be called “Pumpkin Coffee Creamer Reclaimed.” Essentially, I add a couple eggs to the pumpkin creamer that is already well-stocked in my fridge, and we have some delicious pumpkin french toast batter!
- 2 cups Pumpkin Coffee Creamer
- 2 Large Eggs
- 8 Slices of Bread (slightly stale brown rice bread or New Cascadia Honey GF bread works well!)
- Ground Cinnamon
1. Preheat griddle to high (or 400° F). Add 1 tsp of butter to grease the surface.
2. Preheat oven to 170° F.
3. Whisk eggs and blend with pumpkin creamer in a flat bottomed bowl or dish.
4. Soak each slice of bread for 30 seconds in the batter.
5. Place bread on preheated griddle and sprinkle cinnamon on the top.
6. Cook bread for 3 minutes, or until the bread is browned and crispy.
OPTIONAL Topping Ideas:
- Almond Butter
- Maple Syrup
- Toasted Pecans
- Vanilla Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Pumpkin Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Sauteed apples with cinnamon
When pumpkin lattes are released early each fall, I am the girl who is standing in the front of the line at the coffee shop. I love them! But they do have a fair amount of sugar, processed ingredients, and (surprise!) gluten. Yikes! As necessity–or desperation–is the mother of invention, I had some trial and errors in my kitchen until I created a pumpkin coffee creamer that is delicious, satisfying, and made with solid, gluten-free ingredients.
- 32 oz Vanilla Almond Milk, Unsweetened
- 32 oz Coconut Milk, Unsweetened
- 7.5 oz (1/2 can) Pumpkin Puree
- 3/4 cup Raw Honey
- 1/4 cup Mulling Spices in Satchel (or 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice)
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
1. Combine ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Stir periodically, allowing ingredients to simmer for 45 – 60 minutes.
3. Remove spice satchel, and pour the liquid through a mesh strainer to catch the pulp.
4. Pour the strained liquid into a glass jar and store in your refrigerator.
5. Serve a healthy portion with coffee (I add 1/4 cup of the milk for a 16 oz cup of coffee). Shake well before each use as the pumpkin may to settle.
Makes 2 quarts, or 32 servings of 1/4 cup, 35 calories per serving.
From book clubs to movie nights to prayer groups, I love inviting people to come into my home, drink wine and be together. While there is something profoundly delicious about the standard “chips and salsa” fare for such occassions, I have added a few additional dips and and dippers to add color and diversity. This is not so much “cooking” as it is an idea for a quick way to create a vibrant, colorful spread for a party.
- Tortilla Chips (look for the 3 – 5 ingredient chips: corn, oil, salt, touch of lime)
- Mini Bell Peppers, halved with the tops cut off
- Jiama, skinned and cut into flat strips, spritzed with fresh lime and chili powder
- Guacamole (fresh avocados, garlic, salt and pepper, and some fresh salsa)
- Fresh Salsa
- Cowboy Caviar (available pre-made at Trader Joe’s or Costco; bell peppers, black beans, and corn)
When it comes to dessert , the taste really needs to be worth the calories. Therefore, my general rule is make dessert as decadent as possible, enjoy every spoonful, and be satisfied with a smaller portion. Dairy ice cream, even in small doses, tends to make me feel a bit sluggish, so I started trying some non-dairy ice creams, and that is how I fell in love with the taste and creamy texture of ice cream made with coconut milk. Unfortunately, this treat also tends to be rather expensive, except for the simple flavors I can find at Trader Joe’s. Thus, with a little creativity, I have sought to make a delicious, calorie-worthy, dessert of excellence. INGREDIENTS:
- Pint of Chocolate Ice Cream made with Coconut Milk
- 1/4 Cup salted creamy peanut butter
- Set ice cream on counter to soften slightly (the time it takes to get from the store to home is generally the perfect amount of time for the ice cream to soften)
- Put ice cream and peanut butter in kitchen aid mixer on a low setting and mix together for 30 seconds.
- Scrape ice cream out of kitchen aid mixer, put it back in the ice cream carton, and return to freezer. Ready to Serve.
Makes 4 servings, 340 calories per serving.
OPTIONAL Chocolate Peanut Butter Hard Shell Topping:
- Melt 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips with one tablespoon of peanut butter for 30 seconds in microwave. Stir. If not melted, continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until smooth
- Pour melted chocolate peanut butter topping directly over ice cream. It should harden within a minute or two.
OPTIONAL Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie:
- Follow recipe for Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies, omitting baking soda and eggs
- Microwave for 45 seconds, then pile on the ice cream
As the cool spring sunshine gives way to a warmer summer blaze, the really good tomatoes are returning to us. The gritty, hard tomatoes in the winter are hardly satisfying, but those sweet juicy summertime tomatoes are just delicious! This is one of my favorite summer recipes, bringing the delicious open-faced caprese sandwich to a veggie-loving palate, offering a grilled eggplant disk in lieu of a crusty bread.
- 1 Eggplant, cut in discs, 1/4″ thick
- 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, cut into discs
- 4 oz Soft Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil leaves
- Olive Oil
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar, drizzled
- 1-2 Tomatoes (chopped to 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 Lime, juiced
1. Combine all the pesto ingredients and puree in a blender until smooth.
2. Heat olive oil on grill (or in a flat bottom pan on the stove top.
3. Fry eggplant on both sides in the olive oil. Season with salt.
4. Spread pesto on the eggplant, then top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
5. Top eggplant stacks with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Finding the time and motivation to prepare a healthy breakfast every day is rather challenging, so I have become a huge fan of making frittatas and casseroles that will last for several days in a row. That way, I can reheat my delicious, veggie-rich and protein breakfast in just a couple minutes. This recipe almost functions as a quiche, as the sweet potato lined dish almost functions like a crust. As always, subbing other veggies for the zucchini definitely works.
- 2 medium 5″ sweet potatoes (orange and/or white flesh)
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
- seasoning to taste (sea salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh rosemary)
- 6 egg whites
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice them into very thin discs. Set aside 12 discs for the top, then layer the bottom of a glass casserole dish with the sweet potatoes.
- Pile the grated zucchini, cheese, chopped onions and seasonings.
- Add the leftover 12 discs of orange sweet potatoes on the top of the casserole.
- Whisk together the egg whites and almond milk and pour over the vegetables.
- Bake for 60 – 75 minutes. The casserole is done when it doesn’t jiggle.
Makes 4 servings, 130 calories per serving.
For some reason, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is just magical. This recipe uses Vanilla yogurt as the sweet, creamy base for a peanut butter mousse. It works deliciously well with apples as a dipping sauce. Or, for a more decadent desert, I do a scoop of mousse with a small scoop of French Silk ice cream for a peanut butter chocolate pie flavor.
- 16 oz nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (no sugar or oil added)
- 2 oz dark chocolate (72% cocoa)
- Whisk yogurt and peanut butter together until well blended and whipped.
- Break chocolate into small pieces and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Melt in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth.
- Drizzle chocolate over the cold peanut butter yogurt mixture. Wait 10 – 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
- Break the hardened chocolate with the whisk to break into smaller bites.
- Serve with finely chopped apple slivers or with a small scoop of ice cream.
Makes 8 servings of 1/4 cup each, 155 calories per serving.
Vanilla Spice Almond Milk
When a certain well-known coffee shop recently came out with the delicious Vanilla Spice latte, I was enthralled! The simplicity of a warm vanilla latte mixed with the spicy cardamom was absolutely delicious. After indulging in this sugary treat one too many times, I decided it was time to see if I could recreate my own version with raw ingredients and less processed sugar. And now I cannot get through my morning without it.
- 1/2 Gallon of Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk (or Coconut Milk works too)
- 1 tsp Cardamom seeds
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in large sauce pan over low-medium heat.
2. Cover and let it simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer it simmers, the more of the delicious cardamom flavor will come out.
3. Pour the liquid through a mesh strainer to catch the cardamom seeds.
4. Pour the strained liquid into a glass jar and store in your refrigerator.
5. Serve a healthy portion with coffee (I add 1/2 cup of the milk for a 16 oz cup of coffee). Due to the chemistry of the almond milk and the coffee, curdling does occur sometimes, but the texture and taste should be unhindered.
Makes 8 cups, 60 calories per cup (or 30 calories per 1/2 cup serving)
My Texas-bred Uncle Ron has this incredible recipe for Jalapeno Cheese Grits, an ultimate comfort food. My version captures the same delicious cheesy texture with lots of vegetables and without all the extra cream and butter. This recipe is one of my favorite plan ahead meals, particularly as a filling, easy breakfast for early mornings before work. It also works well as a side dish for dinner, doing double duty as the starch and vegetable. I have experimented with all sorts of vegetables (including spinach, mushrooms and asparagus). All of the variations have been delicious, though I am particularly fond of the zucchini bell pepper combo that I have laid out here because it provides some great color contrast to the yellow polenta.
- 2 medium zucchini, grated (a large tooth cheese grater works well)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 sweet (or yellow) onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups of boiling hot water
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup polenta (dry corn grits)
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop the vegetables and lay them out in a 13 x 9 oven safe casserole or glass dish.
3. Add boiling water to polenta and sea salt. Mix together well, then pour over vegetables.
4. Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
5. Take casserole out of the oven and add the sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well and return to the oven for 20 more minutes.
6. Remove casserole from oven and let it cool at least 10 minutes before serving. If you are making this for later, I scoop out the warm polenta and put into individual microwave safe dishes so that it is easier to grab and go during the week
Recipe makes four hearty servings, 240 calories per serving.