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Sweeties and Sweets….

Nope, this blog post is not about Canadian candy that we call Smarties here in the U.S….

It is about 2 things in my life with which I need to set boundaries and be moderate in my intake…see the previous blog post for a bit of background here:

https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/moderation-balance-biblical/

First, Sweeties?  I am talking about our Sweethearts…or rather our lack of Sweethearts, or our dreams about our sweethearts, or what we wish they might do (ahem)…And for this, I am going to point you to a great post written by my good friend, Sundi Jo Graham, about romantic movies.  Please do continue reading at the bottom of her blog to find my comment and the thoughts that I could have written a blog about myself!

http://www.sundijo.com/eight-reasons-why-i-hate-romantic-movies/

As for “Sweets”?

Well, unless you have been living under a carb-free rock for the last, I don’t know, millennium, you know that too much sugar is bad for you.  For some, even too much natural sugar from fruit can be bad!  Again, moderation.  I am a sweets-lover.  So, it is amazing too me when something is actually too sweet for me…and I definitely have to talk to myself and say, “you don’t HAVE to have something sweet after every meal.”  Brushing my teeth usually helps. That being said, there is another point here about balance that could be made…both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine tell us that we need to be balanced in our “tastes” at every meal, or we may actually become unbalanced.  So, when you keep yourselves from anything sweet all the time, it is normal and healthy to feel you need some…thank the Lord He made some good ones!  (And by the way, in those traditions mentioned, sweet doesn’t necessarily mean, sugary…sometimes it is another food, say for example, rice or oats that has a natural “sweet flavor” and balances out other tastes in the meal that be salty, pungent, bitter, what-have-you.  Also, I have heard it said that when one is craving sweets, they are lacking some “sweet” in their lives, so it is something to certainly to go to Our Father about and ask…and it may just be more time with Him that you are craving!)

ANYWAY.

It’s time for my awesome segue…

I love sharing healthy recipes with you, and since it is that time of year when sweets abound all around us, how about a sweet and healthy pie?

You may all be done with pie at this point, so feel free to skip away, but if you have another big holiday coming up and would like to serve something tasty that you can feel good about, maybe this is your option?

We did not have a “traditional” Thanksgiving this year…we went down to have lunch with my Grandmother in the nursing home, so we didn’t have to cook!  (Afterwards, we went to see the new Muppet movie.  It is Amazing, fyi.)  So, between my mom, hubby, and I, we are spreading out some of our “traditional” dishes through the holiday season, a little at a time.

I had seen a few recipes for “Raw Pumpkin Pie” this year, and after looking at them with sweet hubby, decided on one.  The funny thing is, we both like Pumpkin Pie, but it is not our favorite, so after getting a few of the ingredients (I had the rest already), I wondered, what I had been thinking?

Plus, we never got around to carving our pumpkin before Halloween (can we say totally busy and tired and out-of-balance?), so we had a perfectly good one ready to carve up for a pie…but it was HUGE!

And, I had just sent my BlendTech off to be repaired while it was under warranty (has been making an odd noise), so I was going to have to use my small food processor.

All of these little insights led me to only make HALF of this recipe and divide it between 4 little silicone tart pans to make my “Raw Pumpkin Pie Tartlets”.

Raw Pumpkin Pie (from Hallelujah Acres website)

http://www.hacres.com/recipes/cards/raw-pumpkin-pie

Submitted By: Jackie Graff – Sprout Raw Food

A sweet, tasty Holiday dessert with absolutely no baking involved!

(This is the full recipe; to do what I did, divide by half.  You will have a little extra filling, as well.)

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, peeled and seeded
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 4 dates soaked in 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup raw macadamias soaked 8 hours and drained (I used raw almonds because it is what I had)
  • 4 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup organic raisins
  • 1 tsp psyllium
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, washed, soaked for 8 hours, drained and dehydrated for 6 – 8 hours (I did not do this; I used Cashew Creme instead)
  • **1 date nut crust variation from The Hallelujah Diet Book (as opposed to the crust actually listed with this recipe.  For me, the other was easier, and I have used it many times before.)

Directions

  1. Place macadamias  (almonds) along with dates and their soak water into blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.
  2. Add avocado, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pumpkin and blend until very smooth.
  3. Add psyllium and blend well. Let this mixture sit for 1-2 minutes and blend well again.
  4. Fold in raisins.
  5. Pour into piecrust and top with ½ cup of pumpkin seeds. (or cashew creme, as I did)

**Date and Nut crust Variation: As I was running low on almonds, but had plenty of almond flour, I combined 1 cup of almond flour with 1/2 cup of dates, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt in my food processor with 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup honey until it gathered into a ball…I then separated it into 4 sections, pressing each into a little tartlet pan.  When the filling was ready, I scooped it into the pans and placed them into the fridge to chill while I made the Cashew Creme.

Nomi Shannon’s (The Raw Gourmet) Cashew Creme

DIRECTIONS

Soak cashews overnight. Drain. Put in blender with just enough water to allow blender to do its job. Add only enough water to make it smooth, then add dates one at a time, or agave syrup or maple syrup to sweeten, taste for sweetness. You want to achieve a fluffy whipped-cream type consistency. I like it best when vanilla is added too.

1 cup of cashews will make 1 1/2 or more cups of cashew crème. (I only used 1/2 cup of soaked cashews.)

–for more great raw dessert recipes by Nomi Shannon, go to:

http://rawgourmet.com/recipes#dessert

The verdict?  Yum!  Before I added the pumpkin, I noticed that the filling tasted a bit like Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, if you have ever had THAT. And I love that flavor!  The pumpkin really didn’t change that, either.

Here is my precaution:  These little dudes are SWEET.  I mean, so super sweet!  Like, I only ate 1/3 of mine (one tartlet) the first night!  The next morning, I used part of the rest (of the same tartlet) as my sweetener in my oatmeal!  And then at lunch, I used the last bit as a sweetener/thickener in my green smoothie!  So, if you like sweets, you will enjoy this, but know that it might not be as hard as usual to exercise moderation…IF you are eating consciously, and not while watching TV or something else distracting…

Do  they taste like Pumpkin Pie?  A bit.  Really, they do!  The spices are spot-on…I think the sweetness threw me a little at first, but then, I think Pumpkin Pie itself is super sweet, so there ya go…

Whatever you decide, know that these are nutrient giving, life-in-your-cells enhancing treats…

Also, since we had soooo much pumpkin left, I chopped or grated the rest into fry shapes and noodle shapes to use as a fun vegetable all winter!  Let’s hear it for pumpkin fries and pasta, and being a good steward with what God has given us!  AND, Jon roasted the seeds.  Num.

Here’s to moderation…and moderation of your moderation, sometimes.  I pray you seek Our Lord for His Sweetness, in love and life, every part you can…

With a great big, non-pumpkin-innards-covered fingers hug (cuz my sweetie was my hero and scooped them out FOR ME!),

Robyn

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Yumminess can come in many forms….

Yumminess can come in many forms. Yes, it refers to flavor, but does that have to only apply to food and drink? I think not. Flavor is needed to spice up life in general! As Christians, we are called to BE Salt and even to season our conversations with it. (Matthew 5:12-14 {NIV and The Message both!}, Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34, Colossians 4:6), I have heard a few interpretations on that verse, some saying that Salt makes people thirsty, drawing others to Christ. Others have said Salt brings out the flavor–whether it brings out the flavor in the other person or the one who is Salty, both seem like a great result to me! It is your own personal flavor that makes you who you are, and Who God created you to be. There is also the thought that Salt–the good stuff, mind you, not the over-processed and laden-ed with chemicals kind– is made up of Trace Minerals that we need…so it is FOUNDATIONAL to life.

–and yes, I know we can over-do the salt thing as an actual flavoring.  If you are on a low sodium diet, there are lots of healthy alternatives that you have probably looked into already, including celery salt, salt subs made from potassium (I think?), as well as Dulse flakes, and Bragg’s Amino Acids, to name a few.

–We can possibly even over-do our own personal Flavor of salt and wear out our friends and family with our “me”-ness…so we do need to keep turning our focus to Jesus and asking Him to help us sense when our Flavor is overwhelming our loved ones…but I digress…(one of the many attributes of my own flavor that I need to watch!) And luckily, there is Grace…again, check out Colossians 4:6.  Love it.

So.  Back to Yumminess.

This week my brand of Yumminess to share will come in both physical and spiritual forms…tastes, peeps, loves, and tastes again…shall we?

This week was my anniversary week.  I have been married for 7 years to a wonderful, wonderful (can I say that again?) wonderful man!  I was asked if we have experienced the 7 year itch…I would say that if we did, it was EARLY in our marriage, when things were quite rocky at times…but by the Grace of God and His leading us to a few workshops as well as the commitment we have made, we are stronger than we have ever been, in every way, and I am so grateful.  We have chosen to realize that at times it may be yucky, and we can say, “hey.  It is getting yucky.  Since I am not leaving, and you are not leaving, we have to choose either to live yucky the rest of our lives, or to fix it and live not-yucky again…”  Guess what we have chosen?  So, my first yummy flavor is love, marriage, hard work, fun, and love again and always, with my sweet baboo….Thank You, darling man.

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Flavor #2:  Olive Oil…Devo Olive Oil, to be exact. And Vinegars.  I love ’em!  One day a couple of years ago (or just one?), I talked my hubby into going into a Devo Olive Oil store with me; they had samplings of many Oils and Vinegars.  My husband does NOT like to sample.  I could repeat that thirty times, that is how much he despises sampling.  Somehow, I convinced him (probably with the help of their descriptions and flavors) to sample, and away we went!  I cannot imagine how many he tried that day!  As he was embarking on a healthier lifestyle, he went in and bought a sampler pack a few weeks later, as well as a big bottle of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, our favorite from the sampling day (do you know how much we love Italy and all things hinting of Italian?  Type “Italian” into the search window of this blog, and a few posts will come up…).

That was over a year ago…we are almost through with the sampler pack (by just a few drops, actually), but let me just say that we have been hoarding it a bit or it would have been gone in NO TIME! We finished the Lemon a few weeks ago…I finally let it go, as a wonderful friend of mine had gotten me some of the Blueberry Balsamic, and I felt free to move on…sigh.  Emotional attachment to food anyone? oops.  Thank You, Lord, for meaning more to me than food…but thank You also for yumminess!

Let me tell you something:  that Blueberry Balsamic?  amazing.  Like many of their fruit flavored balsamics, this stuff can go straight on a whole grain pancake with no other sweeteners needed, not to mention a salad!  In fact, I have been eating green salads for breakfast often since having that flavor in my kitchen!   A handful or two of greens, some pumpkin seeds or almonds, and 2 tsp of Blueberry Balsamic, and I am good to go! Sometimes I add a teaspoon of flax oil, just for added creamy buttery goodness and little bit of Omega-3…

Breakfast Salad of Spinach, Almonds, 2 tsps Devo Blueberry Balsamic, 1 tsp Flax oil, salt to taste

Another favorite of mine?  Using vinegar on popcorn.  Seriously!  I especially love using the Devo Honey Ginger White Balsamic mixed with a little EVOO (maybe a Devo flavor, or standard!) or some Flax Oil, and pour THAT over my popcorn!  So, so, so yummy, and you have cut out at least HALF the fat you normally used on your popcorn, if not more!  I dare you to try it.  A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and so good.  I cannot stand dry popcorn, but I don’t want to load up on yucky fats, so this is how I Flavor my life in that regard…Thank you Devo for so many great products!

Popcorn with a Traditional Balsamic and EVOO; I am out of the Honey Ginger White, but I just ordered some more Sicilian Lemon AND the Natural Butter Olive oil to try with popcorn!

You can check out the Honey Ginger White Balsamic in the 9- or 16-pack samplers with a whole bunch of other amazing flavors…if I list them all, I will start drooling, so maybe you should just go browse the website…The other flavors I have mentioned come in 3 sizes of bottles, so you can choose what fits your lifestyle and budget best!  Plus if you go to the website and get on their mailing list, they often have links and promotions where by “liking” them on facebook, following on Twitter, etc, you can get discounts off the products!  What is not to like about that?!?  So, follow my instructions: Right-click the link below to open in new tab (you don’t want to totally navigate away from this blog, do you?), and check out all that is Amazing and Flavorful at Devo Oil!!!

http://www.devooliveoil.com/

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Amazing flavor in my life #3?  My darling yoga peeps.  Got some more pics for you of my sweeties and their accomplishments…keep in mind, though, what I am REALLY PROUD of them for is not just some new and challenging pose (some were even doing jumpbacks from crow to plank…and we all LOVE flower!) –which is worth the praise for sure!— but their ever increasing ability to chill out and relax at both the beginning and end of class.  So wonderful.  If you could only see how they lay back and rest in their Savior’s arms and let it go…It makes me so very happy for them.

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Final Flavor this week…We are getting closer to fall, y’all!  I know, I know, we still have this holiday weekend to get through and it looks like it may still be hot as blazes for awhile yet, but with school starting up again, I keep thinking about the smell of a number 2 pencil and the crackle of fall leaves!  So when I saw this recipe show up in my e-mail box, I just had to share it…and you can eat it cold OR warm (or hot, if you aren’t trying to preserve the “rawness”), so you can have it even when it is still 101 degrees outside…ahem.

This comes from the Hallelujah Acres website, of the Hallelujah Diet book, etc.  I highly recommend the book…it has wonderful Biblical principles, testimonies of better health through a change in diet and lifestyle, recipes, and more! Slight warning/note:  they do promote some of their own brand products within the book, which I do not think are always necessary…other than that, I really think they are a good company with a good foundation, and this book has a balanced approach to raw food-ism, which includes intake of cooked food!  Don’t be scared!

Raw Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Submitted By: Rhonda Malkmus

This raw soup rivals any chilled soup from the fanciest of restaurants! Try it for Thanksgiving… your guests will be impressed!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw pumpkin OR butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 2 ½ cups distilled water
  • 1 orange (peeled, quartered, and seeded)
  • 1 red bell pepper (quartered and seeded)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
  • ½ avocado (pitted)
  • ½ tsp Celtic or Himalayan salt (or to taste)
  • ¼-inch piece of ginger (peeled)
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender and process until creamy.
  2. Divide into 4 soup bowls and garnish with raw pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme.

Organic ingredients are always recommended.

To print the recipe alone:

http://www.hacres.com/recipes/cards/raw-harvest-pumpkin-soup/print

So, I pray that you all have a wonderfully Flavorful weekend in every way!  How do YOU flavor your life?  comment below….

The entire breakfast: Sweet Spinach Salad, Sprouted Millet Porridge with Chopped Figs, and a little half-caf coffee with Almond Milk and Truvia

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