Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Super Moist Healthier Choice Pumpkin Bread

This is my son's favorite recipe!   I have tried this recipe with both canned pumpkin and with cooked/roasted pumpkin.  My son prefers it from a roasted pumpkin (me too and it's much healthier!).  You can experiment yourself and see what suits your fancy.   I've tried a Paleo version, using almond flour & coconut flour instead of regular flour... they just didn't pass my little man's test!

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 to 2/3 cup honey
2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup applesauce (this replaces your oil)
2/3 cup Coconut Milk (I purchase mine in a can in Asian Isle at grocery store)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
Optional: 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts (I don't use this for my son's muffins/loafs, 
but the rest of us eat it with the nuts - see pic above - the bottom right loaf has walnuts)
Optional: 1/2 cup flaked coconut (I've only used this once)

If you want to go the real pumpkin route, YAY!!!  It's really easy!  If you have never done it before, here's a great website that shows illustrated instructions on how to do it:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Spray oil onto 8x4 inch pans, or go smaller like me and use 6x3 inch mini loaf pans (mine is a Pampered Chef brand in case you are wondering). I also do muffins for my little munckin too!
2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, ground flax seed, brown sugar, honey, pumpkin puree, applesauce, coconut milk, baking soda, sea salt, nutmeg,and cinnamon.  Mix up until you can't see any more "white" flour.  If you want to do the optionals (nuts or coconut), go on and fold those in at this time.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
3.  Bake for 1 hr/15 min OR until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Smaller loaf pans (like mine) or muffin pans will take less time!!  Remove from over and cover the bread/muffins with foil tightly to keep steam in.  Allow to steam for 10 minutes (this is what keeps it moist inside!).  Remove foil and turn out onto a cooling rack.  Lay the foil back on top of the bread/muffins loosely like a "tent" until they have all cooled completely.

They are super moist!!!   I bet it would taste great with mushed bananas in it instead of applesauce (another great healthy alternative!).  There are several healthy versions you can do; however, you tend to lose the taste if you do more than 3 substitutions.  My philosophy is... I won't eat cardboard, but I will go as healthy as I can without giving up flavor!!  Just eat smaller portions!

I have to share with you my Little Man Taste Tester....
Happy Holidays!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stretch Pants Santa!!!

Well WELCOME HOLIDAYS!  And on comes the food!  GRRR!  I know it’s that time of year that everyone centers conversation around food and the table.   It’s the time of year that is full of thanksgiving and blessings too.   

Here’s where my pet peeve falls in (you knew it was coming)…  When did the mindset of  “must have all this food” become the main objective for the holidays?  Why not make it easy on everyone and do something simple & light so that the focus lies on visiting with family and friends… and focusing on our blessings?   It’s like a twisted mindset that everyone has to cook for an army with surplus of food (which could easily feed a poor family … whom would appreciate it at this time of year)!   

Then the meal comes ….   We feel like we have to “try” everything so we don’t hurt poor Aunt FeedOurEmotions’ feelings;  and then we nibble for hours afterwards to stay awake.  And that really tired feeling we get… that’s from the turkey we just overstuffed on(yep- tryptophan sends a hormonal signal to our brains making a chain reaction which eventually makes us feel “tired”).   It’s taking all we can to keep from falling asleep in the chair while Cousin GottaNibbleMore is talking to us.   Our top button has already popped on our britches, or if they haven’t already, they are screaming at us to relieve the pressure!   We just should have worn stretch pants!  Seriously, what are we thinking??!

Then Cousin AllOrNothingThinking feels like he’s blown it already for the day so he decides to continue blowing it that night too.   And since it takes a week to finish off all the pies & turkey (turkey salad, turkey sandwich, and the infamous “turkey surprise”), that will leave us with only 3 weeks away from Christmas.  Oh the self-control!!!!     The chocolates and desserts at all the Christmas Parties we will be attending is just too much to bear!  Cousin AllOrNothingThinking has given his disease to us so we just give up before we even start trying!!  It’s too stressful anyways, shopping for everyone… just a little fast–food while on the go will just keep us satisfied…Seriously, no biggie.  Then Christmas arrives (thank goodness for stretch pants!) and we continue our pattern; why not?!?  We just have a few more days until we have to start our new year’s resolutions, right?  So lets eat, drink, and be merry while it lasts because we know we have to stop the madness beginning January 1st with our annual “new year’s resolutions” of weight loss attempts.    

That being said, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!!   …Oh,  and don’t forget to ask Santa for some stretch pants!
I do wish everyone a very blessed Holiday Season.  Spend time with family and friends focusing on our blessings of thankfulness.  He has given us Free Will... the power of choice.   We are made to crave… but not food.  We are made to crave Him.  You can do all things through Him who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13).  Our bodies are His Temple.  Are you fit for the King? Don't wait until the new year.