Healthy pumpkin recipes to help you enjoy a Pure Michigan fall

With the noticeably colder temperatures, it’s a daily reminder for me that autumn is officially here.  Fall is a gorgeous time of the year that effortlessly adds color to the beauty of Pure Michigan. These next few months are my favorite because the season of autumn allows me to enjoy countless walks in the most comfortable item of clothing I own:  an oversized, hoodie sweatshirt.  And when I am done with my walk, I am almost always craving the one flavor that always reminds me of fall, pumpkin!

Pumpkin is actually one of the most nutritional foods available — they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients. Pumpkin is also low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium and pantothenic acid.

pumpkin cranberry muffinWhen these cravings for pumpkin occur, I know that I have an array of recipe ideas that will certainly take care of my taste.

  • Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars are a favorite of mine.  Believe me when I say that you can’t go wrong preparing a batch of these!
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins  are another favorite of mine and are an amazing afternoon treat with a hot cup of pumpkin-spice coffee.
  • Whole-Wheat Bread with Walnuts, Sesame and Pumpkin Seeds is absolutely delicious.  I like this recipe because it allows me to enjoy a little bit of autumn for breakfast all week long.   Toast up a slice and add a thin layer of honey … and start your day the right way!

Here is a recipe that you can share with your friends and coworkers.  Prepare these pumpkin cookies at home to bring to the workplace the next morning.  They are much better for you than sugary donuts and you’ll most likely agree that they taste a lot better too.

pumpkin cookies100% Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies

Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter or coconut oil or palm shortening (or substitute ground flax seed- also called flax meal for some of the shortening. Substitute using a 3:1 ratio, meaning you can pull out 1/2 cup of the shortening and add in 1 and 1/2 cups of flax meal.)
  • 1  and 1/2 cups sucanat (unrefined cane sugar)
  • 16 oz. can pumpkin or 2 cups pumpkin puree (squash works, too!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips or raisins
  • 1 cups chopped nuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350°.
  2. Cream shortening and sweetener. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour and next 6 dry ingredients. Add to batter; mix well. Stir in choc chips and nuts. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. And  last, but certainly not least, my favorite pumpkin treat of all!  It’s simple to prepare and so delish!

 

SmoothiePumpkin Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 cup of pure pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • Artificial sweetener to taste (Stevia is recommended)
  • ½ cup skim milk or plain yogurt

Directions

Mix in blender until the mixture is slushy. It tastes just like cold pumpkin pie without all the calories! Obviously there is no crust, so be a little creative and find some low-fat graham crackers or vanilla wafers to scoop up the mixture with, almost like it’s a pumpkin dip.

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe that reminds you of autumn?

Photo credit: RichardBowen, hlkljgk, Christie @ Love From The Oven

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