Homemade Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free)

I am not much of a baker. Yet for some reason, this pumpkin bread recipe from the Comfy Belly blog, was calling my name yesterday (aka the first day of fall). It is such an easy recipe to make and the spices really won my tastebuds over.

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Oftentimes gluten-free bread has a chalky or crumbled texture. This recipe definitely breaks that stereo type. The pumpkin puree keeps the texture nice and fluffy.

Ingredients
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp  each:
sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl, whisk.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well (no clumps)
5. Fold in walnuts
6. Using organic butter or melted coconut oil , grease a bread pan. Pour mixture into bread pan and bake for 40 minutes (or until outside is brown.) When it’s done, a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.

If you live in San Diego and are looking for some healthy holiday recipes, join me for my Healthy Holiday Cooking Series. These classes are a great way to learn how to cook with healthier ingredients. We will discuss the benefits of using natural sweeteners and flours and how to improve your nutrition during this holiday season.

Get Prepared for a Healthier Holiday Season

Pumpkin croppedIt’s starting to feel like fall here in beautiful San Diego, which means that the holiday season is just around the corner. How exciting! And a little scary…

First, we will kick it off with plenty of Halloween candy, then we will join our families and friends to feast for Thanksgiving, and finally, we will end this year (as we always do) with desserts galore for Christmas/Hanukah and New Years. By that time, we will be ready to set new years resolutions and try to get back on the healthy bandwagon.

imagesWhat if I told you that you don’t have to finish the year off feeling run down, overweight and moody? What if I told you that you don’t have to have the same “guilty” conversation with yourself after “cheating” on your diet?

The point is, that we need to be prepared for the holiday season. We need the tools in our pockets in order to navigate through all the temptations that the holidays will bring. This does not mean that we need to give up sweets and only eat vegetables for three months while everyone else indulges. It means that we can indulge in a smarter and healthier way!

Good news is that I will be collaborating with Marc Sklar from Reproductive Wellness  to teach a healthy holiday cooking series. Join us for three fun evenings full of new recipes, taste testing and nutrition tips to prepare for the holidays.

  1. Halloween: Healthy Treats– Wednesday, October 23rd 6:30-7:30
  2. Thanksgiving: Healthy Sides/ Appetizers-Monday, November 18th 6:30-7:30
  3. Christmas: Healthy Deserts- Monday, December 16th 6:30-7:30pm

Cost is $25 per class or $60 for all 3 classes

Bring a friend and come join the fun. Please e-mail Ana to RSVP: ana@reproductivewellness.com

Classes will be located at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle in Solana Beach:   533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, San Diego, CA 92075

Looking forward to sharing the pre-holiday festivities with you!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Alright people. This is where it’s at during the holiday season. Toasted pumpkin seeds.

Toasting nuts and seeds is a very simple and quick cooking method. It brings out the flavors and turns your dish from plain jane to fancy pants. It only takes 2 steps.. well 1 really.

Heat a medium sauté pan to medium/ high heat. Place desired amount of raw pumpkin seeds into the pan for 3 minutes then move the seeds around the pan or flip them with a wooden spoon. Keep toasting and mixing the seeds around for another 2-3 minutes.

You will know that they are done when they start to smell fragrant. Taste a seed to see if it is toasted. (Be careful, it is HOT!) If they are not toasted, return to the heat for another minute. Be careful not to leave the stove or let them burn!

You can buy raw pumpkin seeds in the “bulk” section at your local health food store. If you have never bought from the “bulk” section, you will soon find out that it is a much more cost effective way to shop for dry goods. You don’t actually have to buy products in bulk amounts like at Costco, you simply pour as much or as little as you want out of the bin and put it into a bag.

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of healthy fat and protein.

I use toasted pumpkin seeds to dress up a salad or to create some crunch in my yogurt.

Turn up the flavor!

Fall-Spiced Homemade Granola With Quinoa

Granola has the potential to become a healthy snack. By this I mean that there are healthy versions of granola and there are unhealthy versions of granola. Let’s start by describing what to look for when you purchase granola. As with any packaged product or any product you buy in the “bulk” section of your local health food store, you want to look at the ingredient list.

Ingredients to avoid

You also want to look for a nice variety of ingredients. Instead of choosing a granola that is primarily made up of carbohydrates (oats, sugar, dried fruit), you can choose a granola that has a nice mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats (grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit). This is an important differentiation because it drastically lowers the sugar content and increases the nutrient intake.

Fall-Spiced Homemade Granola With Quinoa

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

Dry

  •  2 Tablespoons Flaxseeds
  •  1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Cashews, chopped in half
  • 1/2 cup Almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • pinch of Cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3 dried figs, chopped

Wet

  • 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions

  1. Turn oven on to 375 degrees F. Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Grind flaxseeds in a spice grinder, blender or coffee grinder.
  3. Combine ground flaxseeds and dried figs with the rest of the dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.
  4. Heat a small saucepan, add the wet ingredients and whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated.
  5. Spread mixture out evenly on baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to flip granola then spread out evenly again. Place in oven for another 7-10 minutes or until toasted.

Note: Make sure to check the granola so that it does not burn! It will be fragrant and look lightly toasted.

7. Remove from oven to let cool. Add dried figs. Store in a glass jar for up to a week.

Tips for saving $$

  • Buy ingredients from the “bulk” section of your local health-food store. You can buy exactly the amount you need and it is WAY cheaper.
  • Buy a packet of mixed nuts instead of buying once packed of almonds and one packet of cashews. With mixed nuts you have to make sure they are raw, unsalted and that there is no cooking oil added.

 

Fall-Spiced Toasted Almonds

Ever get a craving for something warm and flavorful? Fall-spiced toasted almonds are sure to satisfy your needs. This delicious composition can be enjoyed in a fresh or roasted vegetable) salad. It can also be enjoyed as part of a snack.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 cup almonds

Directions

  1. Turn oven on to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt) and honey to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Pour into mixing bowl and whisk ingredients together. Add almonds and continue whisking until evenly coated.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread out mixture onto tray.
  5. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant.
  6. Remove and let cool until room temperature. Warning: HOT!! don’t taste test just yet

Note: You can use pecans or walnuts for this recipe as well. Toasting times will vary.

Don’t leave in the oven unattended. Nuts can burn easily.

Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get a balanced meal in at the beginning of the day. They can be made in a matter of minutes and are easy to grab on your way out the door. This fall-spiced pumpkin smoothie is a great way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

Oh so simple and Oh so festive.

Photo credit: Allison O’brien

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree (look for BPA Free cans)
  • 1 cup Kefir or Unsweetened Yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 ice cube

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smoothie is well incorporated.

Note: If you want a thicker consistency, add more ice. If you want a thinner consistency add water or almond milk.

Roasted Sweet-Potato with Coconut Oil and Rosemary

This is one of my all-time favorite side-dishes. It is simply delicious every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Sweet Potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt 
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)
  • 2-3 springs Rosemary

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Cut sweet potato into 1/4 inch rounds or 2 in x 2 in cubes. Set aside in a medium sized bowl
  3. Heat a small sauce pan and melt the coconut oil. Pour melted coconut oil, sea salt and curry powder over sweet potatoes and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Spread sweet potato mixture onto baking tray. Spread the rosemary sprigs around the tray.
  5. Place in oven for 12 minutes for 1/4 inch rounds or 15 minutes for 2 in x 2 in cubes.

Note: To check if sweet potatoes are ready, use a fork or toothpick to see if they are soft all the way through. It should be easy to insert and remove the fork or toothpick.