Tips to enjoy Thanksgiving even more

It’s Thanksgiving again. It’s my favorite holiday of the entire year. It’s when you can hang out with family and friends, there’s no gift buying and you basically sit around and eat all day. Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? This year, in my holiday spirit, I opted to take my cooking skills up a notch and bake, from scratch pumpkin pie. My new husband of 6 months has allergies, mostly caused by my two cats and gluten seems to make him congested more than anything else he eats. I also don’t think dairy helps him much either. So I cook without both most of the time.

Baking pies is not my strong suit and, I went to a great extreme to bake not one, but two pumpkin pies – using real pumpkins, not the canned stuff like most normal people do. But hey, I had two from Halloween and I figured why put them to waste when they are perfectly good, healthy things to eat?

Before I show you my not so impressive recipe, let me tell you why you should eat pumpkin – beyond because it tastes good.

Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. 

A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. They also are said to play a role in cancer prevention because of the beta-carotene, which is also said to keep the skin wrinkle free. In the winter months, the vitamin C in pumpkin can also ward off colds.

So I took 2 pumpkins, cleaned the seeds out, turned them upside down on a rimmed baking sheet, put water in the base of the pan and baked them for about 25 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

I also used the pumpkin seeds, cleaned them and soaked them in sea salt for about 15 minutes. I dried them, put those on the same type of baking sheet, sprinkled a pinch of salt and ground pepper over them, and baked those for about 30 minutes as well until they were golden brown. They taste AMAZING!

Once the pumpkin cooled I scraped out the meat of the pumpkin with a spoon, put it in my Vitamixer and blended it up.

The extra step is taking cheesecloth and straining out the excess juice over night in a bowl in the refrigerator. This is important if you use real pumpkin. You can substitute canned pumpkin, which is just as good I’d imagine as baking it yourself. I’d like to say that’s what I did but hey, you live and learn. Who knows if these will be edible…

1.5 cups pure pumpkin, strained overnight
1 can organic coconut milk (I used lite but I think it would be better with whole coconut milk)
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

I also added 3 drops of my Doterra Cinnamon Essential Oils to it.

I didn’t make the crust. I admit it. I could have but instead, I found a gluten free crust at Fairway and thought I’d give it a try. It’s Wholly Gluten Free 9” pie shells. There are 2 in the pack. I actually did double this recipe and I did make 2 pies…

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the crust on it’s own, poke holes in the bottom so it doesn’t bubble up, until golden around the edge, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Gently whisk the pumpkin, coconut milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl until combined. Pour into the prepared crust and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake 1 hour (in my oven it took more like 75 minutes). Make sure the center of the pie is almost set but still jiggles slightly, about 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
I haven’t eaten the pie yet but it looks yummy. I’ll report back after I stuff myself like the rest of you tomorrow. And if you notice my tee-shirt, baking is a science for sure.

In the meantime, here’s my 3 quick MELT Tips to manage the family encounter many of you will endure.

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