Monday, October 17, 2011

You can never have too much pumpkin!

I know I’ve probably have got everyone all “pumpkinned” out, but there’s more my friends!  What a fabulous weekend we had…Saturday kept me busy baking  some wholesome and delicious goodies to take church on Sunday morning.   I went with these muffins that were super moist inside with a little added crunch on top.
Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
(inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod)
Yields 15 muffins (odd number, I know!)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 organic large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Filling:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Streusel Topping:
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 Tbsp brown rice flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
4 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt, xanthum gum, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, pumpkin, almond milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk just until combined.
Slowly stir in the flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
For the Filling: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together.  Set aside.
For the Topping: In a small bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix in the butter with your hands or a fork until mixture is crumbly.
Fill muffin cups half full with the batter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over each half filled muffin cup.  Fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter.  Top each muffin with streusel topping.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack.

And the finished product from my “butternut” squash sneak peak…
Macaroni with Butternut “Cheeze” Sauce
(inspired by Angela @ Oh She Glows)
Yields 1 1/2 cups of sauce
1 fresh butternut squash, peeled and chopped (you’ll only be using 1 cup for this recipe, I had about 3 cups leftover)
Extra virgin olive oil + Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp Earth Balance butter
1 cup unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch
6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt + pepper, to taste
16 oz package brown rice macaroni
1/2 cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Mix the chopped squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the “cheeze” sauce in a medium pot on the stove.  Add the Earth Balance over low heat.  In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and cornstarch until clumps are gone.  Add into pot and whisk.  Stir in the remaining ingredients…nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5 minutes).
Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse when done cooking. 
In a blender, blend the prepared sauce with 1 cup of the roasted squash. 
At this point you can add the cooked, drained, and rinsed pasta to a pot along with the “cheeze” sauce.  Heat through and serve. 
You can add the cooked, drained, and rinsed pasta to a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Pour the prepared sauce over the pasta and mix to coat.  Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until cheese is melted on top) at 325 degrees.
DSCN1259 (I added the cheese on top just because I knew this would be something new for the princesses and it worked like a charm!)
This dish truly exceeded my expectations!  I loved that I could indulge on a serving of this typical “comfort food” without feeling the weight of all the added cheese.  The butternut squash added a hint of sweetness and it served as a perfect side to the rest of our meal. 
Now what to do with all that extra squash…breakfast dish perhaps?  The wheels are turning!
Nourishing Thought for Today:
I just read this post on High Fructose Corn Syrup and it got me thinking…
The problem with sugar is simply this: It Can Harm Us!  Here are a few of the problems that come along with consuming too much or adding the wrong kind of sugar to our diet.
  • depresses immunity
  • sours behavior, attention, and learning
  • promotes obesity
  • promotes sugar highs
  • promotes diabetes
  • promotes heart disease
  • leads to cavities
  • linked to behavior disorders
  • leads to osteoporosis
  • aggravates yeast problems
  • accelerates the aging process
High Fructose Corn Syrup, as many of you already know, is not the same as fructose in fruit.  It contains absolutely no nutrients and does not nourish the body in any way.  Beginning as corn grown with genetically modified seeds, the end result is FAR from natural.  Did you know that it is in most processed foods that you see on the shelves of the grocery store? 
Taking this to heart: There are many distractions in our life that keep us from the best God has to offer.  Artificial sweeteners, for example, give us a “fake” sweetness instead of the goodness of His whole foods.  What other distractions or “artificial substitutes” are taking the place of the real blessing that God has waiting for you?


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