Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pumpkin & Gratefulness

Be Grateful

If you've ever practiced being grateful in a tangible way, such as writing down on paper several things you are grateful for, or writing a handwritten note to acknowledge someone and express your gratitude, then you know how rewarding this can be (for both the giver and recipient).

I am grateful for so many things, but often moments or things (especially the little stuff) slip by unnoticed.  When you are being grateful, you are being present.  I challenge myself and you to write down every day for a week what you are grateful for, and see how it affects your mood or outlook.  If you can, try to do this in a space without distractions.  Be still in nature, or keep a journal by your bed to record these things that you are thankful and grateful for in your life.  Focus only on that task; set the cell phone or laptop aside and put pen to paper.

If you have access to healthy foods, then there you go: there's one!  I am so incredibly grateful to have access to whole, nutritious ingredients and the tools and capability to prepare my own, nourishing food that sustains me on my runs as well as my daily routines. If you've read my previous posts and recipes, you'll notice I am a pumpkin fanatic--not just during the holiday season, but year-round.

Hopefully, you'll be grateful for this fab treat that is delicious and packed with pumpkin-y goodness.  If you're not a pumpkin fan yet, keep this in mind: pumpkin is an extremely nutrient-dense food and contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories.  Here's just a few specific goodies in pumpkin:

  • Beta-Carotene: an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body.  Foods such as pumpkin rich in beta-carotene may protect against asthma, heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer and delay body degeneration associated with aging.  
  • Fiber and Potassium: The Fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C in pumpkin all promote heart health. Increased potassium has been linked to a reduced stroke risk.
  • Iron: consuming iron from plant sources such as pumpkin may help boost fertility according to Harvard Medical School Health Publications. 
"Consuming one cup of cooked, canned pumpkin would provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. (1)

Sounds good to me!
pumpkin cranberry clean eating cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies
Flourless Gluten-free Cookies with no oil or added sugar

Yields 12

healthy no sugar added cookies


¼ cup organic coconut oil
3 tablespoons raw honey
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup apple juice-sweetened cranberries (or raisins)
1-1/3 cup gluten-free oats
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup ground chia seeds
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup (heaping) pureed pumpkin
2 eggs (or chia "eggs" or egg replacement of your choice)

  1. Melt coconut oil and honey in the microwave or stove top.
  2. In a large bowl, mix seeds, cranberries, oats, coconut, and spices and salt.  Stir in pumpkin and eggs, and add coconut oil honey mixture.
  3.  Divide into 12 cookies, bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Let cool 3 minutes on a wire rack, then enjoy!

fresh healthy gluten-free pumpkin cookies

These make an excellent breakfast choice as well.  Alternate options are to omit the honey and add in semisweet or nondairy chocolate chips, or any other dried fruit.  You may also use almond flour in place of the coconut flakes if you prefer.

A sneak peek into my workstation: recipe testing and developing while watching "Once Upon A Time."  Yay for Princess Anna!

MNT. August 30, 2014.  What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin.  Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279610.php Accessed April 24, 2015.

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