How do you enjoy the Holidays? Do you have a plan to keep the balance between pleasure and over-indulgence? I don't believe in counting calories and I do believe that food should be a celebration of life, loved ones and sharing.
Here is what I suggest, in case you don't already have a plan in place to handle the avalanche of tempting sweets and sheer abundance of food. Set high standards for yourself. Decide that you will not eat cheap processed imitation foods, but indulge in real food prepared masterfully so that it is truly a pleasure to eat, and won't bankrupt your health in the process.
Check the labels, avoid high fructose corn syrup and chemicals as much as you can. Spoil yourself with real butter. Try to use raw or coconut sugar when you bake and notice the difference in how you feel. Pile on the protein and veggies whenever you can so that your blood sugar stays balanced. Drink lots of water. Take walks often and eat slowly.
For a holiday scent in the house, put drops of essential oils of cinnamon or peppermint in a spray bottle of water and mist the air. This will give you a lift, and help you avoid artificial scents, which are toxic to the liver.
I absolutely love pumpkin, so I wanted to share a couple of my favorite recipes, that are a nice gluten-free change from pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A, has vitamin C, magnesium and potassium.[i] At only 30 calories per cup, it is very beneficial, and one of my favorites. I love anything pumpkin. But I am also avoiding gluten these days, so I had to figure out how to have my pie and eat it, too, so to speak.
For a beautiful presentation, to delight your guests, try the Pumpkin Trifle Parfait. Serve it in individual stemmed glasses or show off the layering, or a footed Trifle bowl, if you have one. This is not low calorie, but you can make it sugar free or very low sugar by using stevia or coconut sugar or xylitol. Stevia goes well with spicy desserts because the spices disguise the slight bitterness. You can opt for flavored stevia, such as English Toffee, Hazelnut, Vanilla Cream, or even Chocolate to add variety to the final taste.
Pumpkin Trifle Parfait
2 cups whipping cream (organic)
8 oz Marscapone cheese (or substitute full fat cream cheese, softened with 2 TBL cream)
1 cup Pumpkin
3 TBL raw sugar, or coconut sugar, or Stevia
1 TBL dark rum
1-2 TBL pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and all spice)
Mix pumpkin with the cheese, pumpkin pie spice and 2 TBL sugar or Stevia until well-blended.
Beat the whipping cream with ½ tsp Vanilla, 1 TBL dark rum and 1 TBL sugar or Stevia.
Spoon the pumpkin cheese mixture into stemmed glass in 4 alternate layers with the whipped cream mixture, ending with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.
You may add roasted chopped pecans to the layers, white chocolate chips or ginger snap cookie crumbs (look for gluten-free ginger snaps), for additional taste and texture.
Pumpkin Cobbler (with gluten-free options)
Adapted from tasteandtellblog.com
Bake at 350° in 2 qt baking dish for about 40 minutes or until center is set.
1 can Pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk, or substitute coconut creamer
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ cup brown or raw sugar
½ cup raw or coconut sugar (can substitute xylitol or Stevia for all or some of the sugar)
¼ cup flour or coconut flour
1-2 TBL Pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and all spice blend)
½ tsp salt
3/4 cup flour or coconut flour
7 tsp sugar (or one of the substitutes listed above)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 TBL organic butter
½ cup butter milk or coconut creamer (add 1 TBL lemon juice to milk and let stand for a few minutes to make buttermilk)
Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or vanilla coconut-cream ice-cream. For a no-sugar version look for SoDelicious brand with Stevia.