Pumpkin Bran Cookies

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Earlier this week I was in the mood for some serious pumpkin…it must be the fall foliage and autumn breeze that spark my yearning for harvest foods.  These are the days when Central Park is remarkably beautiful; the leaves turning beautiful shades of auburn and rust…reminds me of pumpkins and produce-packed cornucopias.  It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next month, although we still have time to enjoy these October days I’m eager to whip up new tasty seasonal recipes.  And what better ingredient to use than good ‘ol pumpkin?

For this particular recipe I used canned pumpkin, which can easily be found in your food store.  Be sure not to purchase ‘Pumpkin Pie Mix’ because the can looks quite similar to regular ‘Pumpkin’.  I always reach for Libby’s canned pumpkin as it has a delectable taste and is incredibly delicious eaten directly out of the can (Yes, you caught me…I have been known to scoop a few spoonfuls of Libby’s right into my mouth).  In this case, try not to eat all of the pumpkin as you’ll need 1/3 cup for the recipe.  I do recommend, however, purchasing another can of Libby’s pumpkin as it is incredibly inexpensive and is wonderful when mixed with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cinnamon for a tasty treat.

I have yet to test this recipe with fresh pumpkin, however, I will be experimenting soon and I’ll be sure to fill you in on the recipe.  For this particular case, canned pumpkin is a perfect option for a quick and easy way to create these healthy treats.  When I’m short on time, but desire flavor I reach for canned pumpkin and it always does the trick.

As for the bran crumbs, they can also be found in your food store…just take a peak down the baking aisle and you’ll be amazed to see numerous boxes, all of which are perfect suited for this delectable recipe. Bran crumbs are a fantastic way to enrich your recipes with a hearty crunch and a dose of heart-healthy fiber.

Not only are these cookies incredibly tasty, but they’re chock full of fiber and pack scores of beta carotene, as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup butter (or butter substitute), melted
  • 2 cups bran crumbs or (stale bread mashed into crumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients, then add to dry mixture.
  • Slowly add melted butter and bran crumbs; mix well until it forms a cookie dough consistency.
  • Drop teaspoon sized spoonfuls of cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.

There are ways to enjoy these fiber-ific pumpkin cookies.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Pumpkin Cookies crumbled and sprinkled atop morning oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fruit parfait, applesauce or whipped banana pudding.
  • Frozen Greek yogurt sandwiched between 2 Pumpkin Cookies, then rolled in chopped nuts to make ‘Flying Saucers’.
  • Add soft baked Pumpkin Cookies (cut into quarters) to your trail mix or popcorn for a harvest taste.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fiber-rich cookies?

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Continuing with my fall harvest theme, I have created a delectable Pumpkin Bread Pudding that will knock your socks off, leaving your taste buds yearning for more.  I was excited to use a fresh loaf of Nature’s Pride Soft 100% Whole Wheat bread, which has an incredible consistency and is perfectly suited for bread pudding.  Thanks to the pumpkin, whole wheat and ground flax, this tasty treat packs a healthy dose of beta carotene, whole grains and fiber.

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Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 can can canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 5 slices of Nature’s Pride Soft 100% Whole Wheat bread, cut into cube-like pieces
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Plain Greek yogurt, for topping
  • Ground flax seeds, for topping
  • Handful of fresh mint, for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, pumpkin, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Slowly add in milk; mix well.
  • Fold in Nature’s Path Soft 100% Whole Wheat bread cube piece, chopped macadamia nuts and dried cherries.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites until peaks form.
  • Slowly fold egg whites into the bread mixture.
  • Transfer into a baking dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
  • Serve warm with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, fresh mint and a sprinkle of ground flax seeds.
  • Enjoy.

Sweet Potato Muffins

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These muffins surely are scrumptious!  I’m sure many of you pair sweet potatoes with Thanksgiving, however, my tasty ‘Sweet Potato Muffins’ are the perfect snack all year round.  Sweet potatoes can be found in your local markets year-round, however, they are in season in November and December.  They are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, dietary fiber, iron and potassium.  Due to their excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant food.  Both vitamin C and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals.  Since these nutrients are also anti-inflammatory, they can aid in reducing inflammation.

Enjoy these muffins with your breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack or as a treat for dessert.  I enjoy these muffins toasted with a nice spread of almond butter.  My clients and I love eating these muffins crumbled into morning oatmeal or lunchtime salads for an extra flavor boost!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp. stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of chili powder
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut sweet potatoes into chunks and steam for 25 minutes or until soft
  • Transfer to a blender and puree.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  • Add sweet potatoes, agave nectar and stevia.  Continue to mix well.
  • Add water as needed to combine ingredients.
  • Fold in dark chocolate chips.
  • Pour into muffin tins and bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • Enjoy!