Healthy food can be delicious! I know very well that people won’t eat food that tastes like cardboard for very long, even if they are really sick. The holidays tend to create stress and worry about how we will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas without gorging ourselves with the normal fare. For years I have hosted holiday meals that are completely healthy and delicious and no one left the table feeling like they missed out on a thing.
I love pumpkin everything. But let me clarify, real pumpkin, not the fake chemical concoctions in lattes, muffins, crackers, and all sorts of packaged food that showed up in the grocery isles this year. Real pumpkin has all sorts of health benefits. Pumpkin is also a fall/winter seasonal food. Pumpkin is a winter squash. Winter squash are a great source of carotenes which have a protective effect against cancer, heart disease, and Type II Diabetes. Winter squash also last longer than summer squash. Think about a zucchini vs. an acorn squash. Some can last 4-6 months if stored away from temperature extremes, ideally between 50 and 60 degrees. If peeled and cut, cover and you can store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Here is a wonderful little recipe that is just one healthy holiday version of a pumpkin dessert.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares, by Rachel Drunkenmiller, Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen, Nov. 2015
I normally have to Doctor up recipes to make them “Lisa approved”, but this one is fabulous. My only changes are keeping the ingredients as clean, and high quality organic as possible.
This is easy to make and you don’t have to even bake it! Just remember when you are eating- moderation!
Cashews create creaminess (trust me). There is a little bite of tartness from the lemon juice that would normally come from processed cream cheese.
Ingredients for Crust
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (soak them in water for a few hours if they are not soft)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt
Ingredients for Filling
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 2-4 hours then drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup organic maple syrup, grade B
- 1/3 cup extra virgin organic coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, seeds removed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Put all the crust ingredients into a food processor, and process until the ingredients stick together. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish. Depending on the pan you use, if you need to grease the pan, use a little coconut oil.
- Put all filling ingredients in your blender or food processor (high-speed blenders like a Vitamix will work best). Blend until smooth, scrape down the sides when needed. I used the tamper for my Vitamix to get it smooth.
- Pour the filling over the crust and smooth with a spatula. Cover the dish and place it in the freezer to set for 4-6 hours.
- Let the dish sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and then cut into squares. Sprinkled cinnamon on top before serving.
- Freeze leftovers if you have any.