You can’t have the holidays without pumpkin EVERYTHING!! But for those of us trying to stay away from dairy, gluten, and refined sugar – the holidays can feel like the 7th circle of hell – running into temptation at every corner!
So after some recipe testing, we finally found a delicious holiday classic that’s actually PALEO APPROVED!!! May we present our Paleo Tahini Pumpkin Pie and Maple Cardamom Coconut Whipped Cream:
Paleo Tahini Pumpkin Pie
3 cups mixed nuts, toasted (we used walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews – you don’t have to use those, but just make sure you choose some nice softer and buttery types of nuts!)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 (14.5 ounce) can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 generous tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, grind down toasted nuts. If you do not have a food processor, you can use a rolling pin to crush them (it’s easiest when they’re still warm after getting toasted). Toss with coconut sugar and then press into a pie dish. It can crumble easily, but it’s also buttery enough to stick together well so gently press it up the walls and throughout the bottom of the pie dish evenly.
Put in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a darker golden brown, and then remove. Be careful not to burn crust!
Pull out and allow to cool while you make the filling.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for filling. Whisk together well until thoroughly combined. Pour into nut crust, and place in the oven. Bake for an hour, or until filling sets and doesn’t leave traces on a toothpick.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving, maybe whip up the cream…
Maple Cardamom Coconut Whipped Cream
1 (14.5 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk (OR coconut cream, if your store carries it) – if you can’t find coconut cream, it’s not a big deal, but try to find a full fat coconut milk that’s super thick! You can usually tell by shaking the can and if it feels solid, you’ve got a good one!
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
a dash of cinnamon (cause you can never have too much!)
In a medium bowl, scoop out coconut milk. If you found a nice thick one, then the water should’ve separated from the cream! ONLY scoop the cream into the bowl and discard the remaining fluid. Add in all remaining ingredients (syrup through cinnamon) and whisk well until desired consistency!
Serve a huge dollop on top of your Paleo Tahini Pumpkin Pie – or even on top of your coffee! OR both!
That’s how I feel when I walk into a store and I eyeball a gorgeous array of pumpkins of every persuasion!
I want to open my arms like Maria in The Sound of Music and twirl in the middle of store–yes, pumpkins are my fall spirit animal (gourd?).
Decorating for fall is a ritual of sorts–first the beautiful pumpkins inside and out, then the fall wreath on the front door and of course, a fine assortment of mums. 🙂
Fall makes me crave crockpot cooking, soups and stews.
I love turning on the fireplace finally and celebrating a cold brisk walk
in the evenings after dinner.
The trick of course is to make sure your cooking is still on point and not leading you down the wrong road setting you up for holiday weight gain (this is when it starts folks!).
One of my favorite recipes that will boost your beta carotene and satisfy your taste buds is my Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup recipe–have you tried it? Easy, delicious and the whole fam will LOVE it!
Here you go:
Coconut Pumpkin Curry Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (sub with vegetable stock to make vegan)
3 cups pumpkin puree (sometimes called 100% pumpkin NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 (14 ounce) cans full fat coconut milk
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)
toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions. Cook till very soft and add remaining ingredients, except coconut milk, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and continue to cook (but not boil – it will break) for another 5 minutes. Serve and top with cilantro and pumpkin seeds.
PS–there’s still time to get our One Pot October ebook collection! We’re talking tons of delicious one pot (think crock pot, Dutch oven, sheet pan, skillet…even Instant Pot!) in your style of eating whether it’s paleo, low carb of healthy classic family–you choose! Get it while we have it!
If you would like more fantastic Gluten-Free ideas, I’ve put together an amazing bundle featuring Gluten-Free freezer menus and mixes! It’s a $50 value, but you can get it right now for just $17! Click here to learn more
One of the questions that I get asked all the time is, “Hey, Leanne, can you help me out with some gluten-free snacks?” I love a gluten-free snack just like anyone else and my favorite go-to’s of course are apples and oranges or tangerines because you can throw it in your purse. But also, I like nuts, a handful of nuts that is. And when I say a handful, I’m talking ten. The problem with nuts is that they are full of fat which is not a problem, but too much fat is too much fat, people, right? They also have lots of fiber and protein so they really are the quintessential great snack. You need to limit them though, because overeating is overeating and it doesn’t ever work out well. So that’s one of my favorite things.
Another of my favorite things, and you can find this over on the Leanne Recommends page is Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof Coffee is from my friend Dave Asprey, also known as the Bulletproof executive and he has MCT oil. This is high-octane, Brain Octane Oil. And what this is is pharmaceutical grade coconut oil plus Kerrygold unsalted butter. So you take a cup of coffee, one tablespoon of the upgraded Brain Octane Oil and a tablespoon of Kerrygold Butter, you blend it in your blender and you drink it in this like a fabulous cappuccino! Seriously! And the only dairy is just a little bit from this butter and let me tell you something, this puts your brain on fire. So, if you have to work really hard or you’ve got a lot of things going on, this is the best coffee drink that you can get. Sometimes, this is all I’ll have for breakfast. I’ll have a couple cups of this and I’ll just be going like crazy. That fat is amazing.
The other thing I like is celery and almond butter. I think it’s just fantastic and eat it all the time. I love hard-boiled eggs. I mean, again, if you stick it in a Ziploc bag and throw it in your purse, you can take it with you.
Avocados are fabulous. One of the things that I like to do with an avocado is cut it in half, put a little salt and pepper on it and a little bit of salsa right in the middle, and just spoon it out and eat it that way. It’s very satisfying and very delicious. You can also stick part of an avocado into your smoothie to make it extra creamy. You won’t taste the avocado, so you don’t have to worry about that.
And if you’re wondering, “What on earth is that stuff on the counter?” It is chia seed pudding. Now chia seeds are fantastic. They are full of fiber and particularly pectin which is awesome because pectin holds toxins and pushes them out. So, you know what I’m saying… it’s the ultimate cleaner upper. It’s also full of omega-3 fatty acids so that’s brain power right there. So if you mix them up with a little coconut oil or almond milk. That is, around a quarter of a cup of chia seeds versus a cup of almond milk or coconut milk. And you shake it up, let it sit and it gels… it’s a pudding! Put some fresh raspberries on it, blueberries, whatever you want, maybe even some slivered almonds and it’s fantastic. I will have that for breakfast and I eat about a cup of this for breakfast and I’m telling you, honey, it keeps you regular. That’s what I’m saying.
Also, speaking of keeping you regular, I am crazy about fermented foods – sauerkraut, pickles, good pickles, Bubbies is an awesome brand. Also this is really pretty crazy. This is kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage food and this one has spicy ginger.. It’s a little bit hot but you just throw it on your plate and eat it! Fermented foods help to build the good guys inside of your gut and that’s what helps to get rid of the bloat and again, keep you regular. I’m all about keeping you regular.
Anyway, so those are just a few of my favorite things that I like for snacks and I hope you give them a try and see what you think!
With all of the bad press wheat’s getting these days, you might be surprised to see buckwheat as the topic of this week’s health food post. But what you might not know is that buckwheat is actually not wheat. It’s not actually a grain at all and it is completely gluten free.
Buckwheat is an herb. Its flowers turn into triangular little seeds known as “groats” after they’re processed. A native plant of southern China, buckwheat has been eaten by human beings for centuries.
There is a tremendous amount of nutrition in buckwheat. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. In addition to its high protein, buckwheat provides a host of other health benefits, including:
Cancer prevention. Buckwheat has been shown to protect against colon cancer
Blood sugar and blood pressure regulation. Buckwheat can reduce your blood sugar levels and can help keep blood pressure nice and even.
Gallstone protection. Buckwheat has been shown to protect against gallstone development.
Lower cholesterol. There are properties in buckwheat that can lower your cholesterol levels.
When you’re searching for buckwheat, make sure the ingredient lists: 100% buckwheat flour because sometimes wheat flour is snuck in there.
If you’ve been missing noodles since adopting a grain-free diet, look for buckwheat noodles (also called Soba noodles) for a delicious and nutritious alternative to regular wheat noodles. They also cook more like a traditional wheat noodle so they don’t get mushy like other gluten-free noodles.
Whole grains, organic grains, gluten-free grains . . . there’s so much talk about grains these days and whether they’re good for you or not.
I’m definitely in the camp of “grains are not good for you” when it comes to grains of all kinds.
(Note: quinoa is not a grain-it’s a seed and there’s enough debate around this darling of the gulten-free community and Paleo eaters that I’ll be writing a post on this topic in the very near future!)
I’ve spoken about grains and their damaging lectins many times before. I personally have stopped eating grains and I feel so much better than I did before. All of that bloating is now a thing of the past.
But no matter how many articles are written about the damaging effects of consuming grains, people will continue to argue that we need to eat them as part of a healthy diet.
The truth is, we do not need grains. Period.
Let’s take a look at one of the biggest arguments coming out of the “grains are good for you” camp:
We need to eat grains for their fiber.
It is true that we need fiber to help move things along in our bodies. But, it is also true that vegetables and fruits are a much better source of fiber than whole grains. When grains move through the body, they can actually damage the lining of your gut, creating tiny holes that allow toxins and undigested food particles to seep through into parts of your body that they have no business being in. This leads to inflammation in the body, allergies and all kinds of problems.
Think about it. Do you really want little bits of twigs and sticks passing through the soft lining of your gut? Just envision one of those sharp pieces of popcorn that gets stuck in your teeth making its way through your intestinal tract. Ouch.
Fruits and vegetables are a much more gentle way to get your fiber!
Now that I’ve debunked the fiber myth, let’s take a look at one of my main reasons for giving up grains:
Besides being a damaging source of roughage, grains also contain harmful and toxic anti-nutrients.
I’ve mentioned lectins already , but grains also contain a couple other anti-nutrients called gluten and phytates. While lectins are responsible for leaky gut and inflammation in the body, gluten and phytates are pretty nasty too. gluten is a real trouble maker that can lead to thyroid issues, compromised vitamin D3 and calcium levels and even bone defects. Phytates help to make minerals bio-unavailable so that you’re not actually getting all the goodness out of the nutrients you’re eating.
Not very nice stuff.
Now the question is, will one serving of couscous once in awhile really hurt you? Is a whole grain sandwich really that bad?
You’re the only one who can answer that, by paying attention to how eating these things makes you feel, but I’m of the belief that if something is even a little bit bad for you then it should be removed from your diet.
To be honest with you, I don’t miss the pasta or the bread. It was tough at first, but after a couple of days I started to feel so much better that it was downright easy to say no when the bread basket was being passed around. In my home, we eat a simple diet of veggies, fruits, meat and eggs, and we’re just as happy and nourished as can be, even without the grains!