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Desserts

Healthy Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

‘Tis the season for pumpkin-everything. I much prefer mine in its whole form as opposed to its pseudo form, and so I give an annual “no thank you” to the kind that’s making appearances in places it shouldn’t be. No thank you “pumpkin” cream cheese. No thank you high fat “pumpkin” lattes. Yes please, pumpkin curry, pumpkin soup, pumpkin dessert, and everything else you’ll find down below.

Pumpkin does have its place, and I can certainly jump on the October pumpkin bandwagon, as long as it’s showing up on the right spoon. Are you with me?

If so, great. Let’s be friends. Let’s also dive into this pumpkin recipe roundup together containing some of my all-time favorite pumpkin creations. Here, you’ll find a little something for everyone (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan), all meals, and occasions. You’ll also find a few pumpkin-y desserts, which are for sure worth the annual indulgence. That vegan pumpkin custard might be one of my favorite recipes of my repertoire, and it takes just 20 minutes and one pan to make! So come on already, pass over the pumpkin, please.

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Breakfast made easy-peasy, creamy and delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

 Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Breakfast, lunch, snack-time, dessert…you name it. These half-whole-wheat, part-pumpkin-filled muffins, will make you feel good about the pastry in your hands.

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

 I love flavor variations of hummus. This one speaks of a harvest fall. Throw some toasted pita by its side and you have a wonderful appetizer for any gathering of the season.

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Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

I’m generally not much a fan of muffins. In fact, one of the spots I work has free muffins of all different varieties. And they sit, and they sparkle, amidst open-air with glistening tops that scream, “Choose me, choose me!”

I have to admit, I’m often tempted.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Occasionally, as the workday nears its end, and I still see a plethora left, I’ll grab one. My impulse always ends after one bite. The muffin gets tossed, free throw style, into the trashcan without looking back. (That is, unless I miss the can.)

Wasteful, I know. But those muffins are just too friggin’ sweet. They look so good but feel so…eek.

I like dessert, I do, I do. But not pasty pastries that taste of straight-up sugar. And to me, that encompasses the majority of most store-bought/store-sold muffins.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

So I was thrilled when I came across this recipe from Oh She Glows. There’s not one ounce of extra sugar in here that doesn’t come from the natural fruit that builds these tops. No honey. No maple. No brown suga’ suga’.

After tasting a small spoonful of batter, and then going in for a second, I knew there needn’t be, either.

I guess you could (and probably should) exclude the chocolate chips when you say no added sugar. But in my book, there’s generally always room to break the rules in the name of dark chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Aside from that, these are an excellent choice when craving something sweet. And  by far beat the poor, sorry sights of most of the muffin/muffin tops on the market these days.

Although, forgive me as I talk these babies up as muffins. Likely, you could swap that muffin top label out for “cake-like cookie”, but there’s always room for less sugary versions of those too, right? Plus, when I can have a “cookie” for breakfast, and feel alright about it too, that recipe’s certainly going to make the repeat list.

Chewy, perfectly sweetened and filled with heart healthy oats, this my friends, is a muffin/cookie/whatever-you-want-to-call-it recipe I stand behind. Throw in a few walnuts and some extra chocolate chips, and it’s golden.

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Easy Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Who doesn’t love eating out of mason jars? Or drinking for that matter.

I bought a simple glass water jug with a swing-top, and find myself drinking so much more water throughout the day as a result. There’s something majestic about glass.

Spooning fruit crisp out of it feels divine.

Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Apples are quickly beginning to take over farmer’s markets, with wooden boxes that leave little room for other fruit. This past weekend, however, I managed to snag a few of the lone cartons of raspberries sitting on the table. From my freezer I grabbed some late August peaches, and went to work making this crisp.

I wanted one last taste of summer, baked to perfection.

Crisps are so simple to make, and baking them straight in a jar makes for an equally easy presentation. I love how healthy crisps feel, and how few of the ingredients really need to be measured. This compared to much of the rest of the baking world. A spoonful of cinnamon here, a dash of ginger there. It’s really up to you.

If you can’t find berries (and didn’t save any summer peaches), I’m sure apples would work well here too. Given the jar method, choose a softer apple and slice thinly. This way you ensure you’ll end up with a soft, perfect-for-ice-cream dessert. Adorable, right?

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Prevention RD’s Lightened-Up Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

There are a few bloggers I’ve been following since the near beginning of my own blogging path. Prevention RD is one of them.

I’ve watched Nicole’s photography grow into art, her fan following progress, and her pouty dog Lily grow cuter by the minute. Her site has always been fun to follow, and a countless source of inspiration for my own recipe development.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Prevention RD turn into a published cookbook author. I can’t describe this as anything other than awesome. I love, love, love seeing fellow food bloggers use their site as a platform to kill it in arenas outside of the blogging world. Congrats girl!

Apple Crisp

Nicole’s style is what I consider comparable to Cooking Light mag.  Many of her recipes involve transforming traditional dishes into lighter and healthier versions, including classic comfort foods too. Sometimes she crafts these recipes herself, like those within her cookbook. Other times she gathers and adapts them from other blogger’s sites. Regardless, Nicole has a knack for choosing recipes that lend themselves well to a wide audience.

I remember when Nicole went through a baked doughnut phase. I don’t even like doughnuts, but I admit she nearly convinced me to go out and purchase a doughnut pan. I mean, wouldn’t you be curious to try ones with a Blueberry Lemon Glaze? Or a Whole Wheat Banana Doughnut with a Banana Chocolate Glaze? Perhaps that’s why I don’t like doughnuts. Because few places sell any variations similar to those.

Anyway, I was thrilled to receive Nicole’s cookbook, and to see her jump into print. There’s nothing like flipping through hands-on pages filled with food photo after food photo.

Currently I’m eyeing her version of Baked Falafel, but the first recipe I decided to whip up was her Lightened-Up Apple Crisp. In my own book, apple crisp is an indispensable part of fall. You simply can’t let the season pass without baking a batch. Or two. Or three. To do so would be a near atrocity.

I didn’t want to waste much time. A week into fall, apple crisp was coming from my oven. This leaves a few months left to continue making more. Thanks for the season’s first recipe, Nicole!

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Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

I said on FoodFitnessFreshAir’s Facebook page that I’m taking a little break from recipe development. When summer’s showering the garden in red, all I want to eat are tomato sandwiches. Nothing fancy. A little mayo, salt and pepper, maybe some lettuce and/or basil. A fresh garden salad thrown on the side, and I’ve found food heaven, within just the 10 minutes it takes to slice, toast and take a first bite.

As Katie from Eclectik Domestic pointed out, this could mean I may never return to developing recipes…Because really, who ever gets sick of tomato sandwiches in the summer? Not this girl. Good thing there are multiple meals in the day. Rest assured, eventually I’ll save the no-cook meals for lunch and start churning out new creations again.

In the meantime, my mom’s holding me over with this killer Blueberry Strawberry Crisp she whipped up for my birthday last week. (Yes, I turned the ripe age of 23! Whatever that means.)

My sister’s been getting into the cake business, making these elaborate trillion-layer cakes at any opportunity she can get. When I turned down her offer to create one for my birthday, she was slightly crushed. It’s not that I don’t love my sister’s dreamy, mousse-filled, icing deco cakes, because I do. But when summer hits, I want seasonal fruit with a chill side of straight up vanilla ice cream. My mom fulfilled that, and then some, with this crisp.

You’ll find that blueberries make up the bulk of the filling, letting just a few, slightly more tart strawberries sweep in to balance out their sweetness. I know strawberries are on their way out, so feel free to use nectarines, peaches or any other suitable, seasonal partner in crime. My mom had some strawberries frozen from an earlier, orchard-picking trip, so that’s what went into this particular pie pan.

Birthday or not, this is a real summer celebration. As are tomato sandwiches. Pair the two together, and you’ll create the picnic party of the year. For real.

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