ode to cheesecake
RecipEmails, from Replenish PDX are a monthly recipe delivery with a side of information highlighting one key ingredient.
This month’s featured ingredient: pumpkin
in this RecipEmail:
- a recipe for Pumpkin Cream “Cheese”
- pumpkin: the harvest of gourds
- time to Retreat (you still can!) and slow down for the holiday season
You might laugh at what constitutes an indulgence for me over the holidays. Yet even with my comparatively tame excesses, I know I’m not immune to feeling somewhat tuckered out post-Thanksgiving. It’s the same thing that client-after-client has expressed to me in the past, after throwing some (or even all) dietary caution to the wind. (Hello gluten, dairy, sugar and inflammation!)
As a gift to you, the whole Replenish Nutrition team is gathering our Tips to Triumph Holiday Pitfalls and we’ll be sharing that with you in just one week. . . on Thanksgiving day!
We think the best ode to you is the one that honors and protects you, right now.
Since Thanksgiving is just around the bend, I’d like to invite you to spend this next week preparing to treat yourself well through the holiday season. This is the week that the flurry starts with anticipation and preparation and it doesn’t really let up until after the new year. Consider this week your “dress rehearsal”.
How might you create a foundation for more resilience to carry you through?
What are your “best habits” that you can commit to keeping during the frenzy?
Pick three practices that you do for yourself that you know make you feel great.
Write them down and stick that piece of paper in a place you look everyday ~ the computer, the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror. . .
Now consider maintaining at least two of those practices in your daily routine every single day until the new year.
Here’s a tip right off the bat:
Try not to make the practices you pick grandiose!
I’m not talking about running a 5K. Favor patterns like the following:
- drinking more water through the day
- yoga stretches in the morning
- oil pulling
- starting the day with the breakfast that makes you feel top-notch
- taking an Epsom salt bath at night to unwind
- or even avoiding gluten, dairy and/or sugar, if it’s in your lexicon of tricks
Give thanks to yourself this week. And have some pumpkin “cheesecake” to celebrate. Paying tribute to yourself feels a lot better when you’re tending to your best practices.
With warmth and gratitude,
P.S. One thing I love about this recipe is that it’s Retreat cleanse friendly. This cream “cheese” is a perfect snack that’s in keeping with the scrumptious food that we’re all eating this week as we solidify our “best practices” prior to the holiday. It’s not too late for you to experience your pre-holiday Retreat!
In fact, taking care of yourself through the holiday is the best way to honor the you that you remember feeling GREAT while eating a traditional cheesecake!
Pumpkin Cream “Cheese”
Pumpkins are not just about Halloween. In fact the pumpkin is an indigenous Native American plant that sustained many folk through the cold months of winter due to its hardy skin and its ability to be stored for long periods of time.
This pumpkin cream “cheese” was inspired by one of the three pies I made with my niece, Maya, over Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. I came home and tweaked that recipe a bit, lost the crust, and wa-la, we’ve found a new family favorite.
We’ve eaten it on buckwheat date-pecan quick bread, flax crackers, plantain bread, and all by itself, sliver-by-sliver, until only the tiniest morsel was left in the dish in the fridge. I know what I’m having for a snack!
1-1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked one to three hours
1-1/2 cups pureed, cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (Native Forest, Nature’s Value or Arroy-D)
1/2 cup gently melted coconut butter (Artisana brand or Nutiva Coconut Manna)
30 drops liquid stevia, vanilla flavored or 3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons liquid vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Drain the soaked cashews, discarding the water. Place the nuts into a food processor and process them until a butter forms.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the processor and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste to be sure that it meets your tastebuds. Since all pumpkins will be of varying degrees of sweetness, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve satisfied your taste buds before pouring the mixture from the food processor.
3. When the mixture meets your taste requirements, pour or spoon the contents of the bowl into a rectangular glass container in which you can store the cream “cheese”.
4. Allow the “cheese” to set in the fridge for at least two hours before trying to slice. You can store it covered there for up to four days. (Ours didn’t last so long!)
Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree
It’s easier than you think. And the pumpkins and winter squashes are plentiful this time of year. Look for a small (and sweet!) sugar pumpkin. Acorn or kabocha squash would work well too.
1. With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin or squash in half. Continue to cut those halves into half along the ribs into wedges, until you have eight wedges.
2. Scrape out all the pulp and seeds from the pumpkin’s cavity. No need to peel at this point.
3. Boil or steam your pumpkin pieces until the flesh turns bright orange and soft. About 20 minutes. (Prick with a fork to test its done-ness.)
4. When soft, remove the slices or chunks with a set of tongs. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Peel away the skin with your fingers or a knife.
6. Blend or puree the pumpkin flesh in the food processor until smooth.
Voila! Pumpkin puree!
Pumpkins and winter squashes are best eaten when fully ripe. Yet it’s the younger and smaller gourds that will have the sweetest flavor. That taste is earthy and rich and nutritionally fibrous.
The Health Benefits of pumpkin include:
:: Pumpkins are a great source of carotene ~ one of our major antioxidants that helps to protect us against certain kinds of cancer (particularly lung cancer), as well as heart disease.
:: Foods rich in carotene ~ like our orange fleshed pumpkins ~ also offer protection against the development of diabetes. Pumpkins in particular are helpful in the body’s management of blood sugar metabolism and beneficial for the health of the pancreas, where our blood sugar regulating insulin is produced.
:: Pumpkin provides some good vitamins and minerals including:
- vitamin C
- several B vitamins including B1, B6, folic acid & niacin
- dietary fiber
- plus those pro-vitamin A carotenes!
:: Pumpkins are helpful in the relief of bronchial asthma. They promote the health of the lungs and throat as well. In fact, in European folk medicine pumpkin is acknowledged as a potent remedy in the treatment of respiratory and digestive ailments.
Getting More Pumpkin in Your Diet:
I love pumpkin. My biggest challenge is always in the cutting. Once there, I’m game for pumpkin any time:
:: Cut your small pumpkin in half, pierce the outer edge with a fork, and bake, flesh-side-down in a roasting pan for 45 minutes to an hour at 350F. You can serve it with ghee, coconut oil, or pastured butter, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and a pinch of salt, right in the half-shell.
:: Chop or slice pumpkin into cubes or rounds and bake with some coconut oil and salt for a delicious treat.
:: Replace mashed pumpkin for mashed potatoes as a side dish tonight.
:: Use leftover mashed or cubed pumpkin in morning grains with chopped nuts, coconut sugar, and coconut or nut milk.
:: Add to fall smoothies with ginger and cloves.
:: Mix some pureed pumpkin into breads, pancakes, waffles, muffins, or quick breads to boost their nutrition and fiber content.
:: Add chunks to winter soups or stews or make a delicious pumpkin soup.
What to Do with the Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids, zinc, and they’re super beneficial for the prostate. Eat up guys! To prepare you’re own. . .
1. Remove the seeds from the halved or quartered pumpkin.
2. Wash and clean the seeds while they’re still moist.
3. Set them out to air dry by spreading them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
4. Transfer the seeds to a dry baking sheet and drizzle lightly with oil and your desired spices.
5. Roast them in the oven for 30 minutes at 350F, shaking the pan occassionally to avoid burning.
Retreat: An Autumn Cleanse – Registration open until Sunday, November 30th! Get ready to focus on healing the colon and nourishing your body for the season. Hop on board to join in on the amazing experience now.
What Retreat Cleansers are Saying:
Andrea, thanks for the wonderful protocol and delicious fiber-rich recipes you have designed to nourish, satisfy and delight us. And thank you for making this opportunity available to us and for providing a community support forum in order to guide and deepen our experiences. Time to write a book, ladies!
I’ve felt good, explored new markets, explored all new recipes and proved to myself that I can actually find the discipline to avoid sugar (my biggest vice)!
I started the cleanse on Sunday. I am thrilled to feel this good. I feel so much more peaceful and connected to ME. A big thank you to for this great new journey in my life.
It is Day 2 and I feel so energized. This is truly the best cleanse I have ever been on as it does not feel like a cleanse! The food and recipes are DELICIOUS! Thank you!
No starving, just the opposite, yummy eats — and to top it off, I lost weight and that’s saying a lot because losing weight after 45 ain’t easy