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pass around the pumpkin pie

You know the lyrics for Sleigh Ride? "There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy when they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie?" Well, I have recreated a traditional favorite for the holidays! I LOVE all things pumpkin, and I really hate how this food is relegated to 1 month's time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can make this pie, or its filling, all winter long! Yum! I have made my pies with traditional roll-out doughs, that I've transformed into gluten free versions, but I wouldn't go and call those healthy. My pie dough is still made with a vegan margarine, and that has saturated fats that aren't healthy. I have been swapping that dough lately for a nut-based dough made with nut butters in place of oils. I provide the alternative recipe in my pumpkin pie as well.

Why is pumpkin a food to include in your diet? It's packed with Vitamin A-rich carotene. Carotene is a pigment that provides the gorgeous orange you see in the pumpkin. It's a nutrient that helps to lower blood pressure, and boosts skin, nail, hair, dental, and bone health. It helps to fight inflammation in the body, as well as detoxify free-radicals. If you're looking for a totally healthy dessert, try my pumpkin pudding, for nothing but creamy goodness (no bad stuff there!).

But, sometimes we want to indulge a little. If you're trying to cut down on the calories (PS-the average American gains 5-10 pounds throughout the holidays with all that added sugar and fat), make just the filling of the pumpkin pie. You can cook it like a baked custard, and place it into a hot water bath. To do this, fill some ramekins, and place them into a roasting pan. Add water to the pan and fill so it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins, and place gently into the oven (sometimes it's best to fill pan after it's in the oven so water doesn't get into your pudding). Since you're cooking smaller amounts of filling, your cooking time will be less. To prevent excessive browning, you could also cook at a lower temp, say 350 degrees. Check puddings after 40 minutes. They should be set, like a filling.

Here's my Garden Fresh Foodie Maple Pumpkin Pie recipe (gluten free and vegan), with links to a traditional, gluten free pie dough.

Any way you choose to, enjoy. I wish you a very healthy and happy holiday season! I'll be back next week for some last minute holiday menu ideas!

Happy Cooking....Jessica from www.gardenfreshfoodie.com

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