Orange, Warm and Oh So Tasty
If you go to the grocery store or Starbucks these days you'll find a little pumpkin spiced everything on the shelves. The challenge is that most of it tastes artificial or is loaded with sugar.
Every year at this time, I start incorporating more cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and yes... pumpkin spice blend into various goodies like pancakes, chia seed pudding, cake pops for the class, cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and so on. Today, I made cleanse-friendly pumpkin spiced steel cut oats for breakfast.
Steel cut oats contain fiber, protein, and carbs, and they are the least processed of all the oats available for consumption. They look like a smaller version of the cereal Grape Nuts and are quite hard - almost gravel-like in consistency. According to WebMD, "A ¼ cup serving of steel cut oats (the amount typically found in a single serving) contains 150 calories; 5 grams of protein; 2.5 grams of fat; 27 grams of carbohydrates; 4 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar." Ayurveda likes steel cut oats because it is a slow-burning complex carb that doesn't create a massive spike in insulin and provides sustained energy. It is considered a sweet tasting food that produces saliva, improves digestion and reduces inflammation in the GI tract.
More than just the carrier of seasonal spices, pumpkin is a vegetable in the squash family that also contains fiber and is a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Healthline says, "One cup (245 grams) of canned pumpkin provides (1Trusted Source): 137 calories; 3 grams of protein; 7 grams of fat; 19 grams of carbs; 7 grams of fiber; 209% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin A; 37% DV of vitamin K; 28% DV of copper; 22% DV of vitamin E; 18% DV of iron; 13% DV of magnesium; 10% DV of riboflavin; 10% DV of vitamin B6; 10% DV of vitamin C; and 10% DV of potassium." I like cooking with it because it's readily available in almost all grocery stores, it's easy to sneak into meals mostly undetected (except the orange coloring) and it's very versatile - meaning it can be seasoned sweet or savory.
Hint: Be sure when shopping for pumpkin that you find a puree that doesn't have any sugar or preservatives. I typically buy the Safeway Organics brand.
Naturally these two ingredients should go hand-in-hand, and become a great meal!
Soaking Time: 1 hour to overnight
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
1/4 cup of steel cut oats
1/2 of an apple, diced
1 1/2 cups of purified water
1/4 - 1/2 cup of organic pumpkin puree
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon of organic, grass-fed ghee
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice to taste
Rinse steel cut oats and then submerge in 1 1/2 cups of purified water. Let them soak for at least 1 hour. Once soft, combine the steel cut oats and water, with the diced apples, ghee, salt and vanilla extract. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom. Reduce heat to a simmer and add in the pumpkin and spices. Mix thoroughly and make sure the pumpkin is heated and warm, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with some hemp hearts, soaked flax seeds or fresh apples to give it a little extra crunch.
Hint: You can soak the steel cut oats overnight so they are ready in the morning for cooking.