Tag: pumpkin

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

My oh my, pumpkin pie … how I love thee,
But how you seem to hate my belly.
For each sinfully delicious bite I take,
Your sweet and milky richness makes my tummy ache.
Is there a way to make you more nutritious,
All the while keeping you equally delicious?
The good news is yes there is,
And showing you how is my biz. (Mic drop)

Bon Appétit! – Veronica

pumpkin pie

My pumpkin pie recipe is better for your health because it contains low-glycemic coconut sugar and dairy-free coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients

chia seed egg substitute

Directions

Mix sugar, pie spice, salt, egg substitute and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add almond milk.

Press pie crust into a 9-inch baking pie dish. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pie crust.

Bake 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with my Coconut Whip Cream Recipe or refrigerate.

My oh my, pumpkin pie … how I love thee,
But how you seem to hate my belly.
For each sinfully delicious bite I take,
Your sweet and milky richness makes my tummy ache.
Is there a way to make you more nutritious,
All the while keeping you equally delicious?
The good news is yes there is,
And showing you how is my biz. (Mic drop)

Bon Appétit! – Veronica

pumpkin pie

My pumpkin pie recipe is better for your health because it contains low-glycemic coconut sugar and dairy-free coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients

chia seed egg substitute

Directions

Mix sugar, pie spice, salt, egg substitute and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add almond milk.

Press pie crust into a 9-inch baking pie dish. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pie crust.

Bake 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with my Coconut Whip Cream Recipe or refrigerate.

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

My oh my, pumpkin pie … how I love thee,
But how you seem to hate my belly.
For each sinfully delicious bite I take,
Your sweet and milky richness makes my tummy ache.
Is there a way to make you more nutritious,
All the while keeping you equally delicious?
The good news is yes there is,
And showing you how is my biz. (Mic drop)

Bon Appétit! – Veronica

pumpkin pie

My pumpkin pie recipe is better for your health because it contains low-glycemic coconut sugar and dairy-free coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients

chia seed egg substitute

Directions

Mix sugar, pie spice, salt, egg substitute and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add almond milk.

Press pie crust into a 9-inch baking pie dish. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pie crust.

Bake 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with my Coconut Whip Cream Recipe or refrigerate.

My oh my, pumpkin pie … how I love thee,
But how you seem to hate my belly.
For each sinfully delicious bite I take,
Your sweet and milky richness makes my tummy ache.
Is there a way to make you more nutritious,
All the while keeping you equally delicious?
The good news is yes there is,
And showing you how is my biz. (Mic drop)

Bon Appétit! – Veronica

pumpkin pie

My pumpkin pie recipe is better for your health because it contains low-glycemic coconut sugar and dairy-free coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients

chia seed egg substitute

Directions

Mix sugar, pie spice, salt, egg substitute and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add almond milk.

Press pie crust into a 9-inch baking pie dish. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pie crust.

Bake 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with my Coconut Whip Cream Recipe or refrigerate.

Warm Pumpkin Salad

This is a delicious fall treat for those first cool days that signal the end of summer. It’s very filling and makes you feel full even though it’s a salad. It’s also very healthy and vegan. – Veronica

pumpkin quinoa salad

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Warm Pumpkin Salad

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, skinned, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups wild greens (arugula, spinach, or mixed lettuces)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Warm the pumpkin: In a large non-stick pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and pumpkin. (The smaller the pumpkin is diced the more quickly it will cook.) Sauté the pumpkin and onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Do not burn the pumpkin or onions.

Add the garlic, nutmeg and thyme, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the pumpkin to a bowl and stir in the cooked quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

To serve, mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle over greens. Top with cooled pumpkin mix and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serves 2-4.

Spicy Golden Pumpkin Hummus

This treat is so yummy you can eat it with gluten free crackers, veggies, on a veggie sandwich. For a party or everyday, I know you’ll enjoy it. – Veronica

sweet watermelon crunch salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Chef V’s Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup organic lime juice
  • 1/4 cup organic tahini
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp organic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor. Slowly add the olive oil while blending low. Continue to blend until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving and serve cold. Bon Appetit! – Veronica

Making Bone Broth

I’m not a strict vegetarian but I rarely promote meat. One rare exception is bone broth because it contains collagen. Bone broth contains collagen protein because the process of slow cooking bones for many hours releases collagen from the bones. So by consuming the collagen from animal bones, you’re helping revitalize your own body’s collagen.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

This pumpkin pie spice blend recipe is easy to make on your own, especially if you have a lot of spices in your cupboard. The recipe below is much better but you can always buy this one pre-made too.

  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground organic cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground organic ginger
  • 2 tsp ground organic nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground organic cloves

DIRECTIONS
Mix spices together and use for your pumpkin pie recipes this year.

Organic Pumpkin Purée

It’s so easy to make your own pumpkin purée. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pumpkin skin side down on the baking sheet. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven, rest for 5-10 minutes and peel off the pumpkin skin.

Place your pumpkin in Vitamix or blender and puree. Use this purée for my recipes or any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree. The difference is AMAZING! You can store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for later use.

Use this recipe in my Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook time: 45 Min

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin

Directions

It’s so easy to make your own pumpkin purée. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven and peel off the pumpkin skin.

Place your pumpkin in Vitamix or blender and puree. Use this purée for my recipes or any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree. The difference is AMAZING! You can store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Don’t Be Scared Of Pumpkin—Put ’em On Your Face & Eat ‘Em!

Chef V bat-mask-pumpkin

When you think of pumpkin and autumn the first thing that probably comes to mind is jack o’ lanterns. But Chef V suggests using this “gourdeous” fruit in other ways this time of year. 

Fall is finally here and for many people that means one thing: it’s pumpkin spice latte season! Oh yeah, Halloween will soon be upon us. But there’s far more to Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkins) than carved decorative gourds and coffee drinks that instantly turn you into a pre-diabetic with an insulin-spiking rush of 50 grams of sugar. 

(Need a healthy alternative recipe for pumpkins spice latte? See how I make it at the end of this article on pumpkins nutrition facts that I wrote a few years ago.)

Raw pumpkin fruit (canned), seeds and seed oils are superfoods in my book. If you want to geek out on nutrition click the link above. 

This time around, I want to cover some more interesting uses about pumpkins and their health benefits….

pumpkin skin mask

Pumpkins: Face Masks: For Beauty, Not Trick Or Treat

Having a pumpkin on your head makes sense if you’re celebrating Halloween. But it also can help your skin look more beautiful. Of course I’m talking about face masks. Pumpkin face masks aren’t going to be the hottest beauty trend of 2021. They’ve already been a trend for a few years but not everybody has heard of applying it to the skin. 

Now before you rush out to your closest supermarket to buy canned pumpkin and apply it to your skin, that’s not the type used in beauty face masks. 

Many beauty brands claim that pumpkin extract helps rejuvenate the skin. And there’s some evidence to back up the claim. 

In a research study from last year, the scientists concluded that the extract could have potential in treating contact dermatitis (CD) because of its antioxidant activity. 

A more recent study from earlier this year noted that depression is often associated with CD because the skin disease is caused by chronic stress. The researchers found that pumpkin extract, when applied orally and topically can lessen the severity of both CD and depression. 

Pumpkins have a high amount of oleic acid, an Omega-9 fatty acid, that is believed to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant activities. 

Advertisements I’ve seen claim that pumpkin face masks clean pores, hydrates, cleanses, plumps the skin, stimulates collagen production, remove dead and dull skin cells and more. Who needs a dermatologist when you can just use a pumpkin face mask!

pumpkin seed nutritional facts

Pumpkins For Pooping!

One thing I forgot to mention in my article about nutrition facts is that it’s an excellent source of fiber. In fact, in just one serving of canned pumpkin (buy organic), there are seven grams of fiber. Fiber helps keep you regular, satisfies your appetite, removes excess cholesterol from the body, and controls blood sugar spikes. So when you’re craving a regular punkin' spice latte, just add some canned pumpkin to it. Just kidding, don’t do that. But do eat canned for the fiber content. 

Pumpkins – Seed Oil For Prostate Health

Another thing I didn’t mention in my original ode to pumpkins benefits is that for men, it could be a life saver. Roughly 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Although prostate cancer is thankfully a highly survivable disease these days, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 34,000 men in the U.S. will die from prostate cancer in 2021. 

The oil from pumpkin seeds have been shown in many research studies to prevent the growth of the prostate gland, which may be a contributing factor in developing prostate cancer. 

Many men as they age develop a non-cancerous growth in their prostate called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. BPH can make it painful and difficult for older men to urinate. 

(Hubby, Brandon: Are you reading this? I’m buying you pumpkin seed oil for your birthday!) 

pumpkin seeds

Pass On The Pumpkin Pie

This time of year, besides pumpkin spice lattes and halloween decorations, most people associate the with pie. 

Yes, I’m a certified nutritional therapist and innovator behind nationwide delivery of organic Green Drink, but I’m not going to be the food police and tell you never to eat pumpkin pie again. But if you are going to eat it, do so sparingly because too many added sugars can weaken your immune system. And you don’t need me to remind you why that’s a problem these days. 

If you’re going to indulge in pie use a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia. It may not taste as good as the real thing but it will allow you to celebrate the season without the guilt. 

Have a happy, healthy autumn!

Chef V

What Do I Eat Today – Savory Fall Foods

This month’s menu features hearty recipes that fill the belly as the days get shorter and cooler. I’m featuring pumpkin again this month, one of my favorite vegetables and a super food.

Start your day with lemon juice & water, then followup with Green Drink. Breakfast is a yummy Creamy Berry Parfait, and lunch is a filling Pumpkin & Carrot Stew with Quinoa. Dinner is Pumpkin Lasagna with Rosemary Ricotta.  Dessert is a luscious vegan and gluten free Pumpkin Pie made with my Pumpkin Purée and Pumpkin Spice Blend recipes.

First Thing in the Morning

I have lemon water in the morning and then I wait until I’m hungry to have my Green Drink.

For Breakfast – Creamy Berry Parfait

I make this recipe a lot, it feels like a splurge but it’s healthy, full of fresh berries and nut flavors. I like to make it in a mason jar, easy to grab and run on a busy morning.

Get the recipe

Lunch – Fall Pumpkin + Carrot Stew with Quinoa

My pumpkin stew is made with mellow spices for a flavorful and healthy mid-day meal. This stew can be prepared a day ahead. It’s great to take to work or enjoy for dinner the next day, or for a warm and healthy meal for the kids to come home to and easily reheat.

Get the recipe

Dinner – Pumpkin Lasagna & Rosemary Ricotta

Macadamia nuts make a luscious “ricotta” and the pumpkin sauce for this recipe is savory with flavorful ingredients. A hearty lasagna made lighter with limited high carb ingredients.

Get the recipe

Dessert – Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

My oh my, pumpkin pie … how I love thee,
But how you seem to hate my belly.
For each sinfully delicious bite I take,
Your sweet and milky richness makes my tummy ache.
Is there a way to make you more nutritious,
All the while keeping you equally delicious?
The good news is yes there is,
And showing you how is my biz. (Mic drop)

Bon Appétit! – Veronica

Get the recipe

Why I’m Out Of My Gourd About Pumpkins

Chef V hand and pumpkin

Pumpkins: can we all agree that the whole pumpkin spice and PSL (latte) thing has gotten out of hand? It’s gotten to the point that PSLs are released with a whole month left of summer to go. In fact, Dunkin Donuts beat Starbucks to the pumpkin punch this year, releasing its own PSL on August 19.

When it’s still 100 degrees outside and I’m trying to cool off in the pool the last thing I want to think about is a steaming hot PSL. And as a certified nutritional therapist, I suggest you just say no to PSLs.

According to Starbucks.com, a grande (16 oz) contains 50 grams of sugar! Fifty! 5-0! There are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon, which means a grande PSL has 12.5 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association suggests women should have no more than 6 teaspoons a day. You don’t have to be a brilliant mathematician to figure out that PSLs are no superfood.

(Want a healthier drink to get your day started? My Organic Green Drink contains only 6 grams of sugar per 16 oz and 7 leafy green veggies.)

pumpkin spice latte

Remove the Sugar, Pumpkins Are Healthy

But pumpkins are a superfood in their natural state. One study on these “gourdgeous” (sorry for the pun; pumpkins are gourds) fruits that are often mistaken for vegetables, says that pumpkins contain “Substantial medicinal properties due to the presence of unique natural edible substances.”

Pumpkins possess a plethora of the following phytonutrients:

  • Alkaloids
  • Flavonoids
  • Palmitic acid
  • Oleic acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Nutrition researchers love pumpkins not because of how well it tastes in a caffeinated drink, but rather for its “medicinal properties including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and others [that] have been well documented.”

Edible pumpkins contain a high amount of the antioxidants called carotenoids. Carotenoids are the colorful pigment that give carrots their orange hue, and their name (“carot”enoids). All types of pumpkins have the following three anti-aging all-star carotenoids: zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A.

All three are great for the eyes. So when you eat pumpkin seeds or organic canned pumpkin, you’re protecting your peepers from age-related macular degeneration. These antioxidants are actually found in human eyeballs! So pumpkins are sort of like a multivitamin for your eyes.

Pumpkin seeds ripen in August through September. So this is the time of year you should be eating whole pumpkin (take it easy on pumpkin pie) along with its fall cousin, squashes.

pumpkin seed nutritional facts

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts

Pumpkins are nutrient dense. They’re low in calories but mega rich in vitamins and minerals. There’s several benefits of eating pumpkin. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating this cucumber-related fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit, not veggie) raw, boiled, canned or the seeds.

First, pumpkins contain lots of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants kill free-radicals. We all need a certain amount of free radicals in our body. It gives something for our immune system to do, namely killing free radicals. But when free radicals outnumber white blood cells and other immune-system sentinels, that’s when disease takes root.

Beta-carotene is what gives carrots their orange color. And it’s this pigment in beta-carotene that helps fight cancer, prevents premature aging as well as heart disease. Some of the beta-carotene you eat converts into vitamin A, which is a nutrient vital for vision and one that many people simply don’t get enough of. (Do you eat enough beef livers? Probably not.)

Pumpkin is also relatively high in minerals such as potassium, copper, manganese and vitamins C and B2. Pumpkin even contains essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Usually, I don’t recommend eating anything from a can. There are a few exceptions: wild salmon and sardines. (I won’t let hubby Brandon near the house with sardines. They smell disgusting. But they are very healthy.) If you’re going to buy canned pumpkin, though, make sure it’s organic, in a BPA-free can.

Canned pumpkin is like a vitamin A pill. There’s a whopping almost 800% of your recommended vitamin A intake. The one downside is there’s 8 grams of sugar per serving. But the sugar is balanced by 7 grams of fiber (almost 30% daily value). Also, there’s 50% daily value of vitamin K (good for your bones and blood) and 20% daily value of iron.

Pumpkins: Pumpkin Seed Oil

I’m still waiting for pumpkin seed oil to become the next avocado oil. Just as avocado oil has become a viable healthy cooking oil alternative to olive oil (and most definitely, canola oil), pumpkin seed oil has the potential to become a staple in every healthy kitchen cabinet. That’s because like avocado and olive oils, pumpkin seed oil is technically a fruit oil.

Studies like this one show that pumpkin seed oil can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Pumpkin oil is also beneficial for the skin, and it helps the body’s detoxification processes.

pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins:  Best Foods To Eat

So we’ve ruled out PSLs and, sorry to be a buzzkill—pumpkin pie. If you’re able to exert some willpower, limit yourself to three big bites of pumpkin pie and eat each bite very, very slowly. But if eating one bit is the equivalent of turning one cigarette into a pack-a-day habit, then do your best to just say no.

What, then, is the best pumpkin food to eat? Although as I’m writing this in mid-October, it’s still bikini weather in much of the West, any week now, the nights will be chilly. I look forward to breaking out the quilts and making hearty, warm, nutrient-dense pumpkin soup. I love adding some green onions and gluten-free croutons.

pumpkin spice latte

Make Your Own PSL

If you’re addicted to PSLs, seriously, you should stop. Did I not mention 50 grams of sugar. And to think that there are people who drink two of them a day. But a much healthier way to get your PSL fix is to make it at home yourself. Using a blender, buy some pumpkin spice and other spices. Pumpkin spice is itself healthy: pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. I’m not a coffee drinker, but if I were, I’d also experiment with cardamom and turmeric, both of which are potent anti-inflammatory ingredients.

In a blender, place the coffee, spices and my recipe for creamy almond milk. Now simply replace the 50 grams of sugar with stevia, monk fruit extract, or yacon syrup, all three of which are natural and contain less than one gram of sugar per serving.

A Pumpkin Spice Latte that tastes amazing, is basically sugar-free and helps cut down on inflammation? Now that’s worth getting excited about—anytime of year.

Chef V

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin ice cream by Chef V uses all-vegan ingredients that won’t skyrocket your blood sugar and expand your waist. If you love ice cream, all things pumpkin and fall, and exquisite vegan desserts, you’ll love this recipe.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 3 Hrs 15 Min

Prep Time: 15 Min
Freezer time: 4 Hrs

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup Chef V’s Pumpkin Puree (see recipe HERE)
  • 3 tbsp. organic coconut nectar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Chef V Pumpkin Pie Spice (see recipe HERE)

Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth
Pour the blend into a container to freeze for 3 hours
Remove from freezer and cut chunks of the mix out and start to blend
Blend the mix until smooth and creamy
Fill the ice cream in a loaf pan and freeze for 1 additional hour before serving.

Fall Pumpkin + Carrot Stew with Quinoa

My Fall Pumpkin Stew is made with mellow spices for a flavorful and healthy meal.

This stew can be prepared a day ahead. It’s great to take to work or enjoy for dinner the next day, or for a warm and healthy meal for the kids to come home to and easily reheat.

mediterranean stew

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, ground ginger, cayenne pepper
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup cooked lentils (if canned, do not drain: if cooked, save 1/4 cup of the cooking water)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups (about 1& 1/2 pounds) cubed pumpkin
  • 2 cups peeled carrots, cut into 3/4 inch slices

QUINOA

  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups filtered water

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

First, prepare the stew. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the dry spices. Add 1 cup water, lentils (with liquid from the can or reserved 1/4 cup cooking water), and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the pumpkin and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Keep warm until the quinoa is finished, or cover the stew and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Next, prepare the quinoa. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often so the onion does not burn. Add the garlic, salt, and turmeric, and sauté for one minute. Add the quinoa and stir for one minute. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, for about 15 minutes.

To serve, stir half the cilantro and half of the basil into the warm stew. Spoon the quinoa onto a platter or divide among bowls and form a well in the center. Spoon the stew into the well and garnish with the remaining cilantro and basil, if desired.

Pumpkin Lasagna & Rosemary “Ricotta”

Pumpkin Rosemary Ricotta

PREP TIME:
TOTAL: 1HR

Serving Size: 2-4 People

INGREDIENTS

Ricotta Rosemary

    • 1-cup macadamia nuts- soaked for an hour
    • ½ lemon juiced
    • 1 tsp. organic sea salt
    • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
    • 2 tbsp. pure organic pumpkin puree
    • 1 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil

Pumpkin Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. organic cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1-cup shredded organic carrot
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. organic rosemary, chopped
  • ¼- cup organic parsley, chopped
  • ½-cup organic basil, slivered
  • 2 cups pure organic pumpkin puree
  • 1-cup filtered water
    ¼ cup organic unsweetened almond milk
    1 tsp. organic sea salt
    ½ tsp. black pepper

Noodles

  • 1 box of gluten free (brown rice or quinoa) lasagna noodles (about 6 whole lasagna noodles needed)

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend “ricotta” ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor, slowly pouring the oil while blending. Blend until smooth like a ricotta texture. Scrape mixture out with a spoon into a bowl. Refrigerate while making the sauce.

Turn oven on to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to boil (large enough that the lasagna noodles will fit in without bending). Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrot and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, basil, and parsley. Add Pumpkin puree, water, almond milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

While simmering, cook lasagna noodles for 5-10 minutes (According to box directions).

When done, line a 8” x 4” baking dish with ¼ cup of sauce on the bottom, 2 layers of noodles, ¼ cup sauce, ¼ cup ricotta, 2 noodles, ¼ cup sauce, the rest of ricotta, 2 more noodles on top, cover with sauce and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until hot.

Pumpkin Lasagna & Rosemary “Ricotta”  Bon Appétit!

What Do I Eat Today – Pumpkin!

what do I eat today liquids

This month's menu will convince you that pumpkins can be refreshing and delicious anytime. Pumpkin recipes aren't just for cold weather!  And they are a super food, with “substantial medicinal properties” says the NIH.

Start your day with lemon juice & water, then followup with Green Drink. Breakfast is a yummy Pumpkin Protein Smoothie and lunch is a filling Pumpkin Squash Salad with Quinoa. For an afternoon snack you get my Spicy Pumpkin Hummus, and dinner is Curried Pumpkin Soup.

First Thing in the Morning

I have lemon water in the morning and then I wait until I'm hungry to have my Green Drink.

berry parfait

For Breakfast – Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

This smoothie tastes rich and decadent – but it is vegan and gluten free as well. I use raw cashews and my own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend to make this a healthy, delicious treat that won’t make you bloated. – Veronica

Get the recipe

creamy carrot soup

Lunch – Warm Pumpkin Salad

Warm pumpkin salad: this is a delicious fall treat for those first cool days that signal the end of summer. It’s very filling and makes you feel full even though it’s a salad. It’s also very healthy and vegan.

Get the recipe

Afternoon Snack – Spicy Golden Pumpkin Hummus

This treat is so yummy you can eat it with gluten free crackers, veggies, on a veggie sandwich. For a party or everyday, I know you’ll enjoy it.  make it with my Organic Pumpkin Purée.

Get the recipe

Dinner – Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

The only thing more comforting than a bowl of soup is a bowl of homemade soup that is both vegan and gluten-free. There’s something special about cooking comforting meals like this during the Fall that will warm you up and have your kitchen smelling festive.

Cozy up with someone you love and enjoy this delicious pumpkin soup on a cool fall night!

Get the recipe

Pumpkin Smoothie

This smoothie tastes rich and decadent – but it is vegan and gluten free as well. I use raw cashews and my own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend to make this a healthy, delicious treat that won’t make you bloated. – Veronica

pumpkin pie smoothie

Ingredients

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in glasses with a straw or a spoon. – Veronica

Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

The only thing more comforting than a bowl of soup is a bowl of homemade soup that is both vegan and gluten-free. There’s something special about cooking comforting meals like this during the Fall that will warm you up and have your kitchen smelling festive.

Cozy up with someone you love and enjoy this delicious pumpkin soup on a cool fall night! – Veronica

vegan ambrosia salad

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook time: 30 Min

Serving Size:2

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup organic Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. gluten-free flour (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Chef V’s Organic Pumpkin Puree (see recipe HERE)
  • ½ cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp organic sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Directions

Bring oil to medium high heat and saute onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add garlic, curry powder and gluten-free flour to the pan to continue to cook for one more minute.

Slowly add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the soup starts to thicken.

Add the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Continue to stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Blend small batches of soup in a Vitamix or blender to a get a smooth texture and serve hot.

Chef V’s Halloween Trick: Transforming Treats Into Healthier Alternatives

fruit halloween treats

It’s one thing to wish someone a happy, healthy New Year. But a happy, healthy Halloween? Not with all the added sugars that cause tooth decay and promote metabolic diseases. Not to mention the artificial food colorings that contribute to hyperactivity disorders. But if you’ve got kids—or if you’re a big kid trapped in an adult’s body—thankfully, Veronica the “V” in Chef V has got some tips for celebrating a Halloween, complete with SCARY fruit.

If you’ve been reading my blog over the years, you know I abide by this golden rule of nutrition: eat healthy (meaning whole, unprocessed food) at least 80% of the time. Personally, I’m not perfect when it comes to eating like a saint. Thanks to occasional overpowering cravings for french fries, I do confess to being a food sinner maybe 5-10% of the time.

funny halloween fruit

So I understand that on Halloween, it can be tempting to let your hair down and indulge. What’s the harm in a few mini-size candy bars? The problem is, where does it end? Can you really limit yourself to just one or two bite-size treats?

If so, then get your trick-or-treat on. But maybe you’re somebody who needs to have not only their Halloween cake so to speak but their cake pops, bat-shaped and witch-finger cookies and spiced apple cider. (Depending on the brand or how it’s made, spiced apple cider can have more sugar than soda!)

If that’s you, I have some healthy Halloween suggestions…

pumpkin seed nutritional facts

Balance It Out

So if you are planning on going to a Halloween party and indulging a little bit, do what I do. Anytime I know that I’ll be faced with a food kryptonite, powerless to just say no, I make sure that I feast on healthy things earlier in the day. For example, let’s say that I’m going to a holiday party at night, then for lunch I’ll have a huge salad and maybe an extra serving of Green Drink before I leave.

Eating more veggies (and drinking them) will help alkalize your system, which will help neutralize the effects of the highly-processed food.

pumpkin popsicles

Healthier Snacks

If you do a Google search for healthy Halloween snacks, you could get tricked. Excuse the pun. You see, what I mean by that is that something that always comes up is little boxes of raisins. Are raisins healthier than candy bars? For sure they are. But just one small box contains 25 grams of sugar.

So what are better alternatives?

Get creative and make your own healthy treats. Like these haunted bananas and pumpkin-lookalike tangerines.

Or how about carving spooky apple slices?

apple carving

You can also bake gluten-free, stevia-sweetened pumpkin muffins or offer cinnamon sticks, wild honey sticks and baked pumpkin seeds.

But if you don’t have the time or skills to make these healthy treats, then just fill your jack-o-lantern with whole foods that most kids love, including:

  • Cuties
  • 100% fruit roll ups
  • Low-sugar juice boxes (Honest brand)

Make Pumpkins Healthy Again

One of the healthiest treats you can give or eat is the symbolic image of Halloween: pumpkins. One of the healthiest fruits (yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit), pumpkins have an extremely low glycemic load (3), meaning that it will hardly raise your blood sugar levels.

Plus, pumpkins are packed with carotenoids, which is a type of antioxidant. Carotenoids are one of the most important anti-aging phytonutrients. You’ve probably heard of some specific carotenoids that pumpkin contains, including beta-carotene. There’s also the vision- and eye-health supporting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Speaking of beta-carotene, it’s the precursor of Vitamin A and get this, one cup of canned pumpkin contains nearly 800% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. In addition, pumpkin is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and several other vitamins and minerals. And one more fun fact about pumpkins is that they are super high in fiber, which helps things move along if you have constipation.

So consider making a pureed (canned; with BPA-free lining) pumpkin treat for Halloween. To sweeten it without sugar, consider using monk fruit extract or stevia.

And finally, don’t forget to indulge in pumpkin seeds (pepitas), which are also super healthy.

Have a happy, healthy Halloween!

Chef V

4 Ideas for Sweet (and Healthy) Halloween Treats

Veronica working from home

Halloween is filled with all kinds of spooks and terrors. It’s great to eat a few sweet treats on Halloween, but the idea of stocking your shelf with processed store-bought candy – and eating it all! – has a certain terror to it.

Today we’ll go over some ideas for making healthy vegan sweets, as well as a warning on the dangers of overdoing the sugar this season.

The Scary Side of Sugar

Anyone who has had to deal with children on Halloween knows all about the hyperactivity and stomach aches that come with overdosing on sugar. As adults, we like to imagine that we pace ourselves better – but this can often just mean that our sugar overloads silently stalk us like Michael Myers before they strike with a host of nasty side effects.

The side effects of too much sugar can throw your entire healthy routine out of whack. If you’re trying to lose weight throughout the fall, your plans can be gutted by just one careless Halloween week.

This is because too much sugary food can, counterintuitively, make you feel even hungry. Mass-produced Halloween candy is like a “food-specter” – it doesn’t really have a lot of the fiber or protein we need to properly feel full. This means you’ll be putting on sugar pounds, while still feeling the need to binge.

Beyond the phantom threat of weight gain, too much sugar can also lead to fatigue, high blood pressure, bad skin, and general irritability. None of these are things you want to deal with when planning for Halloween fun.

So if you’re throwing a devilish party this weekend, it’s time you considered ditching the cheap candy. The following are some great ideas for healthy Halloween treats to get your creative (green) juices flowing!

green drink

#1 Pick Pumpkins

Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween – but they don’t need to be synonymous with sugar-filled pumpkin pies. Why not try a recipe for vegan pumpkin cookies instead? There are plenty of ways to make sweet pumpkin treats that are low in sugar and fat.

#2 Astonish with Apples

Bobbing for apples is an old-timey Halloween tradition. Apples are also deliciously sweet. So why aren’t we swapping out more candy for apple-based snacks? Apple slices are also a great way to get creative with fun Halloween treats. Or why not a new twist on an old favorite?

#3 Boo! Bananas

While not perhaps a traditional Halloween fruit, people are starting to notice that you can easily transform bananas into spooky ghost-themed frozen treats. Here’s just one example of how to make some of these deliciously spooky treats yourself.

#4 Get Classic With Candy Corn

Are banana ghosts a little too non-traditional for you? Are you really old school when it comes to Halloween? If you just can’t beat your candy corn cravings, why not at least go for a vegan, homemade option?

It’s Not Too Late to Save Yourself – With a Chef V Low Sugar Cleanse

If you feel like it’s too late for you, don’t worry. Not all of us have the same success escaping the sugar monster in October. However, with Chef V, you always have a secret weapon on hand to pull out an overall win. A blended juice cleanse can be the best way to wipe out the gunk of the Halloween season.

If you’re still worried about sugar content during your blended juice detox, don’t! Chef V offers the Chef V low sugar cleanse, perfect for those with an aversion to sugar, or even for those with medical concerns like diabetes. No matter your sugar or weight loss concerns, a blended juice cleanse can keep you safe from the weight gain spooks…. At least until Thanksgiving.

Swap-Out Makeover: Ingredient Swaps for a Healthy Winter

swap out makeover

The smallest things matter the most and in this case, small changes can make a big difference. Simple ingredient swaps this fall and winter will help you stay on track while eliminating at the feeling of indulgence guilt. Whether it’s an appetizer or a dessert, these easy changes will help you avoid that pesky holiday weight gain we all hate.

And we promise, you won’t even miss the butter or white flour, in fact, a lot of the time these substitutions will enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes. We’re here to help you make being healthy easy and we can’t wait to see what you cook up this holiday season.

pumpkin skin mask

pumpkin skin mask

Chef V

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