Monday, May 16, 2016

I'm definitely going to miss this

With a combination of less Zumba, no gym membership, and more time in my schedule (that gives me more time to bake and EAT), I am face-to-face with my over-40-ness, and having to reduce my sugar consumption. Sugar increases my craving for more sugar, so I've tried to break my addiction. I was depressed about this at first. But I've made it nearly 4 weeks with ALMOST no sugar and I do notice a distinct reduction in cravings. However sometimes I just want to keep my mouth busy with something besides cucumbers.

You know my favorite treat ever is cookie dough. It isn't just about the sweetness. It's a total package of texture, and sweetness, and coolness, and density, and... I could eat it non-stop. Sometimes I do. Go back to start.

But, Lo and Behold, verily, I have found a very good substitute for cookie dough. And it is available in abundance in Australia.

You won't believe me when I tell you. But it has made all the difference for me over the past few weeks. And I've finally perfected it enough to share with you.


It's got bite, it's got softness, it's got sweetness (if you cook it right), and it's got next to NO CALORIES! I mean, it has some, but I'm usually happily full of it long before there is a calorie overload. And it is readily available year-round in Australia! I'm so lucky.

Here's how to prepare this guilt-free, nutrient rich, indulgence!

1) Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

2) Wash the pumpkin. You won't be peeling it so make sure it's clean. You can peel away blemishes or unappealing spots.

3) Cut the pumpkin into chunks. Shoot for 3/4-1" pieces.

4) Place all the pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil. I use 2 teaspoons for a fairly large bowl of chunks. Sprinkle with salt. I don't under do the salt, but just sprinkle like you would potatoes or something similar. Salt will enhance the sweet flavor, and that's the flavor we'll be drawing out of this with roasting. Toss well.

5) Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Add the pumpkin chunks and arrange them so the skin side is down.

6) Bake for 20 minutes. This sears the cut edges a bit to hold in the moisture.

7) Cover the pan with foil. Return to the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until soft.

8) Remove the foil. Turn the oven up to 425F/220C. Bake 20-30 minutes or until there are some browned spots. This caramelizes the natural sugars in the pumpkin. Now each piece will taste like a bite of pumpkin pie (minus the spices).

9) Let cool. Keep the pieces in the fridge and enjoy cold. Think cookie dough! If it's too mushy for your liking, bake for less time in step 7. Of course, you can enjoy them warm too! I have to separate my haul into different containers, one for each day. Otherwise, I might eat them all at once!

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