Yesterday morning, I met up with a friend from Oxygen Fitness Studio for coffee. Both of us were anticipating our first cup o’ pumpkin spice joe of the season.
While we wandered around the shop, coffee in hand, I came across some cinnamon-scented pine cones. This immediately made me think of my dear D.C. roommate and close friend, Jackie. Each fall, she bought a bunch of these pine cones to place in a bowl on our dining-room table. I’ll never forget the cozy scent that permeated our two-bedroom apartment. She also baked the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which she so sweetly shared with me. I didn’t like to cook or bake six years ago, so I don’t think I returned the favor as often as I should’ve!
I’ve always admired Jackie’s ability to find pleasure in the simple things, among many other traits, so her love for all things fall rubbed off on me. She also has this amazing ability to meter her intake of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes – a skill that I used to seriously lack until my weight loss journey began in 2012. Last fall was my first PSL-free fall. I’m all about moderation, but, when moderation exposes me to temptation, my strategy shifts to avoidance.
Before fall begins (unofficially next Tuesday, after Labor Day, and officially September 23), I’d like to share links to a few healthier pumpkin recipes, which aren’t your typical pumpkin pie or pumpkin roll. I can’t wait to try these throughout the season!
- Pumpkin Protein Shake (from Love Grows Wild): My family, friends and clients know how much I love my daily meal-replacement shake, which I drink for breakfast. I drink the chocolate flavor to help with curbing my cravings, but I think that this recipe is worthy of switching things up!
- Skinny Pumpkin Overnight Oats in a Jar (from SkinnyTaste): I really got into overnight oats a couple of years ago. The process of preparing them is similar to cooking with a crockpot: you can fix and forget them while they “cook” – well, in this instance, soak. They’re also great for grabbing and going and look adorable in a mason jar. I prepare mine in mini Pyrex bowls. I haven’t had them in more than a year, so I look forward to reintroducing them to my diet with this recipe!
- Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes (from Dashing Dish): A local diner has some stupid-awesome sweet potato pancakes, so I’m curious how pumpkin measures up! You can’t go wrong with the calories per serving!
- Healthy Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins (from Pinch of Yum): I like that Lindsay follows the rule of halves with this recipe – half of the sugar, oil and bleached flour (half subbed with whole wheat). While the glaze sounds amazing, I plan on eating them without.
- Healthy Pumpkin Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread (from Ambitious Kitchen): It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had zucchini bread! However, the stuff I’ve had before lacked pumpkin and chocolate chips. Monique not only shared how she lightened up this recipe using honey (you could also try maple syrup), minimal oil and almondmilk, but she also shared an important message, which I’ll sum up with my favorite quote: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
- Simple Pumpkin Soup (from Minimalist Baker): Since my recent discovery of my love of kale (yes, I know I’m very late to the party), the garlic kale sesame topping really piqued my interest. If I like butternut squash soup, I assume that means that I’ll also like pumpkin soup, seeing as both are squash with a similar consistency and color.
- Low Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake (from Recipe Girl): I love everything about the name of this recipe. Low fat. Pumpkin. AND Cheesecake. I’m thinking that this may go really nicely with my mother-in-law’s amazing pecan pie at Thanksgiving.
For a comprehensive list of pumpkin recipes, check out 50 Pumpkin Recipes from SkinnyTaste).