Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
This, too, made an appearance at many a fast-food joint this fall—but dyed orange with food coloring and laden down with unhealthy processed food additives.
Make your own to spread on bagels, graham crackers (it tastes like cheesecake, and the crackers provide the crust), or toasted pumpkin bread.
- 8 ounces organic cream cheese (or Neufchâtel for a lower-fat version)
- ½ cup organic pumpkin puree (plain)
- ¼ cup organic sugar or honey, or stevia to taste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Allow the cheese to warm to room temperature. Combine all ingredients until well blended. Use immediately or store in a glass container in the fridge for up to a week (if you can keep it that long without eating any).
Spicy Baked Pumpkin Veggie Chips
Enjoy the flavor of the season in a great snack that also packs the nutritional punch of pumpkin rather than just the flavor. My favorite variety is “neck pumpkin,” which looks like a butternut squash with a really long neck. The entire neck is solid flesh and has no seeds, making it easy to slice and use. White-and-green-striped cushaw is another tasty pumpkin variety. Explore your local farmer’s market and try some of the great varieties out there.
- 1 pound whole organic pumpkin, raw
- 1 to 2 teaspoons organic olive oil
- pumpkin pie spice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone sheet, for easy clean up. Peel, seed, and slice the pumpkin into ⅛-inch-thick slices.
Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared pans (don’t overlap or they will cook into mush rather than chips). Use a pastry brush or spray applicator to apply a thin coat of oil to the slices, then flip them over and do the other side. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and place them in the oven.
After 10 minutes, use tongs to turn the chips, and repeat that process every 5 minutes until they are as crispy as you want. You will need to watch them carefully, as once they start to brown, they will progress to burned very quickly.
Total baking time will be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick your chips are and how brown you like them.