Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days of October: Day 20... Two For the Price of One

I hadn't intended to write a recipe post today but when I have a friend who is hosting a linky party about hospitality tips, how could I refuse?  So to kill the proverbial 2 birds with one stone, I'll feature a pumpkin recipe for my theme (October) and her theme (Hospitality).

This recipe will address 2 things that I like to do when I have people in my home for a meal. 

Tip #1... Make one thing in individual dishes.  I know that one way to a stress less menu is to serve everything family style but individual servings often make an otherwise ordinary dish seem a tiny bit special.  This recipe can be done a day or 2 ahead so it shouldn't require to much extra busyness on "the" day.  It can also be served cold as a dessert.  Win, win!

Tip #2... Do your best to accommodate special diets and food preferences.   It seems that more people have food allergies and dietary restrictions than ever!  It can be daunting to cook for someone with a lot of restrictions but it can also be fantastically rewarding.  People with severe food allergies have to live with it every day and I'm sure it can make them feel isolated from others when so many of our gatherings center around food.  I even find myself shying away from events when I am trying to stick to my eating plan like I should.  Even people who are just plain ol' picky need your hospitality, too.  Remember, hospitality is about blessing someone else!

Now to the recipe!  I try to follow a low carb diet and this is slightly higher in carbs than I would typically do but I wanted to make this suitable for someone who has a vegan/ gluten, soy and dairy-free diet.  It can be easily adjusted for my low carb needs when I make it for myself (Notice that I didn't say for my family. They tend not to like pumpkin or sweet potato dishes.  More for me!!).

I whipped up the low carb version of this a few nights ago when I realized that I didn't have a vegetable for my dinner.  The kids and grandkids were out of town and my husband wanted raw celery (I don't much care for raw celery) so I knew I'd be able to make something suited just for my tastes.  There was a little bit of pumpkin puree in the fridge (I had been experimenting with another recipe but it was a flop so you won't likely be seeing anything more about that) so I set it on the counter, stared at it, and put the taste bud part of my brain to work.

Eureka!  Pumpkin Casserole!  You know, like that overly sweet, sweet potato side dish that Icould eat out of the casserole all by myself so many people serve at their Thanksgiving feasts?  Not the marshmallow kind, the pecan crumble kind.  Yeah, that's the stuff!  Yummy, yummy but not healthy for me, so out with the sugar and in with the carb free stuff!

I'm not opposed to using artificial sweeteners but I would like to get away from using them as much as I currently do so I reached for the coconut crystals.  They are a little higher in carbs than I like but they aren't overly sweet and they have a molasses undertone that fits perfectly with this recipe.  So I mixed up a 2-serving batch of my adjusted casserole and it was quite tasty!  Of course I used real butter, egg, and heavy cream in mine but since this is about serving someone else I'll post that version at another time.  I can think of so many ways this recipe can be played with (flaked coconut, raisins, oats, sweet potatoes...)

I ate one serving warm for dinner and the other for breakfast... cold!  It had a granola-like flavor that I love!!! Yum!

I wasn't familiar with coconut crystals until someone introduced them to me a couple years ago.  They are made from dried coconut tree sap and are said to be diabetic friendly.  I use them sparingly since even they can irritate my skin (I'll explain that in another post!) 

Chia seeds are completely new to me!  This is the first time I've used them.  Ever!  They can be eaten raw or cooked, used as an egg replacer in baked goods and are loaded with fiber, Omega-3, protein, and antioxidants.  And yes, you can even make your own chia pet with them :-)

So here is my recipe that can meet both tips noted above.  Pictures follow.  Enjoy!


Pumpkin Crunch Casserole/Breakfast Pudding (vegan/GF/soy and dairy-free/reduced carb version)

2 T chia seeds
6 T water
coconut oil
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice
6 T coconut crystals
stevia to taste
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 C ground almonds (preferably already toasted)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 T coconut spread, melted
2/3 C coconut milk

Soak chia seeds in water for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Use coconut oil to coat the inside of 6 8-ounce ramekins.  In medium bowl mix soaked chia seeds, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, coconut crystals, and vanilla.  Take a tiny taste and add stevia if you want a little more sweetness.  After everything is well incorporated, divide pumpkin mixture evenly among the 6 ramekins.
In small bowl mix ground almonds, cinnamon and coconut spread.  Sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin mix.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350* using a water bath method. When almonds are starting to  brown, remove from oven and pour coconut milk over top.  Serve warm or cold. 

Total carbs per serving... 17.25g
Fiber per serving...  6.4g
Net carbs per serving... 10.85g 


Assemble the ingredients...

Dry chia seeds...

Soaked chia seeds... for some reason the picture came out gray.  They don't look as dark as this in real life.

The pumpkin puree mix...

In the oven, waterbath method...

Out of the oven...  again, too gray.

With coconut milk...

Wanna taste it?...



  1. Sounds & looks delicious...Think I will try it although I need to find coconut crystals, & also we have the "black" chia seeds....& we eat em every day!

    1. I wasn't sure if there was a difference between white and black chia seeds so I went with the white thinking they'd be less visible in the recipe. Many of them are black anyway so I'll probably just get the black ones next time since they are less expensive. The coconut crystals can be found online or at the health food store in Salisbury. Bess gave me the container I have. It doesn't make anything sweet sweet, just a hint of sweet. Even Stewart liked it a little bit so that is a pretty good sign it is really good!

  2. Thanks so much for linking up, Joanne! I love both of your tips! I am sure that having something served in individual dishes makes your guests feel very welcomed and special. A little extra effort which pays off!

    And what a marvelous way of looking at the extra effort needed to accommodate a guest's dietary needs (or desires) opportunity to bless that person with your care and consideration. You have given me something to think about...

    1. Thank you for hosting the party! Trust me, your posts all month have been making me think. I am very out of practice with opening my home... so many excuses!