Monday, June 27, 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream: I can combine all kinds of superfood healthy ingredients into one dish...a pie?

You read an article that says you need flax seeds. You hear amaranth is a superfood replacement for grains and high in the soluble fiber that reduces cholesterol. Another one touts virgin coconut oil as the be-all end-all. Cinnamon and clove bring down diabetic blood sugars. Black strap molasses is the ultimate source for calcium and magnesium. Grass-fed butter is high in conjugated linoleic acid. Winter squash has superpowers.

It all came together for me when I was reading about the superfood qualities of the winter squash and realized that PUMPKIN is a squash. And then I realized: A pumpkin pie could be designed to be good for me and I can put all these superfoods into a piece of PIE.

No waaay? Yes way!

My first thought was that I'd have to wait til fall for fresh organic pumpkins, then I realized how cheap and nutritious canned pumpkin is all year long. Canned pumpkin is CONCENTRATED pumpkin and is super high in fiber. CONCENTRATED GOODNESS. My sweet tooth wants to be fed now and since I'm trying to eat more squash and all those other superfoods...pumpkin pie in mid-summer it is.

Now use either fresh mashed pumpkin or canned pumpkin--but not pumpkin pie mix (which is loaded with sugar). This recipe is designed to be healthy: sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free and can be vegan (if you leave out the egg).

And speaking of concentrated goodness, let's talk about the soluble fiber in this recipe. Oats are renowned for their cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber, right? Let's compare oats to the amaranth and flax in my pie crust. There are 4 g of soluble fiber in a cup of dry oatmeal, but 9 g of soluble fiber in a cup of dry amaranth, and 13.8 g in a cup of flax seed. More than double for amaranth, more than triple for flax. And amaranth and flax aren't troublesome grains. Between the amaranth and flax in my crust and the pumpkin and figs or prunes in my filling, this pie is a soluble fiber dream. Goodbye cholesterol.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think just a 1/7 slice of this pie should meet your soluble and insoluble fiber requirements for the day (which most people never accomplish on a regular basis).

How is it good without sugar? The ceylon cinnamon oil from Florihana is a big part of it. Sweetness without sugar. Taste it and see (diluted of course). The blackstrap molasses is a low glycemic index sweetener that goes a long way toward making it taste like traditional pumpkin pie, but the high sugar taste comes from your prunes or figs, whichever you use. Think of them as concentrated goodness as well. You would not believe the research on how healthy prunes and figs are, in spite of their sweetness. I used to chew six of them every morning and it would spike my blood sugar more than I liked.  But mixed in with all the healthy ingredients in this pie, your blood sugar will behave normally and spike as it should when you eat normally. Your blood sugar won't reveal that you just had dessert. You should make this pie weekly and eat a slice every day. It'd be like a fun way to take your vitamins and get your soluble fiber.

If you get tired of pumpkin, replace it occasionally with sweet potato or carrot or butternut squash or even fresh pureed pears (also high in fiber). Play with your superfood pie recipes.

Midsummer Night's Dreamy Pumpkin Pie

To make your filling:

1 can or 15 oz. organic pumpkin puree
7 prunes or dried figs
2 tbsp ground ceylon cinnamon
10 drops ceylon cinnamon oil (manufactured by Florihana ideally-see link below)
3 drops clove oil
1/2 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses (unsulphured) preferably Plantation brand
1/3 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or organic half-and-half (or your favorite "milk" alternative but not conventional canned condensed or evaporated milk--bad for you!)
1/4 cup virgin unrefined coconut oil (melt on low heat before adding to mix and when it cools it will solidify)
1/8 cup sprouted organic flax seed meal (see Note on sprouting flax seeds)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1-2 pastured eggs (optional, you can leave out the eggs if you are vegan, since the coconut oil and flax seed meal will both replace it and firm up your filling when chilled)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and mixed well and pour into raw pie crust using recipe below for crust:

1 cup sprouted organic flaxseed meal
1/2 cup sprouted organic amaranth flour (see link below)
2 tbsp grass-fed butter
1 lg pastured egg white
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 cup water (add more as needed to form dough)

I just mixed the crust ingredients in the pie plate, first the dry flax, amaranth and salt, then I cut in the butter, then added the egg white whisked together with the water, mixed it with a fork, formed it into a ball, then flattened it and pressed it into the plate to form the crust. Then I poured the pie filling into my raw crust and baked it 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees (covered loosely with a cheap aluminum roasting pan you buy for a dollar that keeps things from burning without touching them).

I made this tonight. It was scrumptious. My sweet tooth is so satisfied. And this was so much more fun than taking cinnamon capsules, chewing flax seeds, eating stewed prunes in the morning, steaming fresh squash or eating a tablespoon of coconut oil for its health benefits. The trick is: don't eat the whole pie.

I'll have the links for where you can easily get any hard-to-find ingredients in the next few days. I'll also have the Note for the sprouting of the flax seeds. Keep checking back if you need those.

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