Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If You Hated Giving Up Pumpkin Pie...

Joan, this one's for you too.

Ever notice? The taste of pumpkin pie is such a favorite that now you can even get coffee in that flavor - seasonally, of course. Forty years ago a local dairy even made pumpkin yogurt - again, only seasonally.

I'm one of the pumpkin pie lovers. I tried this year to be very careful: tiny servings, waiting two hours after the meal, leaving the crust behind. It still kicked up my blood sugar levels past desired levels. I had to satisfy myself with a bit of the pumpkin cappucino in a big cup of black coffee about once every other week, on days when I really needed some extra caffeine. Like today, when the rain, the windshiled wipers, long drive and slight shortness of sleep combined to make me drowsy. Yummm.

It got me thinking.

To start with, I've been combining my cottage cheese with apples for way too long now. I particularly don't like the ever more frequent surprises in the middle of the apples we're storing in the back entry. You know, those brown trails through the core with an occasional extra bit of protein at the end. Sure, they've been cheap. I don't need to buy fruits twice a week or so, since I'm supposed to stick to fresh rather than canned, presumably because of no added sugar. But it's time for a change.

When I passed a Pumpkin pie filling display while shopping for other things, it hit me: I can "fake" pumpkin pie with blending ingredients into my cottage cheese! Worth enough of a try that I picked up three cans. Then I called home to see what still existed on the spice rack and shelves. OK, needed ground cloves. Not sure how much Paul has raided my Splenda supply in making low-carb jellies this year, I got a bag of that too. And, may as well grab more cottage cheese while I'm here.

Among the benefits, it's easy, tasty, and no-cook. Reasonably nutritious, low fat, low calorie, low carb. Also no gluten, since I don't bother with a crust. I guess if it needs a fancy name, you could call it lumpy pumpkin mousse, served chilled. Lumps are optional, depending on how much stirring/beating you feel like doing. Mine will have lumps.

Here's my recipe:

1 29 oz. can pumpkin filling.
1 22 oz. container 1% fat cottage cheese.
1 1/2 cup Splenda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. each ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
1/2 tsp. salt.
In a very large bowl, mix all dry ingredients thoroughly. Stir in pumpkin, then stir in cottage cheese. You can stir with a spoon for lumpy texture, or with a mixer for smooth. Makes about 6 cups. Divide into portions and chill.

What's a portion? Up to you. 1, 2, or 3 cups. Is it dessert? Part of a meal? The whole meal?

For nutrition stats, the whole recipe contains 720 calories, 90.5 carbs. Even if you only divide it into two full meals, each is 360 calories and 45 grams carbs, or three units as I'm counting them these days. That's the limit for a full meal, which is how I've divided mine: breakfast and lunch tomorrow. If you go for thirds, each is 240 calories and 30 grams carbs. If sixths... well, you can do the math. It's easy. You want more information like protein or fat, get your own and read the labels.

It is highly seasoned. You might play around with lower levels of spices if that's an issue.

We'll see if I'm still thrilled with it by tomorrow night. There are still two more pumpkin cans to go through.

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