The first step of dealing with one of these big guys is attempting to cut it open to bake it. After nearly chopping my fingers off in the past, I've finally come up with an injury free method of opening it up. I take it out to the sidewalk and drop it a few times. Seriously, it works and I don't get hurt. The inspiration for this came from all the smashed pumpkins in the neighborhood after Halloween. It's kind of pathetic that I'm inspired by vandals, but there it is.
After cleaning out the seeds, always with the intention of baking them and then never doing it, bake the pieces at 350 for an hour or so. Once it's done and cooled enough to not scorch you, scoop it out and put it in the food processor or blender and whir away. I froze 14 cups of pumpkin and put the other 8 cups in the fridge to use.
So how does all of this fit into this month's goal? Well, I got to "journal" two pieces of pumpkin pie. Although very tasty, at 8 Points Plus or 265 calories, it's just not a good idea to have pie every day. Enter, the internet search for low calorie pumpkin recipes. There are a lot, and this one on Snack Girl's site looked pretty good.
Microwave Pumpkin Custard(Makes 1 serving)
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 packet stevia or 1 tbsp brown sugar (add 1 pt for brown sugar)
1. Combine all ingredients well in a small bowl.
2. Pour into a small mug or ramekin, sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Microwave for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until firm.
4. Top with yogurt, low calorie, whipped cream, nuts, or a touch of honey.
If using stevia: Calories: 111.7 calories, 5.3 g of fat, 9.6 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 7.5 g protein WW Points+: 2 points+, 3 points+ if you count the pumpkin
I used brown sugar because baked stevia doesn't taste right to me. Verdict: It's a tasty, healthy dessert that's easy to make. Next time I'm going to try maple syrup and will add a touch more spice. I'll also zap it for 2:20 instead of 2:30 because it was a bit rubbery.
UPDATE: I made this again, nuking it for 2:20, with a tad more pumpkin pie spice and instead of brown sugar I mixed 2 tsp maple syrup into the pumpkin concoction and drizzled 1 tsp in the bottom of the ramekin before pouring the concoction in. These adjustments made an already tasty dessert even better. The spice was just right, the texture was firm yet creamy and it was sweet enough. In fact, for me, it was a bit too sweet, so next time I'll add 1 tsp to the mixture and 1 tsp in the bottom of the ramekin. BTW, if you want to decrease the calorie count, you can substitute 2 egg whites for the single egg. It cuts the calories by 40ish and eliminates all the fat.
Snack Girl has a bunch of other pumpkin recipes that I'm eager to try.