The Great Pumpkin

I would be hard-pressed to choose a favourite season. I live in the perfect climate for my tastes because I love the variety; the winter for its crisp, cold days and snow, spring for feeling of re-birth, warmth and my favourite flowers, and summer for the long days, the freedom and the fun. I am always a little sorry to see the summer come to an end and the days start to get shorter. However, the colourful leaves, the fresh air, and all the delights of fall are a rich reward.

pumpkin-patch-1Each year, when fall rolls around, I watch with delight as the beautiful orange orbs of the season grow in abundance in the farmers’ fields. And, I rub my hands in gleeful anticipation of the pumpkin feast to come; roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, raw pumpkin cheesecake and even roasted pumpkin soup.

After Halloween, when the novelty of these orange wonders wears off, I troll all the local pumpkin farmers to buy up their remaining stock at reduced prices. They look at me curiously and some shake their heads as I load pumpkin after pumpkin into the back of my van. I make no apologies for my quirky pumpkin obsession. I just smile warmly and thank them while images of roasted pumpkin seeds dance in my head all the way home.

Once the season is done and the last few sad pumpkins are rotting in the fields, I have to accept the fact that I will have to wait another year for my all-time favourite snack. But even though I can’t have the freshly roasted seeds, I can’t possibly give up pumpkin altogether, so the organic canned variety is a good substitute.

images (7)With the severely cold weather we have been having lately, I have been inspired to fill the house with the aroma of home baking. I have not done a whole lot of baking since I went GFCF almost four years ago because I do not like baking with rice flour. However, in the past few weeks, I have happily discovered that quinoa flour is a dream to bake with and I have become a bit of a quinoa queen!

My favourite quinoa cookbook ‘Quinoa 365’ has a delicious Pumpkin Bread recipe and I have adapted it so that it is not only GFCF but also free of refined sugar. It smells absolutely heavenly while it is baking and is moist and delicious. My kids love it and it has become a cold weather comfort food at tea time and in school lunches.

Now, if I could just figure out how to have fresh roasted pumpkin seeds all year long. Maybe I could ask the farmers…they already think I’m a bit nuts anyway! 🙂

Quinoa Pumpkin Bread

(Adapted from ‘Quinoa 365’ by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming)

1 ½ C Quinoa Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Salt
1/3 C Coconut Milk
½ tbsp. White Vinegar
1 ½ C Pumpkin
1/3 C Coconut Nectar
1/3 C Xylitol
¼ C Applesauce
¼ C Coconut Oil (melted)
2 Large Eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease one 2 L loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Combine the milk and vinegar in a small bowl.
In a food processor add the pumpkin, coconut nectar, Xylitol, applesauce, coconut oil and blend well.
Add half the flour mixture and half the milk and blend briefly. Scrape down the sides.
Add the other half of the flour mixture and milk and finish blending (not too long).
Bake for 55-60 minutes on the centre oven rack.

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