Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a big Turkey, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, GravyStuffing Muffins, Green Bean Casseroles, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Pineapple Fluff Salad , Pumpkin Pies, Pecan Pie Bites, Whipped Cream, and Apple Pies. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking. There may not be enough food! What will we do if we run out of food?

So I made more food. Just in case, you know?

Actually, I’m not worried about having enough food. But looking over that list, there is a definite shortage of cheesecake. It also occurred to me that I might enjoy a low sugar dessert on Thanksgiving day. That is why I took my Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe and adapted it to make fun these Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups.

We can all sleep better now knowing that along with the other 26 dishes on the Thanksgiving buffet, there will also be low sugar cheesecake. I’m not sure the day would have been complete otherwise.

Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

Yum

Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • Shortbread Crust:
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
  • ½ cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
  • 1½ cups melted butter
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:
  • 2 8-ounce packages softened cream cheese
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Real maple syrup or liquid stevia to taste (I used 4 droppers full of stevia)
Instructions
  1. Make crust by stirring flour and sucanat together in a bowl.
  2. Add melted butter, combining well.
  3. Press mixture into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
  4. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Allow crust to cool completely.
  6. Blend all pumpkin cheesecake filling ingredients together until smooth.
  7. Scoop into prepared shortbread crust cups.
  8. Spread until smooth.
  9. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

I found it fun to use fall-colored muffin cup liners for the occasion. Come Christmastime, I’ll use red and green. :)

Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

I made the filling with stevia and was concerned that others might not like them as a result. But since the shortbread crust has a little sucanat and is so buttery and yummy, that balances the taste out for others. As for me, I think they are perfectly sweetened. In fact, I’m having to hold back to save the majority of these for Thanksgiving day. After all, there would be a definite void on the table if there were only 26 food choices and no cheesecake whatsoever.

Here’s to a wonderful holiday weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

40+ Pumpkin, Apple, & Cinnamon Recipes! {How I’m Stock-Piling for Fall}

I’ll give you one guess as to my favorite thing about fall.

Yep! Food, food, food, food, food. Different seasons bring on different foods, as do different special events and holidays. This should, by the way, make us super appreciate how blessed we are to have such variety and bounty. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to eat the same two or three foods day after day, all year long, because those are my only meager options. We are spoiled by our vast food choices and we often still complain. If you ever hear me say, “Oh I’m so overwhelmed because I have so many apples and tomatoes that I need to put up” just shake me.

(This perspective seeking heart-check is brought to you by yours truly – after I spent an evening at our local mission with a homeless single mama and her 3 year old twins and 2 year old. It reminded me that I have soooo much! Also, my boys and I are reading Louis Zamperini, who, among other things, was lost at sea for 28 days then a tortured prisoner of war for a year and a half – so I vow to never complain again. Also, there’s Gladis. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. But if/when I slip up and do it anyway – call me out on it. I’m serious.)

So back to fall food and all the happiness that comes with it. My kitchen is spilling over with amazing foods and it makes me so excited. I love summer like you wouldn’t believe, so fall with its cinnamon deliciousness certainly softens the blow of “brace yourself, winter is coming!” (Not that I’m going to complain. Do I or do I not have closets full of blankets and sweaters? I do.)

Right now, I am in fall food stock-piling mode. We’ve been picking raspberries as much as we can. Apples are everywhere. It’s pumpkin time. I guess I’m finding myself shifting in thought as to what foods I want to keep on hand for fall, winter, and holiday cooking. Here are my top priorities:

Fall Foods To Stock Up OnYum

Tomato Soup

Our favorite Tomato Soup recipe is easy and super good. When we run out of my homemade soup, I’ll buy a case of Pacific Organic Tomato Soup because I really love having it on hand for casseroles or simply to warm up to eat with grilled cheese sandwiches. So yum!

Tomato Soup for the Freezer

Pumpkin Puree

This is how I easily cook whole pumpkins to have inexpensive pumpkin puree on hand. See list below of our favorite pumpkin recipes! I also stock up on organic pumpkin from Vitacost when I run out of home-preserved pumpkin.

Psst…here’s how you can get a super price on the Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin Puree at Vitacost! It is discounted to $2.19/can right now. If you are a new customer with Vitacost and click through this referral link, they’ll give you $10 off your first order of $30 or more. It’s a sweet deal. Get free shipping also when your purchase includes $25 worth of Vitacost brand products. (Hint: They have great Vitacost Brand Coconut Oil that’ll help you get free shipping!)

pumpkin_12

Cinnamon

Of course. This is a fall must-have. I buy a one-pound package from Vitacost, then transfer it to a shaker or a jar for easy measuring. I also love the Cinnamon Sticks from Olive Nation.

cinnamon_swirl_bread
That thar
is Cinnamon Swirl Bread – a delicious part of this complete fall breakfast.

Apple Pie Filling

I almost always have great sources each fall for free or inexpensive apples. One of my favorite ways to preserve apples is to prepare pie filling then freeze it. If I have time or a full freezer, I will instead can the apple pie filling. I can then easily dump the prepared filling into a Whole Wheat Pie Crust or easier yet – make Apple Crisp.

apple_pie_filling_5

Applesauce

Having plenty of applesauce on hand is awesome for so many reasons. It’s a great side dish or snack, and it’s also great to bake with. If you haven’t tried Applesauce Bread, well, it’s fall. You need to make Applesauce Bread.

My favorite (and easiest) way to make applesauce is with a Victorio. That tool makes my work so much less work-ish!

Chicken and Beef Broth

It’s soup time, so having veggie loaded broth prepped and in my freezer is so helpful. Must reads: How to Make Beef Broth and How to Make Chicken Broth.

turkey carcass and broth

And now, over 40 of my favorite fall recipes using these foods! There is some overlap since almost all pumpkin and apple recipes also call for cinnamon(but don’t worry, none of them call for broth).

What to Make With Cinnamon

14 Recipes With Cinnamon

What to Make with Apples

11 Apple Recipes

What to Make with Pumpkin Puree

12 Pumpkin Recipes

What to Do with Beef Bone Broth or Chicken Broth

11 Ways to Use Beef and Chicken Broth

What is on your fall stock-pile list? What are your favorite fall foods?

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Wow, Laura. Another pumpkin recipe? Really?

Actually, I used butternut squash puree in this recipe, so there. But yes, it’s another pumpkin (aka butternut squash) recipe. I told you I was on a roll with pumpkin recipe experiements. I’m here to provide you with easy recipes – and also to force you to eat vegetables. What better way than in a dessert? (And in a salad, of course.)

You’ll notice that I loved the Shortbread Crust idea so much in the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I stole the idea for this crust too. This is basically Shortbread with Pumpkin Pie baked on top – all in a 9×13 inch pan. No rolling of a pie crust necessary. Easy, buttery, delicious – what more could we want?

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Easy Pumpkin Pie BarsYum

Shortbread Crust

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat for this)
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Stir flour and sucanat together in a bowl. Add melted butter, combining well. Press mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 7 minutes. (It will only be partially cooked at this point.)  In the meantime, prepare the filling:

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 cups pumpkin or butternut squash puree
2/3 sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Whip ingredients together until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake in a 350° oven for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bars comes out clean.

Have you had your fill of pumpkin this holiday season?

A Nourishing Way to Warm Up

warmvanillasoother2sm

Cold? Hungry? Need some energy? I have the magic potion.  And there are three variations to the recipe!

Have you tried my Warm Vanilla Soother? It’s the first of the three soothing drink recipes I concocted. Drinking this is like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold day, and I always feel nourished and energized afterward.

Once I realized how wonderful the vanilla drink was, of course, I had to try making a chocolate variety. Thus, the Warm Chocolate Soother was born. It’s like drinking a brownie that is warm right out of the oven. (Be careful that you don’t trip on the kids while rushing to make this. Yes, it’s that good. But your kids might need dinner or a diaper change first.)

Last, I created a Warm Pumpkin Soother.  It’s a holiday party in a mug. Ahhhhhh…..

So, let’s review. Delicious, satisfying, warm, nourishing, filling, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Or pumpkin. Or vanilla. Take your pick.

Which is your favorite?

Warm_Pumpkin_Custard

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

pumpkin_chocolate_chip_cake_2

It could be that I’ve been going a little overboard on the pumpkin recipes recently. I can’t help it. Between the pumpkins we got at the pumpkin patch this year, the awesome home grown pumpkins my friend shared with me, and my newly found easy method for cooking a whole pumpkin – I’ve had lots of pumpkin puree to play with. Yes, my house smells like the holidays. No one seems to mind.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake (adapted from Diva Entertains Blog)

2/3 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups sucanat or brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk or water
1 cup chocolate chips (I use either homemade chips or these these soy free chocolate chips)

Cream together butter and sucanat. Beat in eggs and pumpkin puree. Add flour, baking powder, salt, spices, vanilla and milk – beating until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into a well buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Serve as it is…

Or top with whipped cream…

What’s your preference? With cream or without? I’ll take three dollops, myself.

How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin (to make pumpkin puree)

 

Pumpkin_Puree_Collage_2

Every year, the boys and I visit a pumpkin patch. Every year after visiting the pumpkin patch, I bake a few of the pumpkins we bring home so that I’ll have plenty of pureed pumpkin in the freezer for pies, breads, muffins and other treats throughout the year. Every year, in order to bake the pumpkins, I slice them in half to put them into a baking dish.

Ever tried slicing a raw pumpkin in half? It’s horribly not enjoyable or easy. Now don’t make fun of me, because it is a fact that I have very wimpy muscles.  Therefore, I find that cutting a pumpkin in half makes me a little cranky -and also a little bit scared that I’m going to lose a finger.

This year, I decided to rebel – mostly because after the trip to the pumpkin patch with six boys (I took extras), I was a little tired and in no mood to lose a finger.

I’m not sure why I haven’t been cooking the pumpkin in its whole form all along – but now that I know it works so well, I will for sure be doing it this way from now on. Or at least on the days I don’t feel like losing a finger.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree from a Whole Pumpkin

First wash your pumpkin so that there will be no chance for soil or squished bugs to be mistaken for raisins in your muffins on a cloudy, autumn morning.

Next, give your pumpkin 6-10 nice stabs with a knife. There’s no better way to say it – there’s no such thing as gently poking a fork into a raw pumpkin. It must be stabbed. Although, I’m the one with the wimpy muscles, so what do I know?

Third, place your pumpkin in a baking dish, then into a 350° oven. I had to remove one of my oven racks to make this happen, but I figured I’d just saved at least three fingers, so this five second bit of labor was worth my time.

Bake your pumpkin for about an hour and a half or until poking it with a fork has become effortless.

Now slice the pumpkin in half – see how easy that is?  Allow pumpkin to cool for 15-30 minutes.


Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringy stuff. Save the seeds for making roasted pumpkin seeds if you’d like.

Someone tell me what the real name of that stringy stuff is.  It probably has some technical name like “glutinous threads”.

Scoop out the soft pumpkin – or turn the pumpkin over and easily slice away the rind.

All done:


Place a few slices into a food processor and puree until smooth.

Continue pureeing pieces of pumpkin until you’re finished, because that is the point at which you will be done. (Sometimes it’s fun to simply state the obvious.)

Freeze pumpkin puree in jars or freezer bags. I like to freeze it in two-cup portions for easy measuring while baking.

With my pumpkin puree, I make Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Pumpkin Bars, and Pumpkin Pie Squares – plus a delicious Multi-Grain Pumpkin Pancake/Waffle recipe my friend Angie shared with me that I will in turn be sharing with you tomorrow.

How do you make pumpkin puree (or do you buy it already canned)? What do you like to make with pumpkin?

Disclaimer:  No fingers were lost while making this pumpkin puree. Let us all rejoice.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares

I recently found this great recipe, then played with it and adapted it to create a healthier dessert! It is very tasty!! Simple and sweet – and just a little nutty (which are some of the exact characteristics I strive for in my life). ;)

I love the crust part the best. But I also love the filling the best. The topping was also very, very good. And of course, I always love the fresh whipped cream the best. Oh, such a great combination of lots of yummy tastes. Try it for yourself and see which part you like best!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie SquaresYum

Pumpkin_Pecan_Pie_Squares
I was trying to go for a dollop of whipped cream…
but I can’t quite do a dollop.
Anybody out there good at a dollop?
(I think it’s fun to say the word dollop.)

Crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup sucanat
1/2 cup butter

Filling:
3/4 cup sucanat
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Topping:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sucanat

Whipped cream

For Crust: Combine flour, oats, sucanat and butter. Mix until crumbly. Press on bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

For Filling: Combine sucanat, pumpkin, cream, eggs and spices in large bowl. Beat at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes; pour over crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

For Topping: Combine pecans and sucanat in small bowl. Sprinkle pecan topping over filling.  Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Top with whipped cream (just a dollop).

If you recall, I don’t usually like recipes with nuts in them. I surprised myself by liking the pecan topping.

See?  Everyone likes to be nutty every now and then…