Did everyone have a Thanksgiving that filled your belly and your heart? I certainly hope so! We actually hosted our celebration – a Friendsgiving – last Sunday, and were gracious guests yesterday, so the leftovers are just about gone from my fridge. Time to squeeze in a few days of healthy eating before the next festive get together comes around, right? (It seems like there’s always something from now until New Year’s!)

Even though I’ve had more than my share of pie this week, I’m not ready to say bye bye to pumpkin. My little human pumpkin loves the orange stuff too – she gobbled up her own slice on more than one occasion (that was pretty much the extent of what went in her mouth on Thanksgiving) and readily eats a bowl of this pumpkin chia pudding any time its offered.

I’m thankful for this healthier alternative for both of and the ability to get a vegetable into her! Yes, I have one of *those* kids I swore I wouldn’t have – isn’t that always the way it goes?

 

Silky smooth, packed with omega-3’s, just sweet enough… it’s perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert. Or anytime my kid just won’t eat anything else. The candied pepitas on top are optoinal, of course, but make it a bit more fancy-shmancy for grownups. Or kids who won’t pick that sorta thing out.

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Five Spice Pumpkin Chia Pudding with Candied Pepitas

Yield: 6 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients:

Pudding
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder

Pepitas
1/2 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Pudding
Combine dates, chia seeds and almond milk in a large glass jar or a bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, shaking or stirring occasionally if possible.

Pour the mixture into a high speed blender. Add pumpkin puree and five spice powder. Start blending, gradually increasing the speed, and then blending on high speed for about 1 minute, until mixture is smooth. Pour into a large container of individual serving dishes, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Keeps well for up to 5 days in an air-tight container.)

Pepitas
Combine pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, cook, stirring often, until the syrup is thick and dark and the seeds just begin to brown, about 3 minutes.

Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate and spread into an even layer. Cool completely then break into small pieces. Store in an air-tight container.

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com