A creamy pumpkin filling with a rich nutty-date crust. Well, my friends, these are the perfect dessert this Thanksgiving. If you’re a fan of pumkpin pie (like me) and fancy something a little different, these no-bake nutty pumpkin squares are sure to satisfy. They are gluten and dairy free (sans the whipped cream topping), making them a great option for those with dietary restrictions. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on dessert, now would we?! With Thanksgiving just a few days away, these bites provide a yummy, nutrient-packed alternative to the classic pumpkin pie. And did I mention? No oven baking required!
Pumpkins and I – A late encounter!
Am actually a late (very late) comer to pumpkins. My siblings and I never had pumpkin growing up. We enjoyed many other squashes that were prepared as curries, but not pumpkin itself (yes, we missed out, slightly). My first experience of pumpkins was actually 8 years ago when we moved to Canada. And, let’s just say, was one I haven’t forgotten! This first encounter was in fact pumpkin pie at a friend’s party. Since then, every year, we look forward to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I honestly start craving pumpkins as soon as Autumn starts. Well, we are making up for lost time 🙂
The thing about classic pumpkin pie is that it’s often made with a pumpkin pie filling that is then added to a pie pastry. Delicious? Of course! And I’m all for enjoying treats! But, if you want to avoid the added sugars and still have a yummy treat loaded with fall flavour, these no-bake nutty pumpkin squares are it!
I just adore all the seasonal fresh Ontario produce right now! Fall has got to be my favourite season; it’s just so beautiful! I mean, what’s not to love? The air is crisp, the clothes are comfy, the leaves are changing colour, and there is so much family fun to be had! From apple picking to heading to the pumpkin patch, in-season foods and yummy fall flavours. These are some of the first things that come to mind when I think of autumn. And of course, baking up a storm in the kitchen is my favourite way to make the most of the foods this season has to offer.
What is your favourite part of fall?
A Closer Look at Pumpkin
Pumpkin is way more than just a fun seasonal decoration. It’s packed with flavour. Fresh pumpkin is nutrient-dense, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Loaded with vitamin A; an important nutrient for vision, and immune health, pumpkin is also a decent source of antioxidants. With cold season creeping up on us, we need all the antioxidant help we can get to build our immunity. Vitamin A has also shown to help fight aging. OK, double my portion..LOL!
As much as I LOVE to talk about food and share humour, Thanksgiving is another opportunity to offer gratitude. If you are like me, family time is cherished. I can’t imagine anything better than gathering around and enjoying one another. This Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to pause and appreciate what we’re blessed with. Also, an opportunity, I think, to change the way we think. Many of us, from an evolutionary perspective are wired to be synical. We tend to focus more on things that didn’t go well and dwell in negative thoughts. Of course, it’s important for us to analyze such things so we can learn from them. But I think we tend to forget the positve things that happens to us daily, no matter how small.
Those that know me, know how fond I am of mind-body medicine. Life is multi-faceted and each facet intertwines to make the rich tapestry of life. With this in mind, I believe health and wellness is more than just the physical…food, exercise. It’s also about the mind and the spirit. Three years ago when we were expecting our third child, I came across Dr Seligman’s work. He is the founding father of positive psychology – a movement premised on countering the traditional “disease model” of psychology, which focuses on how to relieve suffering rather than how to amplify well-being. Just love his work! Do check it out! He is regarded to be one of the most influential psychologists in the study of happiness.
Dr Seligman offers a remedy. Published in an article By Maria Popova – Brainpickings
Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause … “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier.
Seligman believes that with the above practice, we will be happier and less depressed. Why not give it a try? Would love to hear your experience.
I’ll leave you with the following…eat pumpkin, beat ageing. Be thankful, live happier 🙂
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
No-Bake Nutty Pumpkin Squares
- 1 cup pecan nuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 2 cups dates
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup cashews
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Place the pecans, almonds, dates and coconut oil in a high-speed blender and pulse until finely ground. It may be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched with your fingers
- Line your pan with parchment paper (something I forgot to do)
- Place this mixture into a baking pan of your choice or a round casserole dish
- To make the filling, combine the cashews, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spices in a food processor. Blend until smooth. The base is sweet enough, and I don't add any sweetness to the filling.
- Pour the filling over the base and spread evenly
- Place in the freezer for 15 mins
- Lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper edges. Use a chef's knife to cut the bars, wiping the knife clean between cuts
- Serve chilled