Thankful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Thankful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.JPG

Thanksgiving has been one of my most favorite days of the year since I was small. But as an adult, its significance really grew for me, as it now gives me a chance to bring together family and friends I love, in my own special home, and serve nourishing foods that we can all enjoy while we soak up the gratitude we feel for this moment in our lives. It’s a holiday about being present, nourishing our bodies, and feeling surrounded with love and friendship. I cant think of anything better. I created these delicious Pumpkin ‘Cheesecake’ Bars (the cheesecake-esque filling is actually made with cashews and pumpkin) last year for my Eat Pretty Together coaching group and have since made them several times— each to the delight of family and friends. They’ll be gracing my Thanksgiving table again this year, and I cannot wait for another bite!

Enjoy them for the delicious, perfect fall dessert they are, and know that they’re also anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic (won’t mess with hormones or skin), and filled with beauty nutrition. They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free for your guests that prefer those dietary choices. Enjoy, I’m grateful for you!

Thankful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Makes 16 bars

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 1 cup GF organic rolled oats

  • ½ cup pitted dates (about 12 small)

  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • Pinch of salt (only if nut butter is not salted)

Cashew cheesecake:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted

  • ¼ cup coconut sugar

  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see my favorite recipe p. 137 in Eat Pretty)

  • 4 drops liquid stevia (or omit and increase coconut sugar to taste)

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, mix crust ingredients until a fine mixture forms. Press firmly into a 9”x 9” pan and set aside. In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients. Blend, using a tamper to push ingredients down to the blades and stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until you reach a creamy consistency with no lumps. Pour over crust, smooth top, and chill in the refrigerator 5 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator, cut into 16 squares and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Make this 5-Minute Energizing Lunch for Gorgeous Skin

Lunch is the time of day when your body is primed and ready to digest a really nutrient-dense meal. You can make this your biggest meal of the day, packed with skin nutrition! Only, lunch also seems to be the time when we reach for packaged, processed, fast food options, in the name of convenience. To help break that trend, this recipe was also created in the name of convenience— and energy, and glowing skin. If you have 5 minutes and 4 ingredients (plus your leafy green of choice, which you ALWAYS have around, right??), you have this protein-packed beauty lunch that also adds a probiotic boost. Feel free to add more veggies to this salad, as your tastes desire and your refrigerators allow.

Chopped Chickpea-Kraut Salad

Here's a super-quick lunch I love to make when I have an empty fridge or a lack of leftovers. I always have a can of chickpeas on hand, as well as some sauerkraut (I used the Gingered Purple Kraut from Eat Pretty Every Day for this recipe— it adds the perfect flavor and color!), which is more than half the recipe. It checks off your protein, healthy fats, and your probiotic foods, and if you add greens you have an even more beautifying masterpiece that takes—seriously—5 minutes to assemble. This serves 2, or just me if I'm extra-hungry. Enjoy!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15-oz BPA-free can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped raw sauerkraut 
  • 1 heaping tbsp vegan mayo (you can sub ripe avocado here too)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • sprinkle of shelled hemp seeds (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Add chickpeas to a bowl and mash, using the back of a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve wrapped in, or over a bed of, your favorite leafy greens!