Paleo Pumpkin Pie (from scratch!)

'Tis the season for family and food, and lots of sweet things that some of us can't handle.  Not only must I avoid a lot of sugar, I need to avoid flour.  This recipe is a great compromise, slightly sweet but so damn good for you!  You'll never believe you're eating a vegetable.

***So, a disclaimer about this recipe: I seem to have very shallow pie pans, so the way it's made (including the crust) makes 2 pies for me.  If you have a deep dish, it may only make one pie.  Be prepared to make two- they're so good you can freeze one, but it won't be in the freezer for long!

First, prepare the pumpkin puree.  This is a lot easier than you'd believe.
Oven: 400 deg Fahrenheit

1 sugar pumpkin (do this- waaaaaay better than canned crap!), cut in half and the guts taken out.  It's worth separating out the seeds, you can lightly toast them on a cookie sheet for 10 min while the pumpkin's baking.
Bake the pumpkin halves on a cookie sheet for 45 to 60 mins, until you can slide a fork easily into the flesh.
When that's done, take it out and let it cool a little bit.  You'll need a food processor for this next part.
Peel the skin off the insides (this part's fun!) and put the insides into your food processor; blend until very smooth, no lumps.  There's your pumpkin puree!

Then you need to make your "crust":
Oven: 350 deg F

2.5 cups nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans work well)
2 to 4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, clove; or cheat and use "pumpkin pie spice")

Get your processor ready.  Put the nuts into the processor and start it up.  When the nuts are pretty well ground, add the 2 tbsp oil gradually, and the syrup.  I'll add the extra 2 tbsp of oil if the result isn't looking like "dough".  Add in your spices- I just do a little sprinkle of each, to give the crust some flavor.
Spread the dough in your pie plate(s).  I like to just make a 1/4 inch layer in the bottom and squish some up the sides a little bit.
Put the plate(s) in the oven.  Bake the crusts for about 7 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, it's very easy to burn it.  You just want it to get golden brown.  I suggest starting to make your pie mix while the crust is in the oven.  When it's done, take it out and let it sit until you pour in your pie mix.

Make the pumpkin filling:
Oven: 400 deg F for 15 min, then 350 deg F for 35-45 min.

2 eggs
2 cups puree
1 cup coconut milk (or cream if you do dairy; needs to have some fat content, whatever you use)
1/2 to 1/3 cup sweet (maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, barley malt, whatever you like)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove

Beat the eggs in a med/lg bowl.  Add the puree and blend well.  Add the coconut milk and blend well.  Add the sweetener; I use less because I'm trying to keep my sugar intake very minimal; you can add more if you want.  Then add the spices.  I like my pie very spicy; if you don't, use half the required spice, and try it- you can always add more but you can't take away!
Pour the mix into your pie plate(s) and put in the oven.  Some folks will put a little pan with water on the rack beneath to keep the pies moist and prevent cracking, especially if you live in a dry climate.
Bake at 400 for 15 min, then reduce the temp.   The pie is done when you can stick in a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Let the pie set a bit and cool before serving.

It's the bomb.


Paleo and Sugar Free check-in

Wow, too much time has passed! I have moved to a new state, got a new job and in the blink of an eye neglected my favorite blog. I am fully cemented in eating Paleo and Raw now. I am becoming more and more sensitive to what happens to my body if I get any grains at all, and any sugar. Sometimes I just give in and eat a piece of pizza... after all, it sucks to be that girl who has to be all food sensitive when we all go out to eat! Bah! And sometimes I just want to have a damn piece of toast. Well, then I pay. What's interesting is that over the last year (and some) I have tried to balance out my sweet tooth. What can I eat? What won't shake me up and give me cramps? It's been tough! I remember leaning a lot on Stevia for my sweet tooth cravings. I also remember when I discovered I couldn't eat it anymore. I started reacting to it exactly as I did to sugar alcohols (maltitol, xylitol) which is intense bloating, cramps, gas. Fun fun! That was a sad, sad time. I love Stevia, what it was for me. So I try to be in moderation but a sweet tooth is for life. As I stated in the past, it is an addiction like any other; I look at my familial patterns and see that my entire family is addicted to either sugar or booze. What is a girl to do? Of course I want to be more "natural" and so I stick to honey and maple syrup. These things are more or less acceptable among the Paleo and even Raw theories. In moderation, of course. However... I am still having problems with carrying bloat, mood issues, and energy issues when I get too much. Or even a little bit. It's frustrating! I just want to be "normal" sometimes. I did a juice fast for three days last month. I used mostly vegetable broth that I made, pineapple juice smoothies (with kale/ spinach), water and tea. I tried to avoid most other fruit juices in general. Well, after the three days was up I felt amazing- no bloat, no gas, no mood issues. Wow. But one cannot live on broth alone! If I had the will power to simply eat only vegetables and lean meat, I would probably be fine. The will to do such things is not within me. I love my chocolate and sweets too much for that. Hrumph. Everything in moderation, right? Likely waiting until having a full belly with plenty of protein before taking anything sweet would indeed solve a lot of the problem. As I said many blog entries ago, kicking sugar is a life-long process. It is not the type of thing that you walk away from and you are "cured".