Search Results for: Pumpkin

Kick Off Fall With Spicy Pumpkin Chili!

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a few days now, but got overwhelmed with health clinics during random hours. Sorry folks, but here it is! I realize it is only a few days after Labor Day, but who is counting? Fall is coming, and pumpkin recipes are already being tossed around on the internet. I am a HUGE fan of pumpkin. Pumpkin pies, bars, cookies, smoothies, puddings…you name it! I do tend to use my pumpkin puree for sweet dishes, but I was found this savory dish and decided to add some twists to it and make it my own.

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Just as a refresher, for those of you who ask, what’s so great about PUMPKIN? (How dare you!! Kidding, kidding!) One cup of cooked pumpkin contains about 200% of your daily Vitamin A intake, which aids in vision. It is also a major source of fiber and has three grams in one cup serving and only 49 calories. Remember, FIBER is what keeps you full longer. Pumpkins also have the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which can help play a role in cancer prevention. Cooked pumpkin also contains more potassium per cup than one banana…so adding a cup of that a smoothie could be a nice snack switch up.

Get some pumpkin with this recipe right here…

Spicy Pumpkin Chili 

1 pound lean ground turkey (optional)

1 medium-sized purple onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped

.5 can pinto beans

.5 can black beans

.5 can kidney beans

1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, diced

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 Tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

Crumble ground turkey into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until almost browned.

Add onions and garlic and continue cooking until meat is browned and onions are tender.

Transfer meat to a slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and cook on high for 2-3 hours.

Serve topped with fresh avocado. If you want to sprinkle some cheese or Greek yogurt, feel free as well, but the pumpkin makes this chili so creamy I didn’t miss the dairy.

Also, if you are a vegetarian, feel free to add more beans…a full can of pinto, black and kidney would be fine. And if you have time to cook dry beans, that is also a great option. I just needed to put this together for a few quick lunches for myself this week and the canned were a little easier and still healthy!


A Very Short Guide To Eating Paleo Goodies…And A Picture of Some Very Delicious Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread…

So this past weekend I participated in a mud race/obstacle course called Tough Mudder. It was based in Temecula, so I shared a house with a few other people for the weekend. One of the guys who stayed at the house is a devout follower of the paleo diet. For those of you who are not familiar with this type of eating, it is generally a diet based on real foods and is sans grains. That’s right, no quinoa, no rice, no bread…this diet is generally healthy fats, lean proteins and lots of green vegetables.Image 3

However, there is also some room for “Paleo goodies” or as some call it, “Paleo junk.” These items usually include baked goods, like cookies, muffins and breads. The catch is that they are made from healthy ingredients that don’t have any flour or chemical substances in them, like coconut oil, almond flour, ground cashews, coconut milk, dairy-free chocolate, etc. However, one must be reminded that these items are called “goodies” or “junk” for a reason….they are extremely high in calories and FAT! Yes, it is usually good fat, but if a person is not active or overeats any of these paleo treats, just like a non-paleo cookie, eventually the calories add up and you will get fat. You may not feel as full or bloated if you are a person who is irritated by grain-based products, but you will not get skinny binging on paleo chocolate chip cherry muffins or paleo waffles with cashew coconut ice cream, so just be mindful of that.Image 2

I made the following recipe because the guy who stayed at this house we all rented for the weekend made these paleo muffins for us to try out for breakfast one morning. They were amazing and I wanted to see if after my last failed paleo attempt I could redeem myself. Of course, once I got home after buying the ingredients, I realized I do not own a muffin tin ( I will have to fix that!) and ended up just making this a bread instead. It turned out amazing, and I think it is because this recipe has the correct amount of pumpkin to coconut flour ratio, and the last recipe did not specify for me the ratios, so I guessed.

I am not going to write the recipe here, just post a picture, and let you know that the recipe is at under PALEO PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS. Totally worth a try. The spices and chocolate chips (non-dairy, soy or nut based….I was surprised at how delicious they taste!) make these a worthwhile goodie to have in your home, or to share with friends and family over the holidays. Plus you can freeze or refrigerate them and have ONE piece/muffin every day as a treat and not feel guilty.

Tales of Trial and Error: Paleo Pumpkin Bread!

I must make a confession before continuing writing this piece. I failed at making this bread. I am telling you this because as we all know, all things in life are trial and error. Dating, making friends, trying out new hobbies, these are all things in life that sometimes just don’t work out as we planned. That is not to say this is not a great recipe. I do believe it is, I just did something wrong. Either I did not let it cook long enough, or by adding a whole can of pumpkin puree, I needed more dry ingredients like extra almond flour to balance it out. I am not sure, but it legitimately came out kind of like a ball of goo. After cooking it a bit longer and letting it sit for a few hours, I was able to cut up a few pieces to create this picture to make it look somewhat appetizing.

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You are probably thinking, why would you bother even posting this recipe if it didn’t work? Well, the truth is, this recipe came from a trusted source who has made it a few times and had it turn out wonderfully. The original recipe is a paleo banana bread, that just substituted the 2-3 mashed bananas for a can of pumpkin puree. Anyone who cooks knows that bananas have a tendency to cook better than pumpkin puree, so that could have been another problem. the point is, I think this recipe has the potential to be amazing, based on other people having success in creating it and I want my readers to have an opportunity to see for themselves.


1 cup almond flour

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 can pumpkin puree

Blend together and put in a bread pan. Set oven at 350F. Cook for 50-60 minutes. Based on what I witnessed, I would say definitely 60 minutes.

ENJOY! And if you tried something different, added another ingredient that you think made it better, feel free to let me know.

Natural Products Expo 2015…A Different Perspective

This year was my third year at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, but by far the most insightful year yet. I remember my first time coming to the Expo…I went through a company that was paying an exorbitant amount for a handful of people with nutrition backgrounds to come and spot trends at the show. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing walking into the show. There are over 3000 booths and samples being thrown at you left and right. Needless to say, I worked for this same company at the Expo East in Baltimore later that same year and for the Expo West last year. They had added more trend spotters then the pervious year, plus I was frustrated being assigned to spend time at booths I wasn’t interested in. So this year, when I found out I could attend the Natural Products Expo West for a very small fee as a health practitioner, I jumped on board. I could not WAIT to see what kind of interactions I would have and networking I could accomplish as a different type of attendee.

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The Natural Products Expo is like Disneyland to me. There are so many people to talk to and things to try. Not just food, also drinks, makeup and supplements. There is even a section for baby and pet products. It is very difficult (impossible!) to get thru the entire expo, even in 3 full days. As a person who loves nutrition and loves talking about it to like-minded others, you better believe I did not get through as much of this expo as I would have liked. However, I will go over the highlights for me, the pros and cons.

I thought as a dietitian, perhaps I would be received more positively. With some of the booths, this was true. Some of the booth attendants actually took the time to talk about ingredients and the quality of their products with me. One of my personal favorites, Navitas Naturals, a superfood ingredient company that carries products such as raw cacao, chia seeds, acai and maca powder, actually took time to go over new products they are carrying, what is in them and what kind of recipes they would be good in, which was really helpful. I do use their products for smoothie demos and in some cooking recipes, so I am sure that helped in conversation.

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Runa energy drink is a very popular drink these days. Their clean energy ZERO drink contain 0 calories and lime extract, Vitamin C, natural flavors (didn’t ask about that :/) and guayasa. What is guayasa, you ask? It is an Amazonian super-leaf naturally packed with caffeine and polyphenol antioxidants, so it provides a clean, focused energy. There are no tannins in guayusa, so it lacks the astringent, bitter taste sometimes associated with green and black teas. Instead, it tastes smooth and naturally sweet. I thought the taste was good, but even better, the people at the booth were nice and actually took time to chat with me. When I mentioned I had a client that was looking for a pre-workout drink with NO sugar, they gladly gave me samples of flavors of the drinks in their sugar free line.


Another company I was curious about connecting with is Suja juice. This San Diego based company exploded in popularity over the past year or so. Suja Juice has many great flavors. The vegetable blends are lower in sugar than the ones with more fruit added, however they are all cold-pressed. So what is that? Cold-Pressured refers to the process by which fresh food products, such as juice, are preserved using High Pressure Processing (HPP) as opposed to high heat. This is a method of preserving packaged food products using extremely high pressure. Hydraulic fluid (normally water) is placed in a chamber and pressurized with a pump. This pressure is transmitted through the package into the food itself. This process extends shelf life & helps to maintain essential vitamins, minerals & enzymes. I was really impressed by how nice the people at the booth were and the marketing assistant guided me through a taste test of their three newest juices. The picture below is of my new personal favorite. Most people don’t think to put bell pepper in a juice, but it is really good, and the lemon and ginger add a little zing and spice to the blend. It comes out in July…I can’t wait! I usually make my own green smoothies at home, but if I am not home or in a rush and have the opportunity to snag one of these juices, I do it. They are not cheap but are big on quality, and they have lowered their price point on the new ones debuting later this year.


Other honorable mentions…Mikey’s Muffins out of the East Coast. These are are paleo based (no grain for those who don’t know) english muffins with six ingredients. SIX. Read below for nutrition content…and they are delicious. These are available online and are not in the West Coast as of yet. This product is so simple I think if you are a baker, you could attempt to make your own, but I like the convenience, and the kid at the booth was so nice and friendly so I think that made them even better.

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Go Raw Sprouted Watermelon Seeds. I never would have thought watermelon seeds tasted so good with just a little sea salt. They are high in niacin, folate and thiamin and rich in magnesium, zinc, iron and fiber, among other minerals. While they are NOT low fat, they pack 11 grams of protein in ONE ounce. A nice diversion from almonds and sunflower seeds in my opinion.

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Primal Chocolate. I did only take one or two pictures of their products. This East coast based chocolate company claims “Chocolate: It’s Food. Not Candy.” The way they make it I can agree. They use organic cacao and organic unrefined granulated maple sugar. There is no gluten, dairy or soy in their products (not even soy lecithin, which was a big deal at this expo) and the taste is delicious. I took a picture of their midnight coconut, which is 100% cacao. I know a lot of people who would love this…me, I like a little sweet in my chocolate, so I loved their caramel coconut butter cups. They didn’t give me any samples and are in very limited stores not he West Coast…so if you want them, check out their online store.

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No Cow Bar. A very young guy started this protein bar company after he was eating 3 Quest nutrition bars a day and noticing it was affecting his GI system very…negatively. Even though I am not a huge bar eater, this bar is everything you would want in a bar. It is gluten free, soy free, non gmo, high in protein, low to minimal sugar, high in fiber and uses pea and rice protein so it is much more easily digested than other bars. Flavorwise, I will let you be the judge. The guy who founded the company has poured his heart into his business and for that soul reason and the fact that all the ingredients checked out, I will support it.


Other cool products…Sexy Pop popcorn. There was TONS of popcorn at this expo. Sriracha popcorn, Jalapeño popcorn, kettle corn, pepper popcorn, you name it…however I had a lot of fun with this company’s sexy marketing campaign and the idea of making people feel “sexy” about their eating choices.

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Forager, another green juice line, has spread into covering alternative milks as well, and have a new cashew milk line and a supersede milk, which uses pumpkin and sunflower seeds. You can make your own, but if you are too lazy to do such a thing, Forager has you covered.



Paleo EVERYTHING. I mentioned the paleo muffins. Another product that was delicious is Flapjacked…a paleo pancake mix. Again, you can easily make your own with 2-3 ingredients, but they had a few fun flavors with clean ingredients. A carrot spice one was their latest creation, and I am definitely going to go find it. It tastes like dessert. Carrot cake…mmmmm.


Probiotics in tonic form. Kombucha is everywhere. I love Synergy, but Health-Ade is a newer brand. They are based in Los Angeles and the kombucha is manufactured and bottled in UV-sensitive environments. Kevita is another brand with a probiotic drink, a kombucha and now a cleansing probiotic tonic. These are organic and non-GMO with no added sugars. I tried the cinnamon one and it has a nice spicy kick to it and makes you feel all clean inside…that is the point right?

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So the pros…some cool new products, some cool people who took the time to chat and connect with me, some great opportunities to get my face and business card out there, and overall a really fun event to partake in. I took pictures of so many great products and supplements, but like this blog will be a novel if I mention them all.

The cons…too many people. Too many products (I will discuss that more in a moment). Some pretty reputable brans with NOT NICE people staffing their booths. I must say I was kind of surprised at some brands I love and have endorsed and used their products for awhile now. Some of the brands had the owners there and some of the owners were extremely unprofessional. I realize I did not have a RETAILER badge on and am not going to buy stock in their products for a major retailer supplier, however, you never know who someone might know or how someone might connect you regardless…and I was a little surprised by some people’s behavior. I also noticed that although the expo ended at 4 on Sunday, people were closing up completely from 2pm onward. And blatantly vocalizing how happy they were for the expo to end. Professional? Nah…not really.

The one crucial point I also wanted to bring up is this year as I was leaving the expo I started to think about what the definition of a natural product is. It would be food, from the earth…right? So what are all these things? I definitely did not stock up as much as I have in years past. Partially because I don’t want all of that excess hanging around in my apartment, but also because I cook and eat REAL FOOD. I couldn’t wait to get home and sauté up some veggies, quinoa and a piece of salmon…my body was craving nutrients. So at the end of the day, some of these products might be an okay snack if you are in a pinch, or a nice addition to a nutritious meal,but there is no substitute for real food.