pumpkinIs it possible to have healthy food over the holidays that doesn’t make you feel deprived?

October marks the beginning of three months of holidays that all center around sugar, white flour, and alcohol, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Celebrating all things pumpkin, I have five recipes to share with you that will help you eat (and drink) in peace from now through January.


#1 Pumpkin Pancakes

Vitamin A is responsible for the maintenance of our teeth, bones, mucus membranes, skin, and eyes. Unfortunately, many people think that orange foods like tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, but they do not. They contain its precursor called beta-carotene, which the body then has to convert into vitamin A, and some people don’t make this conversation very efficiently. Young children, for instance, lack the enzymes necessary and excessive insulin in adults will block the conversion. That’s why I love this pancake recipe! Egg yolks are rich in vitamin A, and drenching the pancakes in butter will help your body convert the beta-carotene in the pumpkin into vitamin A. What a great way to start the day!

4 pastured eggs
½ cup organic canned pumpkin
2 TBS honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Fry in coconut oil over medium heat. Serve warm with a liberal amount of butter or ghee, a light drizzle of maple syrup, and…bacon! Or you can make little pigs in a blanket with your favorite breakfast sausage.

#2 Harvest Pie

One of my favorite remedies for constipation is soaked prunes. You place 3-4 prunes in a mug and pour boiled water over them. Let them sit for a few hours until cool. Drink the liquid and eat the prunes…or better yet, you can make this delicious, fiber-rich pie!

1 cup each: dried apricots, prunes, cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 goji berries
2 cups chopped apples and pears
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 TBS butter
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt
1-3 teaspoons arrowroot

Cut apricots and prunes into bite size pieces in a large pot. Add all remaining fruit. Add apple juice and simmer on low for about 15 minutes. You might need to add a bit of arrowroot to thicken. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in butter, spices and salt. Pour into a nut-based piecrust (see below for crust recipe). Refrigerate. Serve with coconut whipped cream.

Combine all ingredients in food processor until blended, then press into an 8-inch pie pan:

1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 TBS butter or coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

#3 Pumpkin and Chocolate Crumble Bars

Have you ever stopped to think why a cold is called a “cold”? Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that a cold is literally a cold invasion into the warm body, and. ItThey goes further to say that this “cold” typically enters the body at the back of the neck. The warming, drying spices in this recipe, like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, can help us ward off the cold, damp influence of winter. So go ahead snuggle up in your favorite scarf, make yourself a hot cup of tea and enjoy one of these delightful bars.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large, bowl whisk together:
1/2 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs, slightly beaten

Then add:

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground or freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of sea salt

Whisk until combined and pour into an 8×8 inch glass pan smeared with coconut oil. 

For topping, combine all ingredients in your food processor until smooth:

1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS coconut oil or butter
Dark chocolate chunks

Sprinkle the topping onto the batter, followed by the dark chocolate chunks, and bake for 25 minutes or under firm to the touch. 

#4 Kava Colada

Piper mythisticum, also known as kava, is an herb of relaxation. It helps to remove tension from the body and quiet the mind, and is great for social anxiety, or having to spend time with annoying family members. This beverage is a life-saver!

1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 can organic pumpkin
1 ripe banana
2 heaping cups of frozen pineapple
1-2 TBS pumpkin spice mix
1 TBS vanilla
6-8 Kava Forte tablets from MediHerb ground to a powder in a coffee grinder or crushed with a mortar and pestle
Cinnamon, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Serve in wine glasses with a dash of cinnamon sprinkled on top.

#5 Cashew Pumpkin “Cheesecake”
cheesecakeI was diagnosed with asthma when I was 3 years old. Thirty years later, I found out that I never had asthma; I had a dairy allergy. Once I removed dairy from my diet, I started to breathe freely without the use of inhalers and steroids. This makes sense because Ayurvedic medicine teaches us that dairy is a mucus-producing food. I haven’t consumed milk, cheese or yogurt in 8 years and I don’t miss it a bit thanks to recipes like this one that everyone can enjoy without inducing an inflammatory cascade!

For crust: 
Combine all ingredients in food processor until blended, then press into an 8-inch springform pan:

1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 TBS butter or coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

For filling:
Combine all ingredients in your Vitamix until smooth. Then pour on top of crust. Freeze for 4 hours to set and then move to refrigerator:

3 1/2 cups cashews that have been soaked overnight in water (this is an important step that releases the nutrition of the cashews)
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
2/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or crushed vanilla beans
Zest of 1 lemon (optional, for a more lemon flavor)

For Raspberry topping:
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth and then drizzle on your “cheesecake” upon serving:

1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nut milk


CharlotteKikelcroppedCharlotte Kikel, MS, NC, ACN, MCPPNutrition Consultant & Registered Herbalist AHG, is a wife, mother, herbalist, nutritionist and self-care advocate. She received a Masters of Science in Western Herbal Medicine in 2008 and then moved on to study with one of the leading herbalists in the world. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she teaches local healthcare professionals how to utilize and apply the power of whole food supplementation and herbal medicine. You can learn more about her and her work at charlottekikel.com.