Well, well, well. If it isn’t the season for sweet treats and pumpkin flavored errthang! Before we jump into today’s yummy recipe, let’s catch up, shall we?
You may be saying to yourself, wow, Alexandra fell off the face of the blogosphere since May. Eek…May!!! Needless to say there aren’t really excuses for not getting on here and posting some sort of valuable and interesting content, but if you would accept my reasons for being MIA, here is what has happened in the last 4 months:
- I graduated from my dietetic internship
- I moved from SB to SD
- I took an intensive 3 month biochemistry course (such a fun way to spend the summer…not!)
- I studied for my RD exam (see above parenthetical)
- I took and PASSED the RD exam- Yes, I am officially a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and it feels amazing!
- I started a Masters program in Nutrition for Wellness
So that brings us up to current times. Thank you for sticking with me. I will work on balancing textbook reading and blogging from here on out! 🙂
Time to talk pumpkin. The de-facto MVP (most valuable produce) of the season. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, which is crucial for eye health, skin health and cellular turnover, and even immunity. Plus, the beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor) acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals in the body. Pumpkin luvahhhs rejoice!
This recipe is also refined sugar-free. We get the sweetness from dates, which are full of potassium (key for electrolyte balance and blood pressure regulation). Oats add heart-healthy fiber and make everything stick together, with the help of the dates. Pumpkin spice lattes and candy corn can’t even hold a jack o’ lantern to the nutrition power of these balls. (Pssst: Enjoy those things in moderation, and don’t feel guilty about it! There is a place for your favorite, traditional holiday treats, and a place for a whole food-based treats, as well.)
I like these to have as a snack, as a treat with a cup of tea, or to take on a hike for a burst of energy.
If you are looking for a more wholesome alternative to cupcakes, candies, and cookies that overflow during this season, these pumpkin spice date balls make a great dish to bring to a Halloween Party. If you have friends or family who are raw/vegan/gluten-free, this treat is just the answer!
Pumpkin Spice Date Balls
Makes about 16 balls
1 cup oats (use certified gluten-free oats if this is a concern for you)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups dates, soaked and pitted
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
Optional for topping: Cacao nibs, cacao powder
Combine all ingredients (except cacao nibs and cacao powder, if using) in a food processor to make a “dough”. If you find the dough is a little dry, add a tablespoon of water or milk at a time to get the consistency sticky, but not loose. Portion out large spoonfuls (about 2 Tbsp) of the dough, and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. If desired, roll date balls into toppings like cacao nibs of cacao powder. To allow the balls to set, place cookie sheet in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour
What are your favorite treats this season? What about all the pumpkin hype? Do you love it or think it’s overrated? Any Halloween treats you would like a healthy recipe makeover for? Let me know in the comments!