Welcome to March!
Can you believe it’s March 1st already? With each passing year, month, day, hour, minute, I feel as though time is passing with the speed of Peter moving toward a sale on kitchen appliances. Before long it will be time to plant our garden, the first we’ve ever had. Bring on the fresh lettuce and peppers!
A reader recently asked what I’ve been doing lately, especially since I don’t talk much about work on this blog. The answer is: a lot of things. A sampling:
*I’ve mentioned working at Strawberry Fields, a local natural foods grocery store, several times. The store has an incredibly fun and laid-back environment, which suits me quite well. Strawberry Fields has a strong local following, so I see a lot of regulars of every age, as well as plenty of new comers. Hook ‘em with healthy-and-delicious samples, I say ;)
*I consult with a local children’s residential center on their menus, making sure they are nutritionally balanced and meet USDA regulations (for all you school food service people out there: how about them ever-changing regulations??). One of the aspects I love most about this position is how dedicated the employees and staff are to serving the kids nutritious and delicious meals.
*I work with an employee healthy living/weight loss program at the University of Illinois. During the program, I meet with participants individually to help them reach their nutrition and weight loss goals. The group I’m working with now is super-motivated, which makes my job super-fun.
*I will soon start a new consulting position with Head Start. I’m looking forward to working with younger kids. (And I’m very sorry to hear about a fresh wave of potential budget cuts to this program.)
*I see some private clients.
Time is full! I’m looking forward to a break this weekend when my sister Courtney comes to visit and I can show her all Eastern Illinois has to offer. In the meantime, here is the gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin custard recipe I promised. It is adapted from this one. Feel free to top it with nuts, fruit, shedded coconut, or spices. We enjoyed it with variety of regular and vegan ice creams – I didn’t even miss the gooey chocolate dessert we typically make for guests (and that’s saying something!).
The mint leaf comes from our Aerogarden, which has been featured in posts years past.
Gluten- and Dairy-Free Pumpkin Custard
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian dairy-free gluten-free pumpkin
Ingredients (6 servings)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup coconut milk (regular works best)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, set enough water to boil to fill a baking pan to about 1/2 inch
Meanwhile, stir spices and pinch of salt into pumpkin. Add beaten eggs, maple syrup/honey, vanilla and coconut milk. Mix well.
Pour batter into 6 4-inch ramekins. Place ramekins in baking pan and pour boiling water around them. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until knife inserted into center of custard comes out clean. Check carefully toward the end of the baking time and don’t over bake
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or chilled.
Have a great weekend, dear reader!
P.S. Check out this inspiring post from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean making the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: My Body Doesn’t Make Me Beautiful. There are some incredible eye-opening stats and tips on what to do if you know someone suffering from an eating disorder. I love this quote in particular: “Remember – it’s not your body that makes you beautiful. It’s your soul, your spirit, your passion and your heart!”
P.P.S. Today marks the first day of National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “”Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” which “encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices.” I believe living a healthy lifestyle that works for YOU is the best way to achieve lifelong wellness. Let’s hear it for celebrating individualism and diversity!