Pumpkin "Cookies"

If you go back through this blog, you will see the evolution that is our family's work on healthier eating.  Sometimes we're better than others, sometimes it takes a reminder to get back on track. One arrived over Christmas via the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook, as previously mentioned in another recent post.  We do a pretty good job, but it definitely made me take another hard look.

For example, I pack a lunch almost every day for my little one.  She doesn't care for most of what the cafeteria at school serves, she's never been a typical "kid" eater.  Doesn't like hot dogs, doesn't like pizza, not a huge fan of macaroni and cheese.  She IS typical in that when she finds a combination she likes, she wants to stick with it... i.e. eat the same thing everyday.  Therefore, I packed pretty much the same lunch everyday last year: peanut butter and nutella sandwich on whole wheat, cucumber slices, applesauce or other fruit, yogurt pack, 2 oreos, and a chocolate milk box.  My argument was it was "mostly" healthy, and the oreos were a fun treat.  It was not lost on me however that they were the one thing that caused me to shop in the middle of the grocery store, as opposed to produce, organic section, fish counter, and butcher (before we switched to the CSA).

SO, after Christmas and New Year's came and went, and I read my new cookbook, I made my daughter cry.  Let me explain.  I spent the entire day of January 2nd cleaning out my refrigerator and pantry.  It was awful and humbling.  Here I thought we had really done a great job of healthy choices and less wasteful purchasing, but I was wrong.  There were expired items, bottles of sauces that had expired in 2013 (which must have been the last year I did such a cleaning), and all manner of processed crap, er, stuff.  Included in the pile marked: "not expired or dented, to be donated" was an unopened case of Oreos.  They had been purchased as to be ready for 2016 lunch boxes.  I looked at the unopened pack and asked Evie if they could be donated and she give up this processed treat in her lunch during the week.  She is not unfamiliar with the Food Pantry, we've participated in drives for them before.  She bowed her little head and started to say it was okay...and burst into tears. Cue motherly guilt and feeling like a food monster. I gave her a big hug and praised her, and then immediately offered the alternative: her favorite pumpkin cookies.  She brightened right up!  This cookie recipe came to us via our friend Jen, or Aunt Jen as Evie calls her.  When Evie was discharged from a hospital stay, Jen arrived at our home with three homemade (and delicious) ready-to-heat meals for us along with a plate of iced pumpkin cookies.  Those cookies were the first thing my daughter was able to eat by mouth for the first time in almost three weeks.  To say they're somewhat of a favorite around here is an understatement.

Okay. So, we found our Oreo alternative.  Now I had to make it match our new food rule.  No white sugar = honey.  No white flour = whole wheat flour.  Everything else in this cookie is completely okay as long as I skip the glaze.  Therefore, I recognize that this is basically pumpkin bread in cookie shape.  And I'm okay with that.  I baked up my first batch and they disappeared, my daughter and husband begging for "just one more, please?"  I intend to try these sometime with real maple syrup, I'm guessing it would bring it back to a more sweet, cookie like flavor.  For now though, I'm happy with our adaptation!

Pumpkin "Cookies"

1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup raw honey
1 14oz can pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°

In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In the mixer, beat butter and honey until incorporated. Add the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla, beat until smooth.   Slowly add in flour mixture, beat until fully incorporated.

Place dollops (about 2 tablespoons worth) of batter on cookie sheets, bake for 15 minutes (start checking them at 12 minutes).


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