It’s the season for peppermint, pumpkin, and delicious warm drinks to keep you cozy during this cold season. While the aisle after aisle of pumpkin pie, cookies, cakes, and treats may make your mouth salivate, they come along with seriously detrimental chemicals and ingredients. Sure, those snowmen frosted cookies, the layered apple pie, and the pumpkin shaped brownies are cute and pleasing to the eye, but in fact, you can still enjoy the season without ruining your family’s health.
While pumpkin in and of itself is extremely beneficial, it’s the other chemicals, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and sweeteners that tend to be added to these baked treats that make them a terrible option to consume. When your diet is frequently incorporated with artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, Trans fat, or genetically engineered oils, you put yourself on the path to systemic inflammation, obesity, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular health conditions.
That’s not to mention all of the chemicals and preservatives, many of which you may find difficult to pronounce. These chemicals are not meant to be put in your body, and many have been linked to cancer, allergies, and other serious health conditions. For that, enjoy baking your favorite desserts at home, and make it an enjoyable project for your young children, too.
Pumpkin was eaten by the Prophet (saaw) and is readily eaten in many cuisines across the globe. Its taste is very delicious, and the nutritional punch that comes with it possibly makes it tastier to the taste buds. Pumpkin in and of itself is an incredible source of key vitamins, fiber, and even beta-carotenes. It contains key antioxidants that are promoting to your digestive health, immunity, cardiovascular health, and vision. It tastes good in desserts, and even in savory dishes that I’ve shared in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Pumpkin seeds too should not be underestimated, as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Adding in pumpkin seeds to the cookies does not only add a delectable crunch, but also boosts the nutritional value of key vitamins and minerals.
If you happen to be anemic, make pumpkin seeds a part of your daily diet to improve your iron levels. Pumpkin seeds are also a wonderful source of manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, protein, and dietary fiber. They contain 74% manganese, 57% phosphorus, 48% copper, 23% zinc, 20% protein, and 16% iron in a single serving! Top them on your salad, eat them alone as a snack, or toss them in your desserts, such as in this cookie recipe.
It’ recommended that you use homemade pumpkin puree if feasible; making pumpkin at home is fairly easy and saves you from preservatives and chemicals that may come with its canned version. Wash and slice your pumpkin with the peel and bake in the oven for about 1 ½ hours. Once tender, remove the peel, puree, and enjoy using in your favorite pumpkin recipe.
Feel free to swap out the pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds, and cranberries for organic raisins or goji berries. Enjoy these cookies with a warm cup of tea or milk.
1 ½ cups organic coconut palm sugar
½ cup organic grass-fed butter (melted) or cold-pressed avocado oil
1 organic pasture-raised egg
1 cup organic all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon cardamom, ground
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
¾ cup pumpkin puree
2 cups organic rolled oats (gluten-free)
2 cups organic granola
1 cup organic dried cranberries
1/2 cup raw walnuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix flour, spices, salt and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together coconut sugar and butter/oil for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well. Add the pumpkin and mix again.
Add the dry flour mixture, and blend on low-speed until mixed completely.
Blend in oats, don’t overmix. Stir in granola, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Scoop onto a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a cooling rack; enjoy!
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other language.