*Gasp. I just used the P word. Paleo. Have I recently done the switch to the caveman diet? Unfortunately not. I do absolutely love the concept though. Lots of beautiful natural fats and proteins, no grains, no gluten and no refined sugar. But if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know my way of eating is quite relaxed. I just do and eat whatever makes me feel good. Without the need for a label. Lately though, I’ve been trialling increasing my fat intake, increasing my veggie intake, decreasing my grains intake, limiting my gluten intake (and keeping it as a treat rather than a daily ingredient) and I have to say… I feel fabulous!
My digestion has been better, my energy levels higher and I’m feeling so much more comfortable in my own body and skin (which has also been so clear and supple lately as well!). Will I ever convert to a completely paleo lifestyle? Probably not. I do like an occasional bowl of steaming hot rice or noodles with my meals. And of course – I love the occassional pastry, sourdough and homemade pasta here and there too. Which although you can make gluten free, is just not the same for me. So fully paelo? No. Fully gluten free? No. But I do it to an extent (albeit, a casual one) and I feel awesome about it.
So. After that long-winded explanation, let’s get back to the Pumpkin Loaf from today. I was experimenting with a few gluten free flour alternatives I had in the pantry today from the Source and I don’t know, it just… worked. You’ll excuse the surprise there, but I honestly had no idea up until the time I pulled it out of the tin whether I had been successful or not. Previous to this, my gluten free baking had gone quite so well. Cue dry, crmubly cakes, waffles, pancakes etc. Especially since coconut flour is so hard to work with! But somehow, I managed to pull it off in this recipe and then some!
I used steamed, cooled and mashed pumpkin for this recipe – but feel free to use any leftover roast pumpkin you might have laying around for it. As long as it’s mashed well and not seasoned/marinated, it should be fine! Then I basically just combined the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, combined them both, folded in the grated veg and poured it all into a greased and lined loaf tin and sprinkled some pumpkin seeds on top. Overall, a really simple process! Just a couple of pointers though:
1. Make sure the eggs are large and at room temperature otherwise it can sometimes cause the coconut oil to harden and get clumpy.
2. When combining the wet and dry ingredients, do it in a gentle folding motion, and constantly scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure you don’t miss anything. You don’t want to overmix, but you don’t want dry, unmixed coconut flour pockets in your loaf too.
It makes about 10 slices, and I’ve already had two for lunch topped with avo, hemp seeds, sea salt and pepper. It was a “shut the front door” kinda good. And actually, I did shut the front door. Mainly because I’d been cooking and singing all day in my underwear, and I just realised the door had been open the entire time. Oops!
The rest of the slices I wrapped up in portion sizes of 2, for both my breakfasts this week and Jared’s morning tea snacks. Such a great way to get our “bread” fix without the processed sh*t that comes in most store bought bread AND it’s packed with veggies, fibre, protein and good fats. You can’t go wrong. I know it hasn’t even hit evening yet, but I’m already excited for breakfast tomorrow. But the big question is, should I have with avo and hemp seeds again, or nut butter and honey? It’s a toughie!
Do yourself a favour and make yourself this loaf, and enjoy in whichever way you prefer. Personally, I hope it’s listening to your favourite tunes in your underwear.
- 1 cup pumpkin purée*
- 4 large eggs at room temperature (preferably organic)
- 1/2 cup melted cold pressed coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup unblanched almond meal
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius for a conventional oven, 170 degrees for a fan forced.
- In one bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
- In a larger bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
- Stir well by gently folding the mix and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in grated zucchini and carrot and gently fold through until well mixed.
- Grease and line a loaf tin and pour in the batter.
- Spread it out and make sure it is smooth and even on the top.
- Sprinkle the pepitas over the top evenly.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until browned and skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- *I made my own simply by cubing some butternut pumpkin and steaming it for 15mins, leaving it to cool then mashing it well with a fork.