It's October once again and I must admit... I just love this time of year. I'm energized by the crisp, clear days and the cool autumn nights. For me, just pulling on my favorite warm, fuzzy, fall sweater can bring back such rich memories. It feels just like yesterday that I played so innocently in the bright autumn scenes that run so vividly through my mind.
I mean immediately, in my mind's eye... I'm a kid again. The cool air hits, the trees begin to change and all of a sudden I'm 6, maybe 7 years old. Watching and waiting for my school bus to arrive, I pull tightly against the buttons of my warm, cozy, yellow crocheted sweater. The warmth from my breath creates streams of hot steam against the cool morning air; creating patterns of what looks like white clouds of puffed smoke. It's THIS TIME OF YEAR... it does it to me every time.
I remember playing, just spinning in circles over and over. Getting dizzy, I'd stop just long enough get my bearing, only to begin twirling all over again.
I picture myself jumping in forbidden piles of neatly raked leaves and I'm in heaven. Then within seconds, my memories have me home from school and running from the bus. Beaming proudly, I skip and jump to the house as I carry from class, my prized possession... my most dynamic work of art.
It's a bright piece of construction paper with hand-traced turkeys on it, all colored in Crayon and haphazardly adorned with wildly glued pieces of dried kernels of corn. I burst through the door, proud to share my Masterpiece made "by hand," when I feel the strongest tug against my memory bank.
It hits my subconscious hard and to this day, (even in the absence of cool crisp air) just the SMELL of Pumpkin, Cinnamon and Ginger can trigger this same vivid trip down memory lane!
It's been known for sometime that our sense of smell can trigger our memories faster than any other. Unfortunately, treats that involve Pumpkin, Cinnamon and Ginger etc. are more often than not, used to create fat-laden, sugar-filled sweets that are not what one might consider 'nutritious.'
Before we throw in the towel, let me suggest a great alternative: "PUMPKIN PRALINE PECAN MUFFINS!" I know, that doesn't sound low fat, or low calorie but THEY ARE!
In fact, just do a little digging and you can find countless options for Healthy Harvest Fare! For example, each one of these muffins contains just 128 calories and only 0.9 grams of fat. I'll take it. How about you? Follow the recipe below and start your own warm, fuzzy 'memory trigger' for someone you love.
Pumpkin Praline Pecan Muffins
(Yields 12 muffins) 128 calories each and less than 1 gram of fat
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
1 cup skim milk
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1) To make the topping, combine the pecans and brown sugar until crumbly. Set aside.
2) Combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, and baking powder, and stir to mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
3) Coat muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, and fill each ¾ full with the batter. Sprinkle the topping over the batter. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes, or just until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
4) Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature… or even better – in front of a roaring fire! ENJOY!!!
Remember - Eat well to Live well,
Until Next time... Candace
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