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At the risk of sounding like a stereotypical, white female, I love pumpkin and the wonderful spice blend that accompanies it! There’s just something about the earthy spices blend combined with the rich tones of pumpkin that feels like a warm hug. Too far? Ok.

For many people, the flavor and smell of pumpkin is an icon of cooler weather, fall and harvest. Not only is it delicious but there are also a number of health benefits that can be derived from eating this succulent orange vegetable.

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Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer   A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.  Turns out, a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422. That cup of pumpkin also contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light and is crucial to helping skin retain its youthful appearance. It does so by helping with the process that both renews cells as well as increases collagen resulting in smoother looking skin that is less wrinkled. Another ingredient that can keep the skin smooth and wrinkle free, is beta-carotene and Vit. C. Whether or not vitamin C can really ward off colds is still up for debate, but pumpkins are a solid source of the essential nutrient.

While pie is the traditional way to use this nutritious, orange colored fruit, pumpkin cheesecake is equally as delicious and popular. While I love traditional cheesecakes as much as anyone, I don’t love the way all the sugar and dairy leaves me feeling. Once again, like in my Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake, cashews to the rescue! Blended with coconut oil, zucchini and pumpkin, they create a velveteen, mousse like texture. Maple syrup blends beautifully with the pumpkin and spices so it was the natural choice for sweetener. Put on a pecan crust, this raw, vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is sure to steal the spotlight this holiday season!
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  • Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

CRUST:

12 oz.  raw Pecan pieces
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 tablespoon of Cashew Butter
1/4 cup pure Maple Syrup, grade B
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Maple flavoring
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
few pinches of pink himalayan salt

  1. Place pecans in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. Add in all remaining crust ingredients and pulse until combined (avoid turning into smooth, nut butter consistency)
  3. Press crust mixture into the bottom of an 8X8″ square pan

FILLING:

3 cups raw Cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours, overnight is better)
1/2 cup Coconut Oil, liquid
1 cup Zucchini, peeled & diced
2/3 cup pure Maple Syrup, grade B
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Maple flavoring
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan Salt
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger

  1. Combine soaked cashews, coconut oil and zucchini in food processor bowl. Process 2-4 minutes or until mostly smooth.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and process another2-3 minutes or until completely smooth (be sure to scrape down the sides occasionally)
  3. Pour filling over prepared crust and tap pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Cut into squares and serve.

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