Introduction: Healthy Pumpkin Mini "Cheesecakes"

Pumpkin is very high in Beta Carotene (Vitamin A), as well as antioxidants, which keep your cells healthy.

Avocados and nut butters have monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats. These fats help your HDL cholesterol be higher, and your LDL cholesterol be lower. HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol, and the LDL is the type that you do not want to have as much of.

Whole grains contain more fiber and disease preventing compounds than non-whole wheat.

Dates and maple syrup are natural sources of sweetness, containing unrefined sugars.

Ricotta cheese is high in calcium and protein.

Enough said.

So, dig in to this tasty treat, and receive great health benefits as you do so!

Step 1: Gathering Your Ingredients

For this healthy recipe, you will need
~1/2 cup of Carr's Cracker Whole Wheat Cracker crumbs or graham cracker crumbs

~1 tablespoon nut butter of choice

~8 pitted dates

~1 teaspoon apple butter

~1 cup low fat ricotta cheese

~1/4 cup pumpkin puree

~1/4 of a medium ripe avocado

~scant 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

~2 tablespoons maple syrup

Step 2: Getting the Muffin Pan Ready

Place 9 paper muffin liners in a muffin baking pan.

Step 3: Make the "crust" Mixture

Place 1/2 cup Carr's Crackers Whole Wheat Cracker crumbs or graham cracker crumbs in your blender or food processor. To make the crumbs, I whirled whole crackers (about 5-6) in the blender until they formed a meal-type texture. You can also buy pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs from the grocery store. Add your nut butter and dates, and blend until the mixture has a consistent texture and is slightly sticky. Add the apple butter and blend once more, until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is moist.

Step 4: Add the "crust" to the Muffin Pan

Spoon the crust mixture evenly into the muffin liners, then press down on the mixture, allowing it to stick together and form a solid layer.

Step 5: Make the Filling

Add a cup of ricotta cheese, a quarter cup of pumpkin puree, a quarter of the avocado, two tablespoons of maple syrup, and two tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice to the blender. Blend until smooth and taste. If you want the filling to be a bit sweeter, you can add more maple syrup, a teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition.

Step 6: Topping the "crusts" With the Filling

Spoon the filling evenly over the "crusts". Smooth out the filling so that no "crust" shows.

Step 7: Setting the "cheesecakes"

Place the muffin pan in the freezer, and freeze until the filling is hardened. Once hardened, remove the cheesecakes from the pan and move them to a seal-able container (that is, if they haven't been eaten already!). Place the container back into the freezer.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Unwrap the cheesecakes, and let them sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before enjoying as a delightful snack. These make great quick appetizers, sides to breakfasts, or anytime snacks!

Superfood Challenge

Participated in the
Superfood Challenge