Pumpkin Challenge 2016: Days 26-31 and Farewell!

Since 2011, every October I embark on a month-long journey to consume something with pumpkin in it, in some form, every day.

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Day 26: Veggie Protein Bar, POWERPLANT Whole Foods

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On a day when there is much to do and little time to run away and acquire or to turn to the kitchen and bake pumpkin items, one must reach into their bag and retrieve their handy dandy pumpkin protein bar!

T.I. and I found this at Whole Foods and saw the pumpkin on the package and wondered: Where is the pumpkin? Upon turning to the ingredients list, we found multiple forms of pumpkin such as oils, seeds, and protein. It was one of the better vegan protein bars that I’ve tried that isn’t packed full of sugar, and I was especially a fan of the chocolate.

Bonus: Pumpkin Date Square

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I would like to take a moment to thank P.L. and beau for this amazing pumpkin date square/crumble/bar dessert. It was amazing.

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Day 27: Vegan Pumpkin Pear Muffin, Aphrodite’s Organic Café and Pie Shop

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My other Aphrodite’s item makes its appearance! This was a huge muffin that I was a bit hesitant about – I’ve had healthy, vegan muffins before that don’t bring much joy when you eat them. This muffin was vegan, gluten-free, AND sugar-free, so I was a bit nervous about how much I would enjoy handling this large baked good. However, I was pleasantly surprised! The pear (a pairing I wouldn’t have thought of with pumpkin) added a lot of moisture to the muffin and it was full of pumpkin spicy goodness.

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Day 28: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Homemade

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I haven’t had homemade roasted pumpkin seeds before, but A.B. recommended we make some during our meeting, and they turned out really well! I don’t know if this is what most people’s seeds look like when they’ve been roasted, but I can assure you that these lightly oiled and salted seeds were amazing when they came warm out of the oven.

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Day 29: Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brûlée, Chocolate-Covered Katie

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I was pretty delighted when this recipe title appeared in my inbox this morning.

What a novel pumpkin item, and so simple to make! I did this as a treat before going out in costume for a Halloween adventure over the weekend. With no blow torch on hand, the recommendation was to place these as close to the broiler as possible, and I think it worked pretty well! Not overly sweet, but with a touch of caramelized brown sugar, it was muy bueno for snacking.

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Day 30: Pumpkin Whiskey Chocolate, Koko Monk Chocolates

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This was one of my favourite days of the challenge.

I happened to be having brunch across the street, and my group and I were contemplating where we would acquire a pumpkin item from; I suggested we check out Koko Monk because I know them to have unique flavours of chocolate confections and delicious hot chocolate during the Hot Chocolate Festival.

Upon our arrival in the little shop, we were greeted by Paul, the owner, and his colleague, who were both interested in our pumpkin adventure and our enthusiasm for learning what the shop has to offer. As I purchased my pumpkin whiskey chocolate confection, my friends were offered a tastebud tour of another sample in the shop before we all sat down to try some pumpkin goodness.

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Paul gave us a three-tier flavour tour of the confection: First dark chocolate and sunflower, then whiskey, then honey pumpkin (so, so delicious). Don’t chew, just let it sit on your tongue and dissolve through the flavours.

We were also generously offered some dark chocolate samples with more flavour layers to celebrate Paul’s birthday! Happy belated to Paul, again, and thank-you very much for a wonderful penultimate day of the 2016 Pumpkin Challenge!

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Day 31: Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate-Covered Katie

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Ah, the last day. So bittersweet.

I am not sick of pumpkin, but there is a relief in knowing that I will soon not feel any intrinsic pressure to fulfill my daily pumpkin quota. I will miss the daily goals and overall objective, though.

As I have for a few years, I like to make my own pumpkin pie at some point in the journey, and opted for Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Crustless Pumpkin Pie this year (in a store-bought crust…). There isn’t much to say other than you need to try it, because it is a great recipe that actually turned out well when I made it! I still have some, if you’re around, but I am eating much of it on my own, so don’t wait too long…

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Thanks to those who joined me at any point or showed virtual support during this month-long pumpkin adventure! As always, it has been a pleasure, and I look forward to pumpkin-ing again in 2017.

Until then!

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