Have you ever seen any of those gigantic pumpkins, the sort people grow for county fairs, up close and personal? I have. Sort of. Which is to say that I’ve driven by them on the way to the beach. We have a fondness for a particular beach on the North Shore, but it’s a beach of which many others are also fond. Which means lots of traffic on the way up, unless you know a double secret back route like we do. And that double secret back route just so happens to take you past a place where someone grows giganamous pumpkins that literally have you doing a double take as you drive by.
We saw them for the first time last year and we weren’t sure they were real. It’s a beautiful vegetable garden near a lovely little house on a narrow little rural road and we’d taken notice of it before. As we drove past in late summer, we saw huge orange humps rising above the green leaves in the garden. It simply didn’t seem possible that they were real. We drove past on the way home, but short of stopping the car, getting out and walking over, there seemed to be no way we could get a better look. So we just shrugged and went on our way. This year, we drove past again on our way to a late summer beach outing…and there it was, this time a single orange hump rising majestically above the rest of the garden. Was it real, or was it some sort of silly garden decoration?
My curiosity was piqued enough to try to find out. I am not the sort to go knocking on strangers’ doors, so I simply did a little internet sleuthing. I typed in “giant pumpkin” and the name of the town and there it was in the local papers, a man who grows giant pumpkins in the hopes of winning prizes at the local fair. To be certain I had the right person, I looked up the address associated with the name. I am not giving out either, because the poor man is apparently over-run with people stopping by and knocking on his door to see the pumpkins! Suffice it to say, they are real, they are huge, and he puts an enormous amount of time and effort into growing these things. Wow. All I can say is wow.
That’s my little pumpkin story for today. As we head into fall, I thought I’d bring you my first pumpkin recipe of the year. I have always loved bran muffins and I think pumpkin bran is a delicious combo. But bran is hardly low carb or gluten-free. Brown flax seed meal has often reminded me of bran in both texture and appearance, and I thought it might make a wonderful healthy substitute. It certainly did the trick! These were delicious and gobbled up by the whole family.
Pumpkin “Bran” Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free
- 1 ½ cups brown flax seed meal
- 6 tablespoon Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
- ¼ cup unflavoured whey protein powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 drops stevia extract
- ½ cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup coconut oil melted
- Preheat oven to 325F and line 12 muffins tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flax seed meal, granulated Swerve, whey protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
- In medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla and stevia. Add to flax seed mixture and stir to combine.
- Stir in almond milk, then melted coconut oil, until well combined.
- Divide batter among prepared muffin cups and bake 28 to 30 minutes or until set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.