Thursday, October 27, 2011

In the Kitchen... with low-calorie pumpkin dip!

Halloween is the opening bell of holiday eating season.  Mini candy bars and gooey caramel apples make way for a tryptophan-laced monster Thanksgiving buffet, which in turn leads to stockings full of chocolate and peppermint and a neverending spiral of ham (and possibly shame, if that's your game.)

In our house growing up, the one constant between these holidays was the pumpkin, starting with the ghoulishly carved fellows (and the peanut butter/chocolate ones), and finishing with the pie to end all pies, the pumpkin.

We've arrived, people.  Pumpkin-flavored goodies are going to be available around every corner from now until next year.  These days, you can even get hot pumpkin-spiked coffee at every single coffee retailer.  It's inescapable.

Since I'm concentrating on my moderation, and on eating nutritious foods, I figure... why beat those pumpkins when you can join 'em?  Pumpkin, in moderation and with the right ingredients, can be good for you!

Today I have a recipe for you that I have totally fallen for: a low-calorie pumpkin dip that in no way tastes low-calorie, and that will stand up to all of those other calorie-dense, less nutritious recipes.  Everyone who has tried it so far has loved it.  Even friends of mine who are anti-health-food dug in and enjoyed.


On top of all that, it's a super-simple recipe, and it doesn't take very long.

Five ingredients - that's all.

In your mixer (or in a bowl with a whisk) - combine 1 cup of skim milk with two small boxes of sugar-free vanilla pudding.

I used Jell-O brand, but next time I'm going to purchase some Splenda instant pudding
so Tom can enjoy it - and also because Splenda is the lesser of two artificially sweet evils.

Mix it until it's smooth, and about the consistency of cookie dough.

Then add the 30-ounce can of pumpkin, and mix for quite awhile.

After a few minutes, it'll still look lumpy with globs of pudding. Eventually it will smooth out. 
Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to fully integrate the pudding into the pumpkin.


Once it's smooth, add 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.

And now, for the fun part!

Spray the entire can of fat-free Reddi Wip into the bowl.  Every last bit.


It may be hard to combine the heavy pumpkin with the whipped cream,
so it may be helpful to stop periodically and fold it together.


When it's all together, it'll look like a smooth, whippy version of pumpkin pie.
It'll smell like it, too!


It's especially delicious with sliced apples.  Also good with graham crackers or sticks - but I've proven time and time again that I cannot keep graham crackers in my house without the floodgates of food addiction opening.  In fact, when I tested this recipe in Palm Springs, I sent the graham crackers home with my friends for their toddler to enjoy.  

Creamy, pumpkiny, yum.

This would be a great, easy dish to bring to, say, a Halloween Potluck.  (Don't do it if you come to ours, though, because I'm already bringing it!)

I'm thinking it might make a great filling for a low-cal pumpkin cream pie for Thanksgiving, or even as filling for pumpkin "ice cream" sandwiches - which my friend Teresa challenged me to perfect.  Or... dare I say... frozen pumpkin cream pie?  Maybe I'll have that recipe for you, soon!

And the best part of all?  Not counting the apples or graham crackers, 1/8 of the very substantial recipe is only 46 CALORIES.

Serves 8.  Serving size looks to be a little bit over a cup.

Of course, eating pumpkin is not the only way to go with my favorite autumnal fruit.  Tonight, I'm attending a pumpkin-carving party!  It's being hosted (and attended) by some phenomenal artists, so I'm a little intimidated, but, hey, I'm sure it'll help those creative juices keep flowing, right?

For inspiration, here's my favorite pumpkin I've ever carved, two years ago alongside Tom, his mom Jean, and my dad.

I call it "Sometimes They Eat Their Young."

All right!  Hope you're all having fun getting ready for Halloween.  I'll be back tomorrow with some great news for active plus-sized ladies in search of great workout gear.  'Til then, take care of you!


  1. That dip sounds really good, especially on some apples or pears....might have to give that a whirl!

  2. That dip sounds fantastic! In fact, I think I may whip some up for the kid's party! :D

  3. I like pumpkin everything, I haven't had a good dip yet. I may have to give this one a whirl. Thanks for sharing. Cute jack o lanterns!

  4. *drool drool drool* Pumpkin-infused things are always hard for me to resist. Not only is it a tasty flavor, it just sounds nice. "Pumpkin spiced butter nuggets? Oh that sounds delightful! Don't mind if I do!" So I'm pleased as an orange gourd to that you've come through with a low-cal pumpkintastic recipe. I look forward to trying it! :D

    So glad you guys came last night! You totally held your own in the creative carving category. I love Tom's solution to a cracked pumpkin: bigger mouth! :D