On Calorie Counting - And Pumpkin Bread Pudding

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'Tis the season: for all things pumpkin.  Inspired by a (much heavier) pumpkin bread pudding brûlée, this lightened-up, no-fuss version is something to look forward to on a chilly morning. Get the recipe here, plus some food for thought on tracking calories.

Some folks get REALLY excited about the onset of fall and the impending holiday season.  And then there's the party that has a REALLY hard time saying goodbye to summer.  As someone who falls into the latter category, suffice it say I don't get super-pumped about fall recipes. Come to think of it, I haven't been inspired to create any kind of recipe for quite some time.

Then someone came into my life.  I wasn't sure of this individual's exact purpose, or if it would be a lifetime, a reason, or a season.  Two and two have finally come together after three months, and Genie's purpose is this: she's created a working log of everything I've eaten, and the exact measurements needed to recreate every dish.  My calorie tracker, it turns out, was a recipe whisperer in disguise. 

A word on tracking: if you're familiar with this blog, I live by the mantra "all foods fit" and enforce a strong, zero-restriction policy with myself, my family, and for the most part, my clients.  No single food, or single meal, is going to make or break you, just as one workout probably won't.  So why would a healthy, active woman suddenly start weighing her food and using a device to tell her how many grams of protein, carb, and fat she should be aiming for? Truthfully, I suspected I was under fueled.  This tracking experience has proved me correct. Hooray for more carbohydrates!  Another bonus: tracking my intake has encouraged me to eat even MORE vegetables, as I'm consciously aiming for a certain weight as opposed to cup measurement.  I'm still eating everything I love, possibly more so, and love having the extra information at my fingertips.  At 36, I'm feeling stronger and enjoying food more than ever.  

Back to the recipe: years ago, I whipped up a delicious pumpkin bread pudding brûlée for Thanksgiving.  I say once, because, while I recall it being tasty, the fact that it was a pain in the ass to put together is what really stands out.  So here's a basic, no-fuss version that comes together with five ingredients in five minutes, plus baking time.  Done and done.  

If you want to round this out and make it more of a meal, go ahead and add some greens and beef jerky.  Because beef is most definitely a strong breakfast bet.  A bikini competitor confirmed that this also works with No-Sodium Ezekiel bread, but I can only speak personally to how good it tastes made with Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Swirl bread.  It delivers a whole lot of flavor for a mere 80 calories per slice.  Not sponsored, just a brand preference. :)

 Do you even swirl, bro? 

Do you even swirl, bro? 

Feel free to double or quadruple the quantities here to feed your better half or the whole fam. I baked the single version in a small Le Creuset, pictured here, scored at TJ Maxx.  Happy Holidays to me!

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Enjoy Your Food.  Enjoy Your Life!!!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

AUTHOR: NICOLE RODRIGUEZ, RDN, NASM-CPT

Ingredients:

-2 slices Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

-100g pure pumpkin, canned (I prefer Libby's)

-1 large egg + 1 white

-45ml Fat Free Fairlife milk

-ground cinnamon, to taste (I prefer Badia) 

Preparation:

Slice bread into chunks (I ended up with 18 small pieces).  Place in baking vessel (spray with non-stick cooking spray such as Pam if it's a non-stick surface).

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, egg white, milk, and cinnamon.  Blend with hand mixer until frothy.  Pour over bread, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning: preheat oven to 350.  Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately and enjoy.  

Calories: 318 Protein: 17.4 Carb: 43.5 F: 8.3