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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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I like Halloween more than Christmas. My husband and I used to have huge celebrations on Halloween. We’d throw a costume party and would invite friends over for food and drinks. Although we no longer have parties on Halloween, it is still my favorite holiday.

Apparently we’re not the only adults who get excited about Halloween. Statistics show that parents spend more than 1 billion dollars on Halloween costumes for their kids. This year, 41 million trick-or-treaters are expected to hit the pavement all ghouled up, ringing doorbells and asking for treats. And the adults will be at home waiting for them, with lots of candy. That’s the part that makes me queasy…all that candy.

Did you know people buy twice as much chocolate for Halloween than they do for Valentine’s Day?

Last year, parents purchased more than 600 million pounds of candy to give out on Halloween. Yikes! To make matters worse, an incredible 90 million pounds of it is chocolate. That doesn’t even count the other stuff like the little gummies, the pop rocks and the mini tootsie rolls. And we wonder why so many of our children suffer from obesity.

I used to pride myself on having the best Halloween candy bar selection in the neighborhood. Now that I know what all that sugar does to a kid, I’m no longer interested in having the best candy on the block.

Since starting Plan Z, I no longer give out candy. Now I get better stuff. I decided the smarter and healthier thing to do is to treat Halloween like a mini-Christmas...

Read the full column at

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Plan Z Dieter Caitlin found the perfect fall recipe from Carolyn, the writer and recipe developer behind All Day I Dream About Food. The original recipe includes candied pepitas — we didn’t have any of those in our kitchen, but even without them, the recipe was delicious.

This perfect pumpkin treat invites all the spice and warmth of autumn into your mouth without the additional unwanted carbs.

Servings: Serves 15


Pumpkin Muffins

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3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 cups almond flour (Honeyville)
1/3 cup unflavored whey protein powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cream

Cream Cheese Filling:

8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
2 tsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla


On a plate lined with two layers of paper towel, spread out the pumpkin puree and blot with another layer or two of paper towels. Let sit while making the cream cheese filling.

For the cream cheese filling, beat cream cheese with powdered sweetener, cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside.

For the muffins, preheat over to 325 degrees and line 15 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until well combined. Beat in pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla extract.

Beat in almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with cream.

Drop a spoonful of batter into the bottom of the prepared muffin tins and use a spoon to make a well in the center. Drop a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the well, then top with more batter to fill muffin tins about 75 percent full.

Bake 23 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are set and edges are just browned. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with any remaining batter and filling.



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