It strikes me as entirely unfair to put away all of the cozy favorite of November and December because the calender we choose to follow mandates that it’s a new year! Meanwhile, it’s cold, gray and a wee bit dreary, especially on the days when your socks get wet and eyelashes freeze.
Hence, pumpkin, cranberry, and a hint of spice are on today’s menu in the form of high-protein truffles. Hurrah! They are part of my month-long posts of portable, resolution-worthy energy food.
The ingredients are minimal–unsweetened pumpkin, vanilla pea protein powder, dried cranberries, tahini (or your favorite nut or seed butter), and a bit of spice. Place in bowl, stir and squish until blended, and then shape into balls. Done. If you are not a messy fingers person, you can place everything in a food processor instead (however, I am unaware of an automatic truffle baller, so some messiness is required, regardless).
If pumpkin-cranberry deliciousness is not enough to spur you into action, consider this, especially if you are committed to an athletic regimen: an emerging body of research indicates that pumpkin (and other orange squashes) may contribute to greater strength, endurance and recovery in athletic performance. In a 2012 article in the journal Molecules (which happens to be the leading international, peer-reviewed journal of synthetic organic chemistry and natural product chemistry), researchers found that the administration of a concentrated form of pumpkin extract to lab mice led to improved exercise performance and a decrease in physical fatigue.
And that’s not all: following 14 days of pumpkin extract, the mice increased their grip strength, endurance, and their bodies’ ability to store and release glucose. (I love the visualization of mouse grip strength measurement–perhaps teeny, tiny dumbbells?). Further, the furry little guys also had lowered markers of muscle damage in their plasma, leading researchers to conclude that pumpkin may help athletes go stronger longer.
So there you have it. Pumpkin, mice, the potential for improved athletic endurance, and the guarantee of a delicious treat. Pretty nifty.
I may have to warn my spin class that I have been snacking on these for the past few days–I’m feeling extra powerful! Enjoy 🙂
- ½ cup canned unsweetened pumpkin (not pie filling)
- ½ cup all-natural vanilla pea protein powder
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons tahini (or your favorite nut or seed butter)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (optional)
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended into a cohesive dough.
- Shape the dough into 18 1-inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- The balls will keep at room temperature (e.g., in a lunch bag or backpack) for up to 8 hours, but are best kept cold.