pumpkin pecan protein parcels

They’re really just muffins. But, you know, I couldn’t resist. So we’ll call them parcels. Little parcels of joy. Moist, hearty, spiced. With a crunch from toasted pecans, loads of protein to satiate and a sweet craisin in each bite.

But first. Norman Wells is becoming beautiful. The sun rises after I arrive at work and we are treated to such a display.

beautiful morning in Norman Wells

Before long this sunrise won’t be happening until 12pm.. and lasting until 2pm when it changes into a sunset. We are both anxious and excited for this. (I’m mostly anxious. When the heck will I take my photos?) Already we lose 6 minutes of daylight each day – they say the seasons turn quick in the North and I can see why. The orange-leafed trees I captured just last week are now barren. Sparse twigs in the ground. We expect in the next couple of weeks they will be up to their ankles in snow.

pumpkin power muffins and a cuppa tea

These muffins are the result of my first experimentation with canned pumpkin. Such a treat to buy this nutritious good ready to go in a can. Back home in New Zealand I always had to peel, roast and puree my own pumpkin if I planned to bake, say Pumpkin Pie, with it. Did you know pumpkin in Canada is solely for sweets? It is sold either as the huge bright orange ball we associate with Halloween (which is only used for carving or entering in giant pumpkin competitions) or in the canned form, to be used in cakes, muffins, pies, biscuits, oatmeal… Even a traditional pumpkin or sweet potato casserole involves sugar or marshmallows. Kumara seems to be treated similarly. Even Deb at Smitten Kitchen puts marshmallows in her sweet potato scones.

Never mind the typical cafe-in-New Zealand selling a roasted pumpkin salad. Or the traditional farming way of serving it alongside roast lamb. In fact, New Zealand doesn’t even produce what North Americans call pumpkin. That little green skinned thing we use for salads and roasts – supposedly it’s a squash.

North Americans, can I let you in on a secret? Canned pumpkin… it’s actually squash.
pumpkin protein muffin

Pumpkin Pecan Protein Parcels
Recipe loosely based on Busy But Healthy
Makes 12

1 1/4 cups oats (ground in food processor into flour)
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tsp ground flax seed
3 scoops whey protein (vanilla)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, pan roasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
4 egg whites (oh the joy of cartoned egg whites…)
1 can pure pumpkin
1/3 cup 100% applesauce
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and fold until just combined. Spoon into muffin holes and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and the tops are no longer gooey.


Come winter, I am adamant it will be social events and getting out-and-about that will keep me sane and motivated through the long, dark season. Hence, when I heard of a local scrap booking class starting up, I jumped on the list. Monday nights, at the community library, we sit and sit and glue and stamp and create cards and tags. To tie onto little parcels of homemade baking. Pumpkin pecan protein parcels, say. What a lovely treat for friends during the cold months.

card making for fall

5 thoughts

  1. Yum, pumpkin and pecans are such a great combination! One of these days I’m actually going to make some of your protein-packed muffins – they sound perfect for quick a breakfast.

    Re: squash/pumpkin – aren’t semantics funny?! Here the label “pumpkin” refers only to the type of squash that is big and orange and makes a good Jack-o-lantern 😉 For some reason, edible pumpkins are usually hard to come by in the store, but there are lots and lots of other hard-skinned winter squash varieties (butternut squash is probably most popular) that people use in non-marshmallow-ed applications (that’s an American thing, I’m not really sure what it’s about!) And zucchini = summer squash! (As opposed to winter squash.) Ha!

    • Haha I’d have to have like 3 of these to be full enough for breakfast, but yes, a very handy treat for morning tea! I know – silly semantics. The word squash doesn’t exist in NZ. And if you google-image New Zealand yams you’ll see they are COMPLETELY different to yours, which we would just consider a different coloured sweet potato (kumara). I never knew the cultural difference I would experience by coming to North America. Clearly NZ is very European influenced.

      • It’s really interesting to read about your experiences – definitely a big eye opener! I like to think that Canada isn’t all that influenced by the US, but it appears that we are, at least more so than by Europe (but I guess that makes sense, given our location). Those NZ yams are COOL!! I think I’ve seen them before, but I just assumed they were a special variety of potato. My understanding is that a *real* yam is a giant South American tuber and that obviously the sweet potato variety that we call a yam is just misnamed… Haha!

    • Although it’s super convenient, it’s pretty satisfying cooking it up yourself! It freezes really well so I would cook a whole pumpkin, puree it and freeze it in 1 cup portions. There’s something much more appealing in knowing the freshness of it..

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