Healthy Food of the Week: PUMPKINS

October 1, 2014

I’m not a huge fan of exclamation points. Especially when they appear in long rows, one right after the other. It’s not that I’m not an excitable person. I just like to think of the exclamation point as sacred. We must only use it when we really mean it.

Well brace yourself people, because I am breaking out the exclamation to kick off the best season of the year with the best food of the season.

As soon as the first chilly day hits, I promptly make a trip to the store to pick up the following:

  1. Pumpkin candles
  2. Pumpkin body wash 
  3. Pumpkin lotion
  4. Pumpkin soap

Yes, I am that crazy pumpkin girl. When I walk through the door on an October evening, I want the smells of the season to hit me like a ton of bricks wrapped in leaves and steeped in pumpkin. And that doesn’t stop with the candles. Let’s not forget what pumpkin was originally intended for: EATING! That's right. Pumpkin not only smells and tastes fantastic, it also is ridiculously good for you!

Holy Hay Rides & Halloween, DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!

Okay. I'm done yelling at you. I think. Here is the breakdown on pumpkins.

Pumpkin puree is filled with: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Fiber

Pumpkin seeds are packed with: Protein, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc

Look like: Cinderella’s carriage

Taste like: An earthy, rich, soft and buttery explosion of fall that gives you warm fuzzy feelings when eaten

What pumpkin can do for you:

  • Help your heart (Vitamin A)
  • Help digestion (Potassium) and keep you fuller longer (fiber)
  • Keep you from getting sick by supporting your immune system (Iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin A)
  • Keep your eyes, bones and teeth healthy (Vitamin A)
  • Keep you looking younger by improving your cell renewal process (Vitamin A)
  • Reduce inflammation (the compounds that give them the bright orange color)
  • Block the enlargement of the prostate gland, lower the risk of bladder stones, and help prevent depression (Nutrients in pumpkin seeds)

Suggested use (for pumpkin puree):

  1. Stir into soup, stew, spaghetti sauce or chili.
  2. Use in place of the oil in bread and muffin recipes.
  3. Add to a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Add to hummus and dip in veggies.
  5. Make a REAL pumpkin spice latte by combining 1 cup of whole milk and 1.5 tablespoons pumpkin puree in a saucepan, sprinkle in a touch of pumpkin pie spice, then add mixture to a shot of espresso or 1/4 cup of coffee. 
  6. Remember frobanas? There IS a pumpkin version. Throw the following into the food processor or blender: 2 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup of puree, 2-3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

My mouth is seriously watering right now. So I am going to go light my pumpkin candles, wash my hands with pumpkin soap, bust out my pureed pumpkin and make a pumpkin recipe for you fine people. (I know this sounds like one of those things you just say to sign off, but I am literally jumping out of my seat to go do this. When it comes to pumpkin, I don't F around).

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

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