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We like to live the motto of "healthy meets delicious". We enjoy cooking healthy, living great, and sharing the adventures we have along the way.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Great Pumpkin

 "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

            It is almost Halloween, and pumpkins are everywhere. I see them in large piles in the grocery store, decorations around houses and carved as creative decorations. Besides for celebrating the fall time, pumpkins also make a great meal. Although I do not recommend eating a pumpkin you have previously carved, most pumpkins you can find are edible. If you just get one of the average pumpkins in the grocery store, try to find some that seem heavy for their size; doing so means the pumpkin will have a lot of meat to work with. You can also go to a local growers market, farm or co-op type of store that will have a large variety of pumpkins. I usually grow a type of pumpkin called Cinderella, which I highly recommend. You can experience with these different types, and see which ones you prefer.

            I feel that most recipes that include pumpkin are often comforting as well as perfect for the fall weather. They are usually full of flavor, and make you feel warm inside. Besides for being oh so tasty, pumpkins are surprising great for you, and are known to be a super food. Pumpkins are really low in calories, have no saturated fat or cholesterol. Pumpkins are also rich in potassium, calcium, folates, as well as extremely high in vitamin A. What puts pumpkin is the super food category is that has one of the highest amounts of crotenoids, which are proven to increase your health, decrease the risk cancers, as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease. To see what all pumpkin offers you, check out these site, super food and nutrition. Not only are these pumpkins amazing, but they are versatile as well.

            For beginners, pumpkins can be cooked in many forms. The first thing you always want to do is cut the pumpkin up, and cut the skins off the outside. First way of cooking, which is very flavorful, is to bake the pumpkin. You can also boil the pumpkin, stream it or sauté in a pan. Then you can simple enjoy, puree, or can for later. From these possibilities, comes how you actually incorporate pumpkin into recipes, the possibilities seem endless. Between soups, stir-fries, bread, cookies, pies, and my favorite, curries, it seems that you can have pumpkin often, and not tire of it. Try these recipes out; enjoy the variety while putting such great nutrients in your body!

Pumpkin Puree

1 pumpkin
Olive oil

            Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

            Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and pulp. Cut pumpkin into evenly sized chunks, lightly cover with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Allow to bake 30-45 minutes, or until tender.

            Place the pumpkin in a food processor, and mix well. All ready for tasty foods. 

Curry Pumpkin Soup

            2 T butter
            3 T flour
            2 T curry powder
            4 cups vegetable broth
            3 ¾ c pumpkin puree
            1 ½ c half-and-half cream
            1 T honey
            1 t ginger
            salt and pepper to taste

            In a pot on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and curry powder until well mixed and smooth. Slowly whisk in broth, turn on lower heat, and allow to thicken. Add in pumpkin and half-and-half (can replace with milk, but won’t be as thick). Add the honey, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring just to a boil, and then remove from heat. Enjoy

Roast Pumpkin and Feta Risotto

            1 ½ c pumpkin puree
            1T olive oil
            4 c vegetable broth
            2 cloves garlic
            1 medium onion
            1 cup spinach
            6 ounces feta cheese
            salt and pepper
            2 c Arborio rice

            In a saucepan, heat up olive oil. Chop the onion and garlic, and add to the oil. Add the rice to the oil, and allow to brown. Slowly add the vegetable broth, adding small amounts at a time. Allow the broth to be absorbed and add more broth until all incorporated and rice is cooked.
            Add the pumpkin puree to the rice and stir well. Add the spinach, feta, and salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

            1 c sugar
            1 c honey
            1 c vegetable oil
            4 eggs
            2/3 c water
            2 c pumpkin puree
            2 t ginger
            1 t allspice
            1 t cinnamon
            1 t cloves
            2 c flour
            1 ¼ c whole wheat flour
            2 t baking soda
            1 ½ t salt
            ½ t baking powder

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil two loaf pans.
            In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, honey oil and eggs, mix until well incorporate. Slowly add the water, and mix well. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
            In an additional mixing bowl, add the flours, soda, salt, and baking powder, mix together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, incorporating it all together.
            Add the mixture to the loaf pans, and place in oven. Bake 45- 1 hour, or until springs up.

For those who are curious about a pumpkin pie recipe, I am saving that for Thanksgiving, and I promise it is worth the wait!

Enjoy, and have a great Halloween.

Shannon & Darren @ True Treats

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