Sunday, October 28, 2012

So... is pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?

Doesn't matter.  If you're like us, you cannot keep enough cans in stock.  As the days grow shorter, we put pumpkin in everything: muffins, cookies, peanut butter and jelly (no, not really, although that wouldn't be half bad).  Below are several of our favorite, must-try recipes.

And just in case you're on the fence of the pumpkin patch, it's uber healthy, which we love!  Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins, such as vitamin-A (translation: pretty skin and good eyes!), vitamin-C (equals no sicky, sicky), and vitamin-E (we don't really know what this vitamin is for, but can't hurt, right?).  Plus, it's a good source of B-complex vitamins (which increase metabolism and make hair shiny!).  Basically, what we're saying is, if you eat the below treats you will look and feel amazing. "If it's so good for me," you ask, "Why don't I just smear it all over my face?" Well, you should, which is why we outline a great face mask you can make with the leftovers below as well!

Super-Moist Protein Pumpkin Oatmeal Flax Muffins


Estimated Time: 25-30 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg (or 3 egg whites)
  • 1 3/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla or cinnamon protein powder
  • 1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend -or- 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking power
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie -or- apple pie spice
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup finely ground flax seed
  • Optional: 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries

The how:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2.  Mix all ingredients (either in a blender, food processor, or by hand) until mixture is smooth.
Divide mixture evenly among muffin tins, and place into pre-heated oven. 
3.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are lightly golden brown.  (Editor's tip: Since this batter is super-moist, a toothpick may not come out clean.  Don’t fret!  It is baked through if the tops are golden brown!)
4.  Let muffins cool, remove from pan and enjoy!
(Recipe modified from http://dashingdish.com.)


Pumpkin Pecan White Chocolate Cookies


Servings: 36 cookies

Ingredients:
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  •  ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree (whole can)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz white chocolate, chopped
  •  ½ cup pecan halves


The how:
1. Preheat oven to 300*F.  Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth.
3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then stir in pumpkin puree until well blended.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and pumkin pie spice – stir into pumpkin mixture.
5. Fold in white chocolate and pecans.
6. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.  (Cookies should be at least 2” apart.)  Place 2-3 additional pecan halves at the center of each cookie for decor.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes in pre-heated oven until bottoms are lightly browned.
8. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets before moving to wire racks. 
(Recipe originally from www.allrecipes.com


DIY Pumpkin Facial Mask
Remember all the aforementioned health benefits of pumpkin?  Well, that goes for your complexion too, which is why so many spas use pumpkin this time of year to nourish and brighten skin.  We love to lather it on for a fraction of the price!

Photo and modified recipe courtesy of www.sheknows.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp unflavored yogurt
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds

Get gorgeous:
1. Mix all ingredients and apply to clean, moist skin.
2.  The enzymes are most active when heated, so sit in a warm tub or shower for 5-10 minutes.
3.  Remove with a clean washcloth.
4.  Gift the rest of the mixture to your girlfriends or cover and use within a week.

And if that's not enough, we'll leave you with a few more ideas for integrating pumpkin into every aspect your life.  We especially recommend the pumpkin pancakes; they are always a hit on Saturday or Sunday mornings!

Pumpkin Pancakes
http://www.designsponge.com/2010/12/in-the-kitchen-with-martha-bernabes-gluten-free-pancakes.html


Pumpkin Granola
http://withstyleandgraceblog.com/2011/10/04/gluten-free-pumpkin-granola-recipe/



Pumpkin Butter
http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2010/10/pumpkin-butter-and-its-many-uses/


Pumpkin Doughnuts
http://www.annies-eats.com/2011/09/26/pumpkin-doughnuts/



Pumpkin Roll
http://www.recipedose.com/2010/09/pumpkin-roll-recipe.html



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