Wednesday, 19 September 2012

September Superfood of The Month!

I love fall. The colours of the leaves, the temperature dips into that perfect “running weather” range, and there are many delicious flavours incorporated into seasonal restaurant menus. One of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin, it is so versatile and healthy!

One cup of canned pumpkin has only 80 calories, 7 grams of fiber and 1 gram of fat. It also contains a whopping 760% daily intake vitamin A (thanks to its beautiful orange color), 17% vitamin C, 6% calcium and 19% iron. While fresh roasted pumpkin is best, let’s be honest here, the canned stuff is way more convenient and easy to use. Be sure to buy 100% pumpkin with no added salt. Don’t get canned pumpkin confused with canned “pumpkin pie filling”, which contains added sugar, spices and preservatives. Pumpkin seeds are also extremely healthy, chocked full of healthy essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium and protein They are great toasted on salads, sprinkled on top of quick breads or added to homemade granola/trail mix.

Here are a few different uses for pumpkin. **I am not a food blogger, so go ahead and make fun of the quality of my photos, I do have a life, and a Master's to complete...

1. Spicy Pumpkin Thai Soup! This bowl of soup was made using the Spicy Pumpkin Tofu Soup recipe from the Planet Organic Cookbook could always leave out the tofu and add extra coconut milk/non-dairy milk/greek yogurt if you are allergic to soy.

2. Pumpkin “ice cream” This turned out to be way more delicious than I thought. I made ice cream using two frozen, sliced bananas pureed in my food processor and added a scoop of pumpkin and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I served it with a small dollop of organic Greek yogurt, again totally optional. It made a great late night treat to enjoy while watching Master Chef (amazing show BTW).

3. Pumpkin Muffins, these moist pumpkin muffins were made using the recipe from a food blog, Wellness Mama.
I LOVE using coconut flour, which you can buy at any health food store or sometimes even your local bulk store.

4. Pumpkin Bread in a bowl- another amazing recipe from the beautiful and talented Vegan Dessert Blogger Chocolate Covered Katie,
This was a delicious breakfast pre-workout this morning, I used Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes and added a banana and some cinnamon for extra flavour and energy.  I have also made overnight oats in a jar and added a scoop of pumpkin for added flavor. Google “overnight oats in a jar” if you have no idea what I am talking about

5. My ULTIMATE go to pumpkin recipe, quinoa pumpkin pancakes from Quinoa 365.
This no fail recipe is a crowd pleaser and makes a HUGE batch. I freeze the pancakes in a giant container, take a few out the night before, and pop them in my toaster for a crispy, quick breakfast. I’m not a fan of added sugars, so I top mine with almond butter and banana or frozen berries thawed in the microwave instead of the traditional butter and maple syrup shown in this picture. FYI, if you are lactose-intolerant, I have made this recipe using “soured” almond milk (almond milk with 1tbsp lemon juice) and it still tasted great.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I am addicted to pumpkin. My next recipe will be to try chocolate brownies with pumpkin, yum! If you live alone like me and wonder how the heck do you get through an entire giant jar of pumpkin without it spoiling, simple, freeze some. Pumpkin freezes very well, when you unfreeze it, remove some of the excess liquid before using in baked goods otherwise the consistency will be off.

New to pumpkin? Start small. NO, ordering a Venti pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream at Starbucks does not count. Instead, try a pumpkin soup at a restaurant or add some pumpkin seeds to your salad at dinner.

Hope you are inspired to get some pumpkin in your life J

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