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Cooking with Pumpkin

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There are few things more synonymous with October and fall than pumpkins. Although the image that usually comes to mind is the jack-o’-lantern, pumpkins are actually a very healthy food and can be used as an ingredient in many recipes. They are high in vitamin A and fiber, and aren’t nearly as intimidating to cook as you may think! They also stay fresh at room temperature for about a month, so hang on to these recipes so you can turn those Halloween decorations into tasty treats!

One quick tip – when you are choosing a pumpkin for a recipe, the smaller “sugar pie” or Lumina white pumpkins have a much silkier texture and sweeter taste than the larger ones you carve. You can still use the larger pumpkins, but they will be starchier, like a potato.

Baked Pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the stringy and seedy center.
  3. Cut the remaining into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
  4. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  6. Serve as a side to your favorite main course!

For a sweeter variety try this recipe baked with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Puree

This is a base for most pumpkin recipes. Instead of buying canned pumpkin at the store, you can make a delicious version at home and save money at the same time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 lb. pumpkin
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 500° F.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and fibers.
  3. Further cut the pumpkin into smaller, more manageable pieces so it can lie evenly on a roasting pan.
  4. Coat the outer shells of the pumpkin with olive oil and place face down in the roasting pan.
  5. Fill the pan with enough water to just cover the tips of the pumpkin.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. You can test this by poking the outer edge of the pumpkin with a fork. If there is a very easy give, it is done.
  7. Remove and let cool.
  8. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh into a food processor or blender.
  9. You can use the puree as is, or sieve it through a chinois strainer or cheesecloth until it is the desired consistency.

Pumpkin-Spiced Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (see above recipe for pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup Salada Green Tea Chai Spice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Recipe adapted from lululemon.com.

And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes!

Article first appeared on unbottleyourtea.com/tara.

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