Saturday, October 11, 2014

It’s Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkin is all the rage right now.  It’s everywhere in the fall.  I personally look forward to that first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte every year.  (Dunkin ain’t got nothin’ on Starbucks!)  I also love a good Shipyard Pumpkinhead—with cinnamon on the rim, of course.

 

While a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte is 380 calories, 13g of fat and 49g of sugars (from starbucks.com), pumpkin as a vegetable is very nutritious and beneficial to your diet.

·      Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in calories.  An excellent combo to keep you feeling full longer.

 

·      High in Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for vision.  It also aides in the functioning of your heart, lungs, and kidneys.

 

·      High in Vitamin C, which helps to keep the immune system in check and promotes cardiovascular health.

 

·      Contains Vitamin E which actually helps to protect the skin from sun damage.  (You still need to wear sunscreen!)

 

·      High in Potassium, an essential nutrient to maintain electrolyte balance in the body.

 

·      A great natural source of iron.  Iron is needed for the red blood cells to transport oxygen.  Iron deficiency causes fatigue and weakness.  I dealt with this in high school.  Not good for runners!

 

·      Contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which has been said to play a role in preventing cancers.

 

·      Pumpkin seeds contain an antioxidant that aids in lowering LDLs aka the bad cholesterol.

 

 

My favorite recipe using pumpkin is still Hungry Girl’s Yum Yum Brownie Muffins.  They are super easy to make—just 2 ingredients—and a chocolate treat that’s high in fiber.

 

Ingredients

18.25 oz box devil’s food cake mix

15 oz can pure pumpkin

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Pour cake mix into large bowl and whisk to remove any lumps.  Add pumpkin and stir until completely smooth and uniform.

 

Don’t add any other ingredients that may be mentioned on the cake mix box, like eggs, oil, or water.  The mixture will be very thick, so you might be tempted to add in other things to make the batter thinner.  Do not do this!

 

Evenly distribute batter into a 12-cup muffin pan lined with foil baking cups and/or sprayed with nonstick spray.  Place pan in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

 

Allow to cool slightly then serve!

 

Makes 12 servings.  We like to make them in mini muffin pans so they are easy to pop right in your mouth!

 

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

 

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