October is finally here and we have The Fall, better weather, Halloween and pumpkins to prove it. After three months of fruit salads, spritzers, and anything to keep us cool in the summer, October brings on the desire for comfort food in honor of candy and costume joy.
But, just because bathing suit season has passed us by and sweater and scarf season is approaching, that doesn’t mean we have to steer completely clear of taking care of our health and finding comfort in food without getting lost from our healthy regimens.
Pumpkins are the food of fall and find themselves in nearly every household in the country in honor of Halloween. But, there’s so much more to do with pumpkins than just carve them. Starting with the seeds!
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
After you have your funny face jack-o-lantern shining on your porch, you should have a bowl of rinsed pumpkin seeds you reserved from your carving on your counter.
Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack for any time of the day for kids and adults alike. They are loaded with fiber, minerals and anti-oxidants and even have certain elements in them that contain cancer-fighting agents. And, even more importantly, they are delicious.
There are many ways to roast pumpkin seeds, but one that I found to be the most fun is a Cajun spice infused recipe that gives the snack a little more of a kick rather than just tossing them with olive oil and salt and pepper before baking; a common recipe for seeds. In this Cajun Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seed recipe use reduced fat butter to lighten the calories.
If you’re not into the Cajun spiced, there are many other ways to play with pumpkin seeds in your kitchen.
Of course, the most pungent and popular way to enjoy pumpkin is by making it to use a pie. If you’re looking to splurge on pie, any classic recipe for pumpkin pie will do. But, if you’re looking to enjoy dessert without the guilt, a crustless pumpkin pie is a delectable alternative to regular pie.
NOTE: If you put a tiny bit of reduced fat butter on the edges and broil the pie for about five minutes at the end of baking (keep a watchful eye) the ends will harden a bit, making a mock crust that you’ll barely notice isn’t real.
SWEET POTATO PUMPKIN MASH
By using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes to make pumpkin mashed you are getting far more nutrients, fiber, Vitamin A, and getting far less calories and carbohydrates than if using regular white potatoes.
Remember to use reduced fat for all of the dairy ingredients in this great gluten-free Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Mash recipe.
One of the best things that Fall brings back to our meal rotations is soup on a cold and rainy day. The great thing about pumpkin soup is that it’s less bland but more filling than the average soup and it’s loaded with the nutrients you would get from an entire entrée. It’s also rich in fiber, which can curb cravings and be great for a snack in between regular meals.
Soups can be deceiving because they don’t seem like they would be high in calories or fat, but many are made with thick heavy creams, tons of oil, or have the fatty parts of meat in them. But, there are many ways around this when making pumpkin soup.
You can add protein to any these great low calorie Pumpkin Soup recipes to make it more of an entrée. Canadian Bacon as a garnish would be a nice option to add a meaty flavor.