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October 4, 2011

It’s Pumpkin Time!

Tips, Tricks & a Recipe
It’s Pumpkin Time!

by Leanne Ely, CNC

Today’s Focus is Pumpkin

Fall is upon us, ladies and gentlemen! Totally my favorite season! At every turn, there are reds and crimsons, golds and yellows, and, of course, a bountiful dose of oranges. When you think orange, I can almost guarantee that the first thought for both of us would be: pumpkin!

Pumpkin is another reason why fall is so delicious. We start pulling pumpkin out for two primary purposes when fall comes around: decoration and pie. But what I want to tell you is that if that’s all you’re using pumpkin for, then you aren’t taking the full advantage of this wonderful fall staple.

This gigantic gourd is filled to its stem with beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, and all sorts of helpful carotenoids to help you with heart health, and lower your risk to several chronic diseases. So when we think of pumpkin, let’s think outside the pie!

Here’s your TIP

You can buy canned pumpkin year round, which means you don’t have to limit pumpkin to this one season! When making your purchase in the canned goods section, make sure you buy canned pumpkin, not buying “pumpkin pie mix.” Trust me, there’s a huge difference and you want the pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie mix!

Here’s your TRICK

If you’re interested in buying a real pumpkin and attempting to make your own homemade puree, which is always fresher and tastier, I would encourage you to save the seeds! You can bake them with a little salt and pepper, maybe even a small dash of nutmeg, and create your own roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on.

And for your RECIPE

Smashing Pumpkin Soup (from Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely, Ballantine)
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups pumpkin puree (sometimes called 100% pumpkin NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups milk
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions. Cook till very soft and add remaining ingredients, except milk. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add milk and continue to cook (but not boil–it will break) for another 5 minutes.

Per Serving: 131 Calories; 6g Fat; 7g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 553mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: A huge spinach salad and whole grain rolls are all you need.

Want more savory winter soups? Check out our Savory Soups Menu.

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