Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere!

Today’s Training: 4 miles.  These next few weeks I’m tapering…thank goodness!  Taking it easy, getting some rest, visualizing that finish line!  Only positive thinking from here on out………

When you hear about pumpkins, you probably think of October.  And Halloween.  And placing babies inside of them:

You also may think of how delicious they can taste in pies, beer, breads, cakes, soups, muffins, ANYTHING IN THE LAND.  But do you ever wonder how good pumpkin is for you?  Well incase you did, here’s the specs on Mr. Jack ‘O Lantern himself:

The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word Pepõn which means large melon.

Pumpkins are a type of squash- vegetables that are very low in calories and contain little fat.  They’re high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants

Especially high in Vitamin A and beta carotenes (hence that orange color), they help with your vision and may even protect against oral cavity cancers!

They’re a rich source of minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium, Zinc, and phosphorus

And what about those little seeds

They are a fantastic source of fiber and the good fats.  They also contain lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals in themselves. 

PLUS the seeds contain tryptophan– you know that sleepy stuff found in turkeys!  Use them for a sleep aid?!

Other Health Benefits Include:

– Lower risk of prostate cancer
– Anti-inflammatory
– Great for your skin
– Prevention of kidney stones
– Warding off depression
– Treatment for Parasites
– Natural Diuretics

Look at that- a whole slew of reasons to do more than pick and carve!  When you’re looking to cook pumpkin, either buy it canned or buy the small pie pumpkins (those big ones just aren’t made for the baking).  And don’t forget to save the seeds after you do carve your masterpiece!  The seeds are expensive this year, so I prefer making them on my own.  Afterall, I already have the pumpkin, so why not?  Here’s how.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

– Rinse the seeds to remove all of the pulp.
– Spread on a cookie sheet and let dry overnight.
– Preheat oven to 250 degrees
– Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.
– Bake for one hour, tossing every 15-20 minutes.
-Enjoy!

Or try this!

Pumpkin Butter

1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin puree or fresh steamed pumpkin
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

Place all ingredients in a lidded saucepan. Cover and simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Stir frequently, as the mixture gets quite thick.

Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Pour into canning jars or sealed containers. Refrigerate until chilled.
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1824601

And then try THESE:

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons canola oil
one large egg
one large egg white
1/4 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line muffin tin with muffin cups.
  • Whisk dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl.
  • Add pumpkin, oil, milk, and egg and egg white to a medium size bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Fill muffin cases evenly and bake for 18 to 25 minutes
    http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Recipe-Oatmeal-Dark-Chocolate-Chip-Pumpkin-Muffins-5813166
 
Happy pumpkin season to you!  Now go find your great pumpkin…and eat it!
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