Saturday, November 8, 2014

Leader Enterprise - November 5, 2014 - Pumpkin

We sold our home and will miss it, but are thrilled to be downsizing,and moving this week--three doors down! That means we're hoping to escape the winter ahead and enjoy some time in Florida this winter. Do you have plans to get away? It's so fun to dream,isn't it?

Why do we love pumpkin? Well, not only because its tasty but it has some natural health benefits too! I do hope you won't wait until Thanksgiving to try some of these awesome recipes using pumpkin.

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene (B-C). B-C is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body.In the conversion to vitamin A, (B-C) performs many important functions in overall health.

Pumpkins are:Full of fiber--High-fiber foods help to keep us feeling full and satisfied.




Loaded with nutrients--In addition to fiber, there are many other nutrients packed into this gourd. Carotenoids like beta-carotene are plentiful, as is vitamin A (each 1/2-cup serving has 300% the daily value!). Muscle-fueling potassium? Yep, that too. Horray for pumpkin!


Delicious yet neutral--Pumpkin is naturally yummy with a creamy texture, but it's not that sweet on its own. Its mild taste makes it an excellent base for all sorts of flavors: cheesy, spicy, maple-y..even chocolatey! This means you can use it in SO many different recipes.

Only FOUR simple ingredients...3 if you desire...MMMM!






SELF-FROSTING PUMPKIN NUTELLA MUFFINS 

1 - 15 ozs. can pure pumpkin puree (NOT filling) 
1/2 c. vegetable oil
(I use 1/4 c. oil, 1/4 c. applesauce)
2 lg. eggs
1 Tb. vanilla extract
1/4 c. light brown sugar,packed
2 c. all purpose flour 
1/4 c. white sugar (or xylitol)
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
(or substitute pumpkin pie spice for spices)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cocoa powder
12 heaping tsps. Nutella for topping 

Preheat oven to 375. Line or spray 12 - cup muffin pan. In large bowl, whisk together flour, white sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside. 

In small bowl, whisk the pumpkin, oil, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk to blend.

Fill prepared muffins cups evenly, about 3/4 full. (I love to use a cookie scoop to make this easier). Place a heaping teaspoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the Nutella slightly around the top of the batter. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

PARADISE PUMPKIN PIE

1 - 8 ozs. pkg.cream cheese,room temperature
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1-9" unbaked pie shell
1-1/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt
1 c. (2% or fat free)evaporated milk 

Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing until well blended. Add egg and beat until smooth. Spread in bottom of unbaked pie crust.

In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well.  Carefully pour mixture over cream cheese (I pour slowly onto a big spoon instead of pouring directly on cream cheese layer.) Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cool. Brush with maple syrup or honey while still warm.

PERFECT PUMPKIN COOKIES

1 c. shortening(Crisco)

1 c. white sugar

1 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together shortening and sugar; add pumpkin and beaten egg.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Frost when cool.

BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING:

Heat 1/2 cup butter until golden brown. Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp.vanilla. Stir in 2 - 4 Tbs.hot water until spreading consistency. These cookies are great with cream cheese frosting also.

This muffin recipe is one of the most popular at my blog. If you've not ever tried them, don't delay. They are simple, moist, delicious and so easy. And no one will guess they have pumpkin in them.

LOWFAT PUMPKIN CINNAMON CHIP MUFFINS



1 (16 oz) spice (or chocolate) cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 c.water (rinse the can)
1 (10 oz) bag cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 20-24 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cake mix, pumpkin and water; stir until batter is smooth. Stir in cinnamon chips. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they test done. Allow to stand in pan a couple of minutes before removing to cool. Yield: 20-24 muffins


Did you know pumpkin seeds are a heart healthy snack?And they help lower cholesterol.Having your pumpkin seed snack a few hours before bed will help you get a good nights sleep.

HOW TO ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS

Preheat oven to 325.Wash and dry seeds;place on oiled baking sheet.Sprinkle with salt.Bake for 25 minutes or until toasted(you should be able to smell the aroma).Stir twice;cool;store in airtight container.May use garlic salt,cayenne pepper,or whatever you choose.