Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkin season is now in full swing, thank goodness. I purchased a baking pumpkin at whole foods, and wanted to use every part of it that I could. Below are two recipes; one for roasting pumpkin seeds and the other for a divine pumpkin bread. If you already enjoy pumpkin, good for you. If not, you should really give it a chance. With only 30-50 calories per cup, pumpkin is packed full of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A is present in most red/orange colored vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and even cantaloupe. The fiber present, will help keep you full longer.

I began preparing my pumpkin by slicing it open and taking out the seeds. The edible seeds of the pumpkin can be added to other dishes, or eaten as a snack after roasting (my personal favorite). Pumpkin seeds provide a whole different array of nutrients than the pumpkin flesh. These include many minerals (manganese, iron, zinc), protein, healthy fats, and more fiber. I swear these little guys smell and taste somewhat like popcorn. All in all, very delicious, simple, and of course good for you.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients: 

  • Pumpkin seeds from one pumpkin
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • De-seed a pumpkin, placing all the seeds into a bowl. Rinse the seeds until clean and no pumpkin “guts” remain on them. Pat seeds dry with a towel.
  • Lay the seeds out on a baking sheet, toss with a little oilve oil and salt.
  • Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, toss the seeds, and cook for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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And then… I made pumpkin bread. This is possibly my favorite type of bread, from the sweet cranberries, to the crunch of walnuts. Yum! I found this new recipe, and I thought I’d give it a shot. The pumpkin cashew cream was calling my name.

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Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Cashew Cream

Adapted from: minimalistbaker.com

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 tbl flax meal + 4 tbl water (mixed together)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 inch bread pan with a non-stick spray.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Allow the mix to sit for 5 minutes. To the same bowl, add the syrup, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and oil. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  • Now add in the baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, and stir. Add the almond milk, mix.
  • Add the pastry and oat flour. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly combined. Fold in the cranberries and nuts.
  • Pour the batter into the bread pan, and cook in the oven for around 50 minutes. The bread should become golden on the top, and a toothpick should come out clean. Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

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Pumpkin Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1.5 tbl maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tbl melted coconut oil (you need this to help solidify the cream)

Directions:

  • Place the soaked cashews in a high powered blender/ food processor. (I used my vitamix)
  • To the blender add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, salt, and almond milk.
  • Blend the ingredients until pureed, then add the coconut oil. You can add more almond milk if you want the cream thinner. The mixture will thicken up when you place it in the refrigerator (due to the coconut oil).
  • Pour some cream over a slice of bread, on ice cream, or even mix into your morning oatmeal. 🙂 Note: bread/cake will get soggy if you leave the cream on it for too long. I placed cream on pumpkin bread slices right before serving.

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