Pumpkin – Mom’s Secret Weapon!

Pumpkin!  We wait all year for it then devour it by the pound.  For some reason though we tend to forget about it in our list of fruits & veggies.  I guess it’s because we don’t cover it in cheese sauce or garlic butter and we don’t put it over ice cream.  Technically it’s a fruit although most regard it as a vegetable.  Anything with seeds or pits are fruit.

Immunity

A 1-cup serving of pumpkin puree supplies 3.4 grams of iron, a mineral that helps keep you from getting sick by supporting a strong immune system. This is about 43 percent of the 8 milligrams men need each day, and about 20 percent of the 18 milligrams women need. The same serving of pumpkin puree contains 1,906 micrograms of vitamin A, which boosts your immune system, as well as keeps your eyes, bones and teeth healthy. You need between 700 and 900 micrograms of vitamin A each day, and pumpkin is an excellent source. You also get about 15 percent of your daily vitamin E needs from a serving of pumpkin puree. Vitamin E keeps your immune system working properly and also protects your cells from damage that can lead to certain types of disease, such as cancer.

Disease Prevention

The compounds that give pumpkins their bright orange color can protect you from developing lung cancer, according to Michael T. Murray, author of “The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” The same compounds help prevent heart disease. A 2010 article published in “Nutrition Research Reviews” notes that pumpkin reduces inflammation. Inflammation can lead to many chronic health conditions, including cancer and heart disease, as well as Type 2 diabetes and arthritis.  Read more

So working on the premise of being a sneaky Mama and getting those fruits and veggies in their family’s diet, pumpkin is an easy solution.  Sure pumpkin pie is awesome, but why limit yourself?

Canned pumpkin is available year round, but if you can get them fresh they are really easy to prepare.

From there it can be canned or frozen in bags.  Freezing is my preference because I can take out what I need.  I even freeze some in ice cube trays for making…..

pumpkin-spice-latte

Maggie’s Favorite Pumpkin Latte

(For the grown ups!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk (Cow, Soy or Almond – whatever your preference)
  • 1 cup very strong coffee (a French press works great)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsps sugar (or to taste – I like half white sugar and half brown sugar)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice *or*
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1-2 dashes of ground nutmeg  (Fresh is stronger than store ground)
    • dash of ground cloves
    • dash of ground allspice
    • dash of ground ginger

Directions:

Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and heat over medium-high heat until the coffee is steaming hot, whisking with a wire whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and a little frothy. Pour into mugs and top with fresh whipped cream & cinnamon & nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice. (I prefer Mountain Rose for fresh spices and herbs.)

Personally I’m thinking about the possibility of drying some cooked pumpkin then putting it in the food processor to make pumpkin powder (just like garlic or onion powder – yes, that’s how you make those if you haven’t already).   My thinking is that I can just add it to a cup of coffee when I want to without thawing.  When I get around to it, I’ll let you know how it works out.

I looked at the label one day on a container of pumpkin spice non-dairy creamer.  Now THAT was a frightening ingredient list!  Use pumpkins that are marked down after Halloween or Thanksgiving and be chemical free!  If you have one of those U-Pick-It farms nearby, you can get a better deal and it makes for a great day out for the family!

waffles

Maggie’s Favorite Pumpkin Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 c baking mix or complete pancake mix + additional 2 tsp of baking powder *or*
    • 2 c all-purpose flour
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice *or*
    • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 2/3 – 1 c milk or water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, (melted & cooled) or coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat waffle iron.  Mix together dry ingredients together and whisk to ensure that there are no clumps.  In a separate bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients except water and beat with whisk then slowly incorporate into dry mixture.  Once blended, start adding the water a little at a time until the batter reaches the consistency of a milkshake.   Spray the inside of your iron with non-stick spray (I use a pressurized sprayer like this with grapeseed oil in it) or use a basting brush to lightly coat with oil, butter or coconut oil.  Cooking time will vary depending on the iron and whether it is a regular iron or a Belgian waffle iron.

Note:  Because of the pumpkin in the batter, these waffles are much moister than regular waffles which will make them denser and a little more cake-like.  The cooking time will be longer than waffles you usually cook.

For an added treat, check out this recipe for my Rum-Cinnamon Syrup!  It’s amazing!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Maggie’s Favorite Paleo! Pumpkin Waffles

These are dairy free, gluten/grain free, soy free and OH SO delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp coconut oil + more for the iron
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (not a typo)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 finely ground kosher or sea salt.

Preheat your waffle iron.  In one bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, syrup, vanilla and coconut oil.  Add pumpkin, blend well.  In another bowl, mix together spices, almond flour and shredded coconut then incorporate into wet mixture.  Ladle into heated iron that has been brushed with coconut oil.  Start checking after a few minutes, again, the cook time will vary depending on the iron.

For both of these waffles, consider putting together a batch of cinnamon butter as an added treat!

Be sure to check out the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle too!

Enjoy “forcing” your family to eat their 5-a-day!

{{hugs}}
Maggie

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