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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Food of the Month - Pumpkin

Here at Peas of Mind we love eating seasonally all year round.  But there's something extra special about eating (and lets not forget smelling and drinking) pumpkin this time of year.  This beautiful vegetable is sweet, grounding and warming and after a long summer of eating salads and fruit, there's nothing as satisfying as digging into pumpkin on the first cold day of fall.

That's why we couldn't think of a better Food of the Month for October then pumpkin!  And let's be clear, we're talking ALL pumpkins: white pumpkins, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, mini pumpkins and even canned pumpkin... they're all edible and all equally delicious and nutritious!

Why a piece of pumpkin a day can keep Doctor Frankenstein away:

  • Pumpkin is a fiber powerhouse. So instead of drinking a chalky fiber drink when you're feeling bloated, make a pumpkin pie smoothie (1/2 cup of pumpkin, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, 1 tbsp honey and 1 cup ice, blend together and enjoy!).   
  • Pumpkin is full of vitamin C. This important nutrient boosts your immune system and can ward off colds.  A simple way to add some pumpkin to your diet is by swapping out oil in your favorite desserts (brownies, cookies, sweet breads) for pumpkin. You'll cut the fat in half, add some depth of flavor and turn your dessert into a cold fighter! 
  • Pumpkins are chalked full of vitamin A.  You can eat 100% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin A in just 1/2 cup of pumpkin.  So when your mom told you that carrots were good for your eyes, she actually should have recommended pumpkin!  Add pumpkin to your favorite soup. Simply cut into cubes (leaving the skin on) and add when the recipe calls for carrots.
  • Pumpkins are rich in the anti-oxidant, beta-caroten which may help prevent cancer.  Add pumpkin as a side to dinner once a week and you'll be filling your family with cancer fighting goodness. A simple way to cook pumpkin is to cut the pumpkin into wedges (make sure you use a strong, sharp knife). With the skin on, toss cut up pumpkin in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a 1/2 tbsp of freshly chopped rosemary. Place on a baking sheet and bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. 
  • Pumpkin contains catenoids which eliminate free-radicals. This is not only good for your insides, it's good for your outsides as well.  Eating pumpkin will clear up your skin but using pumpkin in a facemask will immediately soften, moisturize and plump up your skin.  Mix 1/3 cup pumpkin, a drizzle of olive oil and honey and sprinkle in about 1 tbsp of crushed almonds. Apply mixture to your face and let sit until it dries.  Remove with a warm washcloth and admire your gourd-eousness!

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