Getting my fall tan!

Well, we’re in full swing of my annual fall initiative: getting tan from the inside out 🙂

I was reading some really fascinating facts about pumpkin the other day and I have to say, if you find yourself standing in line at Starbucks and peering longingly into the glass case at the pumpkin scones and wondering if you should get one, here’s why the should ALWAYS be yes:

-Pumpkin is extremely high in fiber and low in calories

-Being rich in carotenoids, it is linked to a decrease in various cancers including lung, colon, bladder, cervical, breast, and skin. A study has shown that women with the highest concentrations of carotenes in their diets had the lowest risk of breast cancer.

-Carotenoids have shown an ability to lower rates of heart disease.

-Boosts the immune system

-Helps prevent macular degeneration

-While 1 cup of cereal usually contains 1 gram of fiber, 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin contains more than 3 grams.

-1/2 a cup of pumpkin provides 2mg of iron which is about 20% of the recommended dietary allowance for me, and 1.3% for women. The seeds have much more iron — 1 oz (140 seeds) has 4 mg iron.

-An ounce of seeds also has 9 grams of protein — as much as an ounce of meat. Be mindful though that about 73% of the calories in that serving of seeds (there is about 148 calories per ounce) come from fat.

-And last but not least! Eating beta carotene rich foods gives your skin a healthy glow from the inside out! Gotta love that orange pigment! Your skin will have a nicer texture as well. Our bodies convert beta carotene into Vitamin A (retinol) which is required for health eye, reproduction, organs, AND skin. It may help to reduce wrinkles and other sign of aging as well.

-Consuming 90-180mg of beta carotene a day for 10 weeks would give your skin a natural SPF of 4

Alright, that’s all the good pumpkin facts for now! So remember, when you’re thinking that pumpkin scone looks mighty tasty, only you can decide if saying no to tasty is worth saying yes to wrinkles. 🙂

Here are my pumpkin recipes from last night!

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

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Ingredients

8 corn tortillas, roughly chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp ground cumin

Other spices or pepper to taste — I don’t like things spicy so a few dashes of cayenne pepper were enough for me, but feel free to add anything you like!

1 can (about 1 3/4 cup) pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cans of diced tomatoes, undrained

6 cups vegetable stock

salt to taste

tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar for garnish

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over med-lo heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tortillas and cook until tortillas are soft. Be sure to stir constantly to keep the tortillas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

2. Add cumin and other spicy ingredients and continue to saute.

3. Add pumpkin, tomatoes, stock, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow soup to simmer, covered, for about about an hour.

4. Garnish and enjoy!

Makes 6 generous servings

 

Pumpkin Chai Latte Cookies

This is a slight twist on the typical “2 ingredient” pumpkin muffins or cookies you’ll see out there. Whilst wandering the aisles of Target yesterday morning and enjoying all of the many new and interesting things on the shelves, I came across a Target brand Chai Latte cupcake box mix. My roomie and I had been discussing some easy pumpkin dessert options to make to share in our offices and then we saw this and decided on a cookie. Also, with only 3 days until our vacation to Italy, we wanted to use up an overly ripened banana — so here’s what we did:

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Ingredients

1 box cake mix (we used the chai latte cupcake mix)

1 can pumpkin puree

1 banana

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a sil-pat.

2. In a medium bowl, add the 3 ingredients and stir until combined.

3. Drop batter onto sheet in heaping tablespoons and bake for about 10 minutes or until done.

Our box mix contained a vanilla frosting mix — it was basically powdered sugar with vanilla bean specks in a bag, and we had to add a stick of butter and a couple tablespoons of milk, which we didn’t have, so we added 2 tbsp of water instead. Frosting is certainly not necessary, nor are they as healthy, but our cookies still ended up having about 119 calories each including the frosting, so it was worth it 🙂

 

 

 

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