Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

meal idea~ october, autumn, and pumpkins...yum

i can't think of October, Autumn, and the falling leaves of the approaching winter without thinking of Pumpkins! here are a couple of meal or snack ideas that I love to bring out during this festive time.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
The lovely color, exceptional flavor, and creamy texture of this soup make it a nice side dish recipe. It's made with heart healthy soymilk.

 Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin or acorn squash
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ground nutmeg (optional)
1 cup light plain soymilk
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 - 2 teaspoons sugar 
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add olive oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook and stir until leeks start to brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in pumpkin, broth, pepper, and, if desired, cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. Transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. (Or use an immersion blender directly in the saucepan.) Return all of the pureed mixture to saucepan.
4. Stir in the soymilk and enough of the water to reach desired consistency; heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the sugar to taste. Serve warm.
5. If desired, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
SERVINGS: 3 cups
1            egg white
2          tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1          tablespoon canola oil
1          teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4      teaspoon kosher salt
1/4      teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4      teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4      teaspoon ground allspice
1/4      teaspoon chili powder
1/4      teaspoon cayenne pepper
2          cups unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; lightly coat paper or foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg white, sugar, oil, lemon peel, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper; whisk until egg white is frothy and sugar is nearly dissolved. Add pumpkin seeds; toss gently to coat.
3. Spread pumpkin seeds evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pumpkin seeds are dry and crisp. Cool completely; break into pieces. Makes 3 cups
Test Kitchen Tip: Keep some of these crunchy seeds on hand to use as a topper for salads.
Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed. Place in an airtight storage container. Cover; seal. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
Miniature Pumpkin Bowl directions below

1          pd medium baking potatoes, peeled & quartered
2          cloves garlic, peeled
1          cup canned pumpkin
2          tablespoons (Neufchatel) cream cheese 
1          tablespoon butter 
1/8      teaspoon ground sage
1/4      cup fat-free milk
1          recipe Miniature Pumpkin Bowls (optional)
 Fresh sage leaves (optional)

1. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes and garlic in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cream cheese, butter, ground sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Gradually add milk, beating until light and fluffy. Return to saucepan; heat through.
2. If desired, spoon mashed potatoes into Miniature Pumpkin Bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Makes 4 servings (3/4 cup each)

Miniature Pumpkin Bowls: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut off 1/2 inch from the tops of 4 miniature pumpkins (6 to 8 ounces each); discard tops. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and membranes and discard. Place pumpkins, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until pumpkins are easily pierced with a fork.

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