This time of year can be so much fun here in the United States. Farmers’ markets fill with bright orange pumpkins, kids get excited about their Halloween costumes, and the mornings are frosty and full of autumn color.
To usher in this wonderful season, today I share three fun, bone-healthy pumpkin recipes that I know you’ll love. Personally, I love pumpkin and pumpkin-spiced foods, and these delicious recipes are the perfect way to celebrate the season.
The pumpkin is actually a very interesting food. Let’s start with some fun facts about this bright orange garden favorite.
Interesting Facts About The “Halloween Gourd”
Symbols of plentiful fall harvests, the pumpkin has some interesting history! These gourds can grow to enormous sizes. The heaviest pumpkin on record is a California variety that weighed in at 2,032 pounds!
Here is some other interesting information on pumpkins.
- Archeological evidence suggests that humans have been cultivating pumpkins since 10,000 B.C.
- Pumpkin pie was probably not eaten at the first American Thanksgiving festival. Americans at that time saw pumpkin as a savory ingredient, like potatoes, and pumpkin “custard” baked in crust did not appear until the very late 1700s.
- Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins can’t grow.
- It’s said that the Irish brought the custom of pumpkin carving to American shores, finding pumpkins easier to carve than the turnips and potatoes they traditionally used.
- There are more than 45 different pumpkin varieties, ranging in color from green to yellow to red.
- The pumpkin is botanically a fruit, and each one boasts about 500 seeds.
- The legend of the Jack-o’-lantern is said to have originated from an Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack, who bargained with the devil not to take his soul when he died. But because he was mean and miserly, the story goes that Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven, either. So he roams the earth with nowhere to go, and the lighted Jack-o’-lantern is supposed to help Stingy Jack find his way.
- Some varieties of giant pumpkin can grow at a very rapid rate, increasing by as much as 10 pounds a day!
Here’s something else you may not know about pumpkins: they are a very healthful food full of bone-smart nutrients. In fact, pumpkins are a Foundation Food for silicon in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
In addition to silicon, pumpkins boast potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, calcium, zinc, Vitamin E, and plenty of fiber. And they taste wonderful!
The following recipes are a scrumptious way to celebrate Halloween while getting the bone-healthy benefits of this fascinating gourd.
1. Monster Muffins
There’s nothing to get spooked about with these gluten-free muffins. They are reminiscent of gingerbread with a nutty crunch.
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin puree (if you use canned pumpkin, make sure it's BPA-free)
- 2½ tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup honey (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- While preheating oven to 350° F, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add them to the flour mixture along with the pumpkin, coconut oil, vanilla, and honey. Mix until well combined.
- Spoon the mixture into 10 greased muffin cups and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and serve.
Acidifying (balance with alkalizing fruits and/or plain yogurt)
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquefied
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl mix the oats, walnuts, flax, pumpkin seeds and spices.
- In a small bowl, whisk the honey, coconut oil and pumpkin puree until well combined.
- Pour contents of the small bowl into the large bowl, and stir until the oat mixture is completely coated.
- Spread out evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until color turns golden and mixture is lightly toasted.
- Stir every 7 to 8 minutes or so to make sure it browns evenly.
- When mixture is toasted, stir in the cranberries and store in an airtight container.
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk substitute)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1/4 cup raisins (or your favorite alkalizing dried fruit)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon honey (adjust to taste)
- Combine the quinoa, milk, pumpkin, flax seeds, and raisins in a small pot. Simmer over low heat while stirring, until smooth and flax seeds soften up a little.
- Remove from heat and mix in the spices and honey. Add a little milk to adjust consistency if desired, and serve.
These “spooky” recipes are a good reminder that eating for your bones is not only enjoyable – it can be fun!
Don’t Forget The Most Important “Ingredient”: Fun!
Have you ever invited someone over to cook? Some wonderful traditions can be created as we invite family and friends into our kitchens to share in the creation of bone-healthy dishes. When you think about it, sharing recipes and cooking bone-nourishing, delicious foods for yourself and others is a way of sharing love and companionship.
As the holiday season gets underway, let’s usher it in by taking the drudgery out of our cooking and instead, sharing and having fun with food preparation.
Bone Appétit, the Save Our Bones cookbook, can help. The digital format makes sharing recipes a snap – just copy and paste your favorite recipe into an e-mail and send it to loved ones. Or why not brighten up someone’s Halloween (and inbox!) by giving them Bone Appétit as a gift?
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After all, food is for fun and sharing!
Till next time,